By Tara Hauck and Jim Bailey
An intimate and proud group of parents, friends, staff, and students celebrated the Seven Summits Centre for Learning’s 2022 Graduation on Thursday, June 23, at Red Mountain.
Seven Summits graduating students Max Anhel, Cooper Baley, Raya Delaire, Joshua Friesen, Lily Holmes, James Laird, Cooper Legler, Matt Sauer, Regan Miller, Finn Strachan, Blaise Swain and Dominic Van Nus jumped on the chairlift for a ride to the top of Red Mountain, where local photographer Jennifer Margaret snapped photos of the 12 graduates literally on top of the world.
The graduates then descended and convened on the deck at Red Mountain Lodge for the ceremony.
An introduction from Tanis Shippy, centre administrator, followed by a speech from Seven Summits grad and 2022 Olympian, Remi Drolet, set the stage for an epic evening.
The 21-year-old cross-country skier was both candid and inspiring in his speech, sharing the many challenges and struggles he endured as an elite athlete and Harvard undergraduate, yet, left the Class of 2022 with a smile, feeling of purpose and sound advice.
“The most important lesson I’ve learned in the past four years is just let the work happen,” said Drolet.
“People say you have to go out and do what you love in life. But the most important reason I think is because if you do what you love, you are motivated to do the work, and the work you do is going to be of higher quality.
“You are all going to incredible places. I’ll just ask you to make sure you enjoy the journey, because you spend so much more time on the journey than the destination. So go out there and have a pleasant trip.”
The address was followed by a reading of letters from parents to each of the graduates that were both prosaic and poetic and tugged at the heart strings of all in attendance.
The students received several scholarships and bursaries supplied by local businesses, organizations and municipalities. A total of 24 awards totalling over $16,000 were presented to the 12 grads by award sponsors from Teck, NDCU, Rossland Beer Company, and Rossland Golden City Lion’s Club. Other sponsors included Ferraro Foods, Klister Klub, Gabriella’s Restaurant, Kootenay Danceworks, Revolution, Alpine Grind and the City of Rossland.
Principal of School District 71, Jeff Taylor, then presented awards from SD71, the academic partner for Seven Summits Centre For Learning, located in the Comox Valley.
These awards included the Double Dogwood Award to Lily Holmes, Dogwood District Authority Awards in Community Service to Holmes, in Visual Arts to Regan Miller, in Athletics to James Laird, Cooper Legler, and Matt Sauer. North Island District Education Awards to Holmes, Legler, and Sauer. Comox Valley District Bursary to Finn Strachan, and the Comox Valley Monarch Lions Club Scholarship to Laird. Awards are based on academic excellence across the district and community involvement.
This small but mighty cohort of graduates was upheld and recognized as a part of the thousands of SD71 graduating students.
“These students proved that the exceptional education provided at Seven Summits Centre for Learning reaches far beyond the red roof of our building and is outstanding when marked against thousands of other graduates within the same group,” said Tara Hauck, Seven Summits marketing coordinator. “Providing a premier high school education for Rosslanders in a fun, adventurous and engaging way is the aim of the Seven Summits Centre for Learning. This learner-centred and student-driven education proved to be beyond compare in the sheer number of accolades and endowments presented.”
Upon hearing their name, each graduate walked across the stage and received a diploma and a congratulatory handshake from the principal.
All 12 graduates then moved the tassel from the right to the left of their caps and following a long and loud cheer from the adoring crowd, they lined up to culminate in the traditional act of tossing grad caps into the air.
“Our goal was to make this day a special and epic celebration for the graduates,” added Hauck. “They have worked hard and deserve every bit of the attention today. After surviving two years of a pandemic, pursuing their educational and athletic dreams throughout, the message delivered by Rémi Drolet was transcendental, as are the accomplishments of these graduating students.”