Class of 2014 honoured at Kincardine District Secondary School commencement
By Liz Dadson
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Bluewater District School Board trustee Jan Johnstone (L) presents the Leslie D. Ray Scholarships to Sarah Nagus, Tinisha Steinman, Robert Colquhoun and Cassidy Colhoun, Friday night at Kincardine District Secondary School commencement
Vince Yenssen (L) presents the KDSS students' council activity award to Kush Joshi and Bronwynne Harvey who were also valedictorians for the evening
Don Jones (L) presents the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) award to Stephen Lewis and Nikhil Deshpande
The Class of 2014 cheers for KDSS at the end of the valedictorian address
The Kincardine District Secondary School Class of 2014 was honoured at commencement, held Friday night at the school.
While the principal and staff urged students to succeed and apply the skills they had learned at KDSS, the valedictorian speech took a different turn.
Presented by Bronwynne Harvey and Kush Joshi, the message centred on not only the great times they enjoyed at KDSS but on the reality that your plans may not go as you had hoped so it's okay to change your mind and move in a different direction.
Bronwynne admitted she didn't enjoy high school until she found a part of it she truly loved - something that motivated her to go to school and learn in order to be able to do similar things in the future that made her just as happy.
"And isnít that the truth," she said. "I mean school is important Ė but so is living and experiencing. If thereís one thing Iíve learned in the past few months itís that your education is the ticket to your future, but your happiness is your key to the present.
"You have to find a way to interlock them. So, while you immerse yourself in your studies or work over the next few years, try and find something else. Something that adds passion to your life, something you truly enjoy doing, which benefits your growth as an individual."
Kush urged every graduate to take a moment to think about their favourite high school memory. "That game you won with your team, that test you aced, that club that felt like a family, the friends you made, the best of times. Hold onto that memory, and remember that KDSS was a huge part of your life which helped shape you into the person you are right now - and prepare you to continue to grow within every stage of your life to come."
They then outlined the top three things that make the Class of 2014 so noteworthy:
"Which is why when I started to struggle with it all, I fell apart," she said. "What are you supposed to do when it becomes evident that your master plan, the thing that was supposed to be your big step to happiness and a better life, turns out not to be Ö it?
"I mean, I was in a program where I got to talk about politics all day, every day, my schedule was so amazing Ė less than 15 hours of class a week Ė so why wasnít it working? Why couldnít I latch onto this, get excited, get motivated? I still donít know.
"But in about the span of a week, I dropped it all. I skipped class, slept all day, stayed in my room Ė distracted myself in any way I could Ö I was spiralling. I felt trapped there; this place that I loved had become a prison and I felt horrible. It was about this time that other troublesome aspects of my life came back up to the surface and it felt like the walls of my dorm room were caving in on me.
"The thing is, you always have options in life. The one I took was for my happiness and well-being. I have now withdrawn from my program at Ryerson and it still stings. And I still have days where I wake up and feel like Iíve failed. But at the end of the day, this is what I needed to do for me.
"Believe me, I would have loved to have had this grand revelation last year but the truth is, I didnít give myself the opportunity. When I got to school, I realized I wasnít ready Ė and thatís okay."
She emphasized that it's okay to change your mind, to switch your program, to take time for yourself.
"Donít be afraid to say no, donít be afraid to change your plans or to change directions," she said. "This time in our lives is about finding and establishing ourselves as individuals Ė so set yourself up for success and start living."
Kush and Bronwynne then called on the graduates to cheer for their elementary school, and for KDSS.
"Congratulations Class of 2014, you have so much to be proud of, and
we can definitely see that pride in your friends and family," said Bronwynne. "On
behalf of Kush and myself, can I just say it has been an honour
growing up alongside all of you."
"We have no doubt that all of you will go on to follow your dreams and make ideas reality," said Kush, "because after all, thatís what you learned to do here at KDSS."
