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EPS students transition into high school


Essex Public School valedictorians Samantha Sutton and Jack Jubenville shared memories with fellow classmates during the graduation ceremony last Tuesday evening.

by Sylene Argent

The staff at Essex Public School said goodbye to another talented group of students last Tuesday evening as the graduates of 2018 individually walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.

  The next big step in these students’ lives will be one that will have it challenges and rewards, as the students figure out who they are as individuals as they grow into young adults.

  Through an essay contest, Essex Public School selected Jack Jubenville and Samantha Sutton to represent the two graduating grade eight classes as valedictorians.

Those interested in taking on the role of delivering the valedictory address submitted an essay to teachers, outlining why they should be selected for the important position.

  Jubenville and Sutton took to the stage to share memories and talk about the bright future EPS students have ahead of them.

  “In JK, we used to have naptime, but none of us would actually sleep. It was more like a punishment,” Sutton recalled with a laugh. “In grade three, we learned cursive. It was also the first year for track-and-field for us, we all had candy we all bought and during the track meet, everyone got sick from eating so much candy.”

  Sutton also described the difficult math she and her fellow classmates had to learn this year, in order to earn that elementary school diploma.  

  The two valedictorians are slated to started their grade nine year at Essex District High School in the fall, and they are both excited for the transition. Jubenville said he is not nervous to make the move, while Sutton said she is excited to meet new people and make new friends.

  “I’m going to miss the teachers the most,” Jubenville said of graduating. “They are always there for us to talk to.”

  Sutton agreed the teachers at EPS are outstanding. “They made the classroom entertaining.” She added the school’s coaches were also very helpful.

Tammy Meloche, EPS’s Principal, forwarded words of advice to the gradating class that she hoped would help them as they move forward.

  “My wish for them is that they feel limitless,” she said, adding being limitless includes learning how to relieve stress. She offered the students advice on ways they could do that, such as going for a walk or listening to music. Being limitless also includes building resilience, she said, using Stephen King as an example. He was rejected by many publishers before his career was launched and in now a well-known author. It also means taking the time to create some happiness. She urged the students to put aside five minutes a week to write down those things for which they are grateful. That acknowledgment helps create happiness.

  “Enjoy your journey, don’t just race to the finish line,” Meloche said to the students referring to their secondary school careers ahead of them.

  EPS staff members also acknowledge some of the outstanding students with awards for academic, athletic, or individual achievements.

  Every year, Meloche has had the privilege to present the Leadership Award. “There were a lot of choices. I could have given many more than the one I gave,” she said. “There are a lot of leaders [in the grade eight classes]. It was a tough choice.”

  She added there is a pretty solid criteria to earn the awards. She found the awards were earned throughout a cross-section of the grading class this year.

  The class of 2018 will be the last group from Essex Public School Meloche will help usher into the future. She will move on to be the Principal at Queen Victoria Public School in Windsor this fall.

  Last Thursday, a special assembly was held to show gratitude to the school’s Principal. “The students and staff were wonderful to me. I’m lucky to have been here for seven years. It was a wonderful send off. I’m definitely going to miss being a Phoenix,” Meloche said.  

  During her tenure at EPS, Meloche was most impressed with the work done with the students regarding the growth mindset, which is something not necessarily easy to come by these days. A growth mindset is something that has to be developed. “Only through perseverance and resilience do we succeed. Every child in this school understands what a growth mind-set is.”

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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