Thirty-nine Archie Stouffer Elementary School (ASES) students crossed the stage to get their Gr. 8 diplomas June 24 – releasing their final Wildcats’ roar as they go onto high school in the fall.
Valedictorian Grace Allder led that final roar as she made her address to a packed gymnasium of families and friends.
She recalled that for some students, elementary school had been a 10-year journey at ASES, learning academic and life lessons. She said they could not have done that without their parents and teachers.
Referencing COVID-19, which impacted parts of three of those years, she added, “I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t always easy. It wasn’t always fun. But we got through it, didn’t we?”
Haliburton trustee Gary Brohman said the perseverance and hard work, especially during the pandemic, has prepared the students for the move on to Haliburton Highlands Secondary School. “If you beat COVID you can beat anything.”
He urged them to be unafraid of high school, which he said is a great place replete with sports, music and drama. “Really, really get involved.”
He also stressed the importance of going to class. He also encouraged them to speak up positively to make a difference in the world.
He added they should use their parents’ wisdom and not shut them out during their four years at HHSS, since they are on their children’s sides with unconditional love and want the best for them. Brohman acknowledged past and current administration for their leadership through COVID, and teachers for their “unwavering commitment to excellence in education, and character education” despite all of the challenges the pandemic threw at them. “You did it, congratulations.”
He also paid tribute to sports staff. Outgoing principal, Dawn Sudsbury, urged grads to “dream big.” She said with desire, commitment and worth ethic they could achieve all of their dreams.”