Western Secondary School honours the Class of 2017

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Western Secondary School students, parents, families and staff had a chance to celebrate last Wednesday night.

Western held its graduation ceremony at the school where the 51 graduates were awarded their high school diplomas and other awards they earned during this year and the past four years.

Brent Webster, a teacher at the school and master of ceremonies for the evening, said it may be the end of the formal educational process for some, but that doesn’t mean they stop being educated.

“Today doesn’t mean you stop learning,” Webster told the graduates last Wednesday evening. “You will learn in new and exciting ways.”

Western Secondary School honours the Class of 2017.

Western Secondary School honours the Class of 2017.

Lynn McLaughlin, a superintendent with the Greater Essex County District School Board, said she believed the graduates were ready for the next phase of their lives.

“I know you are, you know you are,” she said.

McLaughlin expressed pride in the graduates, noting they have evolved over their four years at Western.

“I’m so proud of who you have become,” McLaughlin told the class of 2017.

Principal Melissa DeBruyne also expressed pride, stating she was proud to be the principal at Western Secondary School for the last four years and watch the students grow into adults.

“Embrace your next journey,” DeBruyne told the graduates. “Your future is what you make of it.”

DeBruyne, who takes over as principal at General Amherst High School in the fall, told the Western graduates that they will always have a team to rely on regardless of where they go in life.

Principal Melissa DeBruyne speaks to the graduates and their families at Western Secondary School's graduation June 28.

Principal Melissa DeBruyne speaks to the graduates and their families at Western Secondary School’s graduation June 28.

“It takes teamwork to survive every day. A team will always be there to help you,” said DeBruyne.

Valedictorian Noah Schaafsma said “high school is where you find yourself. It’s where you decide what kind of student you want to be.”

Schaafsma expressed pride in the time he spent as a student at Western Secondary School.

“Western left us with some of the best memories we have in life,” he told his fellow graduates. “Though sadness comes with leaving, new hope comes with our future.”

The graduates file in at the start of the ceremony.

The graduates file in at the start of the ceremony.

Schaafsma added that Western has “an amazing staff” that told them to embrace life and who they are.

“Being a student at Western comes with a stigma but being a Warrior comes with pride,” he said, noting the school’s nickname.

Schaafsma also encouraged his fellow graduates to not be afraid of adventure as they go through their lives.

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