MANS’ June 16 High School Graduation was not only incredible, but also historic: The Class of 2020 was the largest ever; it was MANS’ first livestreamed grad (courtesy of COVID-19); the Roan sisters graduated as the first siblings to graduate together from MANS; and two valedictorians were declared.
In the weeks of government-mandated school closures and online classes leading up to grad night, it wasn’t clear that there would be any ceremony at all, but a record number of seniors become graduates. Six graduates marched down the aisle of MANS’ high school gym and receive their diplomas to much cheering from proud families. Three graduates are the first in their families to attain a high school diploma.
With seating strictly limited due to COVID-19, even the presenters of two scholarships established as part of The Bridge Campaign (the Emilie Schafer Family and the Cornerstone scholarships) had to attend virtually. Both presenting families pre-tape speeches of congratulations to the two students who had earned their scholarships—valedictorians Shaneek Roasting and Jade Rabbit. The Emily Schafer Family Scholarship presentation can be viewed in the video section of www.mans1.ca.
Both Roasting and Rabbit had already applied to and been accepted into Burman University’s business and pre-med programs, respectively—a dream realized for the two best friends.
For Roasting and classmate Tessa Potts, the evening signified something like leaving home. Both have been at MANS since Kindergarten, and both are the first in their families to earn high school diplomas. Evan Louis, who has represented the youth of his community in Ottawa, also become the first in his family to graduate.
Evan’s mother, Michelle Louis, was obviously moved when she addressed the graduates at the end of the ceremony. “You finished what you started,” she told the Class of 2020. “And to top it off, you finished during a world-wide pandemic. That means that the six of you are capable of anything in life.
“As our elders say,” concluded Louis, ‘Don’t give up. Keep going.’”