St. Patrick’s Class of 2017 step up at Palais Montcalm

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Photo: Shirley Nadeau

St. Patrick’s High School Class of 2017 gathered on the steps in front of the Palais Montcalm before their graduation ceremony.

The Class of 2017 stepped up to the next stage in their lives during the St. Patrick’s High School graduation ceremony held at the Palais Montcalm on June 21. 

But first, they had to gather on the steps leading up to the theatre at Place d’Youville for their official graduation photo. The orderly group then maintained their numbered lineup as they proceeded from the steps onto the stage of the auditorium to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” played by the school band, directed by David Parker. Once all the graduates were standing in their appointed places, they sat as one at the direction of high school principal André Gosselin. 

Jula O’Gallagher, salutatorian of the Class of 2017, then gave the welcoming speech addressed to her fellow graduates and their families in the audience. Quoting Charles Dickens in his Tale of Two Cities, she said their time at St. Patrick’s was “the best of times” and sometimes “the worst of times... For those who were there for the entire five years, “Secondary 1 was the scariest year, with students looking like deer caught in the headlights. Secondary 5 was the best of all!” O’Gallagher recounted some of their many adventures in sports, school trips and theatre productions, thanked their parents and said a tearful goodbye to their dedicated teachers, “who we sometimes called Mom or Dad.”

Principal Gosselin extended his warmest congratulations to the class and, with an obvious tear in his eye, encouraged them to “keep learning every day.”  

Stephen Burke, chair of the Board of Commissioners of the Central Quebec School Board, quoted Oscar Wilde when he encouraged the graduates to above all, “Be yourself – everyone else is already taken.” He also recalled his own graduation from St. Pat’s 50 years ago! 

Gosselin and vice-principal Steven Dopheide then conferred diplomas on the 95 graduates, and the mosaic class photo was displayed. After the singing of the school song, prizes, awards, trophies and scholarships were presented.
The award-winning Senior Jazz Band, comprised mainly of members of the Class of 2017, then played a medley of songs and received a standing ovation from the audience.

Valedictorian Joanie Dubé gave a stirring farewell speech to her fellow classmates, pointing out that they were probably the first graduating class who were all born in the 21st century, and that they are the luckiest generation of all. “This is not the end of our time together. It’s time to start afresh and invest in our future.” She finished by encouraging them above all to “Be kind to one another!” 

After tossing their mortarboard caps into the air, the graduates marched out to their chosen song, “The Nights” by Avicii, which contains the line, “We learned our lessons through the years, our memories will never fade.”  

The list of Graduation Award Winners and the names of all the graduates can be found on our online article. Space does not permit inclusion with this article.
Valedictorian Joanie Dubé thanked her teachers for their passion for teaching and exhorted her fellow graduates to start afresh and invest in their future.   Photo by Shirley Nadeau