Pleasant Valley Secondary School graduates took the next step in their lives Tuesday evening in Armstrong.
Wearing their gowns and caps and foot wear that ranged from stylish heels to flip flops, to running shoes, to no shoes at all, they waited for their big night.
“It’s excitingly frightening,” said Kim Hewitt, as she and her friends made last-minute adjustments to their caps while waiting for the ceremony to begin.
“I want to get a job and save to go to university in Germany to study performing arts. I think the best thing about high school for me was coming from a very isolated small town in the north and being accepted so well here for three years.”
Eryn Kados also has definite plans.
“We’re really going to miss all the people we have had to guide us over the past years, all the awesome teachers who made high school so great for us. I want to be an early childhood education teacher or work at Kindale,” she said.
Their friend Rianne Weijs will be looking for work and making sure she keeps in touch with the people she’s met in high school.
The grads looked to the future with plans including becoming electricians, rodeo racers, singers and travelling, or just seeing what happens next.
Andrew Nydam will be taking a year off to work in a financial institution and then continue his training to be a singer.
“I think that a year of experience will do me good. I’m looking forward to it all with a lot of open mindedness of what lies ahead,” he said.
“I was invited to audition at Juilliard in New York City but didn’t get in this year. I hope I will be invited again. It was an incredible experience for a little-town boy to be in the biggest city. School has been an incredible ride and I’m never going to forget all my friends from the past years.”
Nydam, Alicia Venables and Lindsay Wedel led the audience singing O Canada and he and Wedel also performed later in the ceremony.
“I’m ready to get out into the world. I do rodeo and barrel racing and I want to travel and make a career of that,” said Frances Herring, as she made a last-minute call to her mother on her cell phone.
Harry Crick, Reece Graham and Raymond Odd kicked off their shoes as a symbol of their new freedom.
“It’s done! We’re out of here! We’ve been living for the weekends and we’re still going to do that,” said Crick, who is heading off to Thompson Rivers University to become an electrician.
Graham will also be at TRU studying accounting, while Odd has no particular plans.
Alex Dahl and Emery Bardock took shelter from the sprinkling of rain under an umbrella held by Dahl’s sister, Lauren Dahl, a PVSS 2010 grad.
“I can’t believe it’s here. We’re standing in our gowns getting ready for grad,” said Alex Dahl, who is going to Okanagan College in Vernon to start her studies to become a pharmacist.
“It’s finally happened,” Bardock agreed. “I’m going to Simon Fraser University in business. I would like to become a CEO of a big company but that will take a lot of work.”
There were 150 students in the graduating class with valedictorians Elias Andrushko and Claire Macdonald. More than 70 awards, scholarships and bursaries were presented.