Grad 2023

Grad 2023

Please join us in celebrating the Graduating Class of 2023 in 16 graduation ceremonies. On May 29, 2023, we will begin with our first graduation ceremony at Twin Rivers Education Centre, and we will conclude with the last graduation ceremonies on June 23 at Barriere Secondary School and Clearwater Secondary School.
We are gathering photos and speeches from the Valedictorians and posting them here. Congratulations, everyone!


Twin Rivers Education Centre: Emily Clark & Jordon Massicotte
Emily Clark Speech

Do you realize how powerful you are? Every student here has reached a level of power that many people spend their lives trying to reach. You have the power to decide your future and I am so honoured that such an amazing group of powerful people have chosen me, Emily Clark, to be your valedictorian.

In the words of the great artist and writer, and my personal hero, Emily Carr, she reminds us, “Be careful that you do not write or paint anything that is not your own, that you don’t know in your own soul.” So this evening, please allow me to share a little bit of my soul and how TREC has helped me, like many of you, to find our power, our voice, and our confidence.

We all have our own reason for coming to TREC. Mine was the extremely concerning state of my mental health. When I was attending maintsream school, I was constantly exhausted, anxious and had no desire or motivation to keep up in class. I didn’t really care how that would affect my life. The first day I went to TREC I remember our beloved school counselor, Kiki being the playful, kind, and fun crazy cat lady that she is to put me at ease. I also remember seeing one of our teachers, Tracy Noble, with his beard, long hair, tattoos, and loud Harley, my mom leaned over to me and said, “Yeah, you will fit in just fine here.” At the beginning of my attendance at TREC, I was just going through the motions and doing the bare minimum. After a while, I slowly started to open up more and show more interest in various things. In a fairly short period of time, I went from the girl who had so much anxiety that she needed her mom to walk her into class every morning to the girl who walks into the art room like I own it and will yell across the halls to say hi to some of the staff. I would never have been able to graduate without TREC and I will forever be grateful for it. I feel more powerful now than ever!

TREC is a small school, which leads to unique dynamics between staff, students, and teachers. I love that about us. Everyone, for the most part, supports and encourages each other, students and staff. The staff and our teachers are laid back and fun to talk to, they are always down to talk. It is not just staff though. I tend to observe people, and I have seen students encourage and inspire each other, celebrate even the smallest of accomplishments, and just enjoy each other’s company. 

There is definitely a consistent theme in why we have all ended up in TREC, though our personal reasons of course are not advertised. We have all experienced different journeys, but have reached the same destination as graduates. For many of us, the path to graduation has been riddled with both valleys and peaks, but the endurance and the power we have shown to be able to sit here on this stage tonight shows our resilience and fighting spirits. Sometimes in the journey its natural to be discouraged and feel like we can’t catch a break or that things might never change. But something that I have realized is that every path taken, no matter how hard or how easy, eventually reaches an end if we keep on walking. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I have felt like my walk of “school” has felt more like a walk on a treadmill than a walk through the park. However, I wouldn’t change a thing, every experience good or bad is a lesson and if you walk quicker than the pace of the treadmill you will still reach the goal in the end. Some would say they go through the valleys but I would say that we grow through the valleys. We have the power to take the challenges that life has to offer, and succeed anyway. At some point, many of us questioned whether or not we would actually be sitting on this stage today. Our obstacles told us we couldn’t; that we don’t work hard enough, that we weren’t good enough, and many other things, but we defied the odds and did it anyway. We heard them, and maybe even believed them for a time, but we came to the conclusion that we have the power to decide our own future and did exactly what they said we couldn’t do. We did it! Every adult I have talked to has told me that high school was the hardest part of their life and that if they relived their lives they would want to skip that part. We just went through one of the hardest parts! If we can endure all of the rocky terrain that life has thrown at us, then we can literally do anything. You have worked hard and have earned this wonderful opportunity to walk across this stage. Every single person here is proud of each of you individually. I really hope that you are proud of yourself because what you have accomplished is no small feat. So, pat yourself on the back, look at the person next to you, and tell them that they are amazing.

You might be wondering what to do next? We have spent almost all our lives working towards this very moment, so what are we supposed to work on now? Well, I think the answer is simple: whatever we want! I will leave you with these wise words of activist and author Alice Walker, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any,” WE HAVE THE POWER to continue on to the next part of our journey. Congratulations and good luck with all of your future endeavors. 

