A graduating class of 30 students were sent off in style by Diamond Jenness Secondary School on June 27.

The 2019 graduating class of Diamond Jenness Secondary School consisted of, front row, left to right, Meg Kruger, Alia Famorcan, Danilo (DJ) Mauricio, Alysson Capulso, Jaden King, Lisa Boutilier, Riella Bordey, Madison McPhee and Morgan Pettipas; second row, left to right, Sierra Landry Balsillie, Devon Beck, Samantha Goodwin, Riis Schaub, Jacob Harder, Elli Cunningham, Trevor McArthur, Tori Blake, Nam Truong and Kleo Skavinski; and back row, left to right, Hunter Kraushaar, Ethan Schofield, Carson Borchuk, Robert (Jimmy) Roach, Christopher Pinksen, Zackary Horton, Cory LaFleur, Mathew Lafferty, Nicholas Vannebo-Suwala and Ira Ross. Austin Antoine-Fabien was also a member of the graduating class.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Numerous speakers praised the graduates’ determination in completing high school, and wished them the best as they move on to post-secondary education or the work world.

The students themselves, as represented by valedictorian Zackary Horton, also recognized the importance of graduating high school.

“Even though this marks the end of our experience here, it also marks the beginning of many different paths,” said Horton, who noted it was a great honour to speak on behalf of such an “amazing” group of graduates.

Horton thanked everyone who helped and supported the students on the path to graduation.

The valedictorian said future possibilities are endless for the graduates.

“However, no matter what each of us decides to do, this class has so much potential to make positive change in the world,” he said.

Mayor Kandis Jameson encouraged the graduates to contribute to their community, and to always remember their roots.

“Take pride in where you come from, who you are and what you do,” said Jameson. “Hay River is very proud of each and every one of you.”

Hay River North MLA R.J. Simpson brought congratulations from all members of the Legislative Assembly.

Simpson told the graduates that education is freedom, and encouraged them to continue on into post-secondary studies.

A number of other guest speakers offered their congratulations and best wishes, including Hay River South MLA and territorial cabinet minister Wally Schumann, Sub-Chief Doug Lamalice of K’atlodeeche First Nation, and representatives of West Point First Nation, the Hay River District Education Authority, and the South Slave Divisional Education Council (SSDEC).

Diamond Jenness principal Lynne Beck also praised the students and wished them well in future years.

“It really is true that sometimes opportunities only present themselves once in a lifetime,” she said. “So take advantage of them.”

The graduation ceremony also included the presentation of many honours and awards.

Among them were the Diavik Diamond Mine Scholarship of $1,000 to Zackary Horton as the top academic student accepted into a post-secondary school, the Constable Christopher Worden Memorial Award to Elli Cunningham for her leadership at school and in the community, the SSDEC Literacy Award to Alia Famorcan, and the Marwah Loran Provincial Award of $2,000 to Kleo Skavinski in recognition of her character, service and leadership.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.