Students with Ecole Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School’s graduation class gathered on Monday for their class photo that will be shared with the Canadian Heritage Ministry. (Photo by Susan Zielinski/Advocate staff)

National holiday is graduation day for Lacombe students

Excitement builds for Class of 2017

Graduates of Ecole Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School have more than one reason to celebrate.

The Class of 2017 will get their diplomas on Canada’s 150th birthday.

Principal Valerie Yaremchuk said it will be a day the 270 graduates will always remember.

“When they’re parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and somebody says where were you on Canada Day when it was 15o, they’ll say at my high school graduation,” Yaremchuk said.

She said the last two diploma exams — Physics 30 and Science 30 — will be held June 29 and the Westerner wasn’t available on June 30.

“All they could offer us was July 1 and we said —why not.”

She said only a handful of people questioned the decision and students didn’t want a shortened celebration because of Canada Day. They are sticking with the cap and gown ceremony at 2 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m., she said.

Extra special graduation activities began on Monday with a photo taken of the Class of 2017 at the request of the Canadian Heritage Ministry. Students posed in Canada 150 T-shirts at 1:50 p.m. in keeping with the 150th year.

“With the Canada Day shirt picture, that’s kind of heightened the energy. Kids are getting pretty excited they’re getting all this attention,” Yaremchuk said.

Grade 12 student Katrina Andrews said a July 1 graduation in 2017 is a pretty big deal. Lacombe may have the only class across Canada holding its graduation on Canada Day.

“I think it is a great day because we can celebrate a new chapter in our lives as well a new chapter in Canada’s,” Andrews said.

Student Kiera Davick agreed it was an exciting opportunity, and a little overwhelming.

She didn’t expect red and white theme from the national holiday to colour the choice of graduates’ dresses.

Student Kaitlin Haining said it will be difficult for some families to get together for graduation because it’s on July 1.

“It’s cool and it’s not. It just depends on how you look at it,” Haining said.

“It’s cool because it’s Canada Day so we’re going to have news coverage at our grad. Most grads don’t have that.”

And the Class of 2017 are also the last graduates born in the 1990s, she said.

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