While they may be heading off in different directions in the coming years, the latest graduates of Diamond Jenness Secondary School promised to do so while remembering where they came from.
The forty-two students who graduated from Hay River’s high school on Saturday will be the final class to graduate from the school in its original form. Massive renovations at the iconic purple school are set to begin in earnest this summer.
Valedictorian Ming Hua Guo thanked the teachers and staff at the school, and reminded his fellow graduates to continue pushing themselves.
“Today I ask you to be proud of yourself,” he said at the beginning of his address. Guo will be off to Ontario in the fall to attend the University of Waterloo’s math program.
Brieanne Glaicar thanked the staff and teachers for staying late to mark tests, for volunteering to take the students on trips, and for pulling pranks on the students from time to time. Glaicar will be attending the physical education program at Grant MacEwan University in the fall.
“They are gestures that have made us feel special throughout our school years,” she said in her thank-you to staff.
Another graduate, Logan Clarke, thanked the parents for their never-ending support.
“They have helped us to learn to be wise through experience,” he said.
DJSS teacher Stephen MacKay was the guest speaker and said it was a pleasure to teach many of the students for three years. He also presented a message to the students by telling them the story of the turkey and the bull. In the story, a turkey is chatting with a bull about not having the energy to get to the top of the tree. The bull suggested the turkey nibble on some droppings since they are full of nutrients. The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and was able to make it to the first branch. The next day, after eating some more dung, the turkey managed to make it to the second branch. After a week, the turkey finally made it to the top of the tree, where he was promptly spotted by a farmer and shot out of the tree.
“The moral of the story is bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there,” MacKay said to raucous laughter.
Numerous dignitaries, including Lyle Fabian of the K’atlo’deeche First Nation, Hay River Acting Mayor Ken Latour, Hay River DEA chair Kandis Jameson, and SSDEC supervisor of schools Brent Kaulback, reminded students to face any challenges head on and to remember where they came from.
“If you do not know where you come from, you won’t know where you are going,” Fabian, a 1994 DJSS grad, said.