WIKWEMIKONG—Family, friends and staff celebrated the graduation of Wikwemikong High School students last Thursday.
The ceremony began with a procession of graduates and staff with hand drummers Adam Kaboni and Harvey Bell.
Principal Mark Gibeault gave the welcoming remarks congratulating the graduates on their accomplishment.
Acting Director of the Wikwemikong Board of Education Kevin Wassegijig thanked the grandparents, parents and friends for supporting the graduates and for attending the ceremony.
“Graduates, you are about to embark on the next stage of your life whether that be post secondary school or work—today is an important moment in your life,” said Mr. Wassegijig. “Teachers and staff, thank you for nurturing our young people to get to this point. Students, you have overcome many challenges to get to this point and we are really proud of you. Our education system has been here for a number of years and I remember the pride I felt when this school was built. We look forward to following you and seeing where you go next, but remember that wherever you are, here is your home and we will be waiting for you.”
Cody Wassengeso is a graduate of Wikwemikong High School and after attending post secondary school, returned home and is now a youth and mental health worker for Wiikwemkoong.
“Congratulations on completing high school,” said Mr. Wassengeso. “You will all be going into different fields and you will make memories away at school that will last a lifetime. There are many stressors as you continue on your education path, but no matter how hard things get, never give up. You are stronger than you realize.”
Teacher Jillian Peltier presented the Parent Council Bursary for Outstanding Attendance to graduate Annie Wemigwans. Annie was also presented with the Wikwemikong High School Bursary for Outstanding Contribution to High School, which was presented by Mr. Gilbeault, and the Ontario Scholars Award, which was presented by Ms. Peltier.
The Cambrian College Entrance Award was presented by Nancy Burke to graduate Amber Smith.
Annie Wemigwans was the valedictorian, who started her speech admitting that at first when she was asked to speak, she didn’t know what to say.
“I want to say thank you to everyone we have here,” said Annie. “Everyone has given us hope—hope that we can be whoever we choose to be. Thank you to our teachers for showing us our passions. In four short years we learned how to persevere. When times were tough, you helped us keep school a priority.”
“Remember this feeling,” Annie said to her fellow graduates. “This is what it feels like when all your hard work pays off.”
Annie was presented with an eagle feather by Chief Duke Peltier and Chris Pheasant.
“Let this serve as a reminder of who you are and where you come from,” said Chief Peltier.
The graduates were presented with their diplomas. The 2017 Wikwemikong High School graduates included: Amber Dowdall, Jade Ominika, Noah Ominika, Michael Oshkabewisens, Shaylene Pangowish, Isaiah Peltier, Jacob Peltier-Henry, Andre Rivers, Amber Smith and Annie Wemigwans.
The ceremony concluded with the graduates throwing up their caps in celebration.