Morris School is on the verge of sending off forty-three senior students into the world of post-secondary education, trade school and the workforce at its 2022 commencement ceremony. 

Valedictorians Andrew Penner and Jill Kolodka, both members of the student council, bring different perspectives to the whole graduation experience. Penner says it doesn't really feel like it is happening. 

"Right now I know for me I'm trying to live in the moment as much as I can. I'm not trying to worry or be anxious about the future. I'm just trying to enjoy this while I can. "I'm never going to be in high school again.

Kolodka says she takes an opposite view.

"At the start of the month is when it really hit me. I'm at the point now where I'm like, no, I'm ready. Obviously, I'm enjoying everything and it's just kind of fun now, it's not really school. But I'm ready to go ahead with everything else."

Guidance counsellor Laurie Edel describes this year's graduates as a strong class that has persevered and finished well. 

"Twelve have been student council leaders throughout high school. They have worked hard to unify the school and support our students. They are leaving a legacy that will be hard to replicate."

Penner says their class was a very ambitious group.

"Academically, we've always been very competitive with each other."

"In a fun way," interjects Kolodka. 

"I know for me," adds Penner, "there's always the inward motivation, which is probably not the best thing, to be better than everybody else or beat this one person on the test."

Kolodka points out that their competitive nature went beyond academics. 

“We did a grade wars fun day in the gym playing sports events. To coordinate that everyone was so dedicated to having that done. We were just driven to do it.”

Following graduation, some students plan on taking a gap year or entering the workforce, while others will pursue post-secondary studies at colleges or universities in Manitoba and Ontario.

Penner's post-high-school plans include playing men's volleyball at the University of Guelph coupled with a wide-ranging academic program. Kolodka will head to Toronto's York University to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Film Production.