By Kirk Winter

Twelve very proud graduates were feted virtually by the staff of the AAEC in Haliburton on June 25 with heartfelt speeches and awards recognizing a lot of hard work and perseverance during a worldwide pandemic.

Haydee Billings, Dukota Davidson, Emily Davis, Autumn Duff, Marshall Eady, Amber Goodrich, Nicholas Klochkoff, Dylan Main, Jaime Moore, Stacey Robertson, Destiny Thomsen and Holly Young received their secondary school diplomas and now begin the transition to work, an apprenticeship or post-secondary studies.

Principal Lisa Uuldricks told the students, “I am very sorry that I cannot be presenting this message to you in person. High school graduation is such an amazing time in your life. You have overcome so many challenges, with the pandemic adding so many missed opportunities.”

Uuldricks reminded the students of a line from the Wizard of Oz that says, “No thief, however skillful, can rob one of their knowledge.” Uuldricks told the graduates they had been robbed of many things by the pandemic like social gatherings, haircuts, eating in restaurants and even a proper high school graduation, “but no one can rob you of the knowledge you have gained by walking through the doors of our school.”

AAEC staff told graduates, “It is with heartfelt tears, smiles and good wishes that we send our graduates on their way to their futures.”

The tradition of selecting a valedictorian by staff was suspended this year with teachers wanting to recognize the resilience and effort put in by the entire class in very trying times.

“Lockdowns, isolation, layoffs, illness and loss dominated our County and our country,” staff shared, “and much of this year we met from afar, commiserating together and learning together. We thank you for staying in touch, always having a smile for us, showing your dedication and giving us the gift of your gratitude.”

Graduates were told that, “Family, friends and your classmates are in awe of what you have accomplished during the most difficult times in recent history in our country. Look in front and you will see the best coming towards you; look behind you and you will see all of us supporting you and wishing you well.”

Awards

• Haydee Billings Winner of the Joshua Rewa Award of Distinction

• Emily Davis Winner of the OSSTF Academic Award

• Autumn Duff Winner of the OSSTF Academic Award Winner of the Principal’s Award Nominated for the Joshua Rewa Memorial Post-Secondary Bursary

• Nicholas Klochkoff Winner of the Post Secondary/ Apprenticeship Award Nominated for the Joshua Rewa Memorial Post Secondary Bursary

• Destiny Thomsen Winner of the CUPE Achievement Award

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