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Feature - First among equals

A year of firsts for the Class of 2002 and the Whistler community

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Rybar said each class has a different "atmosphere" and the interactions between the students sets the tone for the year.

But since many of the 54 graduating students have been in school together since Kindergarten they have been working on their own special class personality for many years.

In elementary school things were different for this class, said Rybar. They were not so unified.

But as the students moved through high school a certain sense of strength was gained by less popular students and the strength broke down barriers creating a class of students who move easily amongst each other no matter what the occasion.

"I think we have really been connected to the school and we really do know everybody in the school," said Hailey DeKraker, who will attend the arts program at UBC this September on full scholarship and who has also won a number of other national awards.

"Our grad class has not just been through high school together but our whole education and so we are a pretty tight knit group."

DeKraker points to the sleepover held last Thursday night at the school as a great example of the harmony in the class.

"It was one of those nights where everybody talked with everybody about anything," she said.

The mood was still jovial at 6:30 a.m. the next morning as teachers and Principal Davies, sporting a floral apron, served up scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, muffins, fresh fruit, and orange juice.

Looking no worse for wear after the sleepover Blake Jamieson described this grad year as amazing.

Jamieson has a unique perspective on the class and the year because he only moved to Whistler a year ago, from Tsawwassen, to ski race.

"It’s been great," he said. "Well, they pretend to like me anyway," he quipped.

Jamieson plans to keep ski racing for the UBC team, where he will be taking sciences.

"The people are really genuine," he said of Whistler.

"People really do hold a large sense of community here. That is really important to them and I had never experienced that before. At first I thought it was a little quirky I guess, and then it really grows on you and it is very nice."

Principal Davies believes the sense of community the class shares and their success is no accident.

"Of course you have the kids, but the parents and the home environment that they come from, and the nurturing that has taken place along the way I think it speaks well of them and bodes well for the community," he said.