Friends and families crowded in McKeck’s Tap and Grill to celebrate Haliburton Adult and Alternate Education Centre (AAEC) graduates June 27.
“Today is about you: I want you to remember the emotions you have today,” principal Lisa Uuldriks told graduates. “The joy of your friends and family… those are the things that are most important.”
As each person accepted their diploma, administrator and head teacher Lori Sargent recalled personal anecdotes about their unique journeys through the education centre.
Many were balancing school with fulltime work, kids or even learning from afar in northern Ontario. “I’m proud of every one of you,” said Sargent, who gave a special nod to parents and support people who assisted each graduate along the way, drove them to class or helped with childcare.
She said valedictorian Jenna Gray worked especially hard to acquire her diploma.
“Her focus was incredible,” Sargent said. Gray told the class, “we all had something that brought us to the AAEC, and while our reasons may differ, we all had the same goal. We are launching our futures today. We already know that life has twists and turns, and the future will not be any different. We will make decisions, good or bad, and learn from them. We know some days are about making memories and that is just as valuable as any work we may need to do.”
Uuldriks delivered school trustee Gary Brohman’s remarks in his absence. “Keep building trustworthy relationships and good things will happen,” Brohman said.
Teacher Greg Shantz said each student faced adversity in their journey to complete their high school degree but worked hard at the education centre to achieve their goals.
“They get here and they start figuring it out. It’s just awesome to see.”