The first graduating class of 228 students from the new St. Mary’s College (SMC) was recognized Wednesday at a ceremony at the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.
The new St. Mary’s College opened in September of 2016 with the consolidation of the old St. Mary’s College and St. Basil Secondary School. As class valedictorian, Joanna Murtha noted there was some apprehension at the start of the school year, but students from the two schools quickly bonded, resulting in the building of a tremendous community by the time graduation arrived.
“I think Joanna’s address captured just what transpired over the inaugural year at the new St. Mary’s College. We began as two school communities, and ten months later, the new SMC is most certainly a vibrant learning community that has come together as one,” said SMC Principal, Cindy Sawyer.
Academic achievement was very strong in the school’s first year. St. Mary’s College graduated 115 Ontario Scholars. Six students, including Murtha, received the Advanced Placement Program with Distinction Award. Forty-three students were recognized for their successful completion of the DELF competency exam, including thirteen graduates of the French Immersion Program. Twenty-seven students graduated with certificates from Specialist High Skills Major Programs — nine in Construction, and six each in Health and Wellness, Business and Hospitality and Tourism.
“I congratulate all of our graduates on their accomplishments. I also want to express my appreciation to the staff of St. Mary’s College for their efforts during the past year, which saw many new challenges. They faced an unfamiliar dynamic with a very large student body, found solutions to the issues that arose, and maintained a positive learning experience for the students,” said Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board Director of Education, John Stadnyk.
Prior to the graduation ceremony, a graduation mass led by Bishop Damphousse was held at the Essar Centre.