|Excited graduates shortly before entering the gym for the Dinner
The student population of IHMS changes at the beginning of each new school year. As students are promoted to the next grade, a new kindergarten class is formed, and everyone else moves up one grade. Of course, students in grade 8 will eventually have to leave in order to attend another school the following September. Students that leave at the end of grade 8 are given a formal farewell in the last big event of the school year – graduation!
|A few of the grads posing in front of the backdrop for the “photo booth”
Graduation is 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.
|The 2015 IHMS graduation was planned and organized by Ms. M. Depiero
To celebrate this important milestone, the grade 8 teacher, Ms. Depiero (photo above) spends a lot of time preparing the graduates for their big day. She organizes two important events for the graduating grade 8 class:
The Graduation Divine Liturgy
The Graduation Dinner and Dance
|The grade 8 graduation liturgy took place at Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral – a short walk from IHMS
This year, the Graduation Divine Liturgy took place on Tuesday, 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.
|The grade 8’s practiced standing in their assigned positions one last time before leaving for the cathedral. Click the last photo to enlarge.
|The grads posed one last time before heading out to the cathedral
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.
|It was a pleasant 5 minute walk to Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral
Most of the parents and grandparents were also planning to attend the school’s Awards Day program at 1:30 p.m. that afternoon.
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.
|The grads carried a long stemmed rose to the altar
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.
|The grads were well prepared and knew exactly what to do at the liturgy
During the Liturgy, Mikey M.. read the Epistle while Gabriel K. read the grade 8 prayer intention.
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.
|The graduates received a certificate and an IHMS medallion
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.
|The graduates posed for one last photo at the altar before leaving to have lunch with their families. Click the above photo to enlarge.
|The tables were set up in the gym on the morning of the Graduation Dinner and Dance (top photo) with the graduation quotation behind the head table (bottom photo)
The Graduation Dinner and Dance was held on Thursday, 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.
|Josh T. climbed the Jungle Gym to tape balloons in the shape of “2015”
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.
|The graduates all dressed formally for the occasion. The above photos show the grads assembling in the downstairs hallway before making their entrance into the gym
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.
|The grads sat at the head table shown in the foreground of the above photo. The tables to the right were set up for the proud parents of the graduates
The Dinner started out with Mr. Picklyk asking everyone in attendance to welcome the IHMS graduates of 2015. 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.
|The 2015 grads, led by student council president Josh T., entered the gym through a portal (made up for the occasion) and proceeded to their predetermined seat at the head table.
The Master of Ceremonies for the Dinner was Josh T., the student council president. To get things started, he called upon Msgr. Michael Buyachok, the priest at Sts. Vladimir & Olga Cathedral, to say the opening prayer and bless the food.
|Master of Ceremonies Josh T. (top photo) and Msgr. Michael Buyachok (bottom photo)
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.
|The top photos show the grads lifting their food from the self serve buffet. The bottom photo shows the dessert table – cheesecake!
This is the same menu that the school has ordered for many years, and for a good reason – it’s delicious! The meal was prepared by Phyllis’ Catering, and Mrs. DePiero continues to patronize this catering company because everyone seems to like it. Unfortunately, this will be the last year that teachers, parents, and graduates will be enjoying the delicious food from Phyllis’ Catering – Phyllis is retiring! In fact, Phyllis is already retired, and did Ms. Depiero a favour by catering one last meal for our school’s graduation!
|More photos of grade 8 grads at the self serve buffet. Everyone was very impressed with the quality and variety of the food, and there wasn’t a single negative complaint by anyone!
After everyone finished eating, Mr. Slawomir Waplak, a representative of the IHMS Board of Trustees conveyed his greetings to the grads.
|IHMS school board representative Mr. Slawomir Waplak gave the graduates some practical advice about learning from their mistakes and using these lessons to constantly move forward in life
Next, Josh 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.
The top two photos show Viktoriya S. and Diana F. presenting their parents with a beautifully framed photo of themselves in their grad hoodie. The frames came in silver and black, and the bottom photos show an example of each.
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.
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.
|Images of the grads from simpler times at IHMS
Finally, Josh gave a short farewell speech on behalf of his fellow classmates. He did an excellent job, and was both serious, thought-provoking, and funny. For example one of his quotes was something along the following lines: everyone, no matter how small or insignificant, can make a difference in the world. Josh then made his point by implying that anyone who ever spend a night in bed with a mosquito will know what he is talking about! A great metaphor!
|Student council president Josh T. delivering a speech to his fellow classmates
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.
Finally, Father Thomas Kobak, OSBM, gave a short speech with some inspirational thoughts and words of advice followed by the closing prayer.
|The school’s chaplain, Father Thomas Kobak, OSBM, gave a very poignant speech to the graduates about enjoying everything they can during these last few hours at IHMS
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.
|The clean up of the gym went quickly because everyone pitched in to help
Music, as in past years, was provided by Crystal Sound.
|The Music Man for Crystal Sound was gracious enough to pose for a photo
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.
The Graduation Dance was not just for the grade 8 graduates – grade 7 students and IHMS alumni were also invited to attend.
|A few of the humorous and whimsical photos posed by the graduates