Jordon Massicotte Speech

Good afternoon to my fellow graduates, our Elders, our family, supporters, and our teachers. It is my honour to be one of the chosen valedictorians for the graduating class of 2023. I also want to take a minute to acknowledge that we are on the traditional lands of the Secwepemc peoples.

TREC graduates are a unique bunch! This is not your average neighbourhood school, it is a place that's brought us all together from individual paths and welcomed us with open arms. We are so lucky that TREC has a selection of different educational programs that has allowed us to all grow and achieve success throughout our high school journeys.

I would like to take a minute to remember all the students who couldn't be here with us today and how loved and missed they are. You are with us in spirit and in our hearts.

My own personal journey took me from a traditional school setting a few years ago to TREC. While here, I participated in a number of programs. After a few bumps in the road I found myself coming back to TREC again through the First Steps young parents program, as a new mom to a beautiful little girl. Throughout my time here I've had the chance to grow as a mother, be more involved in my community, gain access to family supports and resources for my education. I will forever be grateful for my time at the TREC program, First Steps. Additionally, I’m grateful for meeting and connecting with the other wonderful young parents that I have gotten the opportunity to meet along the way.

High school graduation is a big achievement but it is also the next big step to a new beginning. Some of us are headed off to pursue further educational opportunities, others will dive right into the work force, some will head off on a great adventure that will take them to new locations, some will even start their own families. No matter what your plan is after leaving this building today with your diploma in hand, I encourage every single one of you to continue to work towards being the very best version of yourself. As quoted by Octavia Spencer, “Always keep chasing those moments where you discover something new about your voice. Don’t ever let that end. Keep your minds and hearts open to life's endless and unforeseeable possibilities.”

On behalf of every student here, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to all the teacher's and mentors we've had along the way. You are the candles that light the way. Thank you for sharing your time and wisdom with us. You have encouraged us to achieve excellence and helped guide us towards success. I know the impact you've had on every single one of us will not be forgotten. I would also like to thank all of the parents, family members and friends here today for your endless support and patience with all of us. It hasn't always been easy but with your love and support you've helped us pave the path towards our futures and for that, words will never express how truly grateful we are.

As I come to a close, I want to leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” This is my wish for each of the graduates this year. Congratulations class of 2023!

4 Directions

Four Directions: Jaide Derouin

Jaide Derouin Speech

Hello, everyone; My name is Jaide Dezray Derouin and I am from Lloydminster, Alberta. I am proud to be here today representing the Four Directions graduating class of 2023. We have all made it. (Dora Song plays for 10 seconds) I sure hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.

My mom’s name is Jessica Gieni. She is my rock; someone who has been there for it all, and has always encouraged me to do my best. She has always told me to do what my heart desires, and that pushed me to graduate. So a really big thanks goes out to this beautiful, outstanding woman.

My dad’s name is Cory Derouin and my stepmom’s name is Milinda Kendall. I want to give them a huge thanks for always helping me with my homework, being so concerned about my schooling all the time, and making sure I went every day. You helped me to push myself in the direction of success and I appreciate it dearly. You guys are amazing. I love you.

I want to thank my little brother; you mean the absolute world to me. If it weren't for you, I probably wouldn't have carried on. You made it easier in a way, to know I have a reason to graduate.  I wanted to be a good role model so you can know what is possible.  How I wish I could have been there to see you grow and turn into such a kind, smart young man. I really appreciate you Bub, you will forever be the best thing that has happened to me. I love you kiddo. I better be watching you cross the stage one day.

And of course, thank you Caden and Chase for always being there for me, protecting me, and listening to my drama for the past I don’t know how many years. Thank you for giving me advice. I promise I eventually started to listen to it.

I'm so proud of all of us. We made it so far. You all should be giving yourself a pat on the back, and look how far you made it. You are here, sitting in a room with your grad mates, families, peers and loved ones. Take a look around and soak it in. Be proud of yourself. You deserve it.

