Graduation this year was very different for all schools, especially the graduates of Grade 8. This was also very true for the Grade 8 Graduating class at St. Boniface School. In former years the grade 7 class along with some of their parents decorated and the graduates weren’t allowed to see the gym until after Mass. The grade 8’s always prepared the Mass. This year the grade 7 class prepared the Liturgy for their grade 8 classmates. On Tuesday, June 23 (which was always scheduled as graduation) there was a “virtual” graduation.
The video began with a couple group pictures and then went to each individual student who gave a quote that was important to them. This was followed by a trumpet rendition of “O Canada”. Principal Marylin Dawson addressed the graduates and the Grade 7 class performed he Liturgy for their friends. School chaplain, Sarah Kwiecinski gave them words of encouragement and reflection, next was their Grade 8 teacher Denise Hayward who addressed the students talking of the many accomplishments they had achieved. They even had a graduation address on behalf of the Kindergarten class by one of the Kindergarten student’s wishing them the very best.
A special graduation address was given by book author Alan Gratz to the St. Boniface graduates – “Don’t wait for the world to change, get out there and change it yourself, we need you”. “The best is yet to come”. There was also Graduation congratulation remarks from Justin Trudeau which was probably sent to all the schools.
The valedictorian is always decided upon entirely by the students. Their job was to select a representative from their graduating class to speak on their behalf. This year Ian Gallagher was chosen. He spoke on his time at school which was enjoyable and speedy and that St. Boniface “sometimes felt more like a home than a school” reminiscing about his years spent at St. Boniface from Junior Kindergarten to the present. He spoke on the teachers through the years and what important lesson each taught them while they were in that classroom.
Ainsley Muir received the Spirit Award. This award goes to someone who shows school spirit. Participating in all spirit days organized by Student Council – not only this year, but in all of her years at St. Boniface. She has a positive attitude and is very optimistic and willing to participate in all Spirit Days, no matter how silly they may have been. She is an excellent, positive role model to all the younger members of St. Boniface.
The Male Athlete of the Year Award is given to a student who has shown excellent sportsmanship, has demonstrated outstanding athletic ability, and has maintained a positive attitude. The recipient, has always remained energetic and enthusiastic, and most importantly, has always demonstrated that important positive attitude, whether winning or losing. True athletes can handle a loss as graciously as a win. St. Boniface was very proud of this year’s recipient, Jake Wingrove.
Last year, St. Boniface became involved with The Umbrella Project. This is a program that focuses on the mental, emotional, social and physical well-being of our students, and the positive feeling that comes when those needs are met. Well-being acts like an umbrella to protect then from the rain of life and is made up of skills that they can practice and strengthen. Each skill forms a piece of their umbrella and the skills work best together. They help them find meaning in their experiences and are highly predictive of their future success and happiness. Their umbrella is always growing and changing. The strongest umbrellas are made up of a mix of many well-being skills and are growing throughout their whole lives.
One of the Umbrella Project skills is Purpose. What is Purpose? Purpose is the setting of goals for themselves and determination and following through and consistent dedication. Being the best they can be. The recipient of this award is Brian Obuchowska.
Another skill that students learned about this year was Resilience. What is Resilience? This is the being strong, healthy, in successful ways after something happens in their life. This person perseveres in the face of challenges, works hard and consistently grew in the classroom. Lucas Mense is the proud recipient of this award.
Emma Vaughan-Orr is awarded the Citizenship Award. This award is in memory of a community member named Robin Williams, who passed away many years ago. His generous contributions will always be remembered and appreciated. Our Maryhill Heritage Park was only one example of his contributions – he gave that park to the people of Maryhill for the sale price of just one dollar. His wish was for all young people to enjoy their time spent in the community. Emma is recognized and acknowledged for the sense of community that she has for her contributions to this school, and your family are appreciated.
The French Award was given to Gabriel Parronchi. He has shown growth this year and learning a second language can be difficult, but Gabriel has confidence to do well and the creativity he has shown in class.
Four years -ago St. Boniface School announced a new Grade 8 Graduation Award sponsored by the Maryhill Historical Society. History is kept alive and vibrant by the roles and activities of smaller community- based initiatives such as archives and local Historical Societies. Their efforts ensure that future generations can conduct important research, and understand Canada’s local stories. The goal of this new History Award is to honour significant achievement in history and encourage young people to become involved and excited about local, regional, national, and world history. Ian Gallagher is the student to receive this award who not only demonstrates good academic standing in this subject area, but someone who genuinely shows an interest in History. He is encouraged to continue exploring local history, as well as national and world history. Ian a real history buff and interested in the history of his community, Canada and politics.
The Personal Effort Award went to Ryan Bischof who has put forth an honest effort, has worked incredibly hard, and has genuinely tried to do well in everything that has been sent his way. He has achieved success with on line, distance learning as well as in the classroom. The work he does in class is very important and he sets high goals for himself. He always tries his best and also adds a little humour to everything he does.
Logan Mazzetti received the Overall Academic Proficient Award. This award goes to a student who excels academically, has excellent consistent marks in all areas, and has taken their education seriously. He has always produced the most outstanding daily work, projects, and assignments and has achieved and maintained the most outstanding overall average throughout the year.
A number of years ago, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board introduced a new award to be given out at Grade 8 Graduation. This award acknowledges students in Grade 8 across the Board who possess a number of qualities. The student that is recognized is a student who will be attending a Catholic Secondary School next year in Grade 9. He or she must demonstrate compassion toward his or her peers and the community – both school community and Church community. He or she must demonstrate strong leadership skills throughout activities in school life – someone who is a kind and caring young adult. And this student must demonstrate the potential to be a true Catholic ambassador in adulthood. The recipient is chosen by the staff. This year most of our students will be attending St. David Catholic Secondary School in the Fall, and they all possess these qualities to some extent. The staff, as a group, decided that Evan Sauve should be presented with the Waterloo Region Catholic Schools Foundation Award of Distinction.
Next came the presentation of awards with principal Marylin Dawson reading each of the student’s names and waiting several seconds for families at home to applause and celebration after each name was read.
A beautiful slide show followed with pictures of the student with photos that were sent in by parents, or were taken over the years at the school.
Grade 8 teacher Denise Hayward gave her closing remarks. She thanked the many people who collaborated to celebrate this virtual milestone graduation. All the students will be receiving their plaques plus their names will be added to bars and put on the plaques that grace the school foyer.
Congratulations to the 2020 Panther Grads – Ryan Bishcof, Ian Gallagher, Lucas Mense, Ainsley Muir, Brian Obuchowska, Gabriel Parronchi, Evan Sauve, Emma Vaughan-Orr, and Jake Wingrove, Be Panther Proud!