Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Grade 8 Graduation

Yvonne Belair
At the doors of the church before Mass

It was a hot summer’s day (the temperature reached a high of 30C) when I graduated from Grade 8 on 28 June 1972 – 37 years ago today.

I had spent the last two years of elementary school (grades 7 and 8) at St-Gérard in my hometown of Timmins, Ontario. Since the school was located within the parish of Notre-Dame-du-Perpétuel-Secours, the ceremony took place at this church.

I didn’t keep an invitation or a program as souvenirs, but from other photos, I know that the graduation class and our guests first attended Mass. We then went downstairs to the church hall, where I think a buffet was served. The diplomas and awards portion followed, and our evening ended with a student dance.

Yvonne Belair
Receiving our diplomas.
I'm second from the right, beside my friend Carole Arsenault.

I really looked forward to my graduation and the planning that went into it. It was a special occasion and Mom splashed out on new dress for me. It was better than a store-bought dress, though, because mine was made by my Aunt Joan, my godmother, who’s a great seamstress. I can still see myself at the fabric store looking through patterns trying to decide which one to choose, but I can’t remember if Mom or Aunt Joan was with me. I also chose the light cotton fabric in a beautiful lemon yellow floral pattern. The lined dress was gently gathered at the waist and featured a scooped neckline, short, flared sleeves, and a long yellow satiny bow. I loved my grad dress and kept it all these years. It’s in as good condition as the day I wore it.

That afternoon, I had my hair done in town by Mom’s hairdresser. I usually wore my shoulder-length hair loose or in ponytails, but for my grad, my hair was styled tightly in a bun with curls framing my face. I also remember that the hairdresser used so much hairspray that it took me days to comb out my hair.

My teachers and I

In the above picture, I’m standing with my teachers. I remember them all, except for Madame Bourget. (I wonder if she was from the school board?) From left to right are Madame Lina Bourget, Madame Gail Lafleur, myself, Madame Lorraine Bergeron, Mademoiselle Joanne Duciaume, and Madame Mariette Julien. Monsieur Claude Belanger is at the back.

Besides my dress and photos, I have three other souvenirs of my graduation: my final report card (Bulletin d’appréciation du progrès réalisé), signed by my main teacher (Madame Bergeron) and the school principal (Soeur Hectorine Dupuis, s.a.s.v.), my diploma (Certificat de promotion), and my certificate of excellence (mention d’excellence) in History.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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