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Princeton graduates commended for their success during difficult times

Thirty-two students received diplomas
Grads were on the edge of their seats at the end of commencement, ready for the traditional ‘cap throw.’ Andrea DeMeer photo

Princeton Secondary School’s (PSS) gymnasium was nearly full Saturday, June 18, as the community gathered for the first time in three years to celebrate graduation.

Thirty-two students received diplomas, as well as many congratulations from speakers for their perseverance through the past two years of COVID-19, and the disastrous flood that impacted the town in November 2021.

D’Antoine Johnston, a former physical education teacher and sports coach from PSS, was the keynote speaker, chosen by the grad class.

He said the students’ resiliency through difficult times was humbling.

Johnston recalled having to overcome racism and poverty as a young person, yet said he could not imagine surviving school responsibilities under pandemic conditions and then the flood.

“I wouldn’t be there today. There’s no way I would be sitting there.”

Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne expressed similar sentiments.

“Despite all the disruptions and challenges that were thrown at you, you are here today graduating. I can honestly say that I am proud of each and every one of you.”

The ceremony included a slide show presentation, featuring pictures of the grads from infancy to adulthood, and scholarship presentations.

Rylee Forde was valedictorian, also chosen by the grad class. She began her address by remembering kindergarten.

“We have gone through so much together. We have watched one another grow up and become the people we are today. We went from these little John Allison Elementary kids who wiggled their chairs to the point that they fell apart, onto Vermilion Forks Elementary students that loved to push the boundaries just to see what we could get away with – some of us still doing this into high school.”

She had words of encouragement and literary wisdom as well.

“Dr. Seuss once said: ‘You’re off to great places, today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.’

“I believe in each and every one of you, and I wish you the best of luck for your future.”

Related: Princeton high school graduation will look much different under pandemic rules

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Andrea DeMeer

About the Author: Andrea DeMeer

Andrea is the publisher of the Similkameen Spotlight.
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