The Gleaner
Education

Congratulations to CVR’s Class of 2023

Members of Chateauguay Valley Regional High School’s graduating class, wearing the traditional flowing blue gowns and white bibs, walked in procession through the packed gymnasium for the annual graduation ceremony on June 17.

The afternoon’s activities began with the reading of a Thanksgiving address in Mohawk by a graduating Indigenous student, Emily-Rose Phillips. This was followed by an acknowledgement that the ceremony was taking place on unceded Kanienʼkeháka (Mohawk) territory, read in both English and French by students Kim Belley and Noah Leduc.

In her welcoming comments, departing vice principal Mélissa Larocque quipped that this might be the first time there have been three active CVR principals in attendance at graduation: Anick Leclerc, who held the position until March; Gary Tennant, who replaced Leclerc for the remainder of this year; and Lynn Harkness, who will take over in the role starting this summer.

It was Leclerc who delivered the customary address, noting she had had the pleasure of watching some of the graduates grow up from the perspective of a teacher at Gault Institute and a principal at Heritage Elementary. “I am so proud of you all for continuing the journey!” she exclaimed.

 

The Class of 2023 were honoured during the annual graduation ceremony at CVR on June 17 PHOTO Sarah Rennie

 

Leclerc reminded the students to trust themselves as they move forward, in the same way that their families and loved ones have trusted them to arrive at this milestone. “Enjoy it today, but do not dwell on it,” she counseled, suggesting instead that they start to plan. “In life, it is not our success or our failures that define us, but how we handle them,” she said, before encouraging her students to heed the advice of the great Maya Angelou: “Open your eyes to the beauty around you, open your mind to the wonders of life, open your heart to those who love you, and always be true to yourself.”

 

Gabrielle Dumas delivered the valedictory address on behalf of her fellow graduates PHOTO Erika Rosenbaum

 

Valedictorian Gabrielle Dumas then addressed her fellow graduates and those in attendance. She spoke warmly of her time at CVR, the staff and teachers, and her classmates, suggesting “all these memories will make it especially hard to say goodbye to all those we have grown up with.” But, she added, “Today is not a sad day.” Dumas briefly referenced the pandemic but insisted the class of 2023 “more than made up for what we missed.” On behalf of the graduates, she sincerely thanked parents, teachers, and staff at CVR for their constant support.

The ceremony then moved on to the presentation of diplomas to the 88 graduating students, followed by a song performed by members of the performing arts department. Larocque then presided over the awarding of prizes for achievement in different subject areas, as well as sponsored awards and medals.

 

Principal Gary Tennant presented Mackenzie Peddie with the Lloyd H Adamson Prize which is awarded to the graduating student best exemplifying the spirit of CVR PHOTO Erika Rosenbaum

 

Gregg Edwards of the CVR Educational Foundation then stepped forward to present 38 different bursaries and scholarships amounting to over $110,000 to 32 deserving students. The Birks bronze medal for the second-highest overall achievement was presented to Kim Belley, while the Birks silver medal and Reeves Scholarship for the highest academic achievement of the graduating class were awarded to Jessica Comeau.

Vice principal James Furey then introduced the winners of the school life awards, including the recipient of the Lloyd H. Adamson Prize for the graduating student best exemplifying the spirit of CVR. The prestigious award was presented to Mackenzie Peddie.

Following the closure of the ceremony, the class of 2023 filed out of the gymnasium and into the arms of proud parents and family members who posed for photos with their grinning grads.

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