When I sat down to write this speech, I had no clue how it was going to start, but I knew how it was going to end – and I realized that high school was very similar.
When we started at Glenmary, we didn’t know how things were going to go… what to expect.
It’s terrifying being the smallest kids in the school, or the newest – but we knew that it was going to end here.
Though, between the beginning and the end, we grew closer together.
An assortment of memories lay tucked in the middle; and every single one makes me incredibly happy, and incredibly proud, to be a part of this extraordinary graduating class.
Now, having already mentioned them, I feel as though I am at liberty to divulge some of these memories.
The first I can remember is when Dane “accidentally” stapled his hand in grade 7.
Believe it or not it was the most interesting story that circulated the hallways for weeks.
Next, I remember Brayden walking into Ms. Mingay’s English classroom with a banana in his pants, he did nothing but casually pull it out and start eating it.
Then there was a very, very, inconspicuous incident that occurred in the parking lot. I believe it was Cole Yaniuk’s infamous Ford Ranger and Tyler’s Jeep that were pushed into the middle of the lot.
Effectively blocking their vehicles and many others in.
I don’t think any of us have left our cars unlocked since.
I could go on with the funny things; Mason eating a granola bar with the wrapper on, the many, many, slightly concerning jokes that were made in Mrs. Adam’s Social 30 class.
Megan Ryan getting one of those sticky hands stuck on the ceiling of the bio classroom.
Chloe’s jokes in chem.
Erika Patterson’s in psychology.
Mrs. Gangon and Kyle arguing constantly.
Mackenzie’s cheetah print pajamas that she wore to English and Math.
Maddie Coen’s list of stupid things that we have said.
Believe me, it’s an extensive list.
But the ones that will stick with us even longer, are the ones that have made us who we are.
Like meeting in the shop office whenever we could, before classes, during classes, after classes.
Because some of the best people were there, it was a good place where the “cliques” didn’t apply, we could be ourselves there, and joke about stupid things without caring about being judged.
Mr. Paul made sure that we always had a good time.
Ms. Boutet’s English class.
Her jokes made everyone’s days better.
We learned some important lessons in that class and I hope that they will stick with you forever.
Bus rides and trips to tournaments when the girls’ basketball teams listened to Traveling Soldier by the Dixie Chicks.
Mr. P. sang along with us.
Many memories were made on those buses, whether it was volleyball games, basketball games, or heading to the rec centre or the pool for gym class.
Mr. Harrop’s jelly beans that he keeps in a penguin cookie jar.
Those jelly beans were the best things in the world, and I remember we used to put all the black jelly beans in the lid that Megan Haunholter once broke, because Ethan Banks was pretty much the only one who would eat them.
Mrs. Gagnon’s explanations in Chem 30.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to walk into a club without thinking about the polarity of hydrogen bonds.
Mrs. Adams’ Social classes.
I know for sure that those classes will stick with some of us for a long time.
Between Safwan’s jokes, Zach’s rants, and Nolan being an excellent accomplice… we had so much fun in those classes.
We could be ourselves there as well, because Mrs. Adams was unapologetically herself, and that in itself made everyone else themselves too.
Getting to miss afternoon classes because of basketball and volleyball games. Cheering for the Saints was something a lot of us will never forget.
Each one of those games, victory or loss, was a reason to be proud of our school – because no matter the outcome, Glenmary never half-assed it.
Mr. Moffet’s foldables.
I was never in one of his classes but even I knew what they were.
I hope some of you find yourselves doing one last foldable for him while studying for an exam in the future.
If you do, I am sure that he would be proud.
Becoming friends with unexpected people and, in turn, discovering that people really are like snowflakes, completely unique.
There is a key point in these special memories – and the funny ones as well.
We shone our brightest during these moments.
No matter if it was as little as a jelly bean or as big as winning the Red and Gold tournament – we were more ourselves.
We weren’t worried if we were cheering too loud or if our joke – as Safwan would say – sounded a bit too communist, or if we were late to class because we stayed in the shop too long.
It didn’t matter because we were happy, we were us.
My biggest hope for Glenmary’s graduating class of 2021 is that we don’t let our fear of the world, or judgment – or anything else for that matter – overpower how bright we truly are.
Throughout the entirety of our high school experience, we have learned much about each other; however, we have learned a great deal more about ourselves. Never hide who you are. Never.
Do not let others smother your light, because the only thing that that will do, is make things darker.
Even if you are scared of your power, your intelligence, or your drive, don’t hide it away.
With that being said, I have a quotation from the movie Coach Carter to share with you.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
“It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
“Your playing small does not serve the world.
“There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
“We were all meant to shine as children do; it’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same.
“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” [Coach Carter, 2005, MTV Films]
Let’s move toward our futures, whatever your may be, and remember to let yourself be free.
To grow, to learn, and to flourish; as mentioned in the quotation, “by letting our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same”.
Let your environment grow around you, allow yourself to enjoy the little things, because it will make the big things more worthwhile.
Experience new things, never let yourself settle for something less than you deserve.
Granted, sometimes you’ll need to pay your dues, yes, but that is a small stepping stone in the path of life.
Learn as you go, there is no rush.
Enjoy every moment that you’re given, don’t wait for your cataclysm to come to start living the way you truly want to.
Don’t wait to be happy.
I would like to leave you with these words by Jack Kerouac.
Because I hope that when you come across a bridge in life, no matter how wide, how narrow, or how far it stretches in the distance; these words might come back to you and remind you – that there is a time to cross a bridge, and there is also a time… to burn it to the ground.
“Here’s to the crazy ones.
“The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers.
“The round pegs in the square holes.
“The ones who see things differently.
“They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.
“You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
“About the only thing you can’t do, is ignore them because they change things. “They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. “They push the human race forward.
“Maybe they have to be crazy.
Because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” [Jack Kerouac]
So go and be crazy. Go and change the world.