Commencement included the presentation of graduation diplomas, as well numerous awards to the following:
D.P. Arscott student leadership scholarship, Derrick Bernath
Bervie Construction Award, Sarah Fox
Beta Sigma Phi (Epsilon/Alpha chapter) award for excellence in a co-op program, Jessica Hiscox
Beta Sigma Phi (Xi/Zeta/Gamma chapters) award for making a significant contribution to the school, Dallas Hewitt
Bruce County Conservationists award for a student continuing his/her studies at the post-secondary level, Lyndsey Matheson
Bruce County Federation of Agriculture award for a student who is working or studying in the field of agriculture, Patrick Farrell
Bruce Peninsula Art Show bursary for talented artists who display their work at the Civic Holiday Show, Natasha Rutledge
Shoreline Artists' Bursary, Natasha Rutledge
Bruce Power Leadership award for a student going into a technical or business program who demonstrated leadership and contributed to the school and community, Jason Dales
Bruce Power award for female student entering skilled trades or technologies, Tegan Moore
Bruce Power Future Innovator award for a student who achieves high academic results and who shows passion and promise in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, Drew Thompson
Canadian Federation of University Women award for high academic achievement and personal determination, Summer Hunter and Sarah Nagus
Compass Group School Dining award for a student who has overcome some personal or academic challenges on the way to graduation, Mark Craven and Dylan Young
Bruce County agricultural scholarship, Patrick Farrell
Dr. A.E.H. Couch bursaries for graduates entering medical field or biological sciences, Kennedy Fitzgerald and Victoria Phillips
Davey-Linklater Funeral Home bursary for student entering funeral service or health sciences program, Alexis Parkinson
Audrey and Lester Ferguson award for student furthering his/her studies in social sciences, Shoshana Jarvis
Barbara Goetz Memorial Community Leadership award (Women in Nuclear) for a female student proceeding to post-secondary studies who has invested time, energy and leadership in the school and community, Mercedes Battler
Grant Helm scholarships for high-ranking student who has lived in Kincardine Township, Bruce Township or Tiverton for at least 10 years, Vanessa Hodgins
Vernon Hodgins Memorial Scholarship in Agriculture for a student who demonstrates a value for the education of future farmers who will keep agriculture viable for generations, Rachael Coenen
KC Automotive Parts scholarship for a student continuing in automotive technology, Samuel Wilson
Kincardine Community Medical Clinic physicians group award for high-achieving students entering the medical field, Cassidy Colhoun and Joshua Murphy
KDSS Certificates of Excellence in academics, athletic and extracurricular activities, Rachael Whitney and Robert Colquhoun
KDSS Graduating Class of 1986-87 award for a graduate who overcame challenges along the way to graduation, Lesley Middelkamp
KDSS Home and School Association award, Joel Easton
KDSS skilled trades co-op award for a student with exceptional work ethic and ability in the skilled trades, Braeden Harris
KDSS Students' Council activity award, Bronwynne Harvey and Kush Joshi
Kincardine and District Horticultural Society award, Lyndsey Matheson
Kincardine inclusiveness and diversity award, Neha Yadav
Kincardine Optimists - Friends of Youth award for students entering a helping profession or who did community work with children and youth, Mikhayla Bowes
Frederick Kirby Social Responsibility scholarship for a student attending a post-secondary institution who has demonstrated an attitude of respect for the human dignity of all people and participated in groups that seek to change the world, Bronwynne Harvey
Alexander McKenzie award to a male student with the highest graduating average of those residing in one of the three northern townships of Huron County or three southern of Bruce, Thomas Harris
Tracy Capeling (L) presents the Alexander McKenzie award to Thomas Harris
Don and Irene MacKenzie award for a student who has resided in Huron Township, maintained academic standing and participated in school life, Cass Carruthers and Mark McLelland
MacKinnon academic awards for excellence in English, social sciences, Canadian and world studies, math and science, Logan Howe and Benjamin Lange
Janice Matchett Financial Services business scholarship, Kloe Moore
Matheson-Pioneers memorial scholarship for high academic standing and furthering studies at university, Tinisha Steinman
Don and Doris Milne scholarship for maintaining high academic standing while contributing to the school, the community or both, Alex Pagnan
