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PECI graduates ‘ready to face the future with confidence’: principal

PECI graduates jubilantly throw their caps into the air to celebrate their accomplishments.

Story and photos by Sue Capon
A full house of friends and family cheered graduates Thursday night at the Picton arena honouring their many achievements and accomplishments while at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute.

There were 111 graduates in the Class of 2024 – 51 of whom achieved Ontario Scholar status having a grade average of 80 per cent or higher in six Grade 12 courses.

Principal Kim Myderwyk congratulated the graduates, noting she has known more than half of them since their early days of elementary school, and was pleased to help mark the milestone of  secondary graduation.

“Your journey through secondary school was far from anything we would deem normal,” Myderwyk said, recalling how the graduates spent about half their high school career in the midst of a global pandemic.

“You endured province-wide school closures, social isolation, masking mandates, daily self-screenings and social distancing. You navigated the unfamiliar waters of online learning… And yet through it all, you persevered… This unwavering determination is what has brought you here today, ready to face the future with confidence. And this perseverance will be the cornerstone of your success in the future.”

Luke Louder receives the Governor General’s Academic Medal from Principal Kim Myderwyk.

Myderwyk presented the ceremony’s top award to Luke Louder, as recipient of the Governor General’s Academic Medal, for achieving the highest overall average in both grades 11 and 12.

Louder was honoured on stage a half dozen times, also receiving the Highline Produce Limited Award for highest average in six Grade 12 university entrance level courses; and the Thomas Kinney Memorial Scholarship for a student with high standing in Grade 12 university entrance level courses, proceeding to an Ontario university.

Louder was also presented the Padre Bill Kidnew Award for demonstrating hard work, resourcefulness, integrity and leading by example; and the McDougall Insurance Award for Technology with the highest mark in computer science.

He shared the Rotary Stark Family Fund Award, for students active in school and community, with Holly Bryans, Kiera Morton, Trista O’Brien and Maeve Sanderson.

Brooke Spencer receives the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award from Tina Elliott, Superintendent of Education for Curriculum Services.

Tina Elliott, Superintendent of Education for Curriculum Services, presented Brooke Spencer with the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award for exemplary volunteer involvement within the community. Spencer also received the Rotary Club Volunteer Award, the Helen Hubbs Memorial Award, Eric Reynolds Accounting Award and the Lloyd Seeley Memorial Bursary.

Hazel Woodyard North received the OSSTF Student Recognition Award for excellence in citizenship, academics and extra-curricular activities. She also received the Lance Netherly Memorial Bursary, the Kinsmen Club Picton Scholarship and a Students’ Council Salt of the Earth Award, shared with Maya LeBlanc.

Maya LeBlanc receives the Alan Whiteley Scholarship from Mrs. Whiteley.

Maya LeBlanc also received the Terry Sprague Science and Nature Scholarship sponsored by the Hastings Prince Edward Land Trust, the PEC Field Naturalists and PEC Bird Observatory, as well as the Alan Whiteley Scholarship Award for leadership and initiative in math and sciences.

Maria Prinzen and Miriam Epstein received the County Sustainability Environmental Award from Deb Hudson

Miriam Epstein was presented the Ontario Principals’ Council Award for Student Leadership. She also received the Fred Holtz Memorial County Sustainability Environmental Award with Maria Prinzen, and the Hiles Carter Biology Award and the Dr. Joan Bronskill Memorial Award for biology.

Maria Prinzen also received the Cecil Morley Kerr Memorial Award for a graduate pursuing agriculture and the William L. Moon Memorial Scholarship honouring an authentic love of the land and plans to be involved in agriculture.

Lily Anderson received the Abigail Heffernan Memorial Award from Abby’s mother and friends, honouring a graduate who embodies kindness and perseverance. Anderson also received the Sandra M. Hall Nursing Award and the Barbara Kennedy Kinette Memorial Bursary for nursing.

Sara Fowler received the Prince Edward Masonic Lodge No. 18 Award for a student pursing a career in the trades, from Dale Porter and Phil Dawson. She also received the PECI Manufacturing SHSM Achievement Award having earned the highest achievement in the manufacturing program.

Aaron Gray presented McKinley Miller with the County Trades Foundation Scholarship for a graduate pursing education in the trades. He also received the Heidelberg Materials Trades Award.

Hastings Prince Edward School Board Chair Shannon Binder presented the board awards, to deserving students proceeding to post secondary education, to Emma Hippern, Madison Lewis, Kayley Samms and Jorja Scott.

Betty Ann Anderson presented the Naval Marine Archives Award for a deserving graduate for studies in the liberal arts, to Holly Bryans. Bryans also received the Richard Sutton Memorial Bursary and shared the Rotary Stark Family Fund Award.

Following the presentation of more than 75 awards, the students cheered the words of this year’s valedictorian, Hayden Blakely who noted they had “made memories that will last a lifetime, and won’t ever be re-created.”

Hayden Blakely, valedictorian

He thanked the teachers, staff and administration and also the community for its support of teams, school trips, awards and scholarships.

“The biggest thank you of the night goes to our parents and caregivers; you raised us to enjoy the little things and cherish the time we have with our friends and family…. But the most important thank you goes to you, the Class of ’24… We made some amazing memories over the years and I believe the best are yet to come.

“Some of us started the nerve-racking process of applying to, and choosing a university or college, while others accepted new jobs, or planned their gap year travels. Winnie the Pooh once said ‘We didn’t realize we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.”

Sharing some funny memories of their years together, he wrapped up stating everyone’s path forward will be different, and to take it slow and do everything to the best of your ability.

“The past doesn’t define the future. Your actions in the present pave the road to your dreams.”

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