You all pushed through. You made the best out of what you could, pushing yourselves to the limits, and at the end of the day it was worth it. Trysten, I am so proud of you for reaching your goal. I knew you could do it. Lahaila, I am also so proud of you. You really kept holding on and that just shows the strength within you. Chayton, congratulations! You did that very quickly. You are very smart and talented! Martin, I'm also proud of you. You’re always so focussed on your work; keep working hard. Liv, I'm so happy to be graduating with you this year. We've made many great memories together.

I am grateful we no longer have covid restrictions and that we are able to sit here like this together. In all honesty, I have quite the story now to tell my kids about the year we graduated. We probably wouldn't have gotten this far if it weren't for the teachers; the ones here really know how to help out. This school is amazing for that. In the past I didn't like school; I have not felt that way here.  Here, I want to come in to learn and get taught new things. For example gardening, cooking bannock and how to use a semi-colon (they’re big, strong and smooth). I don't know how you guys do it, but you always make it fun and do the most out of everything you guys can.

Justin Young has been a huge inspiration in my life, and probably everyone else’s. He has shown me the leader in me that I did not know was there. He has shown me how to just sit back and relax, and that is the most enjoyable thing in life once you actually learn how. Hayley, you're amazing. I love you so much. You're like a big sister I never had and you really mean a lot to me. You have made a big impact in my life, and I appreciate everything you've done for me. Laverne, Courtney, and Jordan thank you for literally everything. You are the best teachers out there, you really rock. Thank you Laverne for always texting me in the morning to make sure I'm coming. Yes, sometimes it's annoying, and I know most of us think of it that way, but it really helped in the long run, so thank you. Robert, you are an amazing cook. Thank you for always putting a smile on my face when you said good morning when I walked in the door. Thank you for all the lunches and the snacks. Thank you all so so much.  

There have been so many great memories made in the past few years that really helped us connect with each other, and with the earth. I want to say Wells Gray was by far the best trip I went on. The bathroom party with my classmates made it the best it could be, and I won’t forget the late night stories around the fire. Releasing the salmon was so fun, but also sad because we couldn’t tell if they just swept away into the rocks. We learned that salmon are resilient, brave, and strong. I know everyone here believes that we are resilient, brave and strong, too.

I guess the last thing I have to say is good luck to all of you. I hope everyone continues to keep taking the small steps you took to get here. I hope you all go to big places and fulfill your dreams. I believe in you guys, please believe in yourself. I know you can do it. I love all of you and hope your journey is just right for you. Push to achieve all of your goals because if anyone can do it, it's you.

Thank you everyone. Enjoy the rest of your evening,

Continuing Ed

Continuing Education: Brianna Wiebe
Brianna Wiebe Speech

Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed faculty, proud parents, and my fellow classmates,

Today, I stand before you as one of the valedictorians of the graduates of 2023 through our amazing Street School Continuing Education program, and I cannot express enough how grateful I am to be standing here today. This moment, this achievement, is not just a symbol of academic success; it represents a culmination of a journey filled with countless struggles and a lifelong goal that I have finally accomplished.

Life is a series of challenges, obstacles, and unexpected turns. We all face our fair share of setbacks and difficulties, but it is how we navigate through them that defines our character and shapes our future. I stand here as living proof that perseverance, determination, and a steady belief in oneself can lead to remarkable accomplishments.

Throughout my life, I have encountered numerous hurdles, both personal and academic. There were moments when it felt like the weight of the world was upon my shoulders, when I questioned my own abilities, and when I thought about giving up. But I chose to fight. I refused to let adversity define me or hinder my progress. I embraced the challenges, knowing that they were the incentive for personal growth and a chance to prove myself.

Each obstacle I encountered served as a valuable lesson, teaching me resilience, adaptability, and the importance of never losing sight of my dreams. It was in those moments of struggle that I found strength I didn't know I possessed. It was in those moments of doubt that I discovered the power of self-belief. And it was through those struggles that I learned the true meaning of accomplishment.

I never would’ve imagined that I would be here today achieving the goals I have this past year and speaking on stage as a valedictorian for my graduation. My younger self wouldn’t believe who I’ve become and what I have achieved... she would be proud. I became a teenage mom at the age of 18 to the most amazing boy I get to call my son. Through hardships of not only growing up a teenager into an adult as well as a young single mother trying to do her best and raise a kid too. I hope my accomplishments encourage him to see anything is possible and we are capable of anything even we can’t see what it is in this moment. It’s the little steps and belief in ourselves. As I complete this part of my journey, I look forward to watching him grow up now a teenager in high school himself and graduating in 4 years and get to help support him along the way. He has always been the best of me and guided me to where I am now, even though it took a little longer than I hoped. I am proud to continue to show him what life has to offer. I am blessed to be your mother and watch you grow. I love you, my son.

