Teens unite from afar to graduate together

Five cousins all graduated from Parkland secondary in 2012, and their parents have a connection to the school

Left to right

For one group of teens, the Parkland secondary school graduation on June 7 was a family affair.

Five cousins – Rebecca Groves, Alexis Tanner, Josefine Ferger, Tamara Esselink and Edward Gawne – all graduated the same day from the same school. Better yet, each grad had at least one parent who attended Parkland secondary as a teen.

“Five out of the five grads’ parents also graduated from or attended Parkland, so it’s a long line of us,” said Tamara Esselink’s mother, Debbie, a Parkland graduate whose husband Gerry also graduated from there.

“It’s the two of us together with our sisters that made this connection.”

Not all the teens grew up locally, but all attended Parkland for high school, Esselink explained.

“Josefine came all the way from Panama to finish high school here and Rebecca and her family moved down from Ladysmith after a family vacation in Holland. We all enjoyed being together on that trip and Rebecca really enjoyed spending time with her cousins so the whole family moved down here,” she said.

Although Esselink and her husband weren’t born on the Peninsula, they have lived in and around the area for most of their lives.

Both were born in Alberta and eventually settled in Sidney, Gerry as a child and Debbie as a teen.

“Now we’ve lived in same neighbourhood in Saanichton for 25 years,” laughed Esselink.

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