By Lisa Dalla Vecchia, Communications Manager
The Superintendent’s Celebration of Learning is held annually to recognize and honour outstanding graduating students. This year’s event was the 34th time it has been held.
Grade 12 students are selected by their schools based on several criteria, including being deemed exceptional in two or more of the following categories:
- Athletics and/or Arts
This year, the celebration was held on June 23rd at the Education Services Centre.
One could feel a palpable sense of excitement, pride and happiness as we gathered in person for the first time in three years to celebrate students who are about to embark on the next phase of their life.
In attendance were municipal leadership from both the City and District of North Vancouver, North Vancouver Board of Education trustees, school district executive members, and school-based administration and staff.
Also in attendance was keynote speaker and former District Principal of Indigenous Education Tsnomot Brad Baker. Tsnomot is currently Associate Superintendent of Indigenous Education with the Ministry of Education and Child Care.
In delivering his keynote address to the audience, and in particular to students, Tsnomot spoke from the heart. He spoke about truth and reconciliation and our responsibility as Canadians to understand the true history of Canada in order to achieve reconciliation.
Tsnomot reminded those in the room that just as they work each day to improve, they need to work toward making Canada a better place. “You have the opportunity to change the trajectory of this country,” he said.
He then spoke to the importance of mental health and well-being and the role of friendship. With true friends, “you should be able to share the good, bad and difficult.”
Tsnomot also shared the Seven Grandfather Teachings, a set of Anishinaabe guiding principles:
- Continue to walk with humility
- Continue to gain wisdom
- Love yourself and others
- Respect Mother Earth, and walk gently on her
- Know your truth, and learn the truth of others
- Be honest with yourself
- Be kind
He ended his remarks with a reminder “to thank the people who have made a difference in your school experience.”
Following Tsnomot’s moving words, and before providing students from each secondary school with a certificate, Superintendent Dr. Pius Ryan shared a few words.
He encouraged students to take the time to reflect on their K-12 journey, thank those who have been there along the way to guide and mentor (teacher, counsellor, staff, friend, family), and continue to be themselves as they go forward in the world, with courage and empathy. “You have shown us that we [society] are going to be okay because you are awesome!”
The North Vancouver School District would like to thank the organizing committee of this year’s event:
- Julie Bertrand, Vice Principal, Windsor Secondary
- Greg Hockley, District Principal, Curriculum and Assessment, Secondary
School representatives and staff:
- John Crowley, Vice Principal, Argyle Secondary
- Tim Ireland, Vice Principal, Carson Graham Secondary
- Toby MacDonald, Vice Principal, Handsworth Secondary
- Jennifer Tieche, Vice Principal, Mountainside Secondary
- Caren Hall, Vice Principal, Seycove Secondary
- Meghan Downie, Vice Principal, Sutherland Secondary
- Taralee Hallson, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent