By Anna Smith
In a graduating class of six, two young women are preparing for their futures with one significant achievement on their list; the shared badge of valedictorian.
Peyton Van Es, who lives just south of Burdett, and Bethany Toews from Bow Island are feeling bittersweet about the occasion; looking forward to new adventures, but sad to leave behind their friends and memories from St. Michael’s School.
“It is a little bit sad to leave some of the memories and friends behind, then. And like, I don’t know, over the last year, our class has become a lot closer. So it’s kind of sad to be leaving that. But I think it’s super exciting to be moving forward towards university,” said Van Es.
“St. Michael’s is pretty special because of how much smaller the community it is,” said Toews. “It just makes us feel more welcome. And we try to welcome anybody we can into our school. So leaving this place is definitely going to probably be different than college and really anything else.”
Both of the girls spoke of knowing nearly everyone in their school, from the youngest new students to their fellow future graduates, who they’ve come to enjoy spending time with in the community during spare periods.
Also among their fond memories were their English classes with teacher and principal Chris Sumner, who they added always made their time in his classroom enjoyable.
“He’s just a very charismatic person. You think the English classes would be boring, but Mr. Sumner, he always had some kind of story to tell and not just he’s one of the teachers that keeps you engaged,” said Toews, who also expressed a fondness for the math and science classroom with Mr. Dave Allen.
“All of grade 12 was just an experience,” said Van Es. “There were so many good laughs, social class was always a blast; we seemed to get really good goofing around and getting our teacher off track. These last couple of weeks taking trips to the hat, Medicine Hat as a class and listening to some music and just hanging out. I think I’ve are my favorite memories from high school.”
Both girls feel prepared and excited for their futures, with Van Es heading out to Langley, BC, to pursue kinesiology at Trinity Western University with an eventual goal for respiratory therapy, and Toews is looking to head to Olds College to become a veterinary technician… after she does some upgrading at Medicine Hat College, of course.
Both girls would like to thank their teachers and classmates for helping them reach their achievement of being St. Michael’s 2021–2022 Valedictorians, and look forward to what’s to come for them.