Graduation

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 Excited graduates shortly before entering the gym for the Dinner

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Graduation is the last and most important event for any student leaving IHMS at the end of grade 8. It’s always a bittersweet affair, and the grads usually have mixed feelings about leaving – most have been together for years and a few have been together since kindergarten (super-niners). When classes resume in September, the grads will all be enrolled in a new school.

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The 2014 IHMS graduation was planned and organized by Ms. M. Depiero

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To celebrate this important milestone, the grade 8 teacher, Ms. Depiero (photo above) spent a lot of time preparing the graduates for their big day. She organized two important events for the graduating grade 8 class:

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1. The Graduation Divine Liturgy

2. The Graduation Dinner and Dance

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Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral – a short walk from IHMS

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This year, the Graduation Divine Liturgy took place on Monday, June 23rd at Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral. In order to give the graduates time to pose for photographs and to attend to any last minute preparations, the Divine Liturgy was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. rather than the usual 9:00 a.m. Most graduates found this extra 30 minutes to be extremely helpful because they all posed for a photo before leaving the school.

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Group shots of the graduates before leaving for the Cathedral (larger format)

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The grade 8 class wearing their graduation hoodies (larger format)

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Since Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral is only a 5 minute walk from the school, everyone left for the cathedral around 9:15 a.m. The Graduation Divine Liturgy is by far the most attended and most important of the school’s monthly Liturgies. There were a lot of proud parents, grandparents, and other invited guests in attendance, along with a lot of nervous and excited graduates.

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The graduates walked from the school to the Cathedral

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Most of the parents and grandparents were also planning to attend the school’s Awards Day program at 1:30 p.m. that afternoon.

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Despite the excitement of the Liturgy, the graduates knew exactly what to do because Ms. DePiero had prepared them well with numerous rehearsals. Everyone looked great – the girls styled their hair and wore fashionable dresses while the boys dressed up a suit and tie.

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The ceremony began at 9:30 a.m. with each graduate carrying a long-stemmed rose down the center aisle up to the front of the cathedral. They left their rose in a vase on the altar and then proceeded to their pews at the front of the church.

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 The grads carried a long stemmed rose to the altar

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During the Liturgy, Stepan P. read the Epistle while Gabriele P. and Camryn H. read the grade 8 intention.

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Stepan read the Epistle (top photo) while Gabriele and Camryn read the grade 8 and kindergarten intentions (bottom two photos)

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After the Liturgy, each graduate was called up one at a time to receive a certificate and an IHMS medallion. They then lined up in front of the altar for a series of group and individual photographs.

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Graduates receiving a certificate and IHMS medallion

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After posing for photos, the graduates were free to go out for lunch with family and friends. The only stipulation was that they return to IHMS by 1:30 p.m. for the school’s annual Awards Day program.

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The grads posed for a few photos in the Cathedral

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Tables beautifully set up on the day of the Graduation Dinner and Dance

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The Graduation Dinner and Dance was held on Wednesday, June 25th in the school gym. Mrs. DePiero and her grade 8 class spent a lot of time making everything look perfect for the big event.

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A few of the decorative elements the grads used to beautify the gym wall

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The Dinner began at 5:30 p.m., while the Dance was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. This was also a formal affair, and the graduates dressed accordingly.

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The graduates all dressed formally for the occasion

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A head table was set up along the back wall for the graduates, and a nearby table was reserved for IHMS staff. All the remaining tables were designated for guests – mainly parents, but also some grandparents and siblings.

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The Dinner started out with Mr. Picklyk asking everyone in attendance to welcome the IHMS graduates of  2014. As parents and teachers applauded, the students began their procession from the front landing of the school into the gym and to their reserved seats at the head table.

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The graduates lining up in the front landing and entering the gym to their predetermined seats at the head table

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The Master of Ceremonies for the Dinner was Russell C., the student council president. To get things started, he called upon His Grace Most Rev. Lawrence Huculak OSBM to say the opening prayer and bless the food.

