Photos by Breanne Massey
Students from Rossland Secondary School had smiles that stretched from one ear to the other at their convocation on Friday.
Homework is no longer a serious concern and the freedom to use milk crates as furniture will suddenly become a viable idea, but most participants were focused on the day instead of their future. Graduates shared a day full of activities before taking a step into the unknown.
A flurry of dresses from every colour of the rainbow poured into a grass-covered area for a class photograph, and the boys lined up in a row behind all of the girls. A couple of graduates showed up late for the 3:30 p.m. photograph to start the day, but were happily welcomed by laughing peers.
Parents, faculty and friends gathering in a line facing the grads to collect photos of the teenagers they knew. But cameras continued snapping pictures of small groups of close friends and family members even after the gathering dispersed for the ceremony.
Guests sauntered through the busy hallways of RSS and looked at Bollywood-inspired decorations, ranging from brightly coloured fabric curtains to costumed-dancers as well as elephant cut-outs and portraits of graduates covered in henna.
The ceremony began with a trio of students singing O Canada, followed by opening announcements from school officials.
But the students were eager to hear from Joost Winckers, the art teacher, who gave them 10 tips to succeed after graduation.
“Follow your heart even if the people around you don’t know enough to help you succeed,” he told them.
Every student looked engaged and watched him closely during the address, often laughing at his self-deprecating humor or adorning their faces with smiles that reflected the bittersweet moments he shared.
Winckers encouraged graduates to move forward in life with confidence, find activities they love and build healthy relationships with others.
The bottom line that both Winckers and valedictorian, Jessica Britton, shared was to love what you do and do what you love.
Several awards were presented to students, including a three-year engineering scholarship.
The RSS class of 2012 had 44 students applauding for each other before wrapping up the ceremonies with a video about their lives by Camille Craig prior to the grand march and setting the stage for the annual prom.