Graduation day is here for Two Rivers Education Centre’s (TREC), allowing five of their seven hardworking graduates to be recognized for the journey they took to reach this day.
The 2023 graduating class — Christine Edwards, Cole Livesey, Damian Gooding, Isabella Marlatt, Katerina Enns, Riley McCreight (who was not present) and Quintin Cripps (who was not present) — bore proud smiles as they accepted their Dogwood diplomas on Wednesday morning (June 7). The five commencers crossed the stage at Hope’s Grace Baptist Church in a ceremony witnessed by their loved ones — and perhaps feeling a mix of emotions as their accomplishments were recognized.
“It’s funny that we’re focusing on the end but it’s the start of a new beginning,” said Jacob Cowan, the principal of TREC. “I’ve known these students for a really long time. And I’ve watched these guys grow up a lot this year, and some of them from a time before that. It’s a great pleasure to see them off for their next stages in their journey here.”
It was a celebration and the mood of both the audience and graduates reflected that tears, laughter, and good natured ribbing was shared among everyone.
The convocation, which opened with a drumming ceremony headed by Justin Kelly (a member of Shxw’owhámél First Nation) also allowed more flexibility than traditionally expected. This was seen with Livesey playing guitar while his fellow graduates walked onto the stage (and accidentally causing the instrument to go off key when he dropped it, much to the amusement of everyone).
During the ceremony, both Marlatt and Edwards were awarded the Jim Sinclair Legacy Award, amounting to $5000, and the Fraser Cascade Teachers Association Bursary.
The convocation also had the presence (at least in spirit) of TREC’s former principal, Margaret Smiley. While Smiley was unable to attend the commencement (due to a family emergency), she did send her speech — describing the qualities of each graduate — to Cowan to read aloud (causing more tears and laughter to flow).
In addition to Cowan and Smiley, the graduating class also heard speeches/life advice from Superintendent Balan Moorthy, and School District 78 trustee Linda Kerr.
“As the graduates of 2023, I bet there were times as you were going through this school that you were frustrated in your life,” Kerr said. “But the key to accomplishing your goals is perseverance. And that’s what it took for you to get here today.
“If you are receptive today to some advice, here’s one piece I will offer you. When you’re faced with an obstacle look for the opportunity it presents to get around it, over it, or under it. Stick with a problem till you’ve figured out a way to conquer it. And every time you do this, you will have a little more grit, your self discipline will be a little bit stronger for it, and your spine will stand a little bit sturdier.”