Skip to content

Innisfail grads urged to have ‘open minds’ for future

Class of 2024 also told they ‘have the power’ to create their own luck

INNISFAIL – Innisfail High School graduates were offered powerful words of inspiration as they headed out to make their mark on their “community, province and nation.”

On June 7, up to 85 students, along with their family members and friends, came to this year’s graduation ceremony in the school gym for their transition from teenagers to young adults as each seized the moment of becoming a member of the graduating Class of 2024.

“We've gained a multitude of skills, but above all of them stand the ability to persevere, work hard, and function on hardly any sleep at all,” said valedictorian Raith Sprung in his address. “Life is definitely going to be tough.

“There are going to be many challenges ahead, but as long as we face them with courage and perseverance I have no doubt that all of us will be incredibly successful as we move ahead in our lives.”

But despite the warning of challenges ahead, Sprung and his fellow graduating students were given plenty of words of wisdom to prepare.

Earl Dreeshen, federal MP for the riding of Red Deer - Mountain View, was the first special guest speaker for this year’s graduation ceremonies.

Dreeshen, an instructor at the school for 34 years before entering politics, called the next phase of their lives a “wonderful journey” that can take them to become leaders in business, community, education, medicine and engineering.

“You're going to make a mark on this community, province, nation, as well as the world, and it's no secret you will become the leaders of tomorrow, as you will be leading a charge on innovation,” Dreeshen told students. “But there is catch. These unique and innovative skills you possess, and the new ideas that you bring forward need nurturing, and that's where the rest of us come In.

“These successful businesses in the community encourage growth through meaningful mentorship, and there is so much institutional knowledge within this community and so much that can be shared. So, as you have this advice, this mentorship, it allows for balanced objectivity, and I can't stress enough how important it is to keep that open mind as you embark on your exciting future.

“To do that, you need to think critically, react quickly, and communicate globally, because that will be your ticket to the future.”

In her address to graduating students, Mayor Jean Barclay began by imploring them not to worry if they haven’t got everything figured out for next steps, adding the answers will come once all opportunities have been fully explored.

“Be patient with yourself and follow your passion, and don’t be surprised if your interests change along the way,” said Barclay. “There are so many roads to take and you will find the right one.”

The mayor said they should not think that coming from a school in a smaller community is in any way a barrier to future success.

“It is not. There are so many people who have attended this school and are proud alumni from every walk of life,” said Barclay. “We have organizations in this community with the very best employees, and some of them are owned by the very best people that develop their skills right here in this school.

“Most importantly, be kind to others. We're all different. That's what makes everyone so special. Each person has their own unique gifts, and quite frankly are likely being the best that they can be at any given moment.”

The graduation ceremony, which was facilitated by Carlee Schneider and Page Dyer, also featured presentations from Devin Dreeshen, MLA for the riding of Innisfail - Sylvan Lake; Holly Bilton, board chair of the Chinook’s Edge School Division (CESD); Connie Huelsman, Ward 4 councillor for Red Deer County, and Mike Garrow, CESD associate superintendent.

As well, the ceremony also had Zane Lutz-Winter and Oshadha Gamage presenting a Grad’s Address to the Teachers.

And Jerod Ferguson gave a Teacher’s Address, while Chris Adamson presented his closing Principal’s Address.

Using a quote from famed teacher and humourist Stephen Leacock, Adamson told graduates, “I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

“Another way to think of this is that luck is when preparation meets opportunity,” said the principal, adding that to ensure luck is found there were three important points to be remembered. “Number one, have grit. Two, stack the odds in your favour. And three, be open to opportunities.

“Class of 2024 you are standing on the precipice of a new chapter in your lives,” said Adamson.

“Embrace it with the knowledge that you have the power to create your own luck.”

Johnnie Bachusky

About the Author: Johnnie Bachusky

Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks