Fort High bids farewell to Class of ’06

Students donned caps and gowns last Thursday night to celebrate the end of one chapter—and the beginning of a new one.
The 2006 commencement exercise for Fort Frances High School was held at the Memorial Sports Centre, with about 165 grads, as well as their families and friends, in attendance.
Rev. Stephen Laing of the New Beginnings Fellowship Church began the ceremony with the invocation, calling on the graduates to rise to their full potential.
“There is a mind-boggling degree of giftedness in this room,” he remarked.
Fort High principal Gord McCabe then addressed the grads.
“Tonight is the celebration of a major accomplishment in your lives,” he said. “A high school diploma is not easy to earn. It takes talent, desire, and discipline.
“You should be very proud.”
McCabe then had the students perform what is becoming a tradition at Fort High grad ceremonies. He asked the grads to stand, face their families, teachers, then each other, and offer each a round of applause.
“There are some people to whom you owe a deep debt of gratitude,” he said.
McCabe noted the students have much in common, but each have different interests and goals.
“You have reached a common goal. You have laughed together. You have cried together,” he remarked. “Your pathway into the future will be your own. Our hope, as a school, is that we have prepared you well.”
“The world awaits you. Go get it,” he concluded.
McCabe’s address was followed by brief speeches from the three presidents of the Student Executive Council for 2005-06: Jenna Cousineau, Emily Laing, and Tyson Quibell.
Next, the Ontario Secondary School Diplomas were handed out to the first half of the grads. Graduate Jenna-Rose Enge then sang “Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks.
Her performance was followed by the distribution of five major awards.
The Leading Student Award and Gold Medal went to Lucas Keffer, the Sir Isaac Newton Award went to Jason Donaldson, the Lenora Colvin Memorial Award went to Harry Morrisseau, and the Governor General’s Medal went to Lindsey Sockolotuk.
Gold clocks also were awarded to Natalie Desjardins, Kevin Empey, and Dylan Thompson for earning at least three Certificates of Merit.
Diplomas then were handed out to the remaining grads, followed by the valedictory address by Kirkland Petrin. He stressed the importance of joining clubs and organizations in enriching the high school experience.
“We will cherish the memories that have been created by participating in the extracurricular community at Fort High,” Petrin said.
Students had the opportunity to learn much at Fort High—both inside and out of the classroom.
“Lose with grace and dignity, win with honour and pride, and at the end of the day, we are all equal,” he said.
A French Immersion student, Petrin acknowledged his fellow FI students and encouraged them to keep at it.
“As we close the door to Fort High . . . we are each embarking on new paths,” Petrin said, calling on the grads to put the lessons learned here to good use in future.
The ceremony closed with ‘O Canada’ and a recessional by the Fort Frances High School band, under the direction of John Dutton, as the grads filed out of the Ice for Kids arena.
They later participated in the annual “chem-free” grad party in the ’52 Canadians Arena from 10 p.m.-4 a.m.