June 22 marked a milestone in the lives of Matthew Boyd, Parker Glavine, Marissa Gosse, Hailee Keats, Jonathan Nieuwoudt, Brianna Purcell, Hannah Stacey, Joshua Turner and Noah White – graduating from high school is no small feat with the many distractions of the modern world.
Their theme was “Class of 2017 is Out of this World”.
From the moment the students were introduced by principal Barbara Rideout, to the last moments of the dinner, the support shown to these students was heartening. The rapport the students, teachers and their parents share is probably unique to schools in small communities where everyone knows everyone else. That was not lost on this group.
In her remarks Rideout expressed her gratitude to the staff and the students for all their efforts in making the year a success.
“The families of the graduates have given us so much of their time fund raising, giving talks, assisting at events and supporting their children,” she said. “An outstanding group.”
Rideout spoke to the students about the challenges ahead and assured them of the confidence she has in them.
“You can do anything that you want to be, trust yourselves, make wise decisions and enjoy life to the fullest,” she said, “and yes, you can all use me as a reference.”
Guest speaker Ryan Williams had been a teacher in Buchans and returned for the role of guest speaker.
“I speak very highly of this town and the people here on a regular basis,” he said. “The town of Buchans embraced me just like they do with every new person that comes here. I always say that when you are in Buchans you can see a student in Grade 2 talking to a student in Grade 10 because there is such a sense of togetherness and community here.”
“I taught some of these graduates for three years — Grades 2, 4 and 5 and the lucky ones were Marissa, Hannah, Parker and Noah. I got to teach Brianna, Hailee and Matthew later in Elementary and Josh I taught in grade 2. And Jonathan (who only joined the class at the beginning of last year) – you really missed out! Congratulations to all of you.”
MHA Al Hawkins brought greetings and congratulations to the students and noted the bad weather he encountered along the way and it segued to his message. As he sat in his car deciding whether to go on and probably chance disaster because his windshield wipers quit on him, or stay and wait the deluge of rain, he thought of the graduates and some difficult decisions they will make in their futures, hoping they will make the correct choices for themselves.
“You guys, in your life as you pull out of your community and the comfort of your home, away from your family, you are going to face many challenges,” he said, “and there are going to be moments it will be important for you to decide, take a deep breath and think about what you are going to do next.”
Parker delivered the valedictory speech on behalf of the class.
In addition to his best wishes for all and words of gratitude to those who helped the graduates reach this day, he noted, “I’d like to send a special thanks to two people who have contributed to the self-confidence of the vast majority of this year’s graduating class by way of this school’s drama club. Those two people are Mr. Jeremy Chippett and Ms. Catherine Thompson. You two were wonderful directors that broke many of us out of our shells and helped us appreciate the theatrical arts a lot more than when we started school.”
Hailee, on behalf of the class, expressed appreciation to all those who contributed to the evening and the journey that brought each of the graduates to this night. She noted in particular the guest speaker, the principal and staff as well as the Buchans Volunteer Fire Department who helped with the high ceiling decorations.
“To our parents,” she added, “we can’t thank you enough for everything you have done for us – giving us the opportunity to better ourselves and become who we are here tonight. To my classmates, for being the best anyone could ask for.”