A pair of rubber boots made the perfect accessory to Shannon Smith’s elegant gown as Kalamalka secondary school graduates gathered at Polson Park Friday.
The endless rain had finally stopped as grads gathered for their traditional photos with family and friends, but Smith was taking no chances in the rain-soaked grass.
“I’ve got dress shoes for later, but I bought these boots at Wal-Mart this morning,” said Smith, holding up the hem of the emerald green dress she purchased online.
Heading to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah to study nursing in the fall, Smith said she’s feeling emotional at the thought of leaving the town she has called home since she was nine years old.
“It all feels quite surreal and it doesn’t really feel like grad yet,” she said.
Looking dapper in his tuxedo, Jeremy Woo is all smiles as he reflects back on his five years at Kal.
“I especially want to thank Mary Niedballa, who is now at VSS, but she was my drama and English teacher and she has inspired me to do things beyond what I thought possible,” he said. “I’m very excited for the future.”
Heading to the University of Calgary to study commerce in the fall, Woo said it’s always difficult to say good-bye to the people who have supported him over the years.
“But it’s great to see everyone all dressed up — it’s the Kal secondary social event of the year,” he said.
In a dramatic strapless gown purchased in Seattle, Nicolette Bentley is calm on the surface, but admits to mixed emotions as she gets ready to start a new chapter in her life.
“I’m feeling a little bit of everything right now and I’m really excited to be graduating, but then again I still feel like I’m in Grade 2, so it’s really hard to believe,” she said.
Bentley heads to UBCO in the fall to study sciences. But before she leaves Kal, she wants to express her thanks to English teacher Brad Krahn.
“He just always pushed you to be the best you could be,” she said.
For parents who remember holding their five-year-old’s hand as they walked them to the kindergarten classroom, graduation is an emotional time.
“When I looked at his baby picture, all the memories came flooding back — it’s a wonderful time, but it’s very emotional,” said Sam Plovie, mom to grad Mackenzie. “And since he’s going to be living on campus at UBCO, we’re letting him go a little bit, but still keeping him close enough.”
Dad Rick Plovie said watching his son graduate feels like the final act of childhood.
“There’s an end to this process and I think most parents hope they have given their kids the foundation to be successful in life,” he said.
As Mackenzie gets set to begin his bachelor of science studies at UBCO, majoring in environmental studies, he admits to mixed emotions.
“I’m excited and happy and somewhat nervous for the ceremony, with 1,000 people watching,” he said. “I have lots of good memories of my time at Kal, especially with my friends and some fantastic teachers.”
But after the ceremony, the dry grad and the Saturday morning pancake breakfast, it’s time for grads to get some rest. They’ll be back in the classroom Monday morning to prepare for their next big event: provincial exams.