Valedictorian Ella Comish of the Georgian Bay Community School’s 2021 graduating class characterized the grads’ high school experience as riddled with “weird and unexpected situations,” from harsh winter conditions that forced the school to cancel winter exams, to a pandemic and online learning.
“I wouldn’t say we have had the most typical high school experience,” Ella said during her address to the grads, family, friends, and school staff on November 5 during a drive-through graduation ceremony in the parking lot of the former GBCS. “Grade 9 was pretty normal,” she said. “In Grade 10, we didn’t have to write winter exams because of snow days. Then in Grade 11, COVID started. Grade 12 was mainly online and we finished our last day of classes by submitting our assignments and tests from home.
“Through all of the weird and unexpected situations, we demonstrated how optimistic and resilient our class is, and we all managed to make unforgettable high school experiences.”
Ella graduates with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma specializing in High Skills Major Health and Wellness. She is an Ontario Scholar and the recipient of the Dr. John C. Finley Memorial Award for top mark in Grade 12 Biology/Science, the William James Robinson Memorial Valedictorian Award, Meaford Rotary Community Youth Leadership Award, and the Lt. Governors Award.
The grads and their family and friends sat in their vehicles till the grads were called up in groups of 10 to don a cap and gown and receive their diplomas and awards from the principal of their graduating class, Kathy Archer. Parents were invited to approach the presentation area to take photographs and to return to their vehicles to watch the ceremonies on a large screen and listen through their cellphones.
Megan Acres was presented the Jennings Young Memorial for Highest Standing and The Governor General’s Academic Medal; Kristin Arnold, the Francis Reid Scholarship for second highest standing; Miranda Campbell, the Marnie Rumsey Scholarship for third highest standing; and Declan Giulekas, the Allen Weaver Scholarship for fourth highest standing.
The 2021 graduating class includes 76 students who completed the Ontario Secondary School Diploma and one recipient of the Certificate of Accomplishment.