The members of Ecole Valois School’s 2022 Grad Class celebrate their successes during their graduation ceremony on June 10.
The graduates, Dominique Bonney, Mohammed Hassan, Trinity Gaudet, Esther Kasalwe and Zoé Martin each had a chance to reflect on their time at Ecole Valois.
There was no Valedictorian so each student gave a speech instead, thanking their families and the school for all their support.
“University will certainly be a different experience compared to what I have lived through so far,” Bonny said. “I am so excited to be here at École Valois. When I first arrived here, I was eleven years old and didn’t speak any French. In fact, I had never even been to a school before.”
Bonny said her time at Ecole Valois helped prepared her for university. She credited the school staff with helping her succeed.
“M. Bowden encouraged me kindly, and taught me how to ask good questions,” she said. “The teachers here and the student body shaped me into who I am today. One day, when I am done my studies in psychology, maybe I’ll come back and work with some of you.”
Hassan opened by thanking his mother for all of her support and then thanked other adults who supported his education.
“Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Gareau, for adopting me like your son. I enjoyed all the days you took me fishing and the days when I was told such funny jokes that I lost my breath laughing,” he said. “And Bill, thank you for all the last-second trips… It was really fun to discover Saskatchewan with a proud Métis.”
He also thanked the teachers at the school for their support and work.
Gaudet had been a student at Valois since he started Pre-K 14 years ago. He said the school and teachers played a big role in his development as a student and a person.
“I would not have become who I am today if I would have attended another school,” she said. “I do not think that I would have studied French, and I definitely would not have submitted such high-quality work.”
Gaudet thanked everyone for their support as she begins her new journey at the First Nations University of Canada.
Kasalwe first came to the school in 2018. She described it as “a whole new world” and had some troubles adjusting to school life. Like other students, she credited her family, teachers, and friends for helping her excel.
“I managed to find my place,” she said. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Martin’s speech was the last of the day. She jokingly warned the crowd about the length of her speech before starting.
She began by thanking everyone who put the ceremony together. Martin also started at Valois in Kindergarten and said she made many memories.
“I met the best teachers at Valois,” she said. “I saw how they spend their lunch hours and time after school helping students with their homework or preparing classes. Also, they spend much of their free time correcting my essay that were half full of mistakes (I am sorry M. Bergeron, forgive me).
“Finally, they had a good sense of humour, which is the most important and essential.”
Martin said the class assignments challenged her, but she viewed it as a good thing. She said it forced her to work hard.
“This would teach me an important lesson,” she explained. “When you work really hard to finish something and spend hours of your free time to complete it, the final result will fill you with an inexplicable pride and joy. You can also say, ‘finally, I’m done,’ which is very rewarding.”
During the program, there were speeches from the school board representative, the director of education, the parent council president, Principal Catherine Topping and their French teacher.
Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald