An annual urban rite of passage for graduating Jane-Finch students

York University graduation event

By Stephen weir

How does the old school rhyme go? “No more teachers, no more books, No more teacher’s dirty looks”. Well not until next Thursday!

On June 6th, 2024, the Jane and Finch community will gather to celebrate the 11th Annual Walk With High School Graduates. This year’s event promises to be a lively celebration of academic achievement and community spirit, featuring over 500 graduating students from CW Jefferys, Westview, Emery, and Downsview high schools, along with participants from James Cardinal McGuigan.

“It is really just about the students who are finished high school and are now entering the next steps in their lives,” explained long-time organizer Itah Sadu. “New to the walk this year will be graduating students from the Finch Avenue West Catholic High School (James Cardinal McGuigan).”

The day will commence at 10 AM with a kick-off at CW Jefferys Secondary School, featuring student presentations that highlight the talents and accomplishments of the graduates. At 11 AM, the highlight of the event, the parade, will begin. Students, educators, and community members will march from CW Jefferys to York University, a symbolic journey that represents the transition from secondary to post-secondary education.

The parade is scheduled to arrive at York University by noon, where a celebratory lunch and bursary ceremony will take place from 12 PM to 1 PM. The ceremony will not only honour the graduates but also include speeches and special presentations. Among the distinguished guests will be the Director of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Colleen Russell-Rawlins, and Shon Williams, a former Walk With Excellence alumnus and Downsview student, who will share his journey and words of inspiration.

The event will conclude at 2 PM at York University, leaving attendees with a sense of pride and accomplishment. The Walk With Excellence is more than just a parade; it is a testament to the hard work and dedication of these young students as they move forward to the next chapter of their educational journey.

The Walk With Excellence (WWE) is organized by the Blackhurst Cultural Centre, local Jane Finch/Black Creek high schools, the York-TD Community Engagement Centre (CEC), and the TDSB.

Each year, the event grows, with over 500 students participating, demonstrating the collective pride and support of the community.

This year, the WWE invites everyone to join in the celebrations. Parking will be available at CW Jefferys and York University.