Mohindra Family award of excellence in the area of science and mathematics, Jean-Ann Keelan
A.E. Nelson scholarship for high-ranking student pursing a career in teaching, Natasha Lenartowych
Northern Light Lodge No. 93 bursary, Aaron Gordon
Ontario Power Generation award for a student entering a technological program at college or university, Nikhil Deshpande and Stephen Lewis
No. 253 Order of the Eastern Star (Bruce Chapter) award, Georgia Morris
OSSTF District 7 award, Dakota Smith
Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) Georgian Bay Chapter award for students going into engineering, Nikhil Deshpande
Point Clark Kinsman bursary for a student who resides in Point Clark or Huron-Kinloss and is attending a post-secondary institution, Mitchel Card
Principal's leadership award, Bronwynne Harvey
Leslie D. Ray scholarships for the top four graduates proceeding to university, Robert Colquhoun (96.8%), Sarah Nagus (95.2%), Cassidy Colhoun (95%), and Tinisha Steinman (94.5%)
Ripley Legion Ladies' Auxiliary award for a student continuing his/her education and has resided in Huron Township or Ripley, Robyn Quinn
Ripley Shipping Association award for a student entering post-secondary education related to agriculture, Ryan Hallam
Rotary Business award, Robert Colquhoun and Chelsey vandenHogen
Sauble Lodge #227 IOOF Tara Bursary for students from a Grade 12 program who have demonstrated academic commitment and are pursuing a post-secondary education, Braeden McDonald and Courtney Surridge
South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Kincardine, Auxiliary bursary for student pursing program allied to the medical field, Carly Smith
University of Toronto Book Award, Neha Yadav
Valedictorian award Ė Bronwynne Harvey and Kush Joshi
West Wawanosh Agricultural award, Rachael Coenen
Toni Thielman award - in memory of Thielman who taught at KDSS and died October, 2009 - to a student with an adventurous spirit who has a passion for words, Natasha Lenartowych
Michelle Taylor Memorial award for a student who exemplifies Mrs. Taylor's love of diverse people, passion for improving the world both locally and globally, and humble behind-the-scenes contributions, Katie Taylor and Kinsey Collins
Gardiner Pioneer Scholarship for a student graduating with the highest average in his/her final year of high school, Robert Colquhoun
Governor General's Academic medal for the student with the highest average in his/her graduating year, Robert Colquhoun
Vice-principal Lori Templeton presents Gregory Dadson with his Grade 12 diploma
Brandon Wylds (R) receives his Grade 12 diploma from Lori Templeton
Lori Templeton (L) presents David Newman with his Grade 12
Mark Craven (R) receives his Grade 12 diploma from Lori Templeton
Principal Randall DeKraker (L) presents a Grade 12 diploma to Luke Splettstoesser
Jan Johnstone (L) presents a new award, the Gardiner Pioneer Scholarship, to Robert Colquhoun who also received the Governor General's Academic medal
Andy Ferguson (L) presents the D.P. Arscott Student Leadership Scholarship to Derrick Bernath
Frances Nixon presents the Beta Sigma Phi (Epsilon/Alpha chapter) award to Jessica Hiscox
Tim Luinstra (L) presents the Beta Sigma Phi (Xi/Zeta/Gamma chapters) award to Dallas Hewitt
Rob Gleeson (L) presents the Bruce Power Future Innovator award to Drew Thompson
Christine Newton (L) presents the Compass Group School Dining award to Dylan Young and Mark Craven
Jennifer Evans (L) presents the Dr. A.E.H. Couch Bursaries to Victoria Phillips and Kennedy Fitzgerald
Audrey Ferguson (L) presents the Audrey and Lester Ferguson award to Peter Wolfe, standing in for the absent Shoshana Jarvis
Heather Convay (L) presents a new award, the Barbara Goetz Memorial Community Leadership award (Women in Nuclear), to Mercedes Battler
Tracy Capeling (L) presents another new award, the Vernon Hodgins Memorial Scholarship in Agriculture, to Rachael Coenen
Cati Van Veen (L) presents the Kincardine and District Horticultural Society award to Lyndsey Matheson
Rob Gleeson (L) presents the Don and Doris Milne Scholarship to Alex Pagnan
Peter Wolfe (L) presents the A.E. Nelson Scholarship to Natasha Lenartowych
Gregg McClelland (L) presents the Northern Light Lodge No. 93 Bursary to Aaron Gordon
Bessie Farrell (L) presents the No. 253 Order of the Eastern Star (Bruce Chapter) award to Georgia Morris
KDSS principal Randall DeKraker (L) presents the Principal's Leadership award to Bronwynne Harvey
Todd Farrell (L) presents the Rotary Business award to Chelsey vandenHogen and Robert Colquhoun
Piper Brenda Colquhoun leads the graduating class into the auditorium at KDSS commencement Friday night
© Liz Dadson
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Sunday, October 12, 2014