JULIE BERTRAND/Independent reporter
The Wm. E. Hay Composite High School graduation was the event to be at on May 28, as graduates, teachers, family and friends overflowed the blue rink at the SRC.
They assembled to watch and celebrate with the 125 Grade 12 graduates, who successfully completed three arduous years in high school.
The students had chosen “Live for the moment” as their theme, and it was reflected in the songs and speeches throughout the evening.
Graduates made their way into the arena and to the podium to the rhythm of the song “Risk”, by Calgary’s Paul Brandt.
The mistress of ceremonies for the evening was Jessica Harvey, Students’ Union president and valedictorian. In her remarks, Harvey said she felt proud of her classmates.
“We, all of us here tonight, are moving forward. Though we have different plans for the years to come, we are all looking forward to new, challenging, and exciting lives,” said Harvey.
“It is crucial that we embrace each day as if it was our last, because we want to look back on our last thirteen years without regret, and feel fulfilled and accomplished.”
Principal Baharally took the stage to entreat the students to live for the moment.
“Living For the moment is as simple as counting your blessings today. Take care of what you do have that is good and be happy and content,“ said Baharally.
“Allow yourself to quit worrying about what may happen or has happened and experience what is happening now.”
“The time for adventure and exploring is now and hopefully all of you will rise to the occasion and seize your opportunities, like what all of you have done in order to be here tonight. “
“As you start a new phase in your life, I know that everyone will have a chance to accomplish something great and meaningful. Your possibilities are endless.”
Kylie Younghans gave a heartfelt and humorous tribute to parents, thanking them for their hard work and unconditional love.
“You’ve been preparing us for the days ahead, enabling us to stand on our own two feet,” said Younghans.
“As we go on to post-secondary education, travel, work, or take a year off, we will again return to the phase where we have unlimited questions, and you will walk us through all the necessary steps to help us make it on our own. And we will continue to appreciate each and every thing you do for us, even if we don’t always show it.”
Proud parents Darcy and Deb Youghans replied to their daughter’s tribute.
“We marvel and admire your ability to juggle your academics, sports, music lessons, chores, and a part-time job. On top of this, you take on volunteer responsibilities at school and in our community. You truly are remarkable,“ said Darcy Youghans.
“Take this work ethic and strength of character down whatever path you choose and success will be yours. Reach out to others and continue to be an active member in whatever community you find yourself.”
Jessica Harvey was the last speaker of the evening. In her valedictorian address, she took the opportunity to thank teachers and school staff.
“Though we have worked hard, we could have not made it this far without the help and support of so many people. Without the commitment of educators, we would not be standing here today. I thank the teachers for believing in us even when we did not believe in ourselves. For challenging us, and giving us the opportunity to expand our knowledge.”
After a grand march that provided many picture opportunities, students paired off to perform a class waltz. Proud parents then made their way to the floor to dance hug and take some pictures with graduates.
Family and friends soon followed and showered grads with displays of affection and congratulations.
Whatever their next step may be, students can be sure that they will be remembered in Stettler.