« You all have a story, » said Peter Onstein, principal of Russell High School (RHS) during the June 27 graduation ceremony, « and we are honoured to be a small part of that story. »
The 73 graduates assembled in the RHS auditorium smiled or looked serious as they listened to the speeches from Onstein, their peers, and various invited dignitaries, offering advice and observations for them to take with them when they leave their high school days behind them.
« Always invest in yourself, » said Onstein. « Keep learning. You never know when that knowledge will come in handy. Whatever you do, do it well. Remember to be grateful to those who help you. »
« Every day is an opportunity to improve yourself, both physically and mentally, » said Mayor Pierre Leroux of Russell Township. « Be flexible and keep adapting. Stand tall and be strong. »
Graduate Alec MacGregor, who received the Governor General’s Academic Medal for excellence and the highest average during his Grade 11 and Grade 12 years of study, also gave the Valedictorian Speech on behalf of his fellow graduates.
« Life-changing experiences can come out of nowhere, » he said, adding that those experiences can range from making new friends to dealing with life during a pandemic. « We’ve experienced a lot during high school, and it all comes together here. What we should want for ourselves is to find where we feel we belong. Every person has a part to play, and everyone can make a difference. »
Dozens of awards, bursaries, and scholarships from individuals, businesses, community service groups, the township, RHS agencies, and the Upper Canada District School Board were presented during the graduation ceremony. Charlie Pasco received the Lieutenant Governor’s Award and also the Lion Don Hay Memorial Award for community and volunteer service. He also shared the RHS Senior Male Athlete of the Year Award with Evan Houle. Abby Boszormeny received the RHS Senior Female Athlete of the Year Award.