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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!


More excited graduates posing for the camera a few minutes before the start of the Dinner


Graduation is always a bitter-sweet affair, and the grads usually have mixed feelings about leaving. Many have been together since attending sadochok (nursery school) 10 years ago. That means many of the grads have known each other since they were only 4 years old! When classes resume in September, the grads will all be enrolled in a new school.


Farewell to grade 8 teacher, Mr. L. Burg
This year’s graduation was planned and organized by the school’s grade 8 teacher Mr. L. Burg (with assistance from former grade 8 teacher Mrs. Naurocki). In a sense, Mr. Burg is also “graduating” from IHMS – he’s relocating (along with his wife, who is also a teacher) to pursue a grade 4 teaching position in Thailand! Mr. Burg, like his grade 8 students, will not be returning to IHMS for the 2018-19 school year.
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Although teaching in a foreign country can be a daunting experience, Mr. Burg is up to the task for several reasons:

  • First of all, he’s already been to Thailand. Before being hired last September as our school’s grade 8 teacher, Mr. Burg taught in Thailand for the 2016-17 school year.
  • Secondly, Mr. Burg will be reunited in Thailand with his wife, who left to work there several months ago.
  • And finally, Thailand doesn’t have its own educational curriculum, so Thai schools have adopted the Manitoba curriculum. Amazingly, they teach the exact same topics in Thailand as we do here in Manitoba!



Graduate Brooke B. shows off her beautiful smile at the gym entrance



Grade 8 graduate Adrian Z, posing with a bouquet of flowers given to him by his grandmother. He is waiting in line with the rest of his class to enter the gym and to take their seats at  the head table.


To celebrate this important milestone, Mr. Burg (with assistance from former grade 8 teacher Mrs. Naurocki) spent a lot of time preparing the graduates for their big day. He organizes two important events for the graduating grade 8 class:

  1. The Graduation Divine Liturgy

  2. The Graduation Dinner and Dance




Donovan M. (top photo) and Mykel C. (bottom photo)


This year, both the Graduation Divine Liturgy and the Graduation Dinner and Dance took place on the same day, Tuesday, June 26.



Since both the Divine Liturgy and the Dinner and Dance were planned for the same day, Mr. Burg 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.


 A table of assorted snacks and another table with beverages (especially coffee) were set out for guests to enjoy after the Graduation Liturgy.



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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 always scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., half an hour later than the school’s usual monthly Liturgies. However, since 2016 the Graduation Divine Liturgy has been moved to the afternoon at 1:30 p.m., giving the grads a lot of extra time to pose for photographs and 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.


The ceremony began at 1:30 p.m. with each graduate carrying a long-stemmed rose down the centre 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 graduates took turns carrying a long-stemmed rose from the back of the cathedral to a glass vase at the front. You may be wondering “Why are the grads carrying long-stemmed roses to the altar?” This isn’t a reality television program and there’s no symbolic meaning in carrying a long stemmed rose! It’s simply a way for the graduates to take their seat at the front of the cathedral, and also a way to give each grad a moment of individual recognition as they move, one at a time, down the centre aisle to the front. The rose is simply a prop.


Despite the excitement of the Liturgy, the graduates knew exactly what to do because Mr. Burg 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 suits and ties.


During the Liturgy, Donovan M. read the Epistle while Brooke B. read the grade 8 prayer intention. The Liturgy was celebrated by four priests – Father Isadore Dziadyk, OSBM, Rev. Dr. Michael Kwiatkowski, the pastor at Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church. Msgr. Michael Buyachok, the priest at Sts. Vladimir & Olga Cathedral, and by Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, OSBM (Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada).


Grade 8 graduate and student council president Donovan M. read the Epistle (top photo) while Brooke B. read the grade 8 prayer intention (bottom photo).


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 grade 8’s were called to the altar, one student at a time, to receive two important graduation mementos. First of all, they received an IHMS medallion from Sr. Ruth SSMI. They also received a graduation certificate from Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, OSBM. To view the last photo in a larger format, please 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.


Once students and parents returned to IHMS after the Graduation Liturgy (which ended at approximately 3 o’clock), they still had about a two hour wait before dinner was served. Recognizing the importance of making his guests feel as comfortable as possible, Mr. Burg set out several tables of food and beverages near the entrance to the gym. In this way, students and parents could socialize and enjoy some light refreshments during the few hours between the Graduation Divine Liturgy and the Graduation Dinner and Dance.



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Mr. Burg and the grade 8 grads set up the tables in the gym the day before the Graduation Dinner and Dance (top photos). A poster with the Dinner’s seating plan was set up near the gym entrance so that parents knew exactly where to sit (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.


