NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Ninety-four to graduate this weekend

Katherine Hudson
Northern News Services
Published Friday, June 1, 2012

The gymnasium at St. Patrick High School is a sea of maroon plastic chairs lined into precise rows.

NNSL photo/graphic

Tanner Dolynny and Lisa Giovanetto sit in the empty St. Patrick High School gym Wednesday. The room is getting prepared for the 94 Grade 12 students to graduate this weekend. - Katherine Hudson/NNSL photo

The room will be packed on Friday night and again on Saturday afternoon as 94 grads make their way across the stage to receive what they've been working toward for the past 13 years.

It's graduation time for the school and the event begins on Friday night at 9 p.m. with the introduction of the grads as they walk in pairs underneath an archway into the gym wearing their best tuxedoes or dresses. The grads can choose anyone they want to make their entrance with that night. One girl is going to walk alongside her grandfather, said grad Lisa Giovanetto.

She said the preparation for the big weekend is intense. And the school year isn't even over, with exams coming later this month.

"It's pretty exciting. There's a lot to do. It's the end of the year. There's a lot of things left with school. And there's a lot for the grad coming up for girls, especially. There are hair appointments and all that stuff," she said.

Grade 12 student Tanner Dolynny says although gowns aren't involved in their preparations, it doesn't mean guys have it easy.

"It may seem like there's not much to do, but we've got to get the flowers, the suits, everything that goes with the suit. It's not just one simple dress," he joked.

The formal dance is on the other side of the gym on Friday night, away from the chairs and the stage, which will stay set up for the next afternoon. Each has three formal dances: one with their date, one with a special person in their lives and one with a parent.

On Saturday morning, the grads and their families and teachers attend a grad mass at St. Patrick's Catholic Parish.

In the afternoon, the grads are handed the coveted diplomas in the gymnasium of St. Patrick High School.

Dolynny only has one thing on his mind these days - preparing his valedictory address to his peers.

"I'm trying to make it as funny and as short as possible. After three hours in nice hot gowns, I would want to get out of there," he said of the convocation ceremony.

Once the formalities are done, it's time for fun as everyone heads over to the green area by the Yellowknife Community Arena for a barbecue and games.

Dry grad is taking place at the arena as well as Ruth Inch Memorial Pool. There is a scavenger hunt, games and a diving competition all to acquire points for prizes. The night is long, running until 5 a.m. Sunday. Drug and alcohol consumption is forbidden all weekend.

It's the end of a long road for the students, some having gone to school together since kindergarten. But after a weekend of high emotions, dancing and fun, the students will be back at school bright and early Monday to get back to the books and finish up the academic year.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.