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Stettler’s Wm. E. Hay Secondary Campus holds 2023 grad celebration

The William E. Hay School gymnasium and Stettler Performing Arts Centre were both filled to capacity on a warm June afternoon.

The William E. Hay School gymnasium and Stettler Performing Arts Centre were both filled to capacity on a warm June afternoon.

Hundreds of parents, friends, and community members had gathered to celebrate the 116 graduates of the school’s class of 2023.

The roughly two-hour ceremony took place on June 24 and featured some laughs, some reflection and some memories from students, staff, and parents.

Acting as Masters of Ceremonies for the event were William E. Hay vice-principal Darren Fleischhacker and student union president Ashton Kaiser.

Fleischhacker opened the ceremony with a land acknowledgement before grad Laura Hebbs opened the service in prayer with the invocation. As part of the invocation, 21 seconds of silence were held for Zach McCord, a classmate who died earlier in the 2023 school year.

Following the invocation, grad Brooklyn Tucker was called to the stage to perform the first musical piece of the ceremony. Tucker sang a slightly tweaked version of the Charlie Puth song See You Again.

School Principal Myranda Shepherd took the stage following Tucker, speaking about the uniqueness of the 2023 grad class. Shepherd noted that the grad theme “We write our own destiny” was particularly fitting for this group of students.

“You’ve always done things your own way,” said Shepherd.

Shepherd noted that a couple of things all of the students in the class had in common were “heart” and the ability to persist through challenges.

“You’re capable of achieving greatness,” said Shepherd.

“Take risks, embrace challenges.”

Following Shepherd, grad Ashley Lang, Kaitlyn Niehaus and Colby Norman came forward to give a class history. The history was at times humourous and at other times reflective but it gave the audience the opportunity to know the students a little bit better.

Once the trio of grads concluded the history, Aughtum Wilkie took the stage to give tribute to the grad parents, which was then followed by the reply from her own parents, Clint and Erin Wilkie.

Where Aughtum kept her remarks fairly short, focusing on thanking all the parents for helping the students get to this point in their academic and personal lives, her parents spoke a little longer, talking about what it meant to get to know the class over the years.

Clint left the class with the wisdom “It’s hard to fly like an eagle when you surround yourself with turkeys,” much to the amusement of those in the audience.

Following the parent tribute and reply, Principal Shepherd, and vice-principals Fleischhacker and Diane Enyedy presented the grad class with their diplomas.

The second musical piece followed the diploma presentation, with grads Bianca Brugman and Reese Fournie taking to the stage.

Finally, before the grads recessed to prepare for the grand march, a long-standing William E. Hay tradition, valedictorian Jaydon Hausein said a few words.

The honour of valedictorian is awarded to the student with the highest academic average over their high school experience.

Once the grads exited from the gymnasium, they toured through the Performing Arts Centre, where the activities in the main gym were being projected onto a screen.

After about a 15-minute break where crews cleared the chairs from the centre of the gymnasium, the grads returned for the Grand March, the music for which was composed by a former William E. Hay alumni, Cam Ambrose. Following the march, there was the opportunity for a grad waltz and a grad-parent dance.

Kevin Sabo

About the Author: Kevin Sabo

I’m Kevin Sabo. I’ve been a resident of the Castor area for the last 12 years and counting, first coming out here in my previous career as an EMT.
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