Grad: ADSS Class of 2012 bids adieu to old school

The Alberni District Secondary School graduating class of 2012 prepares to walk off the stage and into the world on Friday.

Derrick Van Viegen

Being the last graduating class at Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS) could be like a funeral, but really it’s more like a wake.

“It’s like a funeral in a way, a kind of mourning,” says Derrick Van Viegen, master of ceremonies for this year’s graduation ceremonies. “But it’s a celebration too. It’s going to be explosive.”

Ryan Hart, valedictorian and co-chair of the grad committee, agrees.

“We want it to be the best, but we also want to remember the past with respect.”

The 267 graduates of the ADSS Class of 2012 hope to do just that at their ceremonies on Friday, June 29.

They are the last class to graduate at ADSS, as the school officially closes this summer. In the fall, students will head to the class at the new school erected near 10th Avenue and Roger Street.

But there are no hard feelings for the grads who won’t attend the new school.

“We were either going to be the first grad class in the new school or the last one in the old school,” says Hart. “This is better, because we can say goodbye.”

Van Viegen is a little disappointed.

“My sister is going to the new school. Yeah, I feel a little gypped,” he laughs. But he adds that life at ADSS hasn’t been about the physical building.

“I would describe the four years as a great change,” says Van Viegen. “Really new and really remarkable. You become a part of the community. The students, the teachers, the kindness. It is exciting now because  we are becoming a part of a memory. I have never felt this good … it’s very cool.”

Hart agrees.

“High school has been an ongoing process, each year builds and you get the excitement,” says Hart. “This year has been the best year. We are not just ending high school, we are ending a part of life … it’s over, now what? That’s exciting.”

Hart says the Class of 2012 is special.

“I feel like this class is different from other classes,” says Hart. “Maybe we are not the most academic class, but (we) have changed a lot,” he says of his classmates.

“I think a lot of them are going to go far. Each step they take is going to take them to new places.”

Van Viegen says the class has enjoyed its high school years.

“We’re quite a rowdy bunch but that’s a good thing,” says Van Viegen.

“They are enjoying their life. In my grad year I have made new friends. It is amazing how close you get to your classmates. Now it’s hard to imagine not seeing these people again.”

Those people include the staff at ADSS, says Hart.

“When you are graduating, you have fun with the teachers. They know you and they want to work with you,” says Hart.

“They give you that help if you need it. I like how the teachers prepare you. They want to send out the best they can.”

Van Viegen adds, “it’s part of that community feel. We are in it together.”

As their own high school careers come to a close, the boys have some advice for those who will come after them.

“Have fun, it’s going to go by fast,” counsels Hart. “Of course go to classes; you have to pass them. But have fun.”

Van Viegen agrees.

“Have fun with it. It is serious, but you are graduating. It’s really big, so make it big.”

One of the best ways to enjoy your school years? Get involved.

“It’s so fun to get involved,” says Van Viegen. “I have met new people this year and have stronger bonds.”

Hart adds, “You get to know people better and have great experiences.”

The theme for this year’s graduating ceremony is Hollywood, complete with a red carpet and spotlights to highlight every grad.

Hart is practicing his speech every day.

“I want to recognize the old and the years of ADSS,” says Hart. “But also the bright and new future ahead for the school and especially the grads.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VALLEY SENIORS: A second chance comes with enough memories for two

The Dietrich family makes its mark on Abbeyfield House in Port Alberni

Inquest into death of Jocelyn George postponed due to COVID-19

Coroner’s inquest into 2016 death of Port Alberni woman was supposed to start July 6

Port Alberni’s Joe Hill celebrates 90th birthday with waves through a window

Retired accountant receives best wishes via Zoom, meets newborn great-grandchild

Alberni Golf Club reopens with new COVID-19 rules

J and L Mixed Scramble kicks off 2020 season

Help is available for Port Alberni businesses restarting after COVID-19 closures

Popular food truck finds a new location on Johnston Road

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read