Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Xaverian Farewell: Spirit of community shines as Class of 2021 recommits to pursuit of excellence 

March 28th, 2021
StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin and Linda Hakin stand with several members of the Class of 2021 following the Xaverian Farewell Ceremony

Senior students—soon-to-be-graduates clad in black robes—took time to celebrate the spirit of community, to reflect on their journey at StFX so far, and to recommit to the pursuit of excellence as members of the Class of 2021 gathered at venues across campus on March 28 to participate in the Xaverian Farewell Ceremony.

The ceremony, a traditional farewell for graduating students, bookends the Xaverian Welcome Ceremony held annually during first year where members of each entering class pledge themselves to the pursuit of excellence in their academic, social and spiritual lives. 

“This is the moment, a new chapter in your life,” StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin said in welcoming remarks to open the ceremony in the University Chapel. Due to COVID-19 gathering size restrictions, the Xaverian Farewell was live-streamed to four other campus locations including Barrick Auditorium in Mulroney Hall, the Schwartz Auditorium, the Keating Centre Conference Rooms, and Coach K Court. Each venue had a Dean as host and faculty and staff members welcoming members of the senior class. 

Senior students write reflections to be included in the time capsule to be opened in 2046, 25 years time

“It’s not an end point, but rather a transition,” Dr. Hakin told the Class of 2021 as he advised the students to take time to explore the paths available to them and to be confident in the knowledge that StFX has provided the tools they need to succeed. 

Dr. Hakin also acknowledged their tenacity in navigating a pandemic during their senior year, and the strength and adaptability they and the StFX community have shown this past year in offering face-to-face learning. 

“Your journey has been unlike any who came before you,” he said as he congratulated the students on all their achievements. 

“Well done everyone. We are proud of you.”

This moment, he told the students is an opportunity to reflect on their journey at StFX, and to look ahead to the future, including how they will continue the StFX legacy of giving back to those around you.  

“Go and make a difference.” 

PRESERVING PIECE OF STFX

The ceremony had many touching moments, including preserving a piece of StFX as we know it today. The Class of 2021’s Life Officers proceeded down the chapel’s centre aisle with items to be sealed in a time capsule to be opened in 25 years, at Homecoming in 2046. As well, all students were asked to fill out a provided card, including their reflections, for the time capsule. 

Alumni Affairs Director Shanna Hopkins introduced the Life Officers, who include Sean De van der schueren, Jeneva Dennis, Ally Hancock, Kyra Tessier, Katelyn Libbus, Reid McDonald, Maggie Oliver, Kielan Pilgram and Alyzandra Torreon. 

“Our lives are richer because of you,” Ms. Hopkins told all members of the Class of 2021. “Together, you have created a place of purpose, community and family. Embrace what the experience has meant and let it live on in part of you,” she said.

“As you become alumni, recognize this experience is not over. It’s just beginning. Welcome to the strongest alumni network in Canada.” 

In his remarks, Academic Vice-President and Provost Dr. Kevin Wamsley reminded the students that four years ago, we sat here together about to embark on an exciting academic journey. Soon, you’ll turn the page on the next chapter of your life. “I have no doubt, you’re not the same person you were four years ago,” he said as he noted he hoped their journey has been full of friendships, lessons learned in and out of class, and defining moments.

“Four years ago, I asked you who would you serve. I ask you that again,” he said. Who will you serve, your community, your profession, the marginalized and less fortunate, he asked as he encouraged the students to make the world a better place for the next generation. 

“There is a world out there that demands your attention.”

Dr. Wamsley, in wishing the students all the best as they soon embark on this next chapter, also asked them to wear their X-Rings with pride and with a sense of responsibility to serve others. 

It was a sentiment echoed by speakers University Chaplain Father Donald MacGillivary and by Vice-President Students Elizabeth Yeo, who emceed the ceremony. 

The Xaverian Commitment was led by senior student Ryan Small, while Eriq Proctor led the Student Reflection. Classmate Kamy Roberge Carrington led the presentation of academic hoods as several senior students presented the hoods as a symbol of academic hopes. The students included Priscilla Panchol, Maya Lowe, Jake Porter, Tamara Cremo, Dante Coulter, Andrew Boyle, Rebecca Demmings, Tsz Nok Jerry Ko, Emily Sandre and Kennedy Nangle. 

The candlight procession from Mulroney Hall

Senior student Amy Graham closed the evening ceremony, leading her classmates in lighting individual candles. Students formed a candlelight procession exiting each venue, illuminating a path for faculty and staff as a symbol of the path faculty and staff have illuminated for them. These paths, Ms. Graham said, also serve as reminder for the future, “which we know will be bright…and a reminder to keep the StFX flame burning bright.” 

 

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