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KLC grads “have a chance back into the world again”


For 27 graduates, it was a chance at redemption, an opportunity to go back and finish walking a road that for one reason or another they had left in the past.
Perhaps they left for work, to travel, to care for a family or simply because they didn’t see the value of furthering their education. On Friday however their triumphant return to the education system was punctuated as they joined their fellow members of the 2017 graduation class from Kelsey Learning Centre in walking across the stage at Mary Duncan School, entering as students and leaving as graduates.
“Thank you for joining us on a wet, soggy day but inside (the school) here it’s looking very bright,” said KLC Principal Tara Manych, referring to the graduating class seated in front of her.
Manych referred to the graduates as “heroes,” pointing out many had overcome struggles and battled adversity to return to the classroom and earn their mature student diploma.
“You made a decision you wanted to get it done and you got it done,” added Opaskwayak Cree nation Vice-Chief/Vice-Onekanew Jennifer Flett.
This year was not just the 21st convocating class of KLC, it was also the first at the renewal refurbished school which only reopened last fall following a fire in the fall of 2014 that gutted the school and had students scattered all over the community. Last year’s graduating class spent the year at University College of the North.
After the graduates who were in attendance walked across the stage, receiving their diploma and having their tassel moved over by Manych in the process, class valedictorian Laura Hrabarchuk addressed the crowded gymnasium, packed with proud family members, many of whom held nothing back in voicing their pride for their graduate as they had strode across the stage.
“We all began at the front door of Mary Duncan School, at the very beginning of the school year. During the orientation day Tara (Manych) showed us around the school. She showed us the gym and stage that we are standing on today, she told us how many days we had until our grad,” said Hrabarchuk, shouting out the word ‘our’ in the process.
“A feeling of excitement, belief, pride, and proudness washed over me. You are all likely feeling the same way today. At the middle of the semester you might have lost hope thinking today would never come, but guess what? The day is here,” she added.
Hrabarchuk then led the grads in doing the ceremonial tossing of their grad caps in celebration, roaring her approval as her own cap went high into the air.
“We now have a chance back into the world again,” said Hrabarchuk. “Everybody’s journey was tough and we did it.”

Trent Allen