There were smiles and tears at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School as 99 graduating students closed the book on high school. An in-person ceremony June 29 celebrated the achievements of the class of 2022.
Hundreds watched as their loved ones made the ceremonial walk across the stage, ushering in a new period of their lives.
Former HHSS principal and current Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) trustee Gary Brohman told graduates they embodied tenacity and commitment.
“These past four years in this high school proved what you’re capable of,” Brohman said, before encouraging graduates to chase their dreams and never be afraid to stand up for what it right.
“Use your voice. These are troubled times. We’re counting on you to make [the world] a better place.” Principal Chris Boulay was excited to host an in-person graduation for the first time in three years.
He commended the students for pivoting throughout COVID-19. Boulay expressed confidence this year’s class will go on to do “great and wonderful things.” “This evening is one for you to cherish forever… I’m very proud of you and all that you have achieved,” Boulay said. “Remember always to model our credo of respect, commitment and responsibility each and every day. We are counting on you. You represent our future. You are changemakers.” Forty-eight students received awards and scholarships, with eight garnering school letters, recognizing academic excellence.
Courtney Semach was given the Governor General’s Academic Medal, while Grace Hudson received the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Community Service.
Valedictorian Ethan Volochkov recalled his first-ever class at high school and writing it off because he had gym.
“I remember thinking how grueling the next four years were sure to be, but to my absolute delight they have been some of the best of my life,” Volochkov said. “All of us have been through a lot the past few years… We made it through COVID, online school, education cuts and so much more. “We stayed strong through the trials and tribulations… When the world took things from you, instead of giving in, you adapted, you evolved and made a bad situation a little more bearable. We should all be proud of that,” Volochkov said.
“Whether you have a 10-year plan, or absolutely zero concept of what life outside high school will look like, I know we will all go on to do great things, whatever they may be. It is time to spread our wings and fly, Red Hawks.”