This year’s batch of students honoured at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School’s year-end award ceremony achieved exceptionally high marks.
“We’re not talking just kind of low 80s,” said principal Geoff Butcher, “they’re right up there in the high 90s. That group that was being represented was really strong academically.”
Butcher said the school doesn’t give out top awards without a student truly earning it. “If they’re winning an award, it’s because they’re really qualified to be there.”
The ceremony gave teachers the opportunity to recognize top students from every grade and class.
Many names became familiar as several students were called on for multiple awards throughout the ceremony.
“We don’t vet the names,” said Butcher. “We just let staff determine who’s best in their areas.”
It’s not uncommon for well-rounded, intelligent and hard-working students to receive multiple awards, he said.
“If someone gets 10 awards, that’s good on ‘em.”
In all, 113 awards for top marks, 33 citizenship awards, 28 major awards and five service awards were distributed in the PSO gymnasium on Thursday, June 28.
Parents of the winning students were phoned in advance and given the chance to watch their children accept their awards, something Dipak Ranchod appreciated.
He and his wife, Dr. Neetha Vithala, made sure they were there to support their daughter Supreeta as she accepted the Grade 11 French Immersion award.
“I was ecstatic,” said Ranchod. “I’m very proud and just happy that my child is being recognized for all the work she’s putting in. I know my child was working hard.”
He said it’s important to recognize when a student excels because it motivates them to carry on. This is the third time his daughter has won the award.
“She’s got her head screwed right, I think.”
Anita Hofer and her husband Guy Montgomery also attended Thursday’s ceremony to watch as their daughter Brooke received five awards – Band, Science, Social Studies, Core French and the Grade 10 scholar award.
“She’s worked so hard; It was nice for her to be recognized,” said Hofer.
Her daughter has been in bands since the fourth grade, playing flute and piccolo, and she said being involved in music has helped strengthen her academics as well.
The ceremony was not mandatory, and many students who are already working could not attend. But for those who could make it, staff and teachers made sure it was a fun experience.
Well-timed songs backed up each presenter and winner and in many cases, incited laughter from the crowd. When three men from the technology department ambled to the stage, for example, Shania Twain’s Man! I Feel Like a Woman rang out over the speakers.
Grade 10, 11, 12 teacher Bryan Ardiel was behind the event’s hilarious soundtrack, according to Butcher.
He called Ardiel a “music aficionado” and said he spent a lot of time coordinating each award with a song.
Planning the ceremony requires a lot of time and energy and effort and Butcher said he’s grateful for the work his staff put into it.
“It sort of puts a nice punctuation at the end of the year.”