The 40 students of the graduating class of 2024 from Green Valley School in Grunthal are excited for their celebrations next week, as are school staff, along with Principal Angela Burtnack-Schinkel. 

"It's bittersweet. Our grads are super excited and ready to take on the world. Many are heading to post-secondary education, some on athletic and academic scholarships, and others with impressive entrance scholarships. They've set a high standard this year, showing exceptional leadership and dedication." 

Schinkel notes some highlights of the past year. 

"Our grade twelves excelled, from organizing one of the best spring dances we've ever had, to contributing tirelessly to school events. Their energy and leadership has been phenomenal."

Grunthal Green Valley School principal, Angela Burtnack-SchinkelGrunthal Green Valley School principal, Angela Burtnack-Schinkel

Speaking about the graduating class, Schinkel describes them as "a strong, quiet group that goes about their business."  

She encourages them with the following.

"We are exciting to see where the grads are going to go. Some of my parting words would be for them to remain positive, be proactive, but also be proud. Be proud of your roots. Be proud of the accomplishments you have made up to this point. And for the grads to discover their 'why'. Because once they discover their 'why' in life, they will be really happy, really passionate and quite content. Be open to change, because things change all the time. And don't be afraid to make mistakes because that's where we learn, you know, most of our greatest life lessons is from our mistakes. And connect. Connecting is important."

Schinkel appreciates the business community for their support regarding scholarships for grads.

"We're always incredibly thankful for the scholarships and bursaries. The support from our rural community and alumni has been outstanding, inspiring our graduates to reach new heights in various fields from medicine to business."

Green Valley School students chose Georgia Friesen to represent them as class valedictorian.  

Georgia talks about the honour. "My friend Alexa nominated me, and when I found out, I was a little bit shocked. I'm incredibly thankful for this opportunity to represent my fellow grads."

Green Valley graduating class of 2024 wall photo collage inside the schoolGreen Valley graduating class of 2024 wall photo collage inside the school

When asked about her favorite high school memories, Georgia credits her teachers.  

"I've had amazing relationships with my teachers here. They've been a big reason why I stayed in Grunthal. Their support means a lot." 

Looking to the fall, Georgia plans to attend Providence University College on an athletic scholarship for volleyball, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with courses in business and human anatomy, aiming for a career in physiotherapy. Until then, she’ll be seen at the Grunthal pool taking on the role of head lifeguard. 

Offering words of encouragement to her peers, Georgia reflects on the value of resilience and learning from life's challenges.  

"It's okay to make mistakes; they make us better people. Taking it one day at a time has been my mantra." 

The Green Valley School graduation ceremony is taking place next Wednesday, June 26 in Grunthal, with the evening’s dinner and dance happening at the Friesen farm.