A group of Fort Saskatchewan teenagers made local history last Friday (Jun.15), walking across the Shell Theatre stage as the final graduating class of St. John Paul II Catholic School.
With the city’s newly built grades 9 to 12 Catholic school, St. Andre Bessette, set to open in September, St. JP II’s days as a high school are winding down. In the fall St. JP II will take over from Our Lady of the Angels as Fort Saskatchewan’s Catholic middle school.
"This group was very special,” principal Robert Stecyk said of the 82 young people in the 2018 class. “They made a huge impact on not only our school community but on our parish community and the greater community as a whole as well."
This year’s grads were a conscientious bunch, Stecyk said, pointing to their work on a number of social justice projects including a fundraiser for Valeda House, a shelter for homeless women. The students also collected donations for the local food bank and volunteered in Edmonton at the Mustard Seed and Boyle Street community church.
“A memory that I'll cherish with this particular graduating class is how they went beyond themselves and looked at how they could serve the greater community," Stecyk added.
St. JP II’s Grade 12 class has grown every year since the school’s early ’80s opening, from about 15 in 1984 to this year’s 82.
The school’s graduation committee chose Jacob Bennett as 2018’s valedictorian, an honour Bennett earned with his excellent academic record. Bennett, who also plays on the Midget AAA Rangers hockey team, will be starting university in September with eventual plans of becoming an emergency room physician.
Stecyk offered the community his thanks for their support through the years.
"We are grateful for those partnerships and the support that we've received through a number of organizations, through the city as well as private organizations over the time that St. John Paul II has been a Catholic high school here in town," Stecyk said.