Pandemic brings valedictorian closer to classmates

Jessica Girard, Valedictorian

Jessica Girard,

Hello everyone, in case you don’t know my name is Jessica Girard and by some miracle I am one of the lucky valedictorians this year.

Just to let the room know, I am absolutely terrified at the moment so don’t judge me too hard please!

First off I would like to say I am so thankful to the school staff and my classmates for these last couple of years.

Even though that chapter of our lives is closing I can honestly say I have enjoyed it.

I will miss Mrs. Castelino’s kind words and mother-like presence, Mrs. Holmstram’s welcome every morning, Scott-Wilkes’ love for carbon, Miss Favreau supporting me through many things for all these years, and the many other memories I have made with the staff at this school.

I will miss accidentally walking in on the strange conversations of my classmates, that make everyday unique.

I will miss walking into the student parking lot and somehow always accidentally making eye contact with the teens making out in their cars, which has scarred me for life.

And those moments when the whole class bonds over a single conversation and/or moment.

All these memories along with the constant last-minute assignments and the starting studying for a test half an hour before it starts, have brought me and my classmates where we are today.

I know right now we are all vibrating in our seats, ready to start our new adult lives, but I hope in the future we will be able to look back and remember these days with a happy feeling.

At the same time we can definitely say our last years of high school were like no other.

Now before this goes any further, I would like to say that when writing my part of the speech I looked at countless others trying to get a sense of direction. All had deep words that were strong, emotional and told a story, so now you will have to suffer through me trying to do the same.

Get ready for the deep stuff.

This last year and a half has been hard, you went from seeing your friends one day then not seeing anyone outside of your family for months, even a year.

To me though, I think it brought me closer to the people around me and brought me closer to myself.

When you are forced into a situation where you have no choice but to face yourself you learn a lot about your wants, needs, and who you want to be in the future.

It made me think of the things I really want in my life, and who I really want to be.

I went into quarantine with little to no confidence and walked out understanding myself better than before.

And I know it is probably really annoying to you all having to hear about this even on our grad day, but at the end of the day it has had a great effect on us all.

This experience allowed me to be more open to myself, and I hope in the future each and every one of us get to really know ourselves and find what we are really looking for because it is a very freeing feeling.

I am not saying you have to find yourselves now, but the journey is one of the best parts.

With us all going our own ways, the doors to all these different directions are now open for us to explore.

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