West County Outreach School class of 2017 celebrates grad

Graduates celebrate with gala event at Peter Lougheed Community Centre

A school trustee who spoke at West Country Outreach School’s graduation last Friday said the theme ‘We Will Change the World’ was thought provoking and positive.

But she said the statement could be worded in the past tense.

“In fact you already have changed the world and will continue to do so,” said Trudy Bratland. “On the day everyone of you was born, the world changed for many people and you have the power to continue that trend however you see fit. It is my sincere wish that you will each make positive changes in our world and along the way you will experience many successes and every happiness as you set out on the next phase of your adult lives.”

The school’s graduation and awards ceremony was a gala event. A total of 16 graduates, dressed fittingly for the occasion, filled the decorated stage at the Peter Lougheed Community Centre.

Following a dinner, a year in review video and the awards ceremony, the processional and graduation ceremony began.

Rimbey, Rocky Mountain House and Sundre MLA Jason Nixon congratulated the students on a job well done.

“At the end of the day, this is your accomplishment. I’m expecting big things from the class of 2017.”

Rimbey Mayor Rick Pankiw said parents, teachers and the organizing committee all played a role in making the night successful. He, too, congratulated the students.

“May all your dreams stay big,” he said. “When you walk through these doors you have the opportunity to change the world.”

Lana Nogue, director of inclusive learning WCPS told the grads to think of one person who had an impact on them during their school years.

“These are the folks that help shape your views of the world,” she said.

The speeches concluded with a moving parent tribute by Carrie and Stephanie Vaartstra.

Stephanie Vaartstra said the unconditional love shown to her by her family has helped her through many difficult times.

“I always had smiling faces to come home to.”

She also gave a heartfelt tribute to West Country Outreach School principal Ava Holiday for her unwavering support and encouragement.

Carrie Vaartstra said seeing the graduates, especially her daughter, filled her with pride.

“You are amazing people and you will change the world,” she said. “In all that you take on be the best you can be. And enjoy today. It is your day.”