Today, as I stand here, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of joy, pride, and gratitude. This achievement represents the hard work, sacrifice, and dedication to myself. It is a testament not only to my own efforts but also to the steady support of my family, friends, and teachers who believed in me when I doubted myself.

But this moment is not just about me. It is about all of us, the graduating class of 2023. We have each fought our own battles, faced our own unique challenges, and triumphed over our own doubts. Together, we honor and support one another through the highs and lows of our academic journey and wish one another the best in our future endeavours to come.

Today, as we celebrate our accomplishments, let us also remember the valuable life lessons we have learned. Let us carry with us the knowledge that success is not measured solely by grades or accolades but by the resilience and strength we exhibit in the face of adversity. Let us embrace every struggle as an opportunity for growth and recognize that our ability to overcome obstacles is what truly defines us.

I am honored to share this celebration with all of you, my fellow graduates. As we embark on the next chapter of our lives, let us carry the lessons we have learned with us wherever we may go and never forget we can achieve anything we set ourselves towards!

Thank you, Street School for providing us with the opportunity to pursue our dreams and always supporting us along the way. Thank you, parents and family members, for your support and love. And thank you to my son Nathaniel for always loving and believing in me and being by side along my journey of struggles and achievements.

Today, I stand here, accomplished, proud, and immensely grateful. Happy to be here, surrounded by such incredible individuals. Congratulations, Class of 2023.

Thank you.

Summer Fox

Logan Lake: Summer Fox
Summer Fox Speech

Good evening everyone,

As most of you know my name is Summer fox, I go by some other names my friends call me but nothing I can mention over the mic haha (wink)... well guys.. We did it! For most of you here today we started this journey together in preschool, and if you told me years ago that we would all be standing here together with the accomplishments we now have.. Well I would have laughed at you and said ya right.

For those of you who have just recently joined and are now up here on stage representing Logan Lake Secondary with us, I couldn't be happier to have new amazing friends to share this day with. All I can say is all of you should be proud of yourselves. For me growing up in this small community I feel blessed to have such an amazing group of friends that I get to call my family. We've cried, smiled, laughed and god knows we've fought but no matter what we have supported each other through thick and thin. Now look where we are. Not only have we shared memories through school but through sports, hockey trips, campfires and even just messing around up town… NOT getting into trouble of course. (wink) I will cherish not only the years we have spent together but the years that are awaiting us. I am truly honored to be on this stage with each and every one of you. Congratulations you guys.

But of course standing up here not only am I seeing the faces of my fellow grads but the beautiful faces of parents and other family members. None of us could've made it here today without the love and support you have provided us through the years. Whether it was a hug when we were down, words of encouragement, or a high five when we nail it, all of this has gotten us where we are today. You are our rocks, and I know I speak for all of us when I say thank you and we love you.

Well thank you for listening to my speech… haha just kidding, how could I forget about our lovely teachers…  I'm gonna start this off by saying.. I am SO sorry.. We definitely haven't made it easy for you guys over the years that's for sure, Especially since some of you have been with us since we were little babies. But no matter what we put you through you still never gave up on us and never stopped supporting us. Without you guys keeping track of us and pushing us to be the best we can be, I am sure we wouldn't be up here right now. Thank you for everything and for molding us into the fine individuals you see before you today. I would also like to give an extra special thank you to Lindsey Schrader. You made each and every day special with your amazing energy, smile and of course laugh every morning. I also can't imagine giving first aid to a group of accident prone teenagers was easy.. So for that I give you props.

Growing up with all of you year after year I feel some strong personal connections have been made and I wish all of you the best of luck with your endeavors and hope we can stay in touch. Thank you.

Now for a quote that stuck with Dakota that he would like me to share with all of you.

I always loved the last day of school.

Final bells at 3:05

Watching my friends run out the door

But I'm 18 now, enjoying senior sunrises and prom.

Watching events I have waited my whole life for

Only existing as memories

I used to love last days

Because I knew we would all see eachother again.

Same time,

Same place,

Same people.

