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91性息港 Secondary School celebrates the Class of 2024

by Alexandra Wilson-Zegil

M鈥機HIGEENG鈥擳he sun has set on yet another academic year with 91性息港 Secondary School鈥檚 (MSS) graduating class of 2024 ready to step into a future that will challenge and redefine them. Their graduation ceremony represents the end of phase of this stage of their lives and on to the next one, full of possibility. With their diplomas in hand, MSS graduates prepare to take on the world.  

The MSS gymnasium was packed with friends, families and community members on Thursday, June 13 to celebrate this momentous occasion for 91性息港 Island youths. After hugs, congratulations and tears were exchanged, audience members found their seat in preparation for the upcoming ceremony. 

Opening the graduation was Mike Zegil and Yana Bauer who introduced the honour guard that led MSS staff and the graduates into the ceremony. Joining Mr. Zegil and Ms. Bauer on the platform was Trustee Lisa Corbiere-Addison, Principal David Wiwchar, Vice Principal Steve Doane and Vice Principal Rachel Goodfellow. Once the graduates were seated, Grade 10 student Cameron Meawasige led the singing of 鈥極 Canada鈥 accompanied by teacher Chris Theijsmeijer. 

Trustee Lisa-Corbiere Addison took to the mic as a representative from the Rainbow District School Board. She encourages graduates to 鈥渇ind wonder and marvel in ordinary life鈥 and 鈥渓earn humility by being humiliated.鈥 

Then, Mr. Wiwchar gave his address. 鈥淢rs. Karen McGraw, Mr. Irving Noble, Mr. Alain Sauve, our art teacher Ina and science program leader Mike Wesno will be leaving MSS and heading on to enjoy their next endeavors and we thank them all for their instruction, kindness, inspiration and connections with so many of our students over the years they鈥檝e been here at 91性息港 Secondary School,鈥 he began. These staff members have played a large role in the school experience for many of the graduates in attendance. Mr. Wiwchar went on to congratulate the graduating class on their contributions to the school, with a highlight on athletics, 鈥淭his year鈥檚 graduating class has made significant contributions to MSS鈥檚 athletic legacy over the last four years in a variety of sports. The banners behind you are a showcase and testament to this group鈥檚 dedication to school sport throughout their time here at MSS. Their hard work and perseverance have produced an unprecedented number of post secondary commitments to athletic programs this year on a scale that MSS has never seen.鈥 

The graduates proceed into the ceremony, led by an honour guard.

As the speech came to a close he left the class with a final message, 鈥淕raduates, thank you for seizing the day over and over this year and making the most of the time we have enjoyed with you. Thank-you for persevering through the struggles you have managed and making it through it all to this stage tonight.鈥

After the principal鈥檚 speech, the M鈥機higeeng Ladies鈥 Hand Drum Group presented the graduates with the Migizi Eagle Song. With backs to the audience, facing the graduates, this tribute was truly for the MSS grads. 

鈥淕raduates, this is the moment that you have been anxiously awaiting for the past 4-5 years鈥ou will be crossing the stage to receive an Ontario Secondary School Diploma,鈥 continued Mr. Zegil. Cheering and crying mingled as names of the graduates are called, proud family members and friends come up to take pictures of their loved one on the riser.

After everyone has crossed the stage, Mr. Doane introduced this year鈥檚 valedictorian, Mackenzie Green. He gave snippets of Mackenzie鈥檚 accomplishments and her academic career before welcoming her to the stage to give her address. 

MSS 2024 

Valedictorian Speech

鈥淕ood evening, 91性息港 Secondary Schools staff, community members, family and of course my fellow graduates. It is truly an honour to be standing here on behalf of the graduating class of 2024. You may think that I was chosen based on academics, or athletics or maybe school involvement. Truth be told, it was decided that MSS should finally have a ginger give the valedictorian speech.

鈥淔our years ago, we sat in front of our computers to celebrate our 2020 Grade 8 鈥済rad.鈥 The end of my speech went a little something like this:

鈥淎s we leave behind all of these memories, we will continue our adventures in high school. I hope along the way everyone is able to continue finding where they belong in the world, and who they are as people. It is my hope that we will never forget our competitive gym classes, epic bump games, and much too loud Uno tournaments in French class. As the class of 2020, we will forever be the loudest class in the hallways of Little Current Public School, and in a blink of an eye we will all be standing on a stage at 91性息港 Secondary School wondering where all the time has gone.鈥

鈥淲ell, Class of 2024, we have officially blinked. I thought it would be easy to write a speech that summarized our four years together. But, how do you describe friendships and memories that extend as far back as first playdates to an elementary graduating class that recorded the longest March Break ever and finally, to the greatest class that has ever walked the halls of MSS. Together, our very first day of high school came and went with smiles behind our masks, followed by a blur of essays, sports, clubs, classes, and lunches spent laughing in the caf. Over the years we have gained classmates, started, ended and mended relationships and rocked some classes, while some others rocked us. Right Mr. Balfe, we learned 鈥榠t鈥檚 the process that matters anyways.鈥 

Valedictorian Mackenzie Green and sister Morgan Green.

鈥淭his year, we started off with our last 鈥渇irst鈥 day of high school, classes turned into final credits, and we鈥檝e been counting down to our final laps walked in the hallway, all leading up to this moment.

