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Grads celebrated at 122nd Prize Day

The pandemic restrictions on gathering were lifted just in time for St. Andrew's College to celebrate its 2021 graduates on campus.

We closed out the 2020-2021 school year on a high note, both virtually and in-person, starting with a grad bus tour from June 1 to 4. See our short video here.

The Advancement Department, along with school photographer, Paul Mosey, visited Grade 12 students who live in Southern Ontario to drop off grad packages consisting of their Old Boy tie, a set of SAC-crested cufflinks courtesy of the Parents Guild, and a congratulatory lawn sign. Those living outside the GTA received their package by mail.

On June 17 and 18, we held an in-person graduation experience in the form of a campus grad tour. Small groups of 10 people, comprised of grads plus two guests and their advisor, enjoyed a 90-minute outdoor campus tour. They engaged in special activities, including, most importantly, graduation under a tent, professional photographs, and more.

On June 18 at 6 p.m., we hosted a live-streamed event honouring the 117 Class of 2021 graduates. A presentation from Head of School, Kevin McHenry, and the valedictory address by Head Prefect, Alex Ventin, were made at this time.

While things were very different this year, we still shared our common goal of providing our students, faculty, staff, and parents with an experience that will last a lifetime," Mr. McHenry said to the Grade 12 grads. 

"Just think, in the year 2046, when you return to SAC for your 25th reunion, the word 'COVID' will be mentioned more than a few times, and you'll recall how through it all, you didn't give up. You kept ongoing. You pushed through with your studies despite the pandemic and the global uprising against racism and inequality. You made it through all of this – and you lived the School motto, Quit ye like men, be strong."

Mr. McHenry praised all the people who had a hand in the success of all students this year, particularly the graduating class. "I have been completely awestruck by the commitment, perseverance, and determination of this group of educators. Thank you to every member of our incredible faculty and staff for your collective efforts throughout the 2020-2021 school year. As always, you have gone well above and beyond the call of duty."

He also announced the winner of the Biafran Award, which goes to the SAC staff or faculty member meaning the most to their year. A donation for hunger relief will be made in the name of Mrs. Wendy Marshall. 

Because the finale of the graduation year could not be celebrated in our usual fanfare, Mr. McHenry shared tentative plans to bring the entire graduating class and their parents back to campus on Oct. 8, the Friday of the Thanksgiving weekend, pandemic regulations permitting. He also mentioned An Andrean Christmas at Roy Thomson Hall is slated for Dec. 10, and the Class of 2021 and their parents will be given complimentary tickets.

You can watch the live-streamed ceremony here. The academic and major school prize winners were also announced, and you can see the list here
 
Middle School Prize Day was Wednesday, June 16, and the celebration included an on-campus experience for the grads that was a scaled-down version of the Graduates' Prize Day, as well as a live-streamed component.
 
Assistant Head of School, Director of Middle School, Diversity & Inclusion, Sabrina D'Angelo, spoke virtually from the podium in Ketchum Auditorium, for a second year, to congratulate the 74 Grade 8 graduates.
 
"We gathered in the fall, full of hope and anticipation for a year of all things red and white. When we reflect on our actual return to school following the first wave of the pandemic and the involvement of 2021, we did not experience the school year we projected. Instead, we put on our resiliency boots and survived the second and third waves...We masked up, tried our best to social distance – parents, I'm not sure if you are aware just how difficult it is to keep these busy and so tactile boys apart from one another!"
 
Sabrina noted all the measures taken to keep everyone at SAC safe: attending class by cohort, using bins and laundry baskets in place of lockers, replacing the dress code with casual and spirit wear, practicing hand hygiene, exploring arts and sports, having hot lunches delivered, establishing Avant-Garde Wednesday (coding, community giving, wellness, and outdoor education), experiencing hygge culture, and frolicking at outdoor recess every day.
 
"You experienced grit, resiliency, and independence. Your growth has been tremendous," Sabrina noted.
 
"As you close the Middle School chapter, reframe how you think about today and your future. This is not the end of a journey. Instead, it marks the beginning as you enter a new phase of your St. Andrew's College career."
 
Ethan Fleming '25, the class valedictorian, offered a few words to his fellow graduates: "This year's been difficult, to say the least: lockdowns on and off, not getting to see family or friends, bad hair, and sports being cancelled. But even through all this, we did it. We persevered through whatever life has thrown at us to get to where we are today."
 
Ethan thanked the teachers, dining hall staff, custodians, groundskeepers, help desk and tech support staff, and all support staff. Each Middle School boy also had a chance to speak about their school experience and offer their appreciation.
 
You can watch the entire live-streamed event here. (Check out Sabrina's list of 74 lessons she learned as the Director of Middle School, one for each grad, at 14:45 in the video.)
 
Please see the Grade 8 Prize Day list here.
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St. Andrew's College
15800 Yonge Street, Aurora, ON L4G 3H7 Canada
Tel: 905-727-3178