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PHS celebrates this year’s graduates

Camilla Faragalli
Shawville Nov. 11, 2023
Pontiac High School’s gymnasium was packed full of adoring family, friends and community members on Saturday evening to celebrate the graduating class of 2023.
“I have no doubt that every single one of you will go on to achieve amazing things,” said this year’s valedictorian, Payton Ireland, in her address to her classmates.
Forty-one students took the stage, one by one, to receive their diplomas. Several wore gold sashes draped over their black gowns, distinguishing them as honours students, having earned an academic average of over 80 per cent.
“I think it just proves to myself that I can do things that I didn’t expect, or that I don’t think I can do,” said Ireland of being selected as valedictorian. “I’m proud of myself.”
An impressive number of bursaries ($40,000 worth, according to Vice Principal Luke McLaren), were also awarded over the course of the evening.
Principal Dr. Terry Burns said the number of people and organizations contributing bursaries for PHS students was so high it made coordinating them “a process” for the school’s administrative office. He added that they’d done a “superb” job.
“Tonight was a lot of smiles,” he said. “The happy faces say it all.”
Dr. Burns offered encouraging words to the graduates during his formal address, focusing largely on the true meaning of success.
He reminded them, above all else, to “love big,” and to put the needs of others first, as they grow into adults ready to take their place in the world.