The graduation quotation was displayed on the wall behind the head table


While entering the gym for the Graduation Dinner, one of the interesting things that many parents, grandparents, and other guests first noticed was the floor!  This was something different from past graduations. Alongside a “celebrity” red carpet, the grade 8 grads created a “Walk of Fame” with each of their names on a star. A similar “Walk of Fame” on the gym wall had additional stars with photos of the grads when they were babies.


The Dinner started out with Mr. Picklyk asking everyone in attendance to welcome the IHMS graduates of  2018. 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.


As parents and teachers stood and applauded, the 2018 grads, led by student council president Donovan M., entered the gym and proceeded to their predetermined seat at the head table.


The Master of Ceremonies for the Dinner was Donovan M., the student council president. To get things started, he called upon Father Isadore Dziadyk, OSBM to say the opening prayer and bless the food.


Student council president Donovan M. was Master of Ceremonies for the Graduation Dinner, and he did a fantastic job at keeping everything moving smoothly and on time (top photo). Well done, Donovan! 

The opening prayer and blessing of the food was performed by Father Isadore Dziadyk, OSBM, a dedicated and hard working priest who continues to serve his community and parishioners well past the normal age of retirement. Father Isadore followed up the opening prayer with a short song. The song was easy to follow because the lyrics consisted of only one word – “Amen”!


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 Mr. Burg.


As guests of honour, the grade 8 grads were first in line for the self serve buffet. Everyone else, including parents and invited guests, were randomly selected afterwards, one table at a time. Although the cost of the food was perhaps a bit expensive, it was high quality and there wasn’t a single negative complaint by anyone! “Sevala’s Ukrainian Deli & Catering” gets an A+ rating for quality.


This year’s meal was prepared by the same catering company as last year – Sevala’s Ukrainian Deli & Catering. The food included fried boneless chicken breasts, meatballs, perogies, cabbage rolls, coleslaw, and fresh buns. There was also iced tea and coffee to drink, and 2 types of cake for dessert. 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 Sevala’s Ukrainian Deli and Catering


Sevala’s Ukrainian Deli & Catering


A few of the IHMS staff members at the Graduation Dinner


After everyone finished eating, Mr. Jason Brennan, Chairperson of the IHMS Board of Trustees, conveyed his greetings to the graduates. He gave an inspiring speech based on the quotation on the gym wall: “As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own”.


IHMS school board Chairman Mr. Jason Brennan gave the graduates some important advice about being themselves and charting their own journey through life based on the quotation on the gym wall: “As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own.”


Next, Donovan M. 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.


Four different grade 8 graduates presenting a gift to their parents for their unconditional love and support over the years (top to bottom): Alex P., Danikah F., Anna M., and Adam K. The gift was a framed photo of themselves!


Next, Mr. Picklyk gave a short farewell speech followed by a video he had prepared. The video was projected onto the gym wall and documented many of the events of the past 10 years, from sadochok to the present day. The video is one of the most anticipated parts of the graduation dinner – it’s usually both poignant and funny at the sane time


Mr. Picklyk gave a short speech to the graduates just before showing his video of some of the major events in the lives of the graduates over the past 10 years.


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 images of the grads from the past ten years that were projected onto the gym wall


After the video, Donovan M., gave a short farewell speech on behalf of her fellow classmates. He did an excellent job, and was both serious, thought-provoking, and funny.


Student council president Donovan M. delivering a heart-felt farewell speech to the parents and staff of IHMS on behalf of the grade 8 graduates


Next, a small group 8 students handed out awards (in the form of homemade trophies) to each of the other students in the graduating class. This unique and creative idea began three years ago, and it was such a success that Mr. Burg decided to continue doing it again this year. The trophies 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.


Humorous awards were handed out to every student in the graduating class. The actual trophies were painstakingly built by one student – Lauren A., and they were handed out by the five members of the grade 8 student council: Donovan M., Jade D., William S., Martin D., and Brooje B. The presentations were not only interesting and entertaining, but they also provided some insight into how the grade 8 students feel about their fellow classmates


Finally, to end the dinner portion of the evening, Sr. Jean Zemliak, SSMI gave the closing prayer.


Sr. Jean Zemliak, SSMI officially ended  the dinner portion of the evening with a 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 the parents and guests 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.

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


Crystal Sound has been playing music for our school’s graduation dance for many years. In fact, the music has been played by the same DJ, Roger P., (pictured above) all this time. In the last of the above 3 photos, the Roger the DJ is seen posing with Serhiy S., an IHMS alumni from last year.


Everyone, including parents, grads, and teachers pitched in to clean up in preparation for the dance. In addition to the graduates, the grade 7 students 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 dance portion of the evening began shortly after Sr. Jean gave her closing prayer. Clean up went quickly because everyone pitched in to help, including the grade 7 students.




When the lights went down and the music started playing, most of the girls were eager to dance. So they danced with each other. The boys, on the other hand, didn’t seem eager to dance and were content to watch from the sidelines. But there were exceptions!

















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