Five bilingual young people graduated from Ecole Boreale on June 28.
And the importance of being able to speak French was stressed by Harrison Tweedie-Pitre, the valedictorian of the graduating class.
Tweedie-Pitre noted the graduates may have been born into the English language, but they have been taught a second language of French.
The valedictorian told his classmates that learning French was an extreme blessing that they should take advantage of by practising the language and being proud to be able to speak it.
It gives advantages in life that can’t be predicted, he said.
“I have friends who wish they could speak French, and they say I’m lucky and I shouldn’t waste my chance. We won’t,” he noted. “We have been given an advantage in life and we are part of a community, the francophone community, not just in Hay River but all of Canada and the world.”
A number of special guests congratulated the students upon their graduation.
Mayor Kandis Jameson advised them to remember their roots in Hay River wherever they go.
“Your community supports you 100 per cent,” she said.
Hay River North MLA R.J. Simpson stressed the importance of education, and encouraged the graduates to continue on to post-secondary studies.
“If you want to be able to write your own ticket in life and you want the odds to be always on your side, continue your education,” Simpson said, adding that nothing opens doors like a post-secondary education.
Hay River South MLA and territorial cabinet minister Wally Schumann was also on hand to congratulate the students, advising them to be passionate about whatever they choose to do after high school.
During the ceremony, it was noted that Ethan Bowker was graduating with the most credits in Ecole Boreale history. One hundred credits are required to graduate, but Bowker earned 140 credits.
It was also announced that Harrison Tweedie-Pitre was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal as the student with the highest average for the year at Ecole Boreale.