By John Francis
Bruce Peninsula District School’s Secondary Graduation Ceremony was held at Wildwood Lodge in Red Bay, on June 27, 2019. BPDS Vice Principal Brenda Brewer acted as emcee, welcoming students, parents and presenters. Trustee Jane Thomson brought greetings from the Board. Hannah Erhardt and Savannah Weatherall toasted the parents; Jake Townson toasted the teachers; Tara Stanton toasted the students.
After dinner and group pictures outdoors, the evening got down to business. Subject awards were presented, followed by school letters and Awards of Merit. BPDS School Letters were presented to Hannah Gagnon-Erhardt, Jacob Townson, Ethan Parker, Michelle Davies-Straby, Savannah Weatherall and Spencer Wilson. Awards of Merit went to Hannah Gagnon-Erhardt and Ethan Parker.
This was followed by the presentation of (a record) 32 Awards and Scholarships.Brenda Brewer presented the Principal’s Award for Student Leadership to Ethan Parker. Ashley Myles gave the CUPE Local 1176 Award went to Ashton Nearingburg. Jessica Rice presented the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award (Pin and Certificate) to Hannah Gagnon-Erhardt. Janice Eckenswiller then gave the Retired Teachers of Ontario Community Service Award to Spencer Wilson. Michelle Minke presented the True Grit Award (for perseverance and tenacity; sponsored by Elizabeth Burrows and family) to Michelle Davies-Straby. Jennifer Cameron called Aidan Adams forward to receive the Good Humour Award. Ashley Myles presented the Grey-Sauble Conservation Foundation Award to Ethan Parker, who also received the UNESCO Global Citizenship Award from Elizabeth Thorn. The Colpoys Bay WI Volunteerism Award (new this year) was given to Hannah Gagnon-Erhardt by Tara Stanton. The KC Distributing “Bumper-To-Bumper” Award goes to someone in the “motive” trade; Allan Ramsay announced Tarek Campbell as the recipient.
Patti and Bernie Hellyer presented the Harvey Warder Memorial (Trades) Award to Ashton Nearingburg, who then received the RONA Technological Trades Award. Owen Ferguson then came forward to give him the Suntrail Award for Outers.
John Rodgers presented the Ontario Federation of Agriculture Award to Ethan Parker. Dawn and Barry Hepburn called on Jacob Townson to accept the Ivan Hepburn Memorial Trades Award. Jim and Darlene Dilamarter called up Kiana Benham to accept the award they have endowed in honour of longtime BPDS music and Latin teacher Beatrice Bruin. C McQueen gave the Bruce County District Women’s Institute Scholarship to Ashton Nearingburg. Tara Stanton presented the BPDS Staff Award to Ethan Parker.
The Independent Order of Oddfellows has provided a Bursary to a BPDS graduate for some decades. Larry Titus presented the IOOF Bursary to Aidan Adams. Connie Tackaberry presented the Lioness Annette Richardson Award to Spencer Wilson. The Bruce Peninsula Art Show Bursary went to Savannah DeGruchy-Weatherall, presented by Patti Hellyer. The Mary Cameron Memorial Award is presented to the student making the greatest improvement between Grade 11 and Grade 12; Doug Embleton presented the award to Kiana Benham. Michelle Minke called Michelle Davies-Straby forward to receive the Bruce Power Women in Trades Award. Ethan Parker received the Lion’s Head Hospital Auxiliary Award from Elaine Powney. D James presented the Shoreline Artist Association Award (new this year) to Savannah DeGruchy-Weatherall.
John Rodgers called upon Eric Rouse to accept the Bruce Power Future Innovators Award.
Hannah Gagnon-Erhardt then received the Canon Jack James Memorial Scholarship from Ann James. Bob Spearing came forward to present the Rotary Club of Northern Bruce Peninsula JC Buckley Memorial Trust Scholarship to Jacob Townson and Ashton Nearingburg. Kathy Anderson called Ethan Parker and Aidan Adams to share the Catherine Pedwell-Ganton Award.
The Enet West Memorial Award was presented to Kiana Benham by Jennifer Cameron.
Jodi Naves presented three Sources of Knowledge Forum Science Awards: to Savannah DeGruchy-Weatherall, Jacob Townson and Ethan Parker.
The Rotary Service Above Self Award went to Hannah Gagnon-Erhardt, presented by Cathryn Buckley.
Brenda Brewer gave the Governor General’s Award for the highest academic average to Ethan Parker.
Robert Hiscott made the final presentation of the evening, offering the Lion’s Head Rotary Club Scholarship to Ethan Parker.
It should be noted that many of these awards are serious scholarships, not just token awards. Bruce Peninsula students are fortunate to have this level of community support.
The awards program being complete, each graduate was presented with their diploma.
Eight members of the graduating class were named as Ontario Scholars (over 80% average): Aidan Adams, Kiana Benham, Hannah Gagnon-Erhardt, Ashton Nearingburg, Ethan Parker, Eric Rouse, Spencer Wilson and Savanna DeGruchy-Weatherall.
Valedictorian Ethan Parker gave a fond salute to his classmates.