鈥淎ccording to numerology, 24 is the most lucky number. It brings luck, wealth, health, happiness and prosperity. It is the exact number of carats in pure gold鈥ust like our class and MSS colours. Dating back to Grade 9, 24 is the number of yogurts that Eli ate before math class each morning. Twenty-four is the number of seconds on the shot clock in Annie鈥檚 basketball games. It is the number of seconds that Brodie and Maren took off their 3000m personal best time; the number of times that we were told to hand in our volunteer hours (right Cole?); the number of March Madness brackets that TJ made during calculus class and the average number of Uno cards that Colin had to pick up in Uno no mercy. It is, of course, the number of times I said sorry for breaking Ms. Beck鈥檚 slinky and the cost in dollars to replace it. It is the number of penalties that Chase took in hockey and how many strokes over par Davin shot at NSSSA golf, and how many Saraya shot under. Twenty-four is game point in badminton and volleyball, one shy of the championship, which we become pretty familiar with. There were 24 Friday minute mysteries solved in Ms. Becks classroom and more than 24 games of Scattergories played in Mr. Wesno鈥檚 science classes. It is the average percentage of Dr. J鈥檚 multiple choice chemistry tests. 24-0 is the score of Landen and TJ vs the class in Hangman. 

鈥淚f we keep on the math theme, half of 24 is 12. This is exactly how many years ago we proudly accepted our Kindergarden diplomas. I can鈥檛 believe how time has moved so quickly. Since then, our class has always been up for a challenge; whether it be speedball at lunch, unbelievable musicals, robotics competitions, or tough exam weeks. In the classroom, we proved our dedication to learning, continuously working together to make sure homework was done and we were prepared for tests鈥ost of the time. We also received our fair share of teachers asking us 鈥榓re you using your time wisely?鈥 as we leveled up from Cool Math Games to TikToks and Clash Royale, with a couple of Tetris games here and there. 

鈥淥utside of the classroom, it has been truly amazing to see everyone find their passions. For many of us, this was sports. We found a home in the gym, practically living in the black and gold jerseys. From runners, to volleyball and basketball players, to gymnasts and badminton enthusiasts, to jumpers and throwers, this class has been heavily involved in athletics since our 鈥榬ookie鈥 years. We have an astounding amount of athletic talent in this group, helping us to take home at least 24 NSSSA championships, a handful of NOSSA titles and even an OFSAA banner. Year after year, athletes qualified to represent MSS on the largest high school sports stage: OFSAA, with many who have committed to continue their athletic journey鈥檚 in post-secondary, which is no small feat! Sports gave us an avenue to develop stronger friendships with our teammates and relationships with our coaches. We learned the power of teamwork and dedication, lessons and memories that we will carry with us next year and beyond.鈥

鈥淲e also repped our school colours well in other competitions. We had students work tirelessly through the semester to prepare for countless robotics events. This year, the team was led by senior builders all the way to the World Championship in Texas (for the second time)! Outside of athletics and robotics, we have seen so many students discover their talents and interests through the school musicals, tech classes and art or music class, and SHSM program, co-op opportunities, and school clubs. We have had students shine in various leadership positions, filling the athletic association, student council, Three Fires Confederacy, and student senate over the years. We have helped plan hockey tournaments, powwows, student appreciation days and spymaster events.

鈥淭hroughout our four years, I believe that this class has had a great impact on MSS. Despite often being role models through academics, sports, or extracurriculars, this class has demonstrated qualities that we hope are passed down to the next generation of Mustangs. I could not have asked for a friendlier, more caring, humorous, and kind class to be a part of and have by my side through high school. I have always loved that everyone in this class seems to be friends, genuinely happy to support and work with one another.

The traditional hat toss!

鈥淣ow despite common belief, we did not enter high school the sophisticated, mature, prodigies we are today. Teachers, support workers, coaches and community members: On behalf of the class of 2024, I am honored to give the biggest thank you. We don鈥檛 say miigwetch nearly enough. You are the people that have shaped us, inspired us, encouraged us, and tirelessly helped us to prepare for this moment and the rest of our lives.

鈥淭o our family members; moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers, we would not be here without your unwavering support through the ups and downs. We know you have been waiting for this moment.

鈥淪o, here is the moment so many of us have been waiting for (even though some may not have been sure it would come). Now is the time that we officially retire the black and gold, that we step away from our home of the past four years, that we say goodbye to some and see you later to others. As we continue to pursue our interests, passions, and goals or perhaps take more time to figure these things out just remember to always keep trying. As the last rule on Mr. Balfe鈥檚 guide to solving trig equations states 鈥榶our greatest success lies beyond your next failure.鈥 And if that doesn鈥檛 stick with you, just remember that if you can get through listening to the soup song on Fridays, you can get through anything!

鈥淚 know everyone in this class has the ability to do anything they set their mind to. Keep in mind it is not what you do or where you go that is so important; not your job or accomplishments, but the person you are. I can say without a doubt that every single one of you gets 24 gold stars in that area. It is my hope that everyone holds on to the memories of the past four years and reflects on the lessons as we venture out on our own paths. Remember where you came from, remember where you discovered who you are and remember where you found your people. My last piece of advice, and as my parents always say before a weekend out: 鈥渄on鈥檛 add to the population, don鈥檛 subtract from the population, don鈥檛 end up in the hospital, newspaper or jail.鈥 Keep this in mind as we count down 24 hours until our last night together, who鈥檚 ready for PROM!鈥

Article written by

Expositor Staff
Expositor Staff
Published online by The 91性息港 Expositor web staff