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REPORTING · 29th June 2010
Walter McFarlane
The message was written on the wall in bright lights: “Never stop shining.” The students paraded into the Community Room at the Riverlodge Recreation Centre, some escorted by a parent or grandparent, a boyfriend/girlfriend and one was carrying a child. This was the graduation ceremony for Kitimat City High(KCH).

“It’s pretty exciting to see 18. This is one of our largest classes,” said Janise Johnson, Principal of KCH. “The kids who have come to our school have come here for many, many different reasons, but it boils down to the High School didn’t work for them. They come to KCH and they find it’s a smaller school, very supportive, the kids work very hard cause their academic is on par with the kids at the High School. They’re graduating and absolutely deserve to be graduating.”

The school teaches 45 students and several students went back to the High School and graduated from there meaning more then 18 finished this year. Some of the grads are moving on to college, others are going into trades while others still are picking up a few classes which were not offered at KCH. 3 of the grads received scholarships.

Also ‘graduating’ this year is Johnson herself. With her retirement, Sheila McInnis, principal of Mount Elizabeth Secondary School will be taking her place in the fall. Johnson has been Principal of KCH for 7 years and worked as a teacher at the school for five years prior to that.

After dinner, several speakers stood up to make their speeches. Tom MacLean from Special Services stood up to congratulate the grads on behalf of the superintendent for a well deserved award. He thanked the parents, mentors staff of KCH and everyone else for the roles they have played in the grads lives. He congratulated Johnson on her retirement and thanked her for the work she has done. He also thanked Christine Halls who is also leaving the school this year.

“You can shape the future with your own hands, take guidance from others or even let nature take it’s course and see where the dice fall. You can also follow your dreams and I hope that’s what you all do is follow your dreams,” said MacLean.

Barry Pankhurst representing the board of trustees stepped to the stand next to address the graduates. He expressed he has been attached to the school for 16 years as a trustee and was proud of the grads for completing their degree.

“Your school is an example of what can be done with students and being successful and you should be very proud of that. You’ve accomplished it. When you came to this school, I’m sure you were saying: ‘I won’t graduate,’ ‘I can’t do this,’ You have done it. Nothing can stop you,” said Pankhurst.

He then thanked Halls for her commitment to the students and school. He then presented ‘the guiding light’ of the school, Janise Johnson, with her retirement gifts. She collected them to thunderous applause. Johnson expressed she was going to miss the school.


Tara McCrea, the parent speaker was called to the stand next. She thanked the teachers for the work they have done with her son. She congratulated the grads on completing their courses and raised a toast. McCrea herself graduated from KCH.

Greg McCrea, her son was given the chance to respond. He expressed the grads were next generation and when they realize they have become their parents, their parents job is done. He raised a toast to the parents.

The grads were awarded their dogwoods by their teachers who took a moment to roast each of the grads and how they prevailed, overcame obstacles, and came to graduate from the school. Afterwards, the Valedictorian, Raymond Green was called to the stand to roast the teachers.

He thanked the teachers throughout the years, firstly, parents and grandparents, their teachers and their support workers at KCH. He thanked everyone for the life lessons. The class historians, Candace Grant and Brianna Rennie, stepped up to speak about 2010 at KCH before Johnson closed.

“I have to admit, Kitimat City High has been an absolute amazing place to work. I have had the privilege of working with a very supportive staff, with a great group of young people and many of you who are sitting out in the audience tonight. It is going to be hard to say goodbye,” said Johnson, pleased to graduate with the class.

She congratulated the grads, speaking about how they worked through difficulties. They realized they to achieve their Grade Twelve, they needed to follow a different path. “You learned to be responsible young adults,” said Johnson. She hoped they will be able to stand before the people in their lives and say: “I have had an amazing career.”

“I have had an amazing career and I have thoroughly enjoyed and believe in the work I have done,” said Johnson. The applause were enormous. Awards were handed out to students, the cake was cut and the grads danced with their parents and partners.

“They are a great bunch of kids, Kitimat City High is a school that this community can be proud of and we should be embracing them and encouraging them as much as we can,” said Johnson.
A golden handshake: Barry Pankhurst shakes retireing principal: Janise Johnson's hand
A golden handshake: Barry Pankhurst shakes retireing principal: Janise Johnson's hand
Teona Fifi recieves her diploma from Christine Halls
Teona Fifi recieves her diploma from Christine Halls
Valedictorian, Raymond Green.
Valedictorian, Raymond Green.
Congrats to the Grads & KCH
Comment by Darlene on 1st July 2010
To think KCH started in a house on Skeena St!! My how far its come..but the bases of the school has remained the same..respect one another.. never give up..and you are important.

My Mom was one of the original team players, being the 'Foods Teacher'.
Our Community should take pride in all the KCH has accomplished, and I can't think of a better fit than Sheila as the new principal. You will love it!

I also would like to give kudos to Jane Cummings of Unique Creations for lending her talents to the Grads Banquet Night, you made their night even more special..the room looked amazing!

Congratulations to all to the Grads and to KCH..a job well done...