Grade 9 students in Donalda said their formal goodbyes to their school on Thursday, May 21.
The graduating class of Donalda School consisted of six students: Spencer Andres, Justin Fuller, Mickey Jaffray, Jordyn Nelson, Ben Olesen and Richard Vert.
Thursday’s ceremony was intended as a sendoff to the graduates as they continue their education at different high schools, said Amy Smith, teacher at Donalda School.
“It’s more about saying goodbye to them,” she said. “It’s not just a school, it’s their community. You really become a family out here, because it’s so small.”
Being such a small class, the six graduates have become good friends over the years, they said.
Andres, Jaffray, Nelson and Olesen have been together at Donalda School since kindergarten, with Fuller joining the group in Grade 2 and Vert coming to Donalda just this school year.
When asked about their favourite memories at Donalda School, Olesen, Nelson, Fuller and Jaffray talked about their involvement and success on the volleyball teams. In 2014, the boys’ volleyball team won first place in CWAJHAA and brought home the banner for their school. The girls’ team also did well, placing third at CWAJHAA in 2014.
Jaffray will be going to Camrose Composite High School in the fall, along with Olesen. While Olesen said he is looking forward to the cooking classes and more options at the new school, Jaffray said she was nervous to go to a school where she did not have the same close group of friends.
Andres, Nelson and Vert will be going to Wm. E. Hay Composite High School together in Stettler. Nelson and Vert said they are looking forward to meeting new people in high school.
Fuller will be the only one in the class going to Bashaw School in the fall. He already knows quite a few people going to that school and is looking forward to seeing them.
“This group has set the tone in their school this year,” said principal Mark Siemens. His advice for the graduating class is to not be afraid of failing.
“Be willing to step outside your comfort zone,” he said. “As I look back on my own life, I wish I was less afraid of failing.”
The graduation ceremony ended with a slideshow of photos of each of the graduates.