F.P. Walshe school celebrated the Class of 2014 on Friday.
Hundreds of family members and friends packed the F.P. Walshe school gymnasium Friday afternoon for the annual cap and gown ceremony.
Fifty-four Grade 12 students received their certificates during the 2 1/2-hour ceremony.
“We’re excited for these young people as they go on their way,” F.P. Walshe school assistant principal Randy Bohnet said.
Grads Katie and Hannah Bullock sang O Canada to start the ceremony, and Johnny Day Rider gave a Blackfoot blessing.
Wesley Provost brought greetings on behalf of Piikani Nation chief and council and told the students they are entering a new phase of their life.
“I want to encourage you to do the best you can, and learn to make the right choices,” Provost said.
Lance Tailfeathers congratulated the students on behalf of Blood Tribe chief and council but reminded the students completing high school is just one small step in their journey.
“Learn how to lose, learn how to fail, learn how to struggle,” Tailfeathers said. “With dedication, commitment, self-reliance and resilience you’ll be successful.”
Livingstone Range School Board chair Martha Ratcliffe noted Friday’s ceremony was the last cap and gown event to be held at F.P. Walshe school until the modernization project is complete.
Ratcliffe said the students are sure to look back on their high school years fondly.
“Remember as you move forward that it’s okay to make mistakes,” Ratcliffe said. “But you have to learn from those mistakes. If you’re afraid to make mistakes, you’re afraid to try.”
Ratcliffe wished the students well as they head to college, university, the work force or the ski hill.
“I hope you enjoy your chosen paths,” Ratcliffe said.
F.P. Walshe principal Bill Forster said staff reflect at the end of the school year on the flavour of the Grade 12 class.
“We’re never going to forget you,” Forster said.
Forster said staff members are always hopeful they have helped the students with lessons beyond the subject matter in the classroom.
“We hope we have helped you look at situations and make wise choices,” Forster said.
Always the educator, Forster gave the graduating students one final lesson, using a pie as a metaphor.
Forster said like a pie, the Class of 2014 has a solid foundation.
“We also know this class, at the surface they look good. We know that they’re sweet, we know that they’re personable, we know that they’re good people.”
Forster said the question staff members always ponder is if they gave students what they need to fill up the middle.
“One of the things we will remember about this class is they don’t follow the traditional route,” Forster said. “They live in the moment.”
Forster proceeded to fill a pie crust in a tin plate with ketchup and mustard, and topped it with whipped cream.
“What we hope they’ve learned . . . is do they have the ability to do some critical thinking and say is that the best course,” Forster said. “We’re no longer here to guide you on that. We hope you can make that decision on your own.”
Forster then called Elizabeth Eremenko forward and asked her to choose between his ketchup, mustard and whipped cream pie, or one in a box.
Elizabeth chose the spicy pie, to the delight of her classmates and the audience.
“One of the things about this class is they have that sense of adventure,” Forster said. “They really are looking for new experiences and I encourage that.”
Forster urged the students to maintain their sense of adventure as they move through a time of change.
“We know that you can make good choices and you will make good choices,” Forster said.
Forster said the school will miss the Grade 12′s sense of adventure, leadership, togetherness and support for other students.