It was an evening of celebration as the Grade 8 classes of Archie Stouffer Elementary School in Minden made their way across the stage to accept their diplomas and awards for completing the first step in their education.

Principal Mike Gervais gave them some words of wisdom as they take the next step in their education, high school. “Don’t ever give up. If you are knocked down, get up. If you quit, you fail. If all you do is easy now, it will be harder later.”

Gary Brohman, TLDSB trustee, gave a shout out to the teachers and support staff that helped the graduates get to this point.

Master of ceremonies, Michelle Kernohan, told parents and guardians to give themselves a pat on the back. “You all did an outstanding job. You should be proud of yourselves.”

Elyse Boisvert, the class of 2023 valedictorian, thanked the teachers and other staff for creating a “supportive and inspiring environment,” and said their efforts do not go unnoticed. “We truly appreciate you.”

Her parting words to her peers was to remember the little things, such as sharing a cookie, or holding a door open. “Try to remember to do one little thing each day to make a difference for yourself, or someone else. That is what makes life so special, the little things.”

Award winners this year:

Emma Bush and Elyse Boisvert – Science and Technology

• Micah Kegel and Christina Weerdenaburg – ETFO English award

• Viliya Ianovskaia and Evelynn Ryan – Math award

• Jayla Bird and Viliya Ianovskaia – Canadian Parents French award

• Skylar Wright and Jayla Bird – Arts award

• Holly Crego and Harmony Bliedung – Minden Hills Museum History award

• Evelynn Ryan and Jacob Mantle – Geography award

Honour Awards:

Arcadia Masonic Lodge Award – Emma Bull

• Alan Walker Memorial Award for Citizenship – Elyse Boisvert

• Award for Academic Excellence – Viliya Ianovskaia

• Character Education Award – Christina Weerdenburg and Joshlynn Ruff

• Sarah Bloomfield Award – Molly Crego