But soon it will be my last day.

And this time I won't be coming back.

Before I sign off I would like to wish you all the best of luck with everything going forward, I can positively say you will all achieve greatness in your lives. Thank you for making these years ones I will never forget. Congratulations to the class of 2023, let's go party!

Aboriginal Grad

Aboriginal Graduation: Riley Friesen
Riley Friesen Speech

Weyt-kp xwexwéytep. My name is Riley Friesen. My parents are Mike Friesen, and Sophia Mack. My grandparents are Melinda and Curtis Mack, as well as Alenda Lush and James Friesen. I was born here in Kamloops, and have lived here my whole life, although I am from the Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola, British Columbia.

To start, I would first like to congratulate all the graduates. You made it. We’re all here today to celebrate such an amazing accomplishment and we all have done so much to get here. We couldn’t have done it without the support. Our friends and family who have pushed us to get here.

Personally, I would like to thank all the people who have helped me in my life. First of all, thanks to the teachers and staff at South Kam who helped me reach my full potential. The first nations workers, like Vicki and Val, who helped set up school events, like the day of sucwentwecw; and Ms Thomas who helped with the drumming and singing. I would also like to thank some of my fellow classmates, the memories we created, I will cherish forever.

Finally, I would like to give a very big thank you to my family, you guys mean so much to me. My siblings, the people I grew up with, you guys have made me who I am, thank you. As well as to my parents. You guys gave me a great childhood, and most important, you gave me an environment to succeed. The biggest thank you to you guys.

From the 4th grade till the 7th, I attended Sk’elep School of Excellence where I was introduced to a different culture, the culture of the Secwepemc people. At Sk’elep, I gained a better understanding of the place around me, I was shown the way of people who have lived here for generations before me. I learned how to drum and sing, as well as getting an introduction to the Secwepemc language. Both of these things I continued into high school, and they have both been a key part of my time at SKSS. In the 7th grade at Sk’elep, I helped make a song called We Won’t Forget You with some of my fellow classmates. The message of the song, which talked about the residential schools, is a dark part of Canadian history. Something that wasn’t common knowledge at the time.

The residential school system is something that has affected every indigenous person in Canada. The lasting effects of it are still being seen today.

With what happened in the past, the troubles our people have been through, we’re still here. Against all odds, our people are able to celebrate who we are. We’re able to come together as one big community, and celebrate us and our culture. Everyone here today is going to go on their own path in life, and all I can say is, make the most of it.


NorKam: Alyna Huss & Gurvir Khunkhun

Alyna Huss and Gurvir Khunkhun Speech

Ladies and gentlemen, family, friends, cult members, faculty, classmates of 2023.  Today Norkam, is an exciting day… and not because we won a bronze medal in rugby, or key club raised $6000 for BC children’s hospital cancer research fund, or our Ethics bowl team was named national champions, or that our stellar ultimate frisbee team beat SouthKam’s juniors, no, today we GRADUATE.

During highschool, the entire world was plagued with danger, like Covid-19, Russia attacking Ukraine, Global Warming, Tiktok dances, plastic straws being banned, yet we still managed to graduate, so can we get a huge round of applause for that. It was only three years ago when we first walked through the front doors of the labyrinth known as Norkam. It was an exciting day but nerve racking just the same, because come on, not only were you starting grade 10 in a whole different school with a full blown face of mask acne, but you were also afraid of the high probability that your desk partner had vid, hey grandma that means covid.

Many of us started to embark on our own high school musical fairy tale. Like for example, that first girlfriend of yours, then your second girlfriend, then your third girlfriend, then figuring out that maybe you’re the problem. Yet, we overcame it.

From that first day of grade 10 you begin to wish away the days, anticipating when you will walk across this very stage, and in a blink of an eye it’s here making you look back at the growth not only we have done as individuals but as a whole class. We grew by taking our own paths with the variety of opportunities that Norkam has offered to guide us to our next chapter in life , like Trades, Hairdressing, the international baccalaureate program, and Aboriginal Education. All yet so different, but creating such unique individuals that will fuel our society in years to come.

