Tight-knit group graduates from KDSS


By Josh Howald

The 2017 graduating class from Kincardine District Secondary School is a close-knit, hard-working group looking for success.

Sophia Tomaini and Sam Colquohoun prior to Friday night`s commencement ceremonies. (Josh Howald photo)

That's what co-valedictorians Sophia Tomaini and Sam Colquhoun said prior to the annual Commencement Ceremonies at the high school Friday evening.

As one of the smallest graduating classes in the history of KDSS with less than 100 students, it is fair to say these young adults will always remember their high school years, as well as those they shared it with.

Tomaini and Colquhoun, for example, have been classmates since they were in kindergarten at the same elementary school. And still today, they attend the same school. Tomaini is studying Global Business and Digital Arts at the University of Waterloo, while Colquhoun is taking Arts and Business at the University of Waterloo.

"It's a very open group," said Tomaini, who also received the Bruce Peninsula Art Show Bursary and a Leslie D. Ray Scholarship in addition to sharing the Valedictorian Award with Colquhoun.

"We know almost everything about everybody, for better or for worse."

Both students said KDSS has accomplished the goal of readying them for the next steps in life, whether it's in the workplace or at a post-secondary institution. Colquhoun arrived a few minutes Friday, having just come from writing a mid-term exam in Waterloo Friday afternoon.

However, both students said their favourite memories from KDSS happened in gymnasiums, playing fields, arenas and tracks. Tomaini was a member of the KDSS girls basketball team that went to OFSAA two seasons ago, and also backstopped the girls hockey team to a CWOSSA championship and an OFSAA berth last year. Colquhoun was a key member of the 2017 boys soccer team that was defeated in the CWOSSA final, and also qualified for the CWOSSA Track and Field Championships in the 800m.

Colquhoun also accepted the D.P. Arscott Student Leadership Scholarship at Friday's ceremonies. He and Tomaini worked on the valedictorial address all week in Waterloo and delivered it together at the ceremonies.

Both urged students to get involved in everything KDSS has to offer.

"I think it's important to do things that take you out of your comfort zone," said Colquhoun. "Joining clubs and sports is the obvious way to get involved."

"I'm not the best basketball player," said Tomaini. "But I definitely had a lot of fun (playing basketball) and I will never forget the memories we made and the laughs we had along the way."

Avery Fitzgerald won the Rob Gleeson Mathematics Award, shared the Jennifer Cook and Associates Scholarship with Ivy Cook, a KDSS Certificate of Excellence and Merit, the Principal's Leadership Award, a Leslie D. Ray scholarship, shared the Rotary Business Award with Maddie McBride and was named Knight of the Year.

Chris Coady was also a big winner Friday night at commencement. He left with five different awards. He received the Delf French Award, the Alexander McKenzie Award, the Mohindra Family Award of Academic Excellence in the area of Science and Mathematics, the Professional Engineers Ontario Award, the Gardiner Pioneer Scholarship and the Governor General's Academic Medal for having the highest average in the graduating class.

Griffin Williamson was awarded the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture Award, the Vernon Hodgins Memorial Scholarship and a County of Bruce Agricultural Scholarship.

Cassie Wall won the Beta Sigma Phi Award for excellence in a co-op, while Bethan Killin was awarded the Beta Sigma Phi Award for significant contributions to the school. Kody Thompson won the Bruce County Conservationists Award, while Jed Gonzales won the Bruce Power Leadership Award. Becky Hodgins took home the Bruce Power Award for a female student entering into the skilled trades or technology. Ben Christie won the Bruce Power Future Innovator Award and Emily Eybergen won the Canadian Federation of University Women Award. Eybergen also won the OSSTF District 7 Award.

Kierra Christiansen and Lucy Matheson shared the Compass Group School Dining Award, while Hayli Charette and Jane Miller each won a Dr. A.E.H. Couch Bursary. Avy Mowle won the Creative Hands Award, Brady Masur won the Davey-Linklater Funeral Home Bursary, Morgan Robertson won the Audrey and Lester Ferguson Award while Cailyn McKay and Annika VanVeen shared the Delf French Award with Coady.

Katie Franklin won the Grant Helm Scholarship. Adam Ballagh took home the KC Automotive Parts Scholarship. Belle Wilson won the KDSS Home and School Association Award and Lauren Andrews shared the Kincardine Community Medical Clinic Physicians Group Award with Darby Chalmers. Aidan Chapleau won the KDSS Graduating Class of 1986-87 Award.

The KDSS Participation Award went to Brendan Barger and the KDSS Students Council Activity Award went to Raza Hussein. Hussein also took home the Don and Doris Milne Scholarship. Marcel Inauen won the Kincardine Dairy Queen Skilled Trades Award and Megan Grabas took home the Kincardine Inclusiveness and Diversity Award. Delage Mowle won the Fred Kirby Social Responsibility Scholarship. The Don and Irene MacKenzie Award went to Linsday Henkenhaf, who also shared the Ontario Power Generation Award with Rhys Vollmer.

Will Sharpe and Amanda VanVeen won MacKinnon Academic Awards, while Rainor Kuz took home the Janice Matchett Financial Services Business Scholarship. Jake Fair won the Matheson-Pioneers Memorial Scholarship and Annika VanVeen won the A.E. Nelson Scholarship. Vivian Zablewski won the Northern Light Lodge #94 Bursary and Danica Wall accepted the No. 253 Order of the Eastern Star Bruce Chapter Award.

Dayn Frieburger accepted the Clint Parker Memorial Award and Lauren Andrews won the Retired Teachers of Ontario Community Award. Bethany Wilken was awarded the Ripley Legion Ladies Auxiliary Award and Maggie Robinson accepted the Ripley Shipping Association Award. Delage Mowle took home the Rick Rock Memorial Award.

Makayla McGregor and Tanner Walker received Sauble Lodge #227 Tara bursaries, while Lindsay Glover scooped up the Shoreline Artists Bursary. Maggie Robinson won the Snobelen Farms Award and the West Wawanosh Agricultural Award. Finally, Sam Thompson won the South-Bruce Grey Health Centre Kincardine Auxiliary Award.