“Don’t blink. It will be over before you know it,” said JD Johnson, during the parent’s response at Gus Wetter School’s 2023 grad ceremony.
Johnson was one of many parents and extended family members who crowded into the Gus Wetter School gymnasium on a warm May afternoon to celebrate the 23 graduates of 2023.
The grad ceremony took place on May 26 and featured a full day of activities for the students whose time is winding down in Castor.
Shortly after 1 p.m., a slow parade of the students dressed up in their suits and dresses wound its way through the community, including passing down both directions of Main Street so that spectators on both sides of the street could see all the kids.
A visit to the Paintearth Lodge to visit the seniors was also included in the afternoon festivities.
By a little after 4:00 p.m., the grads, school staff, parents, extended families and dignitaries were descending on the school for the grad celebration. The grad celebration kicked off at 4:30 p.m.
The emcees, Kelsey Rehman and Taya Perry brought the assembly to order and then introduced the grads one by one.
Once the grads were seated, everyone in the auditorium was asked to stand for the singing of O Canada, performed by grad Eve Fetaz.
Several dignitaries spoke during the nearly two-hour ceremony; Clearview Public Schools board chair Guy Neitz brought greetings from the board, superintendent Scot Leys brought greetings from the division, Mayor Richard Elhard brought greetings from the Town of Castor, Reeve Stan Schulmeister brought greetings from Paintearth County, and Gus Wetter principal Jordan Rhodes brought greetings on behalf of the school staff.
Grad Toryn Johnson gave a toast to the parents, on behalf of the graduating class of 2023.
“You’ve helped set our paths and pave our way to greatness,” said Toryn.
“You’ve been able to teach us so much that school can not teach.”
Bringing a reply to the grads from the parents was JD Johnson, who brought a message of hope.
“You either fly, or you fall,” said Johnson.
“If you fall, all your family and friends will be here to pick you up.”
A long-held Castor tradition, the rose ceremony, was held, splitting the first and second half of the ceremony. During the ceremony, the parents meet their graduates at the stage, where the graduates then present them with a rose, before they leave the gymnasium.
After the rose ceremony, the grads return in cap and gowns. Two grads, Parker Slemp and Harmony Stirling, were invited to the podiums to talk about the history of the graduating class, which was also followed up by teachers Luke Peters and Rebecca Clarke.
“I have made some memories I will never forget,” said Clarke, talking about the grad class.
Former Gus Wetter principal Wendy Coppock was also asked to speak by students, as she knew most of them since they were in Kindergarten. She also brought a message of optimism.
“Each moment is a new chance to start something new,” said Coppock.
“Happiness is a frame of being. Be it, create it, and live it.”
The ceremony concluded with the presentation of certificates and the traditional cap throw.
Following the ceremony, a dance was held in the gymnasium before things shifted to the Castor Community Hall for a come-and-go get together where the community was welcome to come see the graduates.