Penticton Secondary School honoured its 100th class in a ceremony Friday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Three hundred members of the class of 2012 received graduation scrolls in front of a nearly full house of onlookers, and 180 bursaries and scholarships were handed out that totalled almost $250,000.
Valedictorians Johnny Ciardullo and Melanie Girard delivered a nine-minute speech that elicited a few cheers, the loudest of which came following a poignant tribute to a slain classmate, who was the victim of violence at a 2011 grad party.
“Lest we forget the people that have already left us, like our fellow graduate Andrew McAdam,” Girard said. “Taken from us too young and too soon.
“This year is Andy’s year, so let’s celebrate later when we raise our caps for him and the amazing memories he left with us,” Ciardullo added.
Ciardullo, an aspiring musician who will attend Selkirk College next year, also touched on the class’s common spirit.
“I believe that us as Lakers are the complete definition of spirit. It’s the day where we all bond together, head down to Value Village and come out with anything purple and gold to show our dedication to Pen High,” he said.
“On Laker Day, we all become one.”
Girard, who will attend McGill University next year as a science student, also noted her class was the first to complete all four senior grades in the new edition of Pen High.
“It’s truly our own,” she said.
Ciardullo signed off with a Star Wars-themed wish.
“May the force be with you,” he told his classmates, while holding a lightsaber above his head.
Although they’ve gone through their graduation ceremony, the students’ school year still runs three more weeks.
Princes Margaret hosts its ceremony June 28 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, the same night Pen High hosts its prom at the Lakeside Resort. The Maggie prom is June 29.