It was a beautiful sunny afternoon as crowds gathered at Maaqtusiis School Gym to celebrate Ahousaht’s latest set of grade twelve graduates.
The graduates, all wearing woven cedar bark graduation caps, were introduced as they were escorted into the gym to the cheers of proud friends and family on Thursday, June 22.
Principal Ali Herron congratulated Maaqtusiis High School’s Class of 2023. She recited a poem called Don’t Quit, by Edgar A. Guest, reminding them that sometimes life gets tough, things go wrong, but it’s important to keep moving forward, and never give up.
Rebecca Atleo, Ahousaht’s education director, also congratulated the class, saying it was a proud day for them and for their families gathered there to celebrate their success. She too reminded them that there will be obstacles faced in life, and that is when determination is called for.
“We have a graduate that really wanted it. Life sometimes gets in the way. She had five kids, but she was able to do it,” said Atleo as congratulated Ariel Campbell on achieving her goal.
“It is never too late, you are never too old (to go back to school),” Atleo told the crowd.
The Honor Stole, given to the student scoring highest grades, was presented to Samara Swan, along with an award previously named Tawiinism Scholarship.
After the students received their diplomas and graduation gifts from the Ahousaht Education Authority, Samara Swan stood to make the valedictorian speech. She congratulated her fellow classmates, praising them for “getting it done”. She thanked all the teachers that got them through their school years, especially those in the past couple of years, for ensuring that the work they needed to do, got done.
Following the candle ceremony, Wally and Diane Thomas, parents of late Patrick Thomas, presented the graduating class with t-shirts featuring a photo of the group when they were much younger.
With the ceremony over, the graduating class stood on the stage to toss their caps together in celebration.
The Maaqtusiis Secondary School’s class of 2023 are Ariel Campbell, Julia Campbell, Ivander Charlie, Jordyn Charlie, Paris Little, Romey Frank-Sam, Gladys Sam, Kenyon Sam, Samara Swan. A special seat was set aside for Patrick Thomas who passed away years before. A young Ahousaht man, Patrick was honoured by the class of 2023 in what would have been his graduating year.