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Summerland honours 97 students at grad ceremonies

Graduates were presented with diplomas on June 27
Summerland Secondary School principal Alan Stel, at left, and Jessica Thiede, right, recipient of the 2021 Verrier Award present this year’s award to Phoebe Chalmers, centre left, and Kira Nilson, centre right. The award is the school’s highest honour. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

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.”

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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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Alan Stel, principal of Summerland Secondary School, presentes Julia Mansiere with her diploma. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Graduating students from Summerland Secondary School paraded through the downtown area last Saturday afternoon. The parade of graduates is a Summerland tradition. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Amy Berekoff, left, and Ethan Morf were the two valedictorians for the 2022 graduating class. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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