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F.P. Walshe school Class of 2016 praised for resilience, strength

bradley harris

Bradley Harris poses for a photograph with principal Bill Forster.

Members of the Class of 2016 toss their mortarboard caps into the air at the conclusion of the cap and gown ceremony.

Members of the Class of 2016 toss their mortarboard caps into the air at the conclusion of the cap and gown ceremony.

latoya healy

Latoya Healy celebrates graduation.

F.P. Walshe school celebrated the Class of 2016 last week at the annual cap and gown ceremony.
Forty-six graduating Grade 12 students crossed the stage at the Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre.
The arena was filled with family and friends who turned out to help the graduating students celebrate a milestone in their lives.
“Students, I would like to congratulate you on a great finish to your time at F.P. Walshe,” principal Bill Forster said. “You have studied hard, well, some of you. Worked hard — most of you. Played hard — all of you, and withstood a ton of change during your time here at Walshe.”
Forster was referring to the move to the G.R. Davis school building for two years while F.P. Walshe is modernized.
The principal said the Grade 12s coped well with reduced facilities, limited resources and spaces, without the reward of enjoying the modernized school.
“It would be very easy to feel hard done by having to spend your final two years out of the old Walshe building,” Forster said.
Forster said stability is important in education, and the move to the temporary location affected that for the Grade 12 class.
“One of the things I am most proud of this class is the people sitting here did not waste time feeling sorry for themselves,” Forster said. “They showed us over the last two years they are strong enough in their own personalities, thoughts, friendships and actions that they could make their own stability to succeed in school, extracurricular, work and life and turn out to be the strong, resilient outspoken group of people that form the graduating class of 2016.”
Forster urged the grads to maintain that strength in their own beliefs and convictions to deal with challenges in life.
“Trust in your family, your community and the lessons you learned here at Walshe,” Forster said. “Most of all though, trust yourselves. You are strong, your choices count and your voice matters.”
F.P. Walshe teacher Chris Baxter served as master of ceremonies for the event, which included Michelle MacMillan leading the singing of O Canada, Blackfoot elder Peter Weasel Moccasin providing a blessing, and an honour song.
Fort Macleod Deputy Mayor Brent Feyter congratulated the students and said they should be proud of their accomplishments.
“Do make use of your accomplishment,” Feyter said. “Leverage it to the fullest extent. Hold nothing back.”
Peigan Board of Education superintendent Lisa Crow Shoe wished the students well as they move forward with their lives.
“They are an extremely diverse group of young people,” Crow Shoe said. “I had the opportunity to teach many of them, and I’m just really proud of them to make it to this step in their lives.”
Livingstone Range School Board trustee Lori Hodges, whose son Devon was a member of the grad class, thanked the parents and teachers for supporting the students on their journey, and complimented the young people for working hard to graduate.
“As you start your next journey in life, my wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to be,” Hodges said. “Your dreams stay big and your worries stay small. You never need to carry more than you can hold.”
“And while you’re getting where you’re getting to, I hope you realize somebody loves you and wants the same things too.”

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