Teachers lined up in front of the stage welcomed graduates as they entered. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Grand Forks Secondary School Class of 2022 celebrate with ceremony and parade

Grads had an in-person ceremony at the Jack Goddard Memorial Arena for the first time since 2019

The Grand Forks community came out to support the Grand Forks Secondary School (GFSS) class of 2022, at a ceremony at the Jack Goddard Memorial Arena on Saturday, June 18.

This was the first “traditional” graduation ceremony for GFSS grads since 2019. The classes of 2020 and 2021 had drive-by ceremonies and parades due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Although the class of 2022 had a regular in-person ceremony, they decided to continue the tradition of the parade, since it got so much community support.

The event commenced with a procession of graduates. Grads entered the stage, where they were met by principal Brian Foy for a high-five. GFSS teachers were lined up along the stage to greet the grads.

Alexis Laktin and Linden Webster-Krist sang O Canada to begin the ceremony.

Indigenous educator Joan Holmes addressed the grad class, and Principal Foy then gave his message to the grads He, wishing them well in all their future endeavors.

“You are all capable of achieving great individual things,” said School District 51 (SD51) superintendent Anna Lautard in her address to the graduates.

Bronwen Bird gave a speech the the class of 2022 on behalf of the board of trustees of the board of education for SD51. She kept the audience laughing with her humorous words of advice.

“A wise person once said: ‘Today is the perfect day to start living your dreams.’ That wise person was me. You’re welcome.”

Erin Madsen, a humanities teacher at GFSS, presented the graduates with their diplomas. Madsen shared with the audience each graduates’ favourite memories at GFSS.

After the presentation of graduates there was an Indigenous drumming performance to honour them.

Tamara Paul was the parent speaker for the group. She shared the story of her struggles with cancer with the group. She, and said that by telling her story, she hoped the graduates would learn an important lesson.

“So here’s the moral to my story: Never give up. Be strong. Do not let others tell you that whatever you want to do cannot be done. Do not focus on the negatives in your life. Find the positives, they are there.”

Laura Matheson and Kristen Merry, Humanities teachers at GFSS, were the staff speakers for the graduates. They gave a touching speech recounting their most memorable moments with the class.

“Overall, this grad class consists of some very empathetic, open-minded, and accepting individuals.” Ms. Merry said.

Valedictorian Reece Edgington gave a memorable speech to his peers.

“So when you leave, I don’t want you to be sad that it’s coming to an end. I want us to be happy and proud that we made it to the end.”

Vice principal Jonathan Dowswell gave a farewell speech to the grads before the procession.

Proud families and friends waved and cheered as the graduates walked around the arena.

After the ceremony, graduates gathered outside to prepare for the parade and greet supportive family and friends.

The parade began at the arena and made its way through town. The Grand Forks community was happy to come out and cheer on the graduates.

Congratulations to the class of 2022!

READ MORE: GFSS Wolves ultimate Frisbee team wins provincial championships

READ MORE: West Kootenay flood risk continues as snow pack sits at 215% of normal


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CommmunityGraduation 2022News


Alexis Laktin and Linden Webster-Krist sing O Canada. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

The first in-person grad ceremony at the arena since 2019 attracted quite the crowd. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Principal Foy addresses the graduates. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

SD51 superintendent Anna Lautard wishes the class of 2022 all the best. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Bronwen Bird addresses the class on behalf of the Board of Trustees. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Parent speaker Tamara Paul shared her story with the graduating class. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Teachers Laura Matheson and Kristen Merry recount their favourite memories with the class of 2022. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Valedictorian Reece Edgington delivers an energetic speech to his peers. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Graduates Paige Chursinoff, Jasmine Konken, Danica Powell, and Anna Sawyer pose for a picture after the ceremony. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Graduates met with teachers, friends and family outside of the arena. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Graduates Isaac Horvath, Raema Van Leur, and Blake McPherson. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Valedictorian Reece Edgington and family smile for a picture before the parade. Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Proud mom Amber Vandiver with graduate Alexis Laktin. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Kaitlyn Paul and Paris Hastings were ready for the parade - rain or shine! (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Graduate Abby Segstro poses for a picture. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

The Grand Forks community was happy to come out and support the class of 2022. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Tianna Bertoldo waves to family and friends. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Colourfully decorated floats are a must for the now annual grad parade. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

A group of graduates wave at familiar faces in the crowd. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Teachers cheer on the grads as they pass by. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)