We're old now, and we have to hit that pavement running. Everyone's pace will be a little different, some will sprint, some will jog, and some will probably be crawling, that's okay. Because, no matter the speed you take life at, everybody's journey is his own. Barack Obama once said “don't let anyone tell you what you can't do. Follow your dreams and persist.” Now is our time to take on the world, and find and pursue our passions that will quote-on-quote, leave a legacy, like getting your dream job or finding your happiness in life.

Now we're not going to tell you the path to graduation was easy, because it really wasn't. In high school, you were given a certain role, whether that be you were smart, athletic, funny, creative, whatever it be, you brought a new characteristic to the Norkam grad class. However, in this new chapter of life, you are given an opportunity to embark on your own story.

We as individuals, were thrown many different obstacles during these past few years, whether that be at school or our day to day lives.  Some of our absolute favs being the regular fire drills, exciting bomb threats, and those totally beneficial covid class zoom calls. Although those unfortunate events took place, as students we managed to persevere, taking on the challenges thrown our way.

Being adaptable is crucial for a bright future, because life isn’t easy, and it never will be. These dreams and goals are only obtainable with hard-work and dedication, and highschool is only the introduction. Your independence and responsibilities will only expand and flourish more from this day forward. Despite the support of new and old friends, family, and let’s face it, sometimes your therapist, mistakes will be made, but as once said by Dory, “just keep swimming.”

Our time is now! We've made it this far so why not keep growing and moving towards new opportunities and further success. As you develop as a person, in a career or in other aspects of your life, don't be afraid to take on any challenge thrown your way, because a fashion icon and street poet named Kanye West once said "If you have the opportunity to play this game called life, you have to appreciate every moment”.

Although many of us have a specific goal in mind, be sure to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. We only live life once so take that leap of faith, because taking risks are essential to achieving goals and new opportunities that you don't want to miss. However, don’t forget to keep your eyes on the prize.

Look around, this might seem like a bittersweet moment, but it's time to say goodbye. Cherish every moment and friendship you've encountered in your years here at Norkam. Reflect upon obstacles that you have overcome.

The future belongs to you and today is a good day to try. Here’s to the Norkam grad class of 2023, Congratulations Everyone!


Sa-Hali: Temi Aina & Adam Vukusic

Temi Aina and Adam Vukusic Speech

Temi: Good evening fellow students, teachers, parents, and faculty. Welcome to the Sa-Hali Secondary 2023 commencements ceremony. We are honoured for the opportunity to represent this grad class and the experiences shared throughout the past five years.

Adam: Everyone here deserves recognition for the hard work they have put in to be here today. Thank you to our parents, teachers, and other supporters for everything they have done to get us here.

Temi: To our fellow graduates, we grew up. Since we were young, all we ever wanted was to grow up. When we were younger, we dreamed of being older and having more freedom. We wished for the opportunities that have now become our everyday life.

Temi: When we were in grade 8, we worried about meeting new people and finding our classes. We stayed up all night nervous but excited for our first day. You had your first high school class, your first lockers, and your first high school crush And then your next one and then your next one.

Temi: In grade 9, you had mastered the best places to get lunch off campus. You would walk down there every lunch with your group of friends. But then we were hit by the pandemic and faced with the unforgettable online classes. If you were lucky, you would receive entertainment from that one student who would do their whole morning routine on zoom. You got to experience them getting out of bed, brushing their teeth, and eating breakfast. All. On. Camera.

Adam: Luukas Dong

Temi: Then we moved on into grade 10,

Adam: but it hardly felt like moving on.

Temi: Sure you got to see your friends after being online for a year well only if they were in your cohort.

Temi: But things finally started to get back to normal as we stepped in grade 11. We got the feeling of seniority, but we weren’t quite there yet. Some of us had started to get our licenses, and were planning for the future.

Temi: And finally, we made it to grade 12. We grew up. This year, you knew how many times to snooze your alarm and still make it to class right before the bell rang. Or for some of us, late and with a Tim’s cup in hand. Of course we had learned as well; if you’re going to be late with Tim’s, always bring a coffee for your teacher. You gained more freedom than ever before.

Temi: We went from fighting for the playground swing, to fighting for a spot in the parking lot.

Adam: or there were some of us who would create our own parking spots (cough) Luukas Dong

Temi: From stressing about making new friends, to stressing about our future plans after graduation.

Temi: We grew up making memories that we will treasure forever. Whether it was laughing with friends, being in a club, playing in the band, cheering on our teams from the bleachers, or being on the field ourselves, these experiences will remain with us for a lifetime.

