‘A symbol of excellence’: Wesmor celebrates Grad Class of ‘23

The Wesmor Public High School Grad Class of 2023 sits on stage at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre. – Photo from the Wesmor Public High School Facebook page.


That’s what comes to mind when Wesmor Public High School principal Jennifer Ferguson thinks about the school’s Grad Class of 2023.

Ferguson was among hundreds of supporters who gathered at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre to watch the Wesmor grad class receive their diplomas. She said this year’s class was never afraid to take risks and step out of their comfort zone, and that played a huge role in their success.

“They’re truly one of the most authentic groups I’ve ever taught,” Ferguson said. “They just are true to who they are. They believe in themselves and what they stand for and they don’t let other people’s expectations or perceptions of who they are cloud what they can or can’t do, and they just keep pushing ahead, and I think that was shown on grad day.”

This year’s grad class had anything but a normal high school experience. The Class of ’23 was in their first year of high school when the COVID lockdowns hit. When classes and extracurricular activities returned next fall, they did so with limitations on travel and gathering sizes.

Despite the challenges, Ferguson said the group continued to grow,

“They just really found joy in being in school every day,” Ferguson said. “There was lots of laughter in our hallways and lots of fun, and that continued right through on grad day.”

Class valedictorian Kylie Sanderson said it was a bit nerve-wracking to walk across the stage in front of so many people, but was honoured to be a part of the grad ceremony.

She credited her classmates for being great role models, and said they should be proud of their achievements.

“They worked really hard to graduate,” Sanderson said. “They have lots of leadership and responsibility. They graduated (and) that’s, to me, a symbol of excellence and hard work.”

Sanderson was honoured to named valedictorian, but said the news came as a huge shock. When Ferguson and other Wesmor staff called her down to the office to break the news, she automatically assumed she had done something wrong.

“I thought I was in trouble,” Sanderson said with a laugh. “The next thing you know, they sat me down and they said, ‘are you able to make a speech in front of lots of people?’ I said, ‘it really depended on who it was’ and that’s when they gave me the big surprise.

“I was joyful and scared at the same time,” she added. “I was actually so close to crying, but I held it together.”

Sanderson said Wesmor played a significant role in her development as a student and person. She’s already enrolled in the Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teacher Education to become an educator, and she credits a teacher she had two years ago at Wesmor for the inspiration.

“I was really confused on who I wanted to be in the future and what I wanted to become,” Sanderson remembered. “All his inspirational speeches that he gave to me (put me) on my path of wanting to become an educator, and wanting to make kids and their future better.”

Ferguson said grad day is her favourite day on the school calendar. As the Class of ’23 heads out into the world, she wants them to keep doing what they did at Wesmor.

“As corny as it sounds to say to grad day, once they find their purpose and share it with everyone else, their lives will just be so much more fulfilled and happy,” she said. “Hopefully they continue on that path they’re already on and find a way to contribute to the world and make it a better place.”