The Guardian (Charlottetown)

Students part of their community

From running a business to designing the cover of the yearbook, Kinkora Regional High School has some exceptiona­l students

- DAVE STEWART dave.stewart @theguardia­ @PEIGuardia­n @DveStewart

KINKORA — Running his own business for the past three years has been a passion for 18-year-old Harrison Duffy.

The Kinkora Regional High School graduate is in his third season operating the Somerset Ice Cream Bar located in the heart of the community.

The son of Robert and Karen Duffy launched the business when he was just 15 years old. It has since grown to become one of the busiest spots in the community. Not even the current pandemic has put a dent in business.

He hired back all six of his staff and says this has been one of his best summers yet.

“I knew at the end of the day we would be OK because we’re a very tight-knit community,’’ said Duffy. “I hired all my staff back, and my main thing was I was going to give them all hours; we were going to stay open and if it’s not a huge money-making year, well, we’ll carry on to next year. But, it’s been the opposite. We’ve been very busy.’’

Duffy, who was one of 36 students to graduate from the high school on June 26, will be busy this evening as the high school holds its prom parade at 5 p.m. While the whole prom scene isn’t Duffy’s thing, he has promised free ice cream for the entire grad class.

Kathy Linkletter, one of the parents who has been organizing graduation activities for the Class of 2020, said Duffy is one of the class’s exceptiona­l stories.

“He’s an entreprene­ur, but he has also given back to his community,’’ said Linkletter, whose daughter, Charlotte, also graduated. “He helps at church; he’s a great volunteer at Kinkora Place. He has also worked at our local pub, O’Shea’s. He had a vision. He wanted to do something as an entreprene­ur; someone who did something for himself.’’

Duffy said he was never the best student. His interests lie elsewhere.

“School wasn’t necessaril­y my thing, (but) I’m very interested in how things work. I was interested in how businesses are run and how businesses make money and the whole operation in general. I had a vision. I figured I could make a good go of it. Three years later, here we are,’’ he said.

But, right now, Duffy, like many of his school mates, is trying to focus on enjoying as many of the graduation activities as possible. It has been a turbulent year for students everywhere. Many haven’t seen their friends since things were shut down in March.

Victoria Corney, 17, another one of the 36 students who graduated, wanted to make sure she did her part in making the year as memorable as possible.

Victoria has a passion for art and design, so when the school asked her to draw the front and back cover of the 2020 yearbook she jumped at the chance.

“It’s something I’m never going to forget because it's something that everyone is going to keep,’’ Victoria said. “I was pretty nervous to see what people would think, (but) I’m really proud of myself ... it’s definitely something we’ll remember.’’

The front cover has a drawing of the school, which Victoria created. The back cover features Victoria’s drawing of the school’s Kinkora Blazers logo.

Linkletter said Duffy and Victoria are just two examples of a pretty special graduating class.

“I think we have a pretty incredible group,’’ Linkletter said. “I’ve learned just this past week (leading to the prom parade) just how talented students are; how strong the community stories are. Victoria is a great student. I know just looking at her.’’

Matt Killeen, vice-principal of the school, said it’s impossible to put into words how proud the staff is of the class.

“I commend the fact they were able to persevere and adapt to a difficult year,’’ Killeen said. “None of them would have drawn up that this would happen with graduation and prom, so they’ve had to adapt. I can say they’ll all be better for it as they move into the workforce or off into post-secondary.

Killeen said Duffy and Victoria aren’t just evidence of what the school can produce but examples of how tightknit the school community is and how it produces young people who get involved.

Duffy said he isn’t sure what his long-range plans are. He plans on attending Holland College in the fall, majoring in business, of course. Victoria doesn’t see long-term aspiration­s for herself as an artist.

“I want to keep this passion for myself.’’

 ?? DAVE STEWART • THE GUARDIAN ?? Harrison Duffy, who recently graduated from Kinkora Regional High School, started his own business, Somerset Ice Cream Bar, three years ago when he was only 15 years old. It is flourishin­g today.
DAVE STEWART • THE GUARDIAN Harrison Duffy, who recently graduated from Kinkora Regional High School, started his own business, Somerset Ice Cream Bar, three years ago when he was only 15 years old. It is flourishin­g today.
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