It was a big night for the 2010 graduating class of Elmira District Secondary School, especially for valedictorian Stephanie Straus and Laura Jane Weber, who took home 12 awards at last weekend’s commencement exercise.
The graduates, parents and friends piled into the school’s gymnasium to celebrate the event.
The evening began with the procession of students entering the area, greeted with applause from their family and friends. After the introductions and welcome from the chairperson Murray Showers and school board trustee Harold Paisley, the awards portion kicked in.
More than 60 awards were handed out – some for excellence in specific subjects and others for overall academic or athletic excellence.
EDSS scholars, the students with the top marks at the school, were Heather Bauman, Riley Doering, Thomas Fast-Sittler, Samantha Nosal and Laura Jane Weber.
“The ceremony went pretty smoothly,” said Straus.
The big winner of the evening was Laura Jane Weber with a dozen awards, including an award for top marks in chemistry, math and English, as well as the Township of Woolwich Award for Outstanding Young Woman, the Governor General’s Academic Medal and the Ernie Kendall Award for Academic and Athletic Excellence, among others.
“She swept everything,” said Straus with a laugh.
Following the awards was the presentation of Ontario Secondary School diplomas and Straus’ address.
“I told a few stories from the time that I started at EDSS after coming from St. Clements School, and some stories about my friends and teachers,” she said of her speech, which she was nominated by classmates to read. “I was really nervous before I started but once I got up there and was talking to my classmates, it got easier.”
Straus, like many of her peers, has gone onto higher education. She is currently studying at Conestoga College for the McMaster University nursing program.
“What I am going to miss most about EDSS are my friends,” she said. “Having them around for you every single day is pretty amazing.”