13 years of memories

Emma Graney
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Red Bay's graduating class of three

When Nathan Macey, Mark Yetman and Donovan Yetman walk out of the doors of Basque Memorial for the last time in June, it will be the end of an era.

At the end of the year, Nathan Macey (left), Mark Yetman and Donovan Yetman of Basque Memorial in Red Bay will part ways after 13 years of schooling together.

When Nathan Macey, Mark Yetman and Donovan Yetman walk out of the doors of Basque Memorial for the last time in June, it will be the end of an era.

They are the only three graduates from the school this year, and that last day will spell the end of 13 years schooling together.

From kindergarten to grade 12, the three boys have spent each year as classmates; their older friends and siblings have graduated, leaving them as the oldest three at Basque Memorial.

But while they've all been to all of each other's birthdays and they're three of just 22 students at the school, don't make the mistake of thinking they're best mates.

If you grew up in a city or even a bigger community, it can be hard to wrap your head around the thought of spending your entire schooling years with the same two people.

Didn't they sometimes... well... annoy each other?

Mark chuckles, ducks his head and chews on his lip ring.

"Me and Mark did," admits Nathan, giving a quick grin and furtively looking up from under his red baseball cap.

"Well, yeah, but it's not so bad now," says Mark.

There's a contemplative nod and an "I guess so" from Nathan.

In the company of an unknown reporter, they're a quiet bunch of lads -- short spoken and prone to shrugs, pretty much like every other 17-year-old.

With some encouragement from their teacher, Elaine Halbot, the trio give a glimpse into their grad held mid-May.

They decorated the gym in streamers of red, black and white (as an aside, those aren't the school colours, just "what we decided on" says Donovan) and former Miss Newfoundland and Labrador, Red Bay native Sherry-Lynn Butt, was the guest speaker.

"It looked beautiful, the gym really looked gorgeous," says Ms. Halbot. She may gush more than any of the boys, but they nod.

Mark gives a rundown of his valedictorian speech, "just about leaving, being a bit nervous, but not forgetting where you came from, that kind of thing," he says.

"It looked beautiful, the gym really looked gorgeous," Basque Memorial teacher Elaine Halbot

Is he nervous then?

"No. Nope, not at all."

Mark's looking forward to heading to St. John's to MUN, to study... actually, he's not yet sure what he'll study, he just knows he'll figure something out.

Nathan plans to take a year off to work and then train as a welder, while Donovan is going to study civil engineering.

So if they weren't hanging out with each other after school, what did they do?

"I like basketball," volunteers Nathan, "as long as it's not too windy. And, you know, we've got four-wheelers, dirt bikes, boats - stuff like that."

Then there's the after school sport that Basque Memorial has excelled in over the past couple of years.

Nathan and Donovan played ball hockey, heading with his classmates up to Cartwright for a tournament ("we didn't win, but yeah, it was fun," says Nathan), while Mark and Donovan played volleyball, heading to intra-school tournaments in their final year.

Right now, Mark doesn't seem too keen on coming back to Red Bay anytime soon, yet in his valedictorian speech he mentioned things like remembering your roots and where you came from.


"Well, you know, we're from here," he says. But he gives a very definitive "nope" when asked if he'll come back.

The other two are more circumspect on their possible return to the place they grew up.

"Maybe, but I'll definitely be back to visit," says Donovan.

"There might be some work at the Churchill," says Nathan, "so maybe."

Until then they'll sit their exams. Then they'll part ways, the three grads from Basque Memorial.       

Organizations: Churchill

Geographic location: Red Bay, St. John's, Cartwright

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