Fort High graduates Class of ’02

The last students to attend old Fort High on First Street East cheered last Wednesday night as they graduated from high school.
The Ice for Kids Arena was packed with proud family and friends as 169 12th-graders and 59 OAC students graduated from Fort Frances High School.
“We were the last grade 9 students to ever enter the old high school and the most interesting class that has graduated from Fort High,” Nicole Rogozinski, president of student executive council, told the crowd.
Class valedictorian Steven Lovisa said there were many ways in which Fort High would always be a part of them.
“The most important aspect of high school would have to be meeting new people and making new friends,” he remarked.
“We’ve all heard the stories of the ‘old days’ from our parents and grandparents,” he added. “Just think, now that we’re done, all of the experiences we have had in the past four years are the stories we will be telling our children and grandchildren one day.
“All of these experiences, and more, have shaped our high school years and have helped to make us the people we are today—great people,” Lovisa continued.
Rogozinski eluded to some of those moments in her address.
“Remember the mystery paper bag man who ran nude through the cafeteria,” she asked as her classmates jeered and smiled at each other in memory.
Lovisa, quoting Eric Bell, urged students to be forward looking and not to get caught in the past.
“Some people live in the past, some spend their whole lives trying to predict the future. . . . I, myself, think that we should all live in the moment, setting our future and leaving our past where it belongs . . . in the past.”
Graduates Cara Coran and Sarah Hebert sang a passionate version of “I hope you dance” before students took the stage to receive their diplomas.
Grade 12 student Ashley Dyson and OAC student Lindsey Hallikas each received Gold Medals from the Rainy River District School Board as the leading students.
Hallikas also was awarded the Governor General’s Medal.
It also was announced that there were 28 Ontario scholars—those who completed six OAC credits with a mark of 80 percent or better—this year.
Before the night was over, FFHS principal Ian Simpson had one last assignment for his students.
“I challenge you to look deep inside yourself to determine the kind of person you aspire to be,” he said.
Simpson said while friends and family could be supportive, they couldn’t complete the test for them. “You need to provide these answers for yourselves,” he stressed.
“I have great confidence that all of the graduates of 2002 will choose a wonderful life,” Simpson continued. “You’ve brought honour to your school, your family, and yourselves with your actions.”