Grads reflect on their journey

Ryley Booth keeps cool with a battery-operated fan as he enters the Nor-Val Sports Centre during the introduction of graduates Wednesday.  - Roger Knox/Morning Star
Ryley Booth keeps cool with a battery-operated fan as he enters the Nor-Val Sports Centre during the introduction of graduates Wednesday.
— image credit: Roger Knox/Morning Star

Whether they attended for four years, three years or even one semester, graduating students from Armstrong’s Pleasant Valley Secondary School can vividly recall their first day as students at the city’s high school.

Nicole Olsen, Kathleen Kalin, Daniel Mckie and Nicholas McKim are among the 135 members of the Class of 2014 who took time before graduation ceremonies Wednesday at the Nor-Val Sports Centre to reflect with a reporter.

Olsen and McKim both started at PVSS in Grade 9.

“I went to Len Wood Middle School from Grades 6 to 8 and I knew a lot of people at PVSS because I had also gone to elementary school with them,” said Olson. “I remember my first day at Len Wood thinking, ‘soon I will be in high school. I just have to get through the next three years.’

“My first day in high school was stressful. I got lost a couple of times. They give you a piece of paper with your classes on it and you get let loose to find it yourself. My first day in Grade 12 I was laughing at the Grade 9s because they went through the same thing I did on my first day, but I knew they’d catch on to it.”

McKim completed Grade 8 at Len Wood after arriving from Vernon.

“My first day at PVSS was fun,” he said. “It was good because I knew a lot of people. I wasn’t nervous going into the bigger school. It was nice, actually.”

Mckie also came to Armstrong from Vernon. He started at PVSS in Grade 10.

“The first day was good,” said Mckie. “I wasn’t really nervous because I knew quite a few people here already. The students and teachers were pretty helpful as I looked for my classes. Nobody bugged me about being lost.”

Kalin only spent one semester in the hallways of PVSS. She enrolled in February after being home schooled.

“I didn’t know where to go for my first class,” smiled Kalin. “But everyone was very nice. They helped me and showed me where the class was. I remember thinking I didn’t want to get lost on my first day and it happened. That was scary.”

Four years, three years, one semester. To a person in this quartet, their time at PVSS, which officially ended Wednesday evening, went by fast.

Said Kalin: “The last day was a really easy day, and it was a chance to say our goodbyes.”

Olson: “It’s unbelievable to think we’re in our grad gowns and we’re getting ready to walk across the stage. Everybody looks good. Everybody’s ready to move on and start their next chapter.”

Mckie: “The three years were really good here. There isn’t really one thing or event that stands out. I can’t really believe I’m graduating. It went by really fast.”

McKim: “It went by a little too fast, maybe. Tonight, I’m trying to hold onto Grade 12 for a little bit longer, then maybe let it go. It was a fantastic time at PVSS. I made a lot of great friends. There are a lot of good people here.”

Each graduate who attended the ceremonies Wednesday did so in traditional black and red – the school’s official colours – cap and gown. They paraded into Nor-Val through a white archway to their seats in front of a capacity crowd.

Graduates Kaytlynn Davidson, Elizabeth Fraser, Kira Hickerson, Aurora Cox, Ryley Booth and Csilla Vasarhelyi delivered a rendition of O Canada on their saxophones and trumpet.

The valedictory address was given by Hayden Cope, Maya Ritchie and Robert Stratford.


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