Another Successful Graduation at Youville Centre

June 28th, 2012


On Thursday, June 7th, 2012, 21 young mothers walked across the graduation stage at Youville Centre to accept their Ontario Secondary School Diplomas. Since these young women entered our doors, they have been preparing for this day, and in the days and weeks leading up to the big event they worked together to make it an extra special occasion.

Before the big day even arrived, our School Council held a bake sale to raise money for a special graduation lunch that they would enjoy offsite with their Teachers and Student Support Workers after graduation. Many of the students involved baked their own cakes, cookies and pies, and one student (an aspiring Pastry Chef) even decorated a special cake to celebrate the 2012 graduates.

Leading up to this momentous occasion, many of our students were lucky enough to receive grad dresses from Fairy Godmother of Ottawa, and a few students were even featured in the Ottawa Citizen! What a wonderful service Fairy Godmother provides, and our students couldn’t have been more proud to wear their special dresses on graduation day.

Our students are beautiful inside and out, but to add that extra sparkle, we have Versailles Academy to thank, for their time, energy and talent in creating beautiful hairstyles and make-up looks for our graduates.

This year we were very fortunate to continue to have support from many Bursary Donors who make it possible for our graduates to continue their education at college or university. At Youville Centre we have a very special bursary called the “Second Generation” Bursary, where the child of a Youville Centre Alumna is able to receive support for their post-secondary education. We give this award out in honour of our former Executive Director, Sister Maco Cassetta, but this year we were able to give out an additional Second Generation Bursary in honour of our most recent former Executive Director, Judith Sarginson. Youville Centre’s Founder, Sister Betty Ann Kinsella, was also in attendance, and we were lucky enough to get a photo of her with both Judith Sarginson and Cindy Simpson, our current Executive Director.

On graduation day, the gym was full of family and friends of the graduates, Bursary Donors, community partners, staff, volunteers and other Youville Centre supporters. What an amazing display of support this was for our graduates, and our stage was made beautiful by lovely arrangements from Mulligans Florist. At the reception, delicious cupcakes were enjoyed courtesy of Little Cakes, although they were eaten up so quickly that we missed getting a photo!

Alumna Jennifer-Anne Gibson (Class of 2005) spoke honestly and eloquently, expressing her gratitude towards Youville Centre: “I will be forever grateful to Youville for their support, their helping hands, and for giving me the opportunity to provide myself and my children with the best future possible”, she said, with her now 9 year old daughter in attendance.

Our brave and passionate Valedictorian, Nathalie, shared her personal story and had this inspiring message for her fellow graduates: “Let not today mark the end of a chapter in our life, but the beginning of a beautiful journey. Go out into the big amazing world, and be great at every single thing you do and take pride in it!”

Of course we cannot forget all of the volunteers that helped us to prepare for the graduation ceremony — you know who you are, and we could not have done it without you! We would like to thank everyone who was a part of this important celebration, and we wish all 21 of our graduates well as they make their way into the world of work and post-secondary education.

Congratulations, ladies! You did it!