While June is already bittersweet for Grade 12 students, Woodlands Secondary School grads are feeling extra sadness as they will be the school’s last graduating class.
The school shutters in July and for Emma Billman, Xristos Vassilopoulos, Arielle McConnell, Jackson Davis and Joshua Holloway, it has been enjoyable being part of the school community – it’s what makes it special, they said.
Billman, student council co-president, said Woodlands’ population is smaller, and it’s easier to build relationships, something Davis, a member of the school’s hockey academy, agreed with.
“It’s kind of sad that the most central school’s closing,” said Davis. “It’s nice being part of the last grad class. There’s a lot more school spirit here than other schools. It feels like more of a community.”
“Not only is it a tight-knit community to begin with, it’s very accepting of people that come in from other schools; they integrate well into the family atmosphere. Even if you’re from far away or live out in Cedar, you come together,” said Vassilopoulos, a member of the basketball team.
Holloway has attended Woodlands since Grade 8 and his favourite memories revolve around theatre.
“The first one was Alice in Wonderland and that was fun. I got to play a blind mouse, along with Emma actually … and that was really fun. That was a great start. After that was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and that was a good production,” said Holloway.
Billman’s favourite memories include theatre, student council and cooking class.
“In Grade 8, actually Josh and I were in the same group in our Foods and Nutrition 8 class and one of the first recipes you learn … is to make breakfast nests, which is basically just scrambled eggs, ham and cheese in a piece of toast, literally made into a nest and it’s honestly one of the best things you’d ever eat,” said Billman.
McConnell said it’s sad being in the last grad class.
“We have so many memories here and now nobody else gets to really experience that,” McConnell said.
One of the school’s notable works this year was a Grade 8 First Nations inquiry project on cedar. Principal Jill Bailey said ideas will go with teachers to other schools.
“Even though the school closing, I like to think the spirit and the life of the school will continue in the other places that kids and teachers go to in the district,” said Bailey.