Summerland Secondary School’s 97 graduates of 2022 received their high school diplomas at a ceremony on June 27.
The ceremony was held at the Summerland Arena and marked the first time the school had been able to hold full, in-person graduation since 2019.
Alan Stel, principal of the high school, described the ceremony as “celebrating and honouring achievement.”
Myron Dueck, former vice-principal at the school, spoke about the importance of preparedness.
“You cannot control all that life is going to throw at you,” he said, “but you can control your reaction.”
Valedictorians Amy Berekoff and Ethan Morf recounted their time through the school system, from elementary school until high school.
In 2020, during their Grade 10 year, the students were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent restrictions and adjustments.
For the end of their Grade 10 year, the students had online learning rather than classes held in the school.
“From a social standpoint, life was very different,” Berekoff said.
“We had lost that daily connection,” Morf added.
In the fall of 2020, when they started their Grade 11 year, the students experienced significant changes in their class schedules, physical distancing measures and mask-wearing mandates.
Those in theatre and sports faced additional challenges. “We took it as a training year,” Berekoff recalled.
Berekoff and Morf thanked teachers, staff and family members for their support during their school years.
Despite the challenges they faced in high school, the students were confident about the future and what lies ahead.
“It’s time to move on and truly live our lives,” Morf said, comparing their future to driving a Zamboni into the sunset.
“We can go do anything with our lives,” Berekoff said.
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