A diverse group of School District #83 students completed their sometimes tumultuous journey through high school on June 16.
Twelve students from the school district’s storefront school, an alternate program for students with a variety of educational challenges, held their graduation ceremony at the Elks Hall. The ceremony was different from most graduations due both to its smaller size and more intimate feel.
“At many graduation ceremonies, I don’t know any of the grads. I have some kindred spirits with this group,” said former instruction and student services director Morag Asquith.
“Look what you’ve accomplished – you took a different route, a more difficult route, but you made your education a priority. Salmon Arm is very proud of you,” said Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper.
As they received their diplomas, each student received a heartfelt personal congratulation from storefront school staff and teachers.
Each student also received a “seed of knowledge” that will grow into sunflower plant.
“Feel proud, feel achieved, but most of all feel free. I wish you luck on all your future adventures,” said Christian Huska, who attended storefront for four years, addressing his fellow graduates.
“Ninety-eight per cent of them would not be graduating if not for the storefront school, the younger alternate programs and the supports and referrals that come from the counsellors and administration at our regular schools,” said educational support worker Gerri Kiy.
The storefront grads received a lot of support from various community groups in the form of scholarships:
Raymond Thompson received a Salmon Arm Storefront Scholarship for $500.
Samoa Gathergood and Christian Huska received $1,000 each from Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union.
Ryan Boucher received a North Okanagan Teachers Association scholarship for $500.
Savannah Harris received $500 from the Salmar Community Association and Savana Sibley received an Alternate Education Scholarship for $300.