It was a busy weekend for Grade 12 students at Nakusp Secondary School (NSS) as they prepared for the end of one chapter in their lives and the beginning of another.
Graduation events took place on June 10, culminating with the grad ceremony on June 11.
Things were officially kicked off with the group photo of the graduating class on Friday afternoon. Usually the photo is taken in the Japanese Gardens on the waterfront, but because of poor weather, it was moved inside to the Nakusp Arena.
There was, however, a brief window of nice weather, which did allow for some photos to be taken at the gardens, though people were soon running back to their cars as the rain began again. As a result of the weather, the grad parade was unfortunately cancelled.
Coming back to the arena, the auditorium was transformed into a beautiful forest setting for the grad banquet. There were two graduates per table, and each grad was allowed to invite three people. Food was catered by Deb Guest, with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free alternatives available for those with alternative diets.
Build up for the event was pretty big, and for some grads, to see it come to fruition was a little weird.
“It’s kind of surreal, because I planned a lot of this this year,” said Skye Cunningham. “We started in September — so the nine/ten months of school.”
Cunningham said she was excited and was ready for everything to happen. During the banquet, congratulations were given to the students, and teachers were thanked for all the work they do. Four teachers will be leaving NSS at the end of the year. Two of them, principal Natasha Miles and physical education instructor Ryan Willman, are moving on to other schools. The other two, Stuart Hobson and Rod Morrison, are retiring.
After the meal, a video and slide show were played, which were put together by grad Abby Boswell and Grade 11 student Rene Goodman. Laughs, groans, and giggles were heard as the video played, which featured students talking about the important things they learned at NSS and who their favourite teachers were, along with the most likelies, such as who would be rich in ten years, who would be on parole, and who would be the one to own ten cats.
One part video which got a lot of cheers and applause was footage of Mr. Hobson dancing to the Carly Rae Jepson song “Call Me Maybe”. After the video, the slide show was played, which showed photos of each grad over the years. Among the laughs were tears of joy and sorrow, as it hit home that these teenagers will soon be off on new adventures.
“It was pretty sad seeing the slide show, and everyone growing up,” said graduate Taryn Watson. “It’s the end, but it was a really good event to see everyone again, all fancied up and grown up.” Watson will be attending Thompson River University in Kamloops, and is going to study engineering.
Following the banquet was the prom, and students danced the night away to a variety of music, including disco, pop, country, and more.
On Saturday, the grads came back to the arena one final time. Many tears were shed as they walked across the stage, leaving one world behind and entering another. Parents, family, and friends could not have been happier.
“It makes you feel really proud as a parent, and it’s really good to get to the end and see their success.” said Quinn De Courcy. De Coursy’s son, Cyrus Galloway plans on working in the field of music.
Til Niquidet is another proud parent. She’s looking forward to her daughter Katira taking on new challenges.
“She’s the kind of person I think that really wants to get into the bigger world,” she said. “She wants to find out exactly what she’s capable of doing.”
While she is sad to see the grads leaving Nakusp behind, she knows opportunities are out there, and loves the fact that the grads are encouraged to take what they learn and bring it back home with them.
As they head off into the unknown, Nakusp wishes the graduating class of 2016 nothing but luck on the journey ahead. As an old Irish blessing goes “May the road rise up to meet you, and may the wind always be at your back.”