Good evening. Welcome family and friends, teachers and special guests. Thank you for joining us this evening at our high school graduation ceremony. Though it may seem I am on the verge of tears, it was my luck to get Laryngitis during grad week with a speech to read. I would like to thank my classmates for giving me the honour to represent the Graduating Class of 2012, especially since I have attended Grenfell High Community School for only three years.
Our class consists of many outstanding people; we have many memories that define what sort of class we truly are. All of the graduates sitting before you today have unique personalities which make this class a family. We have had our ups and downs, our fights and disagreements, but that’s what makes us close. We want to kill each other on a daily basis, that’s for sure, but we stand here today celebrating our teenage accomplishments and cherishing the last memories of high school. We have shared laughter, tears, and pain which meld us together. We will miss our English classes with Mrs. Wiley, however, I’m sure she’s glad to see us leave; we will never forget Brent or Kyle showing up to class in their good ol’ scent of grease and oil; using calculus classes to work or talk about grad stuff; and chemistry experiments gone wrong. All these memories we will cherish as we close this part of our life and continue our journey. We will no longer have late slips; rush to get Tuesday’s hot lunch; last minute work sessions to get English finished before report cards; or eating lunch in third period.
When I first moved here, my classmates were just blank faces with no history behind them. But I have heard every person’s past which makes me realize how complex each and every person is. Many of my classmates recall memories from elementary school expecting me to remember. Some often forget that I have been here only a few years and I too, feel like I have been with this class since the beginning.
Some of us have decided where our future is headed; others are still debating what their lives will hold for them. Whether it’s becoming lifers at Wolfe Industries or pursuing our dreams of being a veterinarian or doctor, we have our individual lives to live in the best way possible. Our theme, “To achieve all that is possible, we must attempt the impossible,” confirms our need to strive for excellence.
Our teachers have endured much with our class. All of the teachers have guided us in some way to be where we are today. A special thanks to Mrs. Woods and her great effort which has kept the English class students in the classroom; Ms. Hardy, our homeroom teacher and grad advisor; and Mrs. Reeve, we couldn’t have done all of this without your help. Mrs. EK tried to keep us in one room during spares and always had to keep a watchful eye to see what ideas Josh would come up with.
Thanks to all the coaches and teachers who are involved in the school, Ms. Charanduk and Mr. Pollard for putting up with the senior girls and our intimidating chants and cheers. Lastly, to Mr. Willard, our guest speaker, thanks for all your stories about your previous job at the poop plant keeping us amused and entertaining our chemistry and biology labs.
Thank you to the Town of Grenfell for everything you have given us the hockey rink, the swimming pool, the golf course, the ball diamonds, and of course the streets we often cruise on. Thanks to the businesses which employed most of us and gave us the opportunity to learn and gain work and life experience. We appreciate all that you have done for us.
We wouldn’t be sitting here in our graduation attire if it weren’t for our parents, guardians and family who have guided us to become who we are today. They put up with us even when we are ruining our mom’s lipstick and make up or getting into some not-so-clean crafts. Then we grew up and wanted nothing to do with our parents, wanting to be on our own. But now there are 103 days until university and I’m sure none of us wants to leave home quite yet. We now think of reality and the struggles that go with it. Changes from a teenager to an adult are a scary thought. We reminisce about childhood where our only worries were about junk food in the cupboard or when we could go out and play. Now we are worried about work, university, and actually having to live on our own.
As we leave the halls of Grenfell High we leave behind more than just a building. We are leaving behind friends, mentors and role models, who we will remember for the rest of our lives. At the same time we say goodbye to the past, we look forward to what our future holds. I wish my fellow graduates the best of luck, and don’t be afraid to risk the impossible.
GRENFELL GRAD — Guest Speaker Speech
First let me start by congratulating the graduating class of 2012. I know it was a bit touch and go there for some of you but I’m glad to see you all made it. I am truly honoured to be chosen as this year’s guest speaker. I know how important this day is to all of you, and being chosen to speak at this ceremony is very flattering. I still remember our high school graduation guest speaker. He was a soldier who fought in Afghanistan, lost both of his legs and told us to never give up no matter how bleak life gets. After his speech he rose from his wheelchair to stand on his new prosthetic limbs, bringing the entire audience to tears. I’m sorry that this year, you guys are stuck with me.
