École St. Mary grads are feeling ‘on top of the world’

Valedictorian Chloe Samoila makes her speech at the École St. Mary High School graduation ceremony on June 27, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

“it’s crazy to say it, but I think I’m going to actually miss going to school.”

– Chloe Samoila, École St. Mary High School graduate

Grade 12s at Prince Albert’s École St. Mary High School said farewell on Thursday morning, inspired to embrace their unique talents as they embark on their futures.

The Art Hauser Centre was decorated in sparkly Grad 2019 signs and family and friends filled the stands.

The stage held banners reading ‘strengthened by grace’—this year’s theme—and facing it was a sea of 204 graduates in royal blue caps and gowns.

École St. Mary High School graduates stand for a prayer at the opening mass on June 27, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Many of the speeches gave similar advice: embrace your special gifts and talents and never limit yourself.

Valedictorian Chloe Samoila, who also got the Governor General’s Medal with nearly perfect grades, incorporated her passions into her speech.

Samoila will be studying physics and astronomy at the University of Victoria.

“Some of you may know I have a slight obsession with anything to do with the planets, the stars and anything else found in outer space,” she said.

She referenced The Big Bang, for example, as one of many things that led them to be graduating on that day.

“We as humans are a result of a million little things going right—our earth just so happens to be just the right size and just the right temperature and just the right distance from a star that was just the right size, which allowed intelligent life to develop. We are miracles; each and every one of us is a miracle with unbounded potential.”

Samoila thanked all of the teachers and parents for their support, but also her class for making high school so memorable.

“Thank you for making these last four years so much fun. You know, it’s crazy to say it, but I think I’m going to actually miss going to school and being around all of you every single day,” she said about the graduating class.

Principal Mark Phaneuf’s closing speech had a similar meaning. He told the graduates each has talents that make them unique and to never doubt themselves.

But his main message related to their theme of leaving high school strengthened by grace.

“Remember: God’s grace is given freely. We need do nothing to earn it, we merely have to be open to accept it,” he said.

Principal Mark Phaneuf speaks to conclude the École St. Mary High School graduation ceremony on June 27, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

He closed with how each group who graduates leaves a mark on the school: “This class will undoubtedly be remembered as one for engagement and involvement. You have gotten involved with our school in countless ways and you’ve done it together.”

This was clear with the amount of awards given out not just for academic achievement, but for involvement in the arts, religion and sports.

At the end of the ceremony, the grads threw their caps into the air and left to their theme song ‘On Top of the World’ by Imagine Dragons.

City Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick brought greetings on behalf of the city and Chairperson Suzanne Stubbs on behalf of the Prince Albert Catholic School Division.