"You can definitely feel there's excitement in the air. But you know, I think there's a lot of relief for the students this year that they'll get a normal grad.” 

The La Broquerie Ecole St Joachim's principal, Martin Bazin, is proud of the 17 students in the graduating class of 2022. He continues, “I think because they are such a tight-knit class that it makes it that much more special to be able to celebrate their accomplishments together in front of friends and family and I think that's what's exciting for them.” 

For Ecole St Joachim, like all students in the southeast, the past two years weren’t what anyone had expected but many hoped for a traditional graduation, with a ceremony, banquet and dance.  

When talking about the graduates, Bazin says the students are all really strong academically. “There are others that participated in different extracurricular activities, like improv and baseball and football. There was great participation from the grade 12’s.”  

“What makes this group special,” Bazin continues, “is that they are always there for one another. Like, they treat each other like family and hold each other to high standards. I can think of many examples where the grade 12 students went the extra mile to make sure that their peers felt accepted, that they would succeed in their studies, and they encouraged each other to be the best versions of themselves.” 

When it came to who would be representing the class of 2022 the best, the students chose Katherine Arnaud and Maxime Normandeau. Arnaud says, “I am quite excited. It is an honour and privilege to speak on behalf of our graduating class. So yeah, I'm pretty excited.” Normandeau echos his cousins words.  

Arnaud says most of the class has been together since kindergarten and so they are a pretty close group, however, at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a period of adjustment with Teams and learning from home. But she says, “with the support of our teachers we were able to establish a routine to help us get to graduation.” 

Normandeau adds, “We’re very close. We're pretty much a family.” 

After graduation, Arnaud plans to go to the University of St. Boniface, studying to become a teacher, followed by another couple of years of education and hopefully come back to St Joachim to be a counsellor. While Normandeau plans on going to the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology and taking welding.  

As part of her Valedictorian speech, Arnaud says she'd like to give her fellow classmates the following words of encouragement, “I would think back to a conversation I had with one of my teachers and hearing the words “donner à cent pour cent” which means “Always give 100%”. We always said that even though we were going through tough times. We always stuck to the motto “Finish strong” and we are now 17 graduating this year, so it is pretty amazing!”  

Normandeau echos those words and adds, “Follow your dreams and do something that inspires you. Each and every one of you has something positive to offer the world. We are young and full of energy, which is a great asset and to look ahead to a bright future and be happy.”  

Principal Martin Bazin congratulates the graduating students and says, “Good luck, work hard, follow your dreams and stay positive. You have been persistent in the Covid years and so, I think that that's a good quality to have going forward regardless of whether they're going to school or going to work.” 

And with a special thank you from the Class of 2022 to their Teachers of the past 13 years, Arnaud says, “Since we've been here, we've always been treated with so much respect and positivity and encouragement and for me to be leaving this school, it's going to be the most difficult thing for me because my teachers have always like been a great support for my education and they have always looked at us with so much pride in their eyes and they've always had like, those funny moments with us. It wasn't always homework and seriousness like, we had good times with teachers and we're for sure going miss them. Since day one they've been there for us so, thank you.”