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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

EDHS grads ready to embark on the next chapter

by Sylene Argent

With final exams completed and end-of-term projects handed in, the grade 12 students at Essex District High School were eager to wear a gown and cap last Wednesday evening to receive their high school diplomas during the 134th annual convocation ceremony hosted in the school gymnasium.

  Graduation is a bitter-sweet moment as students leave behind the school, teachers, and many friends they have come to know over the past four years. Yet, these students are excited, and sometimes a little nervous, to embarked on the next chapter of their lives.

  During the ceremony, each of the graduates received their diploma, while their future plans and high school accomplishments were read aloud. Some of the students, due to hard work and dedication to their studies and/or athletics, obtained bursaries or scholarships to help finance their post-secondary education.

  Graduate Finnley McElwain, who has made headlines for her athletic achievements throughout her high school career, earned an athletic/academic scholarship to Nippissing University for $52,000 -where she will play basketball, $1000 through the Lynnlee Guyitt Memorial Award, and the $500 EDHS Athletic Award, which is awarded to an athlete with a strong commitment to academics, good citizenship, and a high level of participation in more than one sport.

  McElwain is also a potential Ontario Scholar, eared a Specialist High Skills Major Red Seal Diploma in Heath and Wellness, and the silver-level Community Service Recognition Cord, which she earned for volunteering between 200 and 300 hours.

  Graduate Qaliyah Wyatt earned the $40,000 Robert & Debbie Little Award, the $32,000 Ed Lumley Bursary Entrance Scholarship, and the $1500 Past President Bursary from the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201). She is a potential Ontario Scholar and received the Core French as a Second Language Certificate of Distinction.

  Wyatt will study criminology and family studies, and plans to further study law at the University of Windsor.  She hopes to one day be a divorce lawyer and help families going through those types of situations.

  Knowing this was her last year in high school, Wyatt said she really buckled down in hopes of getting a big scholarship.

  When she learned of all the scholarships she earned, she was surprised and admitted shedding a few triumphant tears.

  “I tried so hard,” she said of keeping her grades up this school-year. “I wanted to succeed.”

  She plans to take that work ethic with her into her studies at the university level.

  Valedictorian Daulton Smith joked “the class of 2019” does not roll off the tongue easily, and chided parents for not waiting an additional year to have their kids so they could graduate in 2020. To think of a better way to describe the year he and his classmates graduated, he came up with a couple of suggestions, including the Class of Potassium, based on its atomic number.

  “We made it,” Smith said, noting he and his peers started high school at the bottom of the ranks and have worked hard to elevate themselves over the past four year. He thanked the teachers at the school for all their support they provided over the years.

  Smith commented that though it is time to move on, past experiences, friendships, relationships, and time studying as a Red Raider, will not be forgotten.

  As he looked around the auditorium at his peers, he said he saw a room full of success. He urged his classmates to remember who supported them throughout their journey.

  “As I walk through the hall one more time, I will smile because it happened,” he said, thanking his classmates for making the past four years the best of their lives.

  He said the time spend at EDHS went by quickly. He urged his classmates to fly through every storm they encounter and to be phenomenal as they move into the next chapter in their lives.

  The students also enjoyed a video of compiled memorable moments experience over the past four years, which had the students cheering at the memories they made together.

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