Before I impart some worldly wisdom on you graduates, I’d like to take the time to remember each and every one of you.
Firstly is Sekwen Agecoutay. I didn’t know Sekwen until this last semester of Grade 12, but I wished I had gotten to know her sooner. I remember when Sekwen dislocated her shoulder and she couldn’t write notes or really do any work. But she still managed to hand in an assignment completed entirely with her left hand, although it did take me a few days to read it. In an age where most students don’t finish their homework with their good hands, it’s refreshing to see that there are students who work as hard as Sekwen does.
For those of you who know me, you probably know that on occasion I may brag about my intelligence. However, this year there is a student who- I have no problem admitting- learned material faster than I ever could, and that is Shan Booth. I remember all the times the grade 12s asked me what the highest mark on a test or report card was, but not to include Shan’s. Shan keep working hard, school might seem easy now but university is a whole other story.
Joshua Daniels…Adrina, I don’t know how you did it, you are definitely a nominee for mother of the year. Having Josh perform science labs in my room was probably the most stressful part of my job. I’m not sure if Josh knows how to use a stove yet, but during a chemistry lab he proceeded to test if a hotplate was on by placing his entire hand onto the element. Well, the hotplate was in fact on, and it did leave some nice burns on Josh’s hand. Josh, even though you acted goofy sometimes in class, I think that every single day you made me smile at least once, and I appreciate that.
Shanelle Dixon. I don’t think I’ve ever had a good student get mad at me as much as Shanelle, and almost every time was about her marks. From a teacher’s stand point, Shanelle it was incredibly annoying, but I’m going to tell you right now, don’t change. Always try to get the most out of things, even if it is marks out of teachers.
Over my past couple of years at Grenfell High, I have gotten to know a lot of people, few as well as Sam Hardy. In fact, I still remember the very first time I met Sam. It was my very first class on my very first day. I asked the grade 11s at the time to introduce themselves and say a little something so I could get to know them. When it came to Sam to introduce himself he said, “I’m Sam, some people call me Teetmaster and I like girls.” Well Sam, that was quite the first impression. I’m glad I’ve gotten to know you better than that.
I think every teacher always remembers their first day, and the nervousness that comes with it. I still remember mine, and in fact I still remember the very first student that I ever talked to and that was Kevin Kardash. In the morning of the first day of school, Kevin invited me over to his locker to look at pictures of his car and we talked for a few minutes. Kevin you might not even remember that, but that little exchange really helped put me at ease for the rest of my first day and I thank you for it.
Anyone who has spent time at Grenfell High no doubt knows Alvin Kaye. Alvin everyday I look forward to talking to you. Whether it’s about bringing guitar picks to school, whose going to be Santa Claus next year, or taking my truck for a spin, bringing my girlfriend to visit or telling EK which girls need to go home and put some pants on. Alvin, seeing you would make even my worst days better, and I promise we’ll go for a ride in my truck before the end of the year.
Chloe Kish, or the Cholmeister as she prefers to be called. I’ve spent lots of time getting to know you outside of school, although that’s probably because your mom enjoys cooking for some handsome young men…and Mr. Pollard. I’ll never forget last year when you and Ashley decided to ring my doorbell around midnight on a weekend and then stand there awkwardly and try and talk to me for a few minutes before shouting, “you’re hot” and running away. I hope I made you feel extra embarrassed on Monday when I told everyone what happened.
Kyle, if there is anything I’ve learned from teaching you it has been a variety of school inappropriate four-letter words. I hope that if I have taught you anything, it’s that you are indeed a very capable young man when you decide to be. I wish I could say that we always saw eye to eye in school, but we both know that would be a lie. However, I’m not lying when I say I truly wish you the best in your future.
Clarissa, I never had the chance to teach you so I had to enlist the help of a few other teachers to have something to say tonight. From what I’ve gathered, it really seems like I missed out. Mrs. Woods and Mrs. Brewster both tell me that they wish all their students were like you. In fact, Mrs. Woods told me she tried to get your work ethic to literally rub off onto other students. If I would have known that earlier I think I would’ve asked you to come sit next to some of the boys during my class.
