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 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 2016 IHMS graduation was planned and organized by the school’s grade 8 teacher Mrs. D. Wittevrongel


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

  1. The Graduation Divine Liturgy
  2. The Graduation Dinner and Dance



This year, both the Graduation Divine Liturgy and the Graduation Dinner and Dance took place on the same day, Tuesday, June 28.


Since both the Divine Liturgy and the Dinner and Dance were planned for the same day, Mrs. Wittevrongel decided to schedule the two events close to each other. The Graduation Divine Liturgy began at 1:30 p.m. and the Graduation Dinner and Dance started a few hours later at 5:00 p.m. This gave the grads a few hours in between to relax back at the school.


After the Graduation Liturgy, most grade 8 students returned to the school to relax for a few hours before the Dinner and Dance. Many of the grads decided to play with their electronic devices


Most grads and their parents returned to IHMS after the Graduation Liturgy to relax, to socialize, and to enjoy some light refreshments set out in the gym.


Students and parents socializing and enjoying some light refreshments in the few hours between the Graduation Divine Liturgy and the Graduation Dinner and Dance.


A three dimensional representation of the year “2016” constructed by the grade 8 grads and sitting at the entrance to the gym.



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As has been the custom for many years, the Graduation Divine Liturgy took place at Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral on McGregor St. In the past, the Graduation Divine Liturgy was scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., half an hour later than the school’s usual monthly Liturgies. This was intended to give the grads extra time to pose for photographs and to attend to any last minute preparations.


The Graduation Divine Liturgy took place at Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral


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. Most of the parents and grandparents were also planning to attend the Graduation Dinner and Dance later that afternoon. Since Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral is only a 5 minute walk from the school, everyone left for the cathedral around 1:15 p.m.


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Grade 8 students arriving at the Cathedral before the start of Liturgy


The ceremony began at 1:30 p.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.


Grads sitting in the pews after placing a long stemmed rose on the altar


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


During the Liturgy,Jennifer K.. read the Epistle while Eldrec A. read the grade 8 prayer intention. The Liturgy was celebrated by Msgr. Michael Buyachok, the priest at Sts. Vladimir & Olga Cathedral, and by Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, OSBM (Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada).


The grads were fortunate enough to have Msgr. Michael Buyachok and Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, OSBM celebrate the Graduation Divine Liturgy.


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.


Grade 8 students lined up in front of the alter for photos. To view the last photo in a larger format, click here.


After posing for photos, the graduates were free to leave with their parents as long as they returned to IHMS by 5:00 p.m. for the Dinner and Dance. Many grads and their parents chose to return to the school to socialize and relax while enjoying some light refreshments.



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The tables were set up in the gym the day before the Graduation Dinner and Dance (top photos) with the graduation quotation behind the head table (bottom photo)


The Dinner began at 5:00 p.m., while the Dance was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. 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.


A few of the interesting items that the grads put up on the gym wall


The Dinner started out with Mr. Picklyk asking everyone in attendance to welcome the IHMS graduates of  2016. 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. class2016


The 2016 grads, led by student council president Nina H., entered the gym and proceeded to their predetermined seat at the head table.


The Master of Ceremonies for the Dinner was Nina H., the student council president. To get things started, she called upon Msgr. Michael Buyachok, the priest at Sts. Vladimir & Olga Cathedral, to say the opening prayer and bless the food.


Student council president Nina H. was Master of Ceremonies for the Dinner (top photos) and Msgr. Michael Buyachok, the priest at Sts. Vladimir & Olga Cathedral gave the opening prayer to open the Dinner (bottom photo).


After the opening prayer, the graduates were given priority in starting the line to the self serve buffet. The rest of the guests followed after the number to their table was randomly selected by Mrs. Wittevrongel.



 As guests of honour, the grade 8 grads were first up for 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!


This year’s meal was prepared by a different catering company from Transcona called Sevala’s Ukrainian Deli & Catering. The food included fried boneless chicken breasts, meatballs, perogies, cabbage rolls, glazed baby carrots, coleslaw, and fresh buns. There was also iced tea and coffee to drink, and 2 types of cake for dessert – a marble cake and a cheesecake. This is the same type of menu that the school has ordered for the Graduation Dinner for many years, and for a good reason – it’s delicious!


Examples of the food from Sevela’s Ukrainian Deli and Catering. The bottom photo shows some of the hard working volunteers in the kitchen who put out the food and cleaned up afterwards.


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. He told the grads not to be afraid of making mistakes because they always provide an opportunity  to learn important  lessons in life


Next, Nina 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 along with a “wordle”. Each of the graduates got up from their table to present the gift to their parents.


Nina H. and Anna R. presenting a gift to their parents


The grads also presented a gift of appreciation to certain staff members: Sr. Anne, Mr. Picklyk, Mrs. Dudych, Mr. Fil, Mr. Banias, and Mrs. Karhut.


Sr. Anne shortly after receiving a gift from Rachel S.


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.


Mr. Picklyk gave a short speech to the graduates just before showing his much anticipated video of some of the major events in the lives of the graduates over the past 9 years.


After giving his farewell speech to the graduates, Mr. Picklyk set up his laptop to a projector for one of the most anticipated parts of the graduation dinner – a  video of some of the most important events in the lives of the graduates over the past 9 years, from kindergarten to the present. Some parts were touching and very moving, but most of the video was funny!


After giving his farewell speech to the graduates, Mr. Picklyk set up his laptop to a projector for one of the most anticipated parts of the graduation dinner – a  video of some of the most important events in the lives of the graduates over the past 9 years, from kindergarten to the present. Some parts were touching and very moving, but most of the video was funny!


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 soon came to realize 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.


A few more poignant photos of the grads taken when they were younger. The bottom photo shows the reactions of two grads while watching the video.


Finally, Nina gave a short farewell speech on behalf of her fellow classmates. She did an excellent job, and was both serious, thought-provoking, and funny.




Next, 2 grade 8 girls, Adrianna S. and Rachel S. handed out awards (in the form of sashes) to each of the other students in the graduating class. This unique and creative idea began with last year’s dinner, and it was such a success that Mrs. Wittevrongel decided to continue doing it this year. The sashes were mainly humorous awards, meant to recognize some of the positive characteristics in each of the graduating students. It’s an interesting concept, and it was fun and interesting to watch.


Two grade 8 girls – Adrianna S. and Rachel S., gave 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 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 short speech to the graduates followed by the closing prayer


By now, it was close to 7:30, and the grads were looking forward to the dance part of the evening. However, 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 posing 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.


Students started dancing minutes after the clean-up



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The grads pose for a photo near the end of the evening. Click here to enlarge






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