Avon View grads feted as they enter next chapter of lives

Carole Morris-Underhill editor@hantsjournal.ca
Published on June 28, 2014
AV grad 2014-1

Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Kayoung Heo and Ryleigh Spence ham it up for the cameras as they posed for photos on their big day.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

AV grad 2014-2

Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Danielle Pepperdene, Jessalyn Harvey and Taylor Turnbull celebrated their last few minutes at Avon View High School as Grade 12 students together.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

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Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Melissa Connors, Melissa Moore, and Elizabeth Campbell were among the 2014 graduating class at Avon View.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

AV grad 2014-4

Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Renata MacDonald hugs her nephew Matt MacDonald before heading into Avon View's graduation ceremony. The high school's gymnasium was packed with family and friends eager to see the new graduates.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

AV grad 2014-5

Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Kieran Bryk makes her way into the gymnasium for the last time as a student at Avon View High School. Bryk graduated with honours.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

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Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Emma Donohue finished out her school year as an honours student.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

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<p>Tyler Sanford, left, shares a laugh with a fellow graduate as they proceed to their seats for the beginning of the Avon View graduation ceremony.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

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Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Taylor Turnbull, left, and Jayne Huntley were all smiles Friday morning as they headed into the Avon View gymnasium to accept their diplomas.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

AV grad 2014-9

Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Alex Williams, left, and Cody Latreille share a laugh as they make their way to the front of the gymnasium for Avon View's graduation ceremony.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

AV grad 2014-10

Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Nadia Byers-MacEachern received a number of awards during Avon View's graduation ceremony. Pictured presenting the Principal's Award is Peter Johnston.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

AV grad 2014-11

Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Doug Fraser, a local representative of the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, presented Matt Brison with the AVRSB Award for Academic Excellence. The honours with distinction student also received a number of other awards, including the AVHS Student Council Award.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

AV grad 2014-12

Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Honours with distinction student Kayoung Heo was awarded the Governor General's Medal, as well as a few other awards. Pictured presenting the award is Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

AV grad 2014-13

Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Honours with distinction student Mark O'Reilly received a number of awards for his time spent at Avon View. Pictured here is O'Reilly receiving th<span>e Queen Elizabeth Medal from principal Peter Johnston. Among the other awards were the Staff Trophy, four subject awards, the Ryan Lahey Memorial Soccer Bursary, the Nelson Law Prize and the Rector, Wardens and Parish Council of Christ Church Scholarship.</span></p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

AV grad 2014-14

Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Mark O'Reilly received a number of awards for his time spent at Avon View. Pictured here is O'Reilly receiving the Staff Trophy <span>from Tim Swinamer.</span></p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

AV grad 2014-15

Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Emma-Lee Taylor was all smiles after receiving her diploma and a bouquet of roses.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

AV grad 2014-16

Published on 28 June 2014

<p>Mark O'Reilly gave the valedictorian address for the class of 2014.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Avon View's Grade 12 students were asked to do one thing upon graduation: go out into the world with a fearless heart and pursue that which will make them happy.

Principal Peter Johnston addressed the more than 200 graduates June 27, and implored them to make the most of their days.

“I'm not going to stand here and ask for all of you to head out into the world and solve all of its problems. That wouldn't be fair. The world has always had problems and always will,” said Johnston.

Instead, he hopes the graduates will leave AV with a desire to make a difference.

“Most of you will enjoy the living of over 30,000 days. As of today, most of you have enjoyed almost 7,000,” he said, acknowledging much of those days have been structured and organized by others.

“But from here on you have a choice on how you can spend, or subtract, the rest,” said Johnston.

The formula for a happy life, one that will be fulfilling, is to live each day to its fullest.

“Don't waste your days judging others because they do not share the same clothes, language, beliefs, styles, (or) culture. Learn their world, their cultures. It would only enrich your own,” he said.

“Kindness and understanding are not inherent traits. They are choices; choices you can make,” he noted, adding that people don't forget a kind word or thoughtful gesture.

“Take risks with your days. Not risks that may have disastrous outcomes but ones that result in a learned lesson whether you failed or not,” Johnston said, adding the graduates must not be afraid to try.

Living life to the fullest and cherishing the time spent with friends and family was the main message that class valedictorian, Mark O'Reilly, also shared.

“I've learned that fellowship trumps everything and that each moment in life is a new opportunity to obtain success. You all have a story. You all have a lesson that you will teach the world; one that will make its mark,” he said.

O'Reilly was the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Medal and Staff Trophy, as well as four subject awards, the Ryan Lahey Memorial Soccer Bursary, the Nelson Law Prize and the Rector, Wardens and Parish Council of Christ Church Scholarship.

O'Reilly stressed the importance of seizing each day, and not confusing the meaning of success.

“Many of us leave here thinking about how we want to make it big in the world, how we're going to leave an indelible mark on this massive planet. We try to quantify and objectify success as financial liberty, of family, possessions,” said O'Reilly.

“While these tangible items are desirable, they are not as important as embracing every moment of this life,” he continued.

“The last message I want to emphasize... and arguably the most important, is to do what you love in life and that is success enough.”

More than $235,000 in scholarships and awards were presented to Avon View's 2014 graduating class. Other main award winners were Kayoung Heo, for the Governor General's Medal, Matt Brison, for the AVRSB Award for Academic Excellence, and Nadia Byers-MacEachern, for the Principal's Award.

Of the 204 graduates, 29 finished their high school year with honours with distinction, while another 56 finished with honours.

 

To view a slideshow featuring Avon View's prom parade, click here.