 

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Russell C., the student council president was the MC for the evening while His Grace Most Rev. Lawrence Huculak OSBM said the opening prayer

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After the opening prayer, the graduates started the line to the self serve buffet. The rest of the guests followed after the number to their table was randomly selected by Ms. Depiero. The food included fried chicken, meatballs, perogies, cabbage rolls, corn, scalloped potatoes, coleslaw, and fresh buns. There was also iced tea and coffee to drink, and cheesecake for dessert. However, the large, multi-tiered tray of beautifully decorated cupcakes were for the grads only!

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The grads getting their food from the self serve buffet

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This has been the same menu for the past few years, and for good reason. For the past few years, the exact same meal has been ordered from the same catering company – Phyllis’ Catering. Mrs. DePiero continues to patronize this same catering company because everyone seems to like it.

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Some of the grads indicating their approval of the food

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After everyone finished eating, Mr. Brennan, a representative of the IHMS Board of Trustees conveyed his greetings to the grads.

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Mr. Brennan, a representative of the IHMS Board of Trustees

 

Next, Russell announced that each graduate would be giving their parents a small gift as a token of appreciation for their support and unconditional love over the years. The gift was a framed grad picture of themselves in their grad hoodies. Each of the graduates got up from their table to present the gift to their parents.

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Nick S. and Kathlyn G. presenting a gift to their parents

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Next, Mr. Picklyk gave a short speech followed by a video he had prepared. The video was projected onto the gym wall and documented some of the events of the past 9 years, from kindergarten to the present.

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Mr. Picklyk gave a short speech followed by his much anticipated video of the graduates. This video has become an annual event, and it documented some of the most memorable and poignant events of the graduate’s lives over the past 9 years. Unless you’re made of stone, you’re going to need a hanky to watch it!

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The video has become a yearly tradition at the graduation dinner, and guests always look forward to it. It’s funny and cute watching the graduates back when they were in kindergarten and grade 1. The graduates came to the bittersweet realization of how much they’ve changed over the years. They were also starting to realize that their time at IHMS was quickly coming to an end.

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 Some of the images from the past 9 years projected onto the gym wall

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Finally, Russell gave a short farewell speech on behalf of his classmates. Although he estimated his chances at about 50/50 of becoming emotional at some time during the speech, he completed it without a problem. He was followed by two excellent impersonations by Gabriele P., who appears to have a promising career in comedy. Gabriele gave two hilarious impersonations – one on our school’s vice principal Mr. Banias, and one one American president Barack Obama.

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MC Russell C. (top photo) delivering his farewell speech on behalf of the rest of the graduates, and Gabriele P., providing some comic relief by acting out one of his hilarious impressions (bottom photo)

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Next, Mrs. DePiero handed out awards (in the form of sashes) to each of the students in the graduating class. These were mainly humorous awards, meant to recognize some of the positive characteristics in each of the graduating students. This was an interesting concept, and it was fun and interesting to watch.

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Mrs. DePiero handing out awards to every member of the graduating class. The awards were in the form of a sash, and although some were serious and some were humorous, they all showcased either a funny or positive characteristic of each student. It was an interesting and original idea that the students loved!

 

Finally, Father  Isadore Dziadyk, OSBM, gave a short speech with some inspirational thoughts and words of advice followed by the closing prayer.

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Father Isadore Dziadyk, OSBM, always upbeat and positive, gave the graduates some good advice and “positive vibes” before closing the Graduation Dinner with a prayer!

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By now, the Graduation Dinner had run a bit longer than expected, and the grads were looking forward to the dance part of the evening. It was well past 8:00 p.m., and before everyone left, Mr. Picklyk asked everyone to remain behind for a few minutes to help clean up, to put the tables back into storage, and to make room on the gym floor for the Graduation Dance.

 

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The grade 7’s were also invited to the Graduation Dance. Click here to view a few photos of the dance

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Music, as in past years, was provided by Crystal Sound.

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Crystal Sound played the tunes that kept the dance rockin’!

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Everyone, including parents, grads, and teachers pitched in to clean up in preparation for the dance. In addition to the graduates, the grade 7’s and alumni from previous years were also invited to the dance. Parents and guests left with the intention of returning at the end of the the evening (11:00 p.m.) to provide rides home. Everything worked as planned, and the graduates enjoyed a beautiful evening with memories that should last a lifetime.

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The grads all signed the “2014” poster (larger format)

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The Graduation Dinner and Dance was a smashing success!

 

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