Rivier grads a close-knit bunch

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Matt Gardner
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Reflecting on the past while looking to the future, Rivier Academy’s graduating class of 2014 had no shortage of fond memories at their official grad ceremony on Friday.

But for valedictorian Nicole Kriel, one memory stands out -- the close relationships students had with their teachers and with each other.

“It feels like a family … Our class is only 16 graduates, so it’s very personal,” Kriel said.

“We’ve always had funny times together,” she added. “It was very fun.”

Fellow graduating student Chandra Hollands echoed Kriel’s sentiments, noting that she had become “less anxious” in her five years at Rivier Academy.

“When I came to Rivier, I was very socially anxious,” Hollands said.

“Elementary school was rough for me, so when I came into the accepting environment that Rivier creates, it really allowed me to blossom, and I’ve grown as a musician and as a friend and as a leader, I think.”

For her part, Kriel credited her six years at Rivier with making her a more mature person with greater awareness of the need to respect others, due in no small part to the school’s emphasis on morals and politeness.

Aside from her position as valedictorian, Kriel received several awards at Friday’s graduation exercises including decorations for biology, history, English, physical education and general proficiency.

She also took home the Governor General’s Bronze Medal and an accompanying scholarship.

Kriel ascribed her drive and hard work to the positive influence of her parents -- respectively a doctor and a dentist -- as well as the teachers at Rivier.

“They know you personally, and they tell you to make sure it’s done and they show you how to manage your time well,” she said of the latter.

Going forward, Kriel has her sights set on a career as a dentist. She will be attending her first year of university at SIAST Woodland Campus before moving to Saskatoon for subsequent years.

It feels like a family. Nicole Kriel

The valedictorian noted the role of Rivier in priming her for her continued education.

“I’m glad that I came here to this school,” Kriel said. “It’s definitely prepared me for what university’s going to be like … I enjoyed being here.”

Meanwhile, Hollands is taking her future one step at a time.

She plans on working at summer camp for the next few months before attending Millar College of the Bible.

“I didn’t want to jump into university if I didn’t know what was next … I’ll do biblical studies for a year and then figure out what’s next from there,” she said.

The experience of graduating from Rivier was an emotional one for Hollands.

“I knew I would cry, so that’s good,” she said.

“It’s kind of crazy, I think, because this has been a big part of my life … When I came to Rivier, it was a new beginning and I’m at that place again. So it’s kind of a feeling of reflection as I move forward yet again to new adventures.

“I know that being at Rivier has taught me all kinds of skills through adventures and misadventures which I know I will need in the future, and I’m grateful for it.”

Other members of the graduating class of 2014 included Mikaela Crawford, Kennedy Elsaesser, Keanna Georget, Kianne Henry, Naomi Jalbert, Anna Morley, Nina Nahachewsky, Danika Nickel, Alyx Orieux, Kailey Pochipinski, Sierra Smith, Taylor Whitford, Crysta Waller and Darien Wolfe.

Organizations: Millar College of the Bible, Rivier Academy

Geographic location: Saskatoon

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