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Kamsack Comprehensive Institute celebrates grads of 2024

Levi Erhardt was this year's valedictorian.
The Kamsack Comprehensive Institute 2024 graduates are, from left and starting in the back row: Justus Waugh, Justus Blackwood, Hunter Chernoff, Ty Thomas, E.J. Bareng, Murdock Martinuik and Lee Tomkulak. In the middle row are: Levon Clark, Jesse Gigun, Levi Erhardt, Declan Kosokowsky, Carter Salahub, Hayden Keeshane, and Remar Capuno. In the front row are: Teanna Raffard, Ava Caldwell, Taylin Ruf, Sienna Koroluk and Katelynn Gouge.

KAMSACK — Kamsack Comprehensive Institute (KCI) proudly celebrated its 2024 graduating class.

The June 27 ceremony, marked by heartfelt speeches and tributes, was a testament to the dedication and achievements of the graduates.

The event began with an introduction by Grade 11 SRC members Brody Bloudoff and Jacob Burback, who welcomed attendees and acknowledged the traditional lands of Treaty 4 Territory.

“Today we are honouring a group of young adults who are celebrating the completion of one chapter of their lives and turning the page to begin writing their next,” said Burback.

Principal Karie Thomas delivered a moving address, reflecting on her journey with the students from their early school years to their current achievements.

“Seeing you in your cap and gown is not just a symbol of academic achievement, but a representation of your hard work, dedication, and perseverance,” she remarked, fighting back tears.

The ceremony continued with scholarship presentations by KCI staff members, highlighting the support from various community groups and businesses. The names of the scholarship recipients were announced, celebrating their academic and extracurricular accomplishments.

Graduate Murdoc Martinuik paid tribute to the Good Spirit School Division (GSSD), acknowledging the safe and supportive learning environment it provided. GSSD Board Chair Jaime Johnson responded, praising the graduates for embodying the strength, courage, and commitment of their school’s mascot, the Spartan.

First Nations graduate Jessi Gigun paid tribute to the Keeseekoose First Nation for their support, followed by Leona and Donna Keshane, who presented traditional star blankets to the graduates.

“All of your hard work and perseverance has paid off,” said Leona Keshane, wishing the graduates the best in their future endeavours.

Sienna Destiny Koroluk gave a heartfelt tribute to the teachers, acknowledging their guidance and support. Teacher Ryan Lambert replied, encouraging graduates to cherish their memories and stay connected with the KCI family.

Valedictorian Levi Erhardt began his speech with a blend of humour and humility, noting that his selection as valedictorian was not surprising given his penchant for talking.

“In all seriousness, it truly is an honour to be chosen to speak on behalf of the greatest graduating class in KCI history,” he stated, setting a tone that was both reflective and lighthearted.

Opting for a personal approach, Erhardt highlighted the unique bonds formed among the graduates, many of whom have been together since kindergarten.

“It’s funny to me how we go through our high school years in our own little friend groups, and suddenly, when you’re a month away from graduating with a class you’ve been with since kindergarten, everyone becomes one big friend group,” he observed.

In a series of anecdotes, Erhardt celebrated his classmates individually, sharing fond memories and characteristics that made each person special. From reminiscing about skating lessons with Levon Clark to playful classroom banter with Katelynn Gouge, his speech was a tribute to the camaraderie and shared experiences that defined their time at KCI.

One notable moment in Erhardt’s speech was his recounting of a coffee can time capsule from Grade 9, which contained mementos and messages from his classmates. As he read aloud the contents, ranging from humorous to poignant, it was a reminder of their shared journey and the lasting impact of their high school years.

The speech ended on an inspirational note with a quote from Michael Scott from the TV show The Office: “Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope to find it along the way.” Erhardt encouraged his peers to embrace uncertainty and trust in their ability to navigate the future.

Following Erhardt’s speech, graduate Justus Waugh introduced guest speaker Kody Rock, who is transitioning from KCI to a new position in Canora in the fall. Rock, a beloved teacher and coach, reflected on his experiences with the students and shared words of wisdom and encouragement, emphasizing the importance of resilience, curiosity, kindness, and courage.

Rock encouraged the graduates to remain resilient in the face of adversity. “Believe in yourselves. Believe in your abilities, your talents and your potential to make a difference in the world. Trust in your instincts, follow your passions, and never lose sight of the dreams that fuel your ambition,” he urged.

He also stressed the importance of maintaining a sense of curiosity.

“Seek all knowledge, ask questions and never stop learning. The pursuit of knowledge is a lifelong journey. And the more you know, the more you’ll realize there’s much more to discover,” he advised.

Kindness and compassion were central themes in Rock’s message.

“Be kind, and break down barriers and unite people. Treat others with compassion, empathy and respect,” he said.

Rock encouraged the graduates to be courageous.

“Be courageous and do not be afraid of failure. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to act in spite of it,” he concluded.

The ceremony celebrated not only the academic achievements of the graduates but also the strong sense of community and support that helped them reach this milestone. As they embark on the next chapter of their lives, the KCI class of 2024 carries with them the memories, friendships, and lessons that will guide them on their journey.