Adam: When thinking of memories, we can’t always remember what happened, but we can remember the people. And not all of those people are graduating in our class. Some have already moved, and others are still on their path to graduation. It’s a pretty cool thing to know that we will have those lasting memories with people at Sa-Hali even when we are gone.

Temi: We grew up overcoming adversity. From experiencing shared difficulties such as a global pandemic to the difficulties hidden behind doors. But we have worked hard to get to where we are today.

Adam: Throughout tough times in highschool I have always remembered the words, spoken by a strong leader figure from our class of 2023 Pratosh, to help guid me. “Even when the bar is low, I go high.”

Temi: As we progressed through our high school years, what we didn’t realize was how fast we were growing up. Nobody really realizes how fast high school goes by until you’re living it. Years of looking forward to this moment turned into months then into weeks and then into hours. And finally, we’re here WE DID IT.

Temi: We have worked very hard to reach this moment, but it's not the end of the journey. If anything, it's just the start.

Adam: One thing I know is that I got to spend the past five years of my life with the most interesting and unique group of people that I ever could have asked for.

I wouldn’t give up the things I’ve done or the experiences that I have had here for anything.

When I look back on my years here at Sa-Hali Secondary I realized that it was not the classes or even what we did in class that kept me interested and coming to school.

It was the people

It was every single one of you. The conversations in the halls, watching basketball games together, and especially listening to your stories. Stories that give our grad class character.

Like when Parker wore his KFC suit to school for a week straight.

People are all that we have in life. Some come and some go. But throughout high school we have consistently had each other

Temi: Which is something special.

Adam: As I look out at everyone graduating here today I see a room full of people that have already done some pretty cool things in high school and will go on to do exceptional things in life. I see a group of diverse people, each and everyone of you are your own unique person.

Temi: We each bring something unique to the class of 2023. If one of us were missing, ALL of our experiences would have been different.

Adam: Especially in this last year we have all developed into interesting and unique human beings. I see future engineers, pilots, artists, explorers, Gorilla boxers, entrepreneurs, media directors; The list goes on and on, and many of you may not know what you want to do or even who you want to be. But that’s all part of growing up and finding yourself.

I have no clue what I'm going to do tomorrow.

Temi: There aren’t many times in life when you get to wake up and go do whatever in the world you can dream up. And we think that’s pretty exciting. As cliche as it sounds, you really can do anything you put your mind to.

Adam: Time goes by so very fast. I remember one of my grade eight teachers telling me that before I knew it I would be walking across this stage.

I didn’t believe him. But he was right.

I remember the days when I used to chase my brother around the house using honey to keep ice packs glued to the bottoms of my feet, because for some reason I thought that it turned me into a transformer. Until my mom told me, grow up Adam, you graduate next week.

As you all go off into this next part of your life I want to remind you that you are not alone. It’s scary for all of us to leave behind what we know and have come to rely upon, but these next years of our lives are the most exciting we will have. It is an opportunity to embrace the unknown, find out about the world, and come to find ourselves.

When you go about life in these next few years, Put yourself out there. Take that leap into the unknown, take risks and don’t hold back. Go out and swim in that puddle. Bet on yourself because one day it will all be a story that you look back on and it will be too late to rewrite those pages.

So go out and live!

Temi: Congratulations class of 2023. Yes, we grew up. And now we get to keep on growing.

South Kamloops Secondary

South Kamloops: Cooper MacLeod & Finn Newcomen

Cooper MacLeod and Finn Newcomen Speech

Finn: Good evening family members, staff, and graduates. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Finn Newcomen, this is Cooper MacLeod, and we are both honored to be here today as your Class Valedictorians of 2023.

Cooper: I’d like to thank the SKSS staff for the hard work you put in to get us where we are today.  A huge shout out to everyone crossing the stage we did it and I’m so proud to be a part of the best grad class of all time

Finn: Throughout the last five years we have all changed so much. Seeing that you all are almost adults now is a scary thought. I can tell you that some of us still don't know how to pack a proper lunch, or park your cars without taking up two spaces, you know who you are. But seriously, you have all grown so much, and I can't wait to see where your lives take you. High school may be over but the memories we have made will live forever.  I hope you have all your core competencies completed because it is time to graduate.

