Maaqtusiis celebrated its new graduates on June 27. (Denise Titian photo)
Hundreds of people turned out for Maaqtusiis Secondary School’s Grade 12 graduation celebration, held June 27 at the school gym.
Fourteen graduates were escorted into the beautifully decorated gym in the grand procession before taking their seats on stage.
Principal Kate Drexler told the students that, as principal, she does not get the opportunity to teach students each day, “but I am fortunate enough to get to listen and observe . . . to learn,” she told them.
From there, she addressed each student, sharing with them the special moments from their high school years.
Most of the students faced great challenges but persevered and finished their schooling. For some, it was becoming a parent, for others it was the loss of close family members. But they rose up to meet the challenge and learned that success can be achieved.
“And with that – the lessons in resilience, strength, responsibility, connection - I am lucky to have been a student at Maaqtusiis Secondary School; a student of your 12 inspiring educators, ƛ̓eekoo,” Drexler said to the graduates.
In their valedictorian speeches, Stanley Sam and Aiyanna Thomas Whitmore thanked their parents and teachers on behalf of the class of 2019 for their efforts in guiding the students to success. They had a special thank you for a school staffer named Brenda, who put in special effort for five members of the graduating class.
“She stayed in after school with us from 5 to 8 in the evening just to make sure we got it done,” said Aiyanna.
In his speech, Jerry Perry, a member of the school staff, congratulated each of the graduates individually. He talked about the extended family members, the Ha’wiih, the school staff as well as the Ahousaht Education Authority and their contributions to the community.
“These grads are a result of many years of their work,” he said.
The fourteen graduates are: Stanley Sam, Aiyanna Thomas-Whitmore, Selena Tom, Hanna Manson, Joseph Titian, Leanne John, Shandon Thomas, Erin Frank, Joshua Frank, Shelby Martin, Ricki Moras, Haley Mark, Pearl Campbell and Keondra Frank.
Erin Frank earned the Honour Stole and the Tliishin Memorial Award for excellence in academics.
The community reconvened at the school gym for dinner and family presentations.