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Graduates get greetings from Queen

Grade 7 graduates from Holy Family School were in for a royal treat when the lieutenant governor came to speak on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II at the school's 20th awards ceremony. Lt. Gov.
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Lt. Gov. Gordon Barnhart presents Jesse Schmidt with the Grade 7 Academic Excellence Award at the Holy Family School's 20th annual awards ceremony.

Grade 7 graduates from Holy Family School were in for a royal treat when the lieutenant governor came to speak on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II at the school's 20th awards ceremony.

Lt. Gov. Gordon Barnhart congratulated both the graduating students and the students from lower grades who were receiving awards on achieving their goals - a subject he said was near and dear to his heart.

He quoted Michelangelo, saying, "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."

Barnhart said always having a goal in mind is a key to success. He listed several areas in which goals are necessary; scholastic, physical and community service are examples.

When Barnhart mentioned setting goals for physical activity, he said, to much laughter, "I'm looking particularly at the adults here."

A former educator, the lieutenant governor has taken a keen interest in the youth of our province. In 2007, he established a leadership forum for high school students in Grades 11 and 12.

"I would always ask students, so, what are you going to do after high school?" said Barnhart. "And I would almost always get one of two answers, I don't know, or, I guess I'm going out of province."

Barnhart wanted to encourage young people to explore the opportunities in Saskatchewan, so he developed the leadership forum to introduce students to leaders in the province, whether in government, law enforcement, education, research, or business. Every year, 18 students are selected to take part in the forum based on a short essay about leadership. Nine are selected from the southern part of the province, and nine from the north.

During the forum, participants are given the opportunity to hone their leadership skills through activities such as public speaking exercises. The students also make a 10-minute video on leadership.

"Seeing their growth in 10 days, it's amazing," said Barnhart.

The program also features a physical activity component; students either go for a brisk walk or jog in the morning and take part in volleyball or other sports.

This year, 20 students were accepted into the forum, which will take place this October.

The lieutenant governor's term is five years, although the prime minister does occasionally extend that term. Lt. Gov. Barnhart's five years will be up in 2011. When asked what he hopes his legacy will be, Barnhart spoke immediately of the approximately 90 students who will have completed the leadership forum in its five years.

Barnhart said: "It will be really interesting to see what these 90 individuals do in the future with our province. Is that a legacy? We'll have to see."