By Jenn Watt
Family and friends came together at the Athletic Centre on Thursday evening beaming with pride and excitement as the class of 2019 officially graduated from Haliburton Highlands Secondary School.
Ninety-five students graduated this year and vice-principal David Waito reminded those assembled in the gym of the importance of the ceremony.
“It is a rite of passage. Rites of passage are a time when we formally leave one stage of our lives and enter into another. In our culture high school graduation is regarded as the time when we finish adolescence and begin adulthood and it is for this reason that we call tonight’s ceremony a commencement – denoting something of importance is about to commence or begin” he said.
School board trustee Gary Brohman who was once principal of HHSS bestowed three messages upon the grads: use your voice to make the world better; think big but set realistic goals; and practice gratitude.
“Make sure the glass is always half full” he said advising grads to write down three things they were thankful for each night before bed.
Principal Chris Boulay called the class of 2019 “our best-case scenarios” who had often overcome adversity and challenge to succeed. Adding humour to his speech he crafted some hashtags for the group: #GraduatesBeYou; #IgnoreTheDoubters; #BeStrong; and #Appreciate.
Valedictorian Nick Toth reminded his peers of the many firsts they’ve had over the past four years – first job first time driving first friendships or relationships. He remembered sitting in orientation in 2015 thinking that 2019 was so far away. Now he said 2015 seems long ago.
Toth said though he couldn’t predict the future he knew the mettle of his classmates.
“I know each and every one of the people graduating … I know the strength that each of them is capable of” he said.
He thanked everyone who came out saying he hoped the class had made them all proud.
“We proved ourselves yesterday we have proved ourselves today and I know without a doubt we will prove ourselves tomorrow. That is what a Hawk does after all.”