BY DUCK PATERSON
If there are omens, then the change in the weather can mean a very bright future for the graduating classes of both Ladysmith Secondary School and the Stz’uminus Community School. The ceremonies for both schools were held in warm and sunny weather, but for the more than 130 graduating students, they felt it was all great.
There were seven students completing Grade 12 at Stz’uminus school on Friday, June 24. The graduates were escorted by drummers and singers into the school gym in front of family, friends and elders.
Community elder George Harris welcomed the students and guests and gave special acknowledgment to the staff for their work and guidance in leading the young people on the right track.
Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris also congratulated the graduating class. She told them that they have a future that has many different roads they can take, but urged them not to be afraid as they are Stz’uminus and they will do well and make their community proud. The chief also congratulated the parents for showing leadership to the young people and teaching them to be who they want to be.
Justin Magnuson, Stz’uminus Education Society chairperson, told the crowd they all should be proud of the class of 2022, “only the second graduating class in their own school in their own community.” He also challenged the grads to remember who they are and where they are from.
“You are Stz’uminus – be loud and be proud,” Magnuson said.
Valedictorian and athletic award winner Dusty Seymour thanked his mother for her guidance and for pushing him to complete his schooling, and said he was proud to have done it.
The members of the graduating class were each welcomed to the stage and presented with their diplomas and a gift from the community. Following the ceremony the graduates were taken to the dance floor by the Stz’uminus Young Wolves dance and drumming group and they performed a dance with them.
Graduating students from Ladysmith Secondary School held their graduation photo event Saturday at the amphitheatre at Transfer Beach Park. Despite the hot weather, the grads, dates, friends and families were all gathered to see the graduating class in all their pomp and ceremony to mark one of the high points of their lives.
The parents’ prom committee had prepared a red carpet for the students to walk into the amphitheatre where there were opportunities for photos with their families as well as a group picture. Xtend Rentals provided the use of a lift for an aerial picture of the grads lined up on the steps at the amphitheatre.
After the events at Transfer Beach the graduating class went to their dinner and prom dance at the Coast Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo.
On Monday the grads had their commencement ceremony where they received their diplomas and some of them were awarded bursaries and scholarships.
Crystal Dennison, from the Nanaimo/Ladysmith Schools Foundation, said more than $150,000 was being presented in awards to students from the 2022 graduating class, the largest amount per capita in the district.
LSS principal Dave Travers also credited the donors.
“It is what makes working at Ladysmith Secondary a lot easier, because the support by the community for almost anything the school does is totally supported by the Ladysmith community,” he said.
The local grads were led into the ceremony by the drumming and singing of school’s land and language class. The welcoming was given by graduating student Marlin Marston, who gave a welcoming in Hul’qumi’num and English. Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris congratulated all the grads and said she was pleased to see many members from her community in the stands with the grads. Graduating student Hailey Bohmer sang O Canada and was followed by Mayor Aaron Stone who gave a welcome and congratulations on behalf of the town.
The final chapter of the event was the presentation of the graduation certificates to all grads, followed by the valedictorians’ address.
Wrapping up the event were words from Travers, who blended some ‘dad jokes’ into his speech to help prepare grads for various aspects of life, but spoke sincerely.
“Ladysmith graduates of 2022 we hope you have the skills you need to move in the direction you desire,” he said. “Enjoy this moment, come back to visit and brag about all you have done. We wish you the very best.”