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2022 Graduates Celebrate in Pre-Pandemic Style

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Niverville High School hosts its first indoor convocation ceremony. Brenda Sawatzky

For the first time in three years, graduates of the École/Collège Régional Gabrielle-Roy and Niverville High School were rewarded with the return of long-held traditions to their graduation ceremonies.

Gab-Roy’s celebration took place over two days, on June 23–24. Niverville High School graduates memorialized their special day on June 27.

Gab-Roy

The historic St. Boniface Cathedral was the setting for this year’s Gab-Roy convocation. It was a stark and welcome contrast to the curbside convocation held over two days last year to provide for safe social distancing.

One day later, grads and family members gathered at the Victoria Inn for the dinner and dance reception that grads of 2020 and 2021 were forced to forgo.

A total of 51 students donned cap and gown, many of them recipients of almost $68,000 in bursaries and scholarships.

Graduates Alexis Bartlett and Rheyanne Vermette shared in the valedictory honours. Daniel Lother of the Division scolaire Franco-Manitobaine (DSFM) describes the young ladies as “well respected among their peers for their success in the classroom as well as their leadership in extracurricular activities.”

Both students gave back in their spare time by either coaching or tutoring other students.

“Overall the staff, parents, and students were extremely excited to be able to celebrate together once again,” says Lother. “I think the time off and uncertainty at the beginning of the year caused certain obstacles to overcome for the staff members and grad parent committee. Usually this is an event that begins its planning in early October and this year started much later. We are extremely grateful that the parent committee, as well as staff members, worked extremely hard to plan this graduation for our students. They did an amazing job and the students were extremely grateful and thankful.”

Niverville High School

The gymnasium at Niverville High School was filled to capacity on June 27—the first time such an event had occurred since the school celebrated its grand opening in the fall of 2019. Nearly 600 attendees packed into seats to watch the grads take their final steps as high school students.

It was the school’s first graduating class to mark the occasion with an indoor convocation.

Principal Kimberly Funk addressed the 75 graduates, a majority of whom went on to receive recognition of merit, awards, and scholarships.

“It takes courage to change and face new challenges, and I see that courage in each one of you,” Funk told the graduates. “I know there were times within the past couple of years where you all had to reach deep within yourselves to stay motivated to do school and persevere through some tough times… but these experiences and adventures define who you are. You all persevered and made it here today… You stayed the course and you made it through a global pandemic. And if you can do that, I’m guessing there’s not much that’s going to stand in your way in the future.”

Carisa Klassen, a local trustee for the Hanover School Division, lauded this year’s graduates for demonstrating the standard of excellence and authenticity that the division strives to encourage in its students.

“Ultimately, we hope to have imparted you with tools for critical thinking, collaboration, problem-solving, and creativity,” she said. “These attributes will always serve you well.”

This year’s valedictorian was graduate Jordan Buys.

“If I can leave you with one last thing, let it be this,” Buys concluded in his presentation to fellow students. “Today we will walk out those high school doors for the last time, and as you leave you will be given the best gift the world can give you. You will leave today with a clean slate. From this day forward, you have the opportunity to build your life off the foundation and framing you have done within these walls. You will have the opportunity to be the change you want to see in this world—to push society forward, however that may be. Any mistakes you have made or things holding you down that are tied to this building no longer matter… You are in control.”

The class of 2022 rounded out the evening’s festivities with dinner and a safe grad party at Evergreen Village along with family and invited guests.

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