by Billy Gutknecht

After another year of uncertainty in school room classes in North Grenville and elsewhere, North Grenville District High School and St. Michael Catholic High School held their graduation ceremonies the week ending June 25.

Gone were the parties, the gathering of parents, teachers, speakers and friends. In their place were virtual classes, pandemic unpredictability, mental fatigue, parents relearning computer skills, and drive by ceremonies.

The ability for students to work and obtain money for tuition had also been altered, thus the importance of bursaries and financial awards has increased. The Eric Gutknecht Memorial Bursary Charity was proud to award a total of $3,000 to the following graduating students.

At NGDHS, Malina Vallee is pursuing a military career and will be attending the Royal Military College in Kingston, following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather.

St. Michael Catholic High School winners included Cadence Wilkes, who is excited to chase a degree in Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa.and Elizabeth Squire‑Fisher, who will be studying at Queens University in Kingston in the field of Kinesiology and Health Sciences with a focus on chronic illness and disabilities.

Two members of the executive had the pleasure of meeting these outstanding students and their parents as they shared the challenges presented by the pandemic and how proud they were of their children’s accomplishments. Hopefully, these awards and others can somewhat push COVID memories to the back burner, as charities themselves have struggled to attract donations.

The Eric Gutknecht Memorial Bursary Charity has now awarded $34,000 to most deserving students in North Grenville since 2011. Most of the funds raised have come through jam and jelly sales at the Kemptville Farmers Market and direct donations from the public, including teachers, friends, family, and complete strangers.

Congratulations to the entire class of 2021; not just graduates seeking further studies, but those going into the work world, those returning to school, and those seeking guidance as to what to do in their next steps. This was not an easy year. All students and parents deserve tremendous credit, and a round of applause.


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