Sylvan Lake graduates will one day change the world

OFFICIAL - Vice Principal Darcy Marshall was the first to meet each graduate as they crossed the stage.                                Photos by Megan RothOFFICIAL - Vice Principal Darcy Marshall was the first to meet each graduate as they crossed the stage. Photos by Megan Roth
TRADITION - As tradition dictates, the grads celebrated the end of the graduation ceremony by throwing their caps in the air.TRADITION - As tradition dictates, the grads celebrated the end of the graduation ceremony by throwing their caps in the air.
FOR GOOD - The H.J. Cody Choir performed a special song during the graduation ceremony. They sang “For Good” from the Broadway musical Wicked.FOR GOOD - The H.J. Cody Choir performed a special song during the graduation ceremony. They sang “For Good” from the Broadway musical Wicked.
ALL DONE - Darcy Marshall marks each graduates status as official graduate when he moved the tassel from right to left.                                Photos by Megan RothALL DONE - Darcy Marshall marks each graduates status as official graduate when he moved the tassel from right to left. Photos by Megan Roth
ENTER THE GRADUATES - The grads entered the ceremony space at the NexSource Centre led by a bagpipe player.ENTER THE GRADUATES - The grads entered the ceremony space at the NexSource Centre led by a bagpipe player.
FINALLY - The Grades stood to celebrate finishing the first step of their lives.FINALLY - The Grades stood to celebrate finishing the first step of their lives.
HUG IT OUT - Some of the graduates thanked their teachers and principals with a hug as they crossed the stage.HUG IT OUT - Some of the graduates thanked their teachers and principals with a hug as they crossed the stage.
MARCHING - After taking a class photo at the pier, the Class of 2017 marched two-by-two down 50 Street to the NexSource Centre where the ceremony took place.MARCHING - After taking a class photo at the pier, the Class of 2017 marched two-by-two down 50 Street to the NexSource Centre where the ceremony took place.
SMILE FOR THE CAMERA - Between the ceremony and the class photo, the graduates had some time to take photos at the pier with family and friends.SMILE FOR THE CAMERA - Between the ceremony and the class photo, the graduates had some time to take photos at the pier with family and friends.
PROCESSIONAL - The graduates were lead by their instructors to the NexSource Centre on June 30 for the grad ceremony.PROCESSIONAL - The graduates were lead by their instructors to the NexSource Centre on June 30 for the grad ceremony.

It was an emotional day as the now former Grade 12 students crossed the stage one last time as high school students.

Parents and guest speakers a like held back tears as the students accepted their diplomas, marking their first steps into the next stage of the world.

While the students prepare for what comes next, be it more schooling, travel or going straight into the field to work, the guest speakers had a few words of advice to share with the new graduates to help them on their way.

Jackie Swainson, school board trustee for Sylvan Lake, gave the graduates advice that was a little more personal.

“Normally we look to give advice from famous scholars and celebrities. My advice comes from someone you have never heard of before… His name was William Buston Tuss, and he is my grandfather,” Swainson said.

The advice coming from Swainson’s grandfather broke down into three components, all of which added together to help give meaning and understanding to life as the graduates move forward into an uncertain world.

Kindness. Selflessness. Willingness.

These three small aspects of life added together can make a world of difference, according to Swainson.

“If you can have those three things, and do those three things at the core of everything you do, I can guarantee that you will have a successful life in whatever you choose to do,” Swainson told the graduates.

In his commencement speech, Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre told the grads this time was especially momentous for them, because it fell on Canada’s 150th birthday.

Graduating on Canada sesquicentennial anniversary meant the newly minted graduateswould never forget their graduation, and it would always be marked by a celebration.

“Across the country people are celebrating right along side you,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre’s speech also highlighted every person who helped each graduate make it to the stage to accept their high school diploma.

He mentioned the families, teachers, support network, and friends all helped to see each Grade 12 student to be successful in their endeavours.

“The people who supported you, encouraged you, helped inspire you and lift you up, and worked to equip you … I hope you grads will thank them for their help in your road to graduation.”

McIntyre told the graduates to always remember where they came from as they move forward in life.

To remember the school that taught them, the friends that supported them, and the community that cheered for them.

The lessons learned at H.J. Cody should be taken along in life and not forgotten once high school is over.

It was McIntyre’s advice to the graduates to change the world by starting in the community.

“We live and thrive as a community, both locally and globally. What we do for each other matters, and how we treat one another matters, especially the vulnerable among us,” McIntyre said.

The words from McIntyre were echoed in the song choice of the H.J. Cody Choir, who sang “For Good” from the Broadway hit Wicked.

The song spoke about the change one person can make in another’s life.

“Because I knew you, I have been changed for good,” the song states.

Be kind to others, and make changes everyday – that was the advice of the guest speakers at the H.J. Cody School graduation on June 30.

“You will make a difference in the world,” said McIntyre.

Graduation 2017HJ Cody