FMPSD’s ready to celebrate Class of 2016

Graduation ceremonies take place on August 27 with a grand march at MacIsland

By Kiran Malik-Khan, Fort McMurray Public School District

Frank Spragins Grad 2015

The graduates at Frank Spragins High School’s ceremony in 2015. The 2016 ceremonies will take place on August 27. Supplied photo

They are counting down. Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD) graduates are getting ready for August 27 – the big day for graduation ceremonies and the first ever combined grand march for all three public high schools.

Delayed due to the wildfires, individual graduation ceremonies will be hosted by Westwood Community High School, Fort McMurray Composite High School, and Frank Spragins High School on the same day. The grand march featuring an estimated 300 graduates from all three high schools will be held at MacDonald Island in the evening.

Lori Simpson, AP Chemistry Teacher, Westwood Community High School and FMPSD’s Graduation Coordinator has been overseeing the events.

“With several families still out of town, we have been reaching out to everyone and doing all we can to ensure they can attend graduation. We’re making sure this celebration will represent all schools by incorporating their school colours and logos in the festivities,” Simpson explained.

Sharing details of the grand march slated for 7 p.m., Simpson said students are excitedly preparing for the much-anticipated event.

“For the past several years Westwood graduates have celebrated graduation with a grand march and dance in the evening. However, this will be the first year where all three high schools will be walking across the stage together.”

“Our grad committee has been working hard to plan a spectacular event. We are calling it ‘Grad 2016 – The VIP Experience.’ Prior to the event, Mix 103.7 will be broadcasting live VIP Red Carpet interviews. The event will begin with the Graduate Grand March, followed by a prom-style dance. The dance will feature DJ Q-PiD, and the event includes hors d’oeuvres with mocktails,” Simpson added.

Momin Syed, who graduated from Fort McMurray Composite High School and is on the graduation planning committee calls the upcoming ceremony an “incredible second chance – thanks to the Fort McMurray Public School District.”

“We are extremely excited. During the fires we saw our friends and family elsewhere graduating whilst we were awaiting news on our beloved city’s status. The graduation ceremony in many aspects represents a ‘rite of passage’ or an ultimate accumulation of hard work, and it is amazing that we get to celebrate without hindrances anymore.”

“I am looking forward to walking across the stage and receiving a diploma signifying the end of my high school education, and the start of the next chapter in my life. I would like to thank everyone who had a part in organizing this year’s graduation ceremony, in many ways this is an extreme escape from the stressful weeks that we all had to endure,” added Syed.

Westwood Community High School graduate, Rabia Ikram echoed similar sentiments.

“I think it’s good that despite hardships we’re moving on, which is a big step. I’m looking forward to actually wearing the cap and gown,” Ikram shared.

Westwood Community High School and Frank Spragins High School will be hosting their ceremonies at MacDonald Island’s Nexen Field House at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. Fort McMurray Composite High School’s event will be at the Syncrude Sport and Wellness Centre, beginning at 11 a.m.

Graduation tickets are now available for $10 per person at the District Office located on 231 Hardin Street from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Four tickets per graduate (including the graduate) are being held until August 17 – after this deadline the remaining tickets will be released.

For additional questions, please contact Lori Simpson at

– Connect Weekly –