This year’s valedictorian, Nicole Pederson, also known as honeybee. What can I say about Nikki? She’s smart, funny, kind, she doesn’t swear in class, she does her work, she’s a model student. I know what everyone here is thinking because I thought the same thing from our first class trip together and it’s pretty obvious- you didn’t grow up with the rest of this group.
Chance Peepeetch is another student who I wish I got to know better. I have never taught Chance directly but he did finish his Biology 20 credit this year. Just in time Chance. I knew you were dedicated to passing that class because I think you were the first student I’ve ever had who asked for the next assignment without me coming to you first. Keep that work ethic up after high school and it’ll pay off.
The first time I ever had to move a student in my class happened within my first two days of teaching and that student was Brent Priest. My original speech included all of the times that Brent made me angry, swore or grunted, instead of saying good morning, but I thought no one would want to hear a five hour speech.
But Brent you never fooled me, I know that beneath your grumpy exterior was a student who actually cared, despite what he wanted his friends to think; a student who would say happy birthday to teachers or volunteer to feed my fish when I was away. Hopefully we can get a smile out of you tonight.
The next student spent the majority of this year away playing hockey and when he finally came back Mrs. Hardy thought there was a homeless man wandering the school hallways with his beard and shaggy long hair. But we’re all glad it was TJ instead. TJ, I’m not sure who was more excited to have you back at the school, the girls in Grade 10 and 11 or Josh and Sam. Rarely do I get the chance to get to know a student without teaching him directly but I’m happy that we got to know each other.
I think I have a story that sums up Joey Sparvier nicely. It was last year during the literacy carnival at the high school when the elementary school came to visit and play games. Joe had gotten into trouble for something, no surprise there, and was told by Ms. EK that he was to stay beside me for the entire carnival. So there we were, our entire TAG class with a whole class of elementary students sitting in a circle playing the fruits game (where everyone is a different fruit and if they call your fruits you have to stand up and change places). And there’s Joey, sitting cross legged between two tiny Grade 3 girls. I’ll never forget that visual. Joey played the entire game and even got left out of the circle a few times. Joe I’m not sure you noticed, but those little kids really admired you.
Kristen, I wasn’t sure you even went to Grenfell High anymore I barely see you, but I am glad to see you up here tonight. I lost count of how many times you asked me to learn “Lost in You” on guitar, but I have news for you Kristen…I still haven’t learnt it. Feel free to say hi when you come and visit the school.
Shaylin, you are truly a pleasure to have in class and you are one of the few people who seem to work harder as the end of the year approaches. But there is something I still don’t understand, and those of you who know Shay will agree, how does such a tiny girl produce such a loud burp? It’s really quite unbelievable. Any chance we can all hear one right now? Anyway it’s been my pleasure getting to know you, and thank you for the pity laughs at my science jokes.
A few students in this year’s class refer to me as Mr. Willis, and no, not because I look like the actor Bruce. I’m fairly certain it started with Melissa Torres who never seemed to be able to get my name right; in fact I’m sure she asked Mr. Willis for help on her chemistry final exam. I guess five months isn’t very long to learn a teacher’s name after all. Melissa, I know you think I get frustrated when you ask countless random biology questions during class, but don’t forget, asking questions is how people learn.
And finally, last but not least, we have Michael Torres. While he is definitely not known for his punctuality, he might be best known for his ability to get his sister riled up right in the middle of class. Mike is one of those students who will always greet you with a smile and a good morning, a rarity for a high school boy. Mike, I know you sometimes think of me as a jerk, but I’m trying to push you to do your best.
It’s safe to say that this year’s class has been an interesting bunch. I’ll always remember you guys as my first real class. I wish that I had some wonderful or motivational advice to give you as you start your journey through life, but I’m still figuring it out for myself. But I will tell you what I’ve learned so far: First, listen to your parents; they always want what’s best for you. I wish I listened to and spent more time with mine. Second, enjoy your youth. It wasn’t that long ago I was graduating high school but believe me, when I say the next few years will fly by. And last, life is hard. I’m not going to sugar coat it. Each chapter of your life will provide you with new struggles. You will fail exams and job interviews, get your heart broken and lose people you love. When life knocks you down, and it will, you need to find the strength to pick yourself back up. And I’ll make a promise to each of you right now: if you work your absolute hardest in whatever you do, it will pay off. I know all of you, and you are all capable of doing great things. I wish each and every one of you the very best.