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    The new grads toss their hats in the air after the June 27 graduation ceremony. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Principal Bryan Baird moves Christopher Timothy William Carr's tassel out of the way. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Hannah Clarke was given the Ontario Principal’s Council Award for Student Leadership by Emily Tulloch and Principal Bryan Baird. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Renfrew County District School Board Trustee Bryon Morris hands out the Renfrew County Grade 12 Medallions to the recipients. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Renfrew County District School Board Trustee Bryon Morris hands out the Renfrew County Grade 12 Medallions to the recipients. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Renfrew County District School Board Trustee Bryon Morris hands out the Renfrew County Grade 12 Medallions to the recipients. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Abigail Smith receives the Valedictorian Sheild during the graduation ceremony. It was presented to her by her father Padre Ray Smith and Garrison Petawawa Deputy Commander Lieutenant Colonel Scott Campbell. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)


 

 


Valour JK-12 school celebrates graduating class of 2016

Community News

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2016


The second graduating class has passed through Valour JK-12 School’s doors, marking the end of these students’ secondary school years.

The former Grade 12 students will now go on to college, university, an apprenticeship or the workforce. It was an exciting moment for most, with the gown- and-cap clad young adults buzzing with conflicting emotions. They are entering a new phase in their lives.

It is a bittersweet moment, marking their transition into adulthood and the choices they will have to make.
To succeed in life, three lessons were shared by 2016 Valedictorian Abigail Smith during her June 27 graduation speech: fail as often as you can and remember that impossible doesn’t exist. Dreams may seem unfeasible at first, but it is only by reaching for them, working for them, that they will come true. “We must all fight for what matters to us, regardless of what we face, because even if we fall short, what better way is there to live?” she said. “Graduates, failure doesn’t have to be a negative thing. It will only be negative if you decide that it is. We should look at failure as one step closer to success.”

According to the list of famous people she cited, she isn’t wrong. Every success story had at least one failure. She encouraged her peers to reach for greatness, ignoring innate fears and cautions, and refusing to settle for mediocrity. “Greatness is a choice,” said Smith. “It is entirely up to us how great or how average our lives will be.” It was a message that resounded with many, as they are entering a world filled with challenges. “Valour graduating class, let’s go conquer impossible,” said Smith.

This group of students first started their education at General Panet High School, and were moved to the new location once construction on the building was completed. They were one of the smallest classes at the school, which allowed them all to get to know each other very well. As well as academics, they learned which water fountain was the coldest, which bathroom stall to avoid at all costs, which classroom required a winter coat for comfort during the colder months and how to hunt figurative reindeer. These skills may not be immediately transferable to real life situations, but have undoubtedly marked their high school sojourn.

“Just a few short years ago, these same young people were entering Junior Kindergarten and carrying a princess or spider-man backpack,” Renfrew County District School Board Trustee Bryon Morris said. “Now, just look at them.” The past four years have passed by relatively quickly, especially for the parents, grandparents and teachers who watched these youth grow into capable adults. As they move into the next part of their lives, they will remember the foundation that supported them and helped shaped them. “The greatest chapter of your life begins,” said Garrison Petawawa Deputy Commander Lieutenant Colonel Scott Campbell to the students. “You say goodbye to your teachers ... your mentors and your friends while at the same time, begin to open yourself to adventures, opportunities and new beginnings.”

One person who has been there for every step of these graduates journey is Principal Bryan Baird. He remembers four years ago the excitement they felt as they first walked into the halls of General Panet. It was their first day of high school, but it was also the first day for the administration team. “We were excited as were the students for this new journey in our careers and education,” he said. “The Grade 9 class was small, there were just 74 of you, but you had a strength and enthusiasm that let us know that you would be wonderful students that would exemplify the values of our school. “I’m very proud of each of you for working to achieve your goals here at Valour,” he added. “You’ve shown strength, perseverance in times of stress and you’ve embraced our new building and made it your own.” As well as diplomas, many students received accolades and scholarships. The Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award was given to Alyssa Yemen. The Technical Medallion went to Thomas McEwen while Hannah Clarke received the Ontario Principal’s Council Award for Student Leadership and James McCafferty received the Governor General’s Academic Award.

The Renfrew County Grade 12 Medallion was presented to Matthieu Desilets, Jessica Leach, Holly Tulloch, Juliana Gallas, James McCafferty, Melora Twomey, Nicole Grattan, Raj Patel, Matthew White, Kayla Hunt, Colin Powell, Riley Kohlsmith and Abigail Smith.

The Specialist High Skills Major diploma was presented to Thomas McEwen. The Ontario Scholar Awards were presented to Reginald Austin, Emily Behnke, Brandon Bullied, Jade Clouthier, Alexandria Cullen, Matthieu Desilets, Nicholas DiGiacinto, Jack Donaldson, Nathan Frampton, Juliana Gallas, Nicole Grattan, Cole Handspiker, Christina Ikerenge, Riley Kohlsmith, Thomas LeBlanc, Thomas Luesink, James McCafferty, Melissa McColeman, Taylor Odaisky, Raj Patal, Colin Powell, Abigail Smith, Jeremy Storring, Ryan Thurlow, Holly Tulloch, Matthew White, Alyssa Yemen.

French Immersion certificates were awarded to Chris Carr, Jeris Chalmers-Wein, Nicole Grattan, Mathew Perreault, Melora Twomey, Makayla Burgess, Nathan Frampton. Technical Studies certificates were presented to Reginald Austin, Curtis Brennan, Jade Clouthier, Cole Hanspiker, Thomas McEwen, Michael Wiebe.