Jaguars roar towards next chapter
By Darren Lum
Enthusiastic applause may have literally ended the J. Douglas Hodgson Elementary School Grade 8 graduation ceremony, but it figuratively signalled the beginning of a new chapter for the 59 graduating Grade 8 students.
The MC duo of Mike Gervais and Andrew Dawson entertained the audience at the graduation; school board trustee Gary Brohman reminded graduates to establish habits of gratitude; and principal Andrea Borysiuk thanked the students’ “circle of support,” including parents, guardians and teachers.
Valedictorian Campbell Smith stood at the podium and shared her memories of time spent at JDHES.
“JDH doesn’t just give us a place to build friendships and try new things, but it’s a place where we can challenge ourselves, be ourselves and develop confidence in ourselves as well as others,” she said.
She reminded graduates that kindness was at the heart of efforts to help peers and take on causes in the community.
“One small act of kindness can change someone’s day and have a huge impact. There’s still work to be done, but as a group of graduating students we are learning to be kind to one another. Going forward we can continue to make a difference because kindness does matter,” she said.
She took time to share her appreciation for the help given by teachers, staff, parents, family members and friends.
One of them, Campbell said, was Borysiuk, her volleyball coach, who provided advice for sport and life.
“‘Move your feet.’ She didn’t quite say it like that, but the lesson on the court was to work hard, be ready to change and adapt and keep moving. This lesson applies to us as graduates off the court as well. While we’re moving forward on to high school, we won’t always be travelling in a straight line.
Sometimes to get where we want to be we have to take a step sideways. Sometimes it’s our choice and sometimes it isn’t, but we do have to keep moving,” she said. “Graduates, follow your dreams. Have courage. Take a chance. Believe in yourselves. You got this.”
The school recognized students Matthew Wilson, Sophie Longo, and Evan Armstrong with the Award of Academic Excellence.
Campbell Itani Smith, Avery Horner and Emmerson Wilson received the Award of Outstanding Excellence.
The Athletes of the Year Award recipients were Liah Gallant and Matthew Wilson.
The Ontario Principal’s Council Award was earned by Aiden Keller.
This year’s Citizenship Award was earned by Ella Stamp and Oceane Harris.
The Rising Star Award was earned by Kyan Hall.
The Canadian Parents for French Award was earned by Mya Jones and Andre Mylan-Goulet.
This year’s honour roll students are Evan Armstrong, Hunter Barry, Ella Carl, Landon Chaulk, Kelly Chumbley, Liah Gallant, Brayden Grooms, Oceane Harris, Marcus Harrison, Avery Horner, Mya Jones, Aiden Keller, Jocelyne Lafleur, Mathias Lee, Cooper Lloyd, Sophie Longo, Georgia McAlpine, Michaela McCready-DeBruin, Annie Merrifield, Andre Mylan-Goulet, Owen Nicholls, Lucas Penney, Brooklyn Sidsworth, Campbell Smith, Ella Stamp, Trinity Walker, Morgan Willis, Emmerson Wilson and Matthew Wilson.