G.P. Vanier High School in Donnelly honoured graduating students with “Grad on the Go” from June 16-18. Traditional graduation ceremonies were unable to be held over risks and restrictions in the coronavirus pandemic. Each graduate was honoured at their home. Each graduate received a special box, which included the speech from valedictorian Emma Isert.
By Emma Isert
To everyone present, wherever you are, for the graduation ceremony of 2020, I would like to say thank you for being here.
It was a great honour to be chosen as the valedictorian and I hope that I can represent and encourage my fellow classmates with these words.
Wow, what a crazy time!
I wish I could be reading and celebrating this moment with all of you from the stage, but I hope that these words will be just as impactful on paper as they would have been in person.
We’ve spent years preparing for this day, and now we’ve finally climbed to the top of the mountain.
How many late nights did we spend cramming for tests and diplomas and how many early morning bus rides did we spend doing homework?
Everyone who doesn’t have to write the math diploma in the second semester, consider yourselves lucky.
How many hours did we spend at school with teachers and friends, how many tournaments, band trips and field trips did we participate in?
How many activities did we volunteer for and how many people did we help along the way?
How many days did we sit in our desks waiting for this moment to arrive?
The truth is we waited a long time, but it was worth it.
Our graduation may not have turned out the way we hoped.
I know many of us, if not all of us, were excited to finally walk on the stage and get handed our diplomas, but you’re still here today being recognized for the hard work that you put in for the past 12 years.
We owe this achievement to many people.
Thanks to our families who have supported us through all the ups and downs of life, the friends that have always been there when times were hard, the teachers that have had to deal with us.
Let’s be honest. We weren’t always an easy group to manage.
But most of all, give yourselves a pat on the back and remember that even though you were supported along the way, you are the one that got here.
You guys should be proud of yourselves.
It’s not easy graduating under normal circumstances, let alone graduating during a pandemic and taking classes through Zoom.
I know we’ve all struggled with something in this last semester.
But if this time has shown me anything, it is that we’ve all grown and come a long way since the beginning of this year.
I hope you guys can see this, too, and realize that no matter what life throws at you, with a little bit of support, perseverance and a positive outlook, you can overcome anything.
Before I finish, I would like to focus the attention not on our circumstances, but on each other.
Everyone of us has unique gifts and talents that we’ve discovered over the course of our lifetime.
For some of us, our strengths lie in academics, others are amazing at sports, art, music, volunteering, working with people or working outdoors.
These skills will lead you somewhere and I hope that when the time comes, you won’t let fear stop you from pursuing what you want.
Don’t be scared to dream big, graduation is the beginning not the end, and I know that if anyone can make it in this crazy world it’s us.
Good luck, everyone, I’ll miss you.