graduation cap diploma isolated on a white background

by Phil Ambroziak

The smallest class in Goodsoil Central School history is saying good-bye.
Last Friday (May 24), the school held its annual graduation ceremony during which three, yes only three, students received their high school diplomas.

“We’ve traditionally had a very small number of students enrolled at our school in any given year,” explained Goodsoil Central School principal Karen Hofer. “For the last three years we’ve only had 117 students enrolled between Kindergarten and Grade 12, and this year’s graduating class has always been our smallest class in recent memory. We’ve had graduating classes with only seven students and with only five students, but this is by far our smallest yet.”

While one graduate, Austin Godin, moved to Goodsoil when he was in Grade 5, his classmates – Steven Stremick and Atlanta Jane Wagmann – have been there from day one. Over the years, the class size did increase here and there as new students came and went, but Hofer said these three have been the core group for the most part.

“This has always been a small group, so they were always part of a split class, she said. “They would always be part of say a Grades 9 and 10 gym class or a Grades 11 and 12 science class. They were always attached to other grade levels in some way, so when it came time to planning this year’s graduation we considered the possibility of holding the event in a smaller venue.”

However, much like previous graduating classes, this year’s group chose to still have their ceremony at the Goodsoil Hall.

“It worked out because our community always shows so much support to the graduates each year,” Hofer added. “Former grads, family, friends, teachers and community members were able to pack the hall that night. Everyone knows our kids and wanted to be there for them.”

All three students graduated with honours. During his tenure at Goodsoil Central, Godin, Hofer said, demonstrated amazing math skills and competed in several Canada-wide math competitions where he placed in the top 25 percent.

“(By being in a small class) we got more help from teachers and we got to know teachers,” Godin said.

Stremick, meanwhile, has a passion and skill for sports, and has competed in provincial volleyball and golf during his time as a student. He is taking a year off and then plans to study power engineering in Calgary.

“Being in a small school was nice because we got to know everyone,” he noted. “We didn’t have to worry about getting bullied, had one-on-one time with the teacher, no tryouts or cuts for school sports and I made many close friends.” 

Wagmann also competed in several sports during her time at Goodsoil Central and received several medals for badminton at the Saskatchewan Winter Games. She plans to attend Portage College to pursue a career in social work. In addition, Wagmann’s musical talent is an important part of her life. She has released her first single Maybe Not Today on Spotify and iTunes. She has also performed at Telemiracle, the Dog Patch Music Festival and at Saskatchewan’s Next Big Star.

“We were always accompanied with another class, either the class above us or below us,” she said. “This made my school career much more enjoyable especially since I am the only girl in my class. I was able to have friends not only the same age as me but also younger and older.”

Hofer, meanwhile, said being part of a smaller school definitely allows teachers to get to really know their students.

“We really have some great kids here and, with this group in particular, we’re very excited about what the future holds for them,” she said.