For students, walking across the stage and getting their high school diploma was the culmination of 12 years of hard work.
The more than three hour ceremony saw 471 students graduate from Notre Dame High School. This is the first year there has been two large Catholic high schools in Red Deer, and it was still one of Notre Dame’s largest graduating classes ever.
School principal Rose McQuay was proud of the graduates.
“This class of students is a very unique group,” she said. “They’re from very diverse backgrounds.”
The graduation was held Saturday at Westerner Park.
McQuay said the graduates had a wide range of interests.
“From fine arts to athletics to skills programs,” she said. “We had a lot of success at the provincial level.
“They’re a very cohesive group that came together and was an awesome graduating class this year.”
Student Taylor Rusk gave the Valedictorian address, talking about the future that lies ahead for the grads.
McQuay had the privilege of handing out 471 diplomas to the students as each took their turn to walk across the stage.
“Each one is like your own child coming across the stage,” said McQuay.
“You want to make it that special moment for them. It’s the best time of year for me.”
The ceremony didn’t conclude with the stage walk and diplomas being awarded.
An evening gala Saturday included the grand march, speeches, tributes, a reception and a dance.