Cooper: Just a little recap of my time here: I moved to this school about halfway through grade 10 making this the 5th school I’ve been to since kindergarten.  You all welcomed me with open arms and I’ll be forever grateful that you made the end of my high school experience truly magical.  Although I wasn’t with you all through the Covid stage, just seeing everyone here today shows that we can persevere through tough times. Now you probably know me through the morning announcements or puking spaghetti up in front of the whole school (shout out to Mr. Spanis for that lovely photo in the yearbook), but I also got the chance to connect with many of you personally.  Though I may not take a whole ton of things seriously, I’m very serious when I say that you guys are the best group of people I’ve ever been a part of.

Finn: A certain chemistry teacher once said to me "You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy,” And from that point on I decided to start playing even more Clash Royale during his class. But seriously, life will always bring challenges, and we can't let these challenges define us. As we grow older let's not forget to appreciate the little things in life that make us happy everyday. Appreciate the moment because once it is over you can never get it back. Remember to enjoy life as we have enjoyed the past five years. Sometimes we become so caught up in our journey of life that we forget to look back and see how far we've come. Don't wait until it's too late to look back, parents that means you too.

Cooper: Like the little sign on my lawn says “the best is yet to come''.  Now from meeting all of you, I know that 10 years down the line, when we’ve all taken our separate paths, I hope to see people doing what they love and being happy.  I know everyone here is capable of achieving their dreams and I know you will all live up to that potential. If any of you guys become famous I’m telling everyone I meet I went to high school with you!  I’d like to read a quote that I find inspiring from one Michael Josephson: Take pride in how far you’ve come, Have faith in how far you can go, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey.

Finn:  Fellow graduates when you leave here today, don't be sad, celebrate what you have accomplished, and look forward to what comes next. Congratulations guys.

Cooper: I’d like to say a final goodbye to all my peers and staff. You've all earned it to be here, and I will never forget the time we all spent together, thank you.     


Westsyde: Dekland Pelland
Dekland Pelland Speech

I would like to start out by thanking all of the people making today special. Our honored guests. Our wonderful teachers that helped bring us to this stage. Our parents or parental figures who helped guide us through these years. Our coaches, who showed us what determination and hard work is. Our families who cheered us on as we worked through our highschool years, and to each and every one of you who gave me the honor of speaking and representing our grad class.

Growing up in Canada, we have many things we are known for, and one of them is hockey. Because of this I decided to start it off with a quote from one of the greatest Hockey movies of all time: Miracle - “Great moments are born from great opportunity.” Today is the culmination of many great opportunities. Each and every one of you took many steps before the few that occupy the width of this stage. Every day was an opportunity to do something, and you seized it. No one else truly knows the breadth of your efforts to get to this point. Some may have had an easy time academically but struggled socially, and others may have had the social business down pat but had to drag themselves over the academic barrier. Only you get the chance to bask in the true glory of your own efforts.

In our lives we will struggle. We will fail. But from these things we grow, and our eyes are opened to even more opportunities. The things that we find most important today may become dust in the wind. But through our experiences more doors will open. We will find new things to treasure. Our glass will begin to fill. Life is a trail of many paths, and it is only by walking forwards that we can find our way and find great opportunities. Our plans today don't have to be our lives forever, other trails might look more welcoming as time goes on. We are not set to be pigeon-holed into one thing. We are complex beings who shift and develop, so be kind to yourself if today's plans don't work out. As I mentioned earlier, the things we value change over time, and so do our goals. Our visions for our own futures may be different from what others believe to be successful or the right path. Do not let the sneers and snickers of others dissuade you from pursuing your dreams. That sort of defeat only teaches us the regret of not pursuing the things that lead us to fulfillment. You might feel that sort of pressure when you hear others talking about their own plans, but everybody has their own idea of their futures.

High school is a strange place. It's a bunch of different people with different identities all put in one place and started out in similar paths. We each started our years here at Westsyde with the same classes. I would like to ask each of you to take a moment to look at each person sitting beside you. Have you had at least one class with them? I would find it rare if you haven't. Who knows, you might have known these people since preschool. Maybe even longer for some. Once we got into highschool, each of us became a part of a “we”. We have all grown together, and as more opportunities arose, we began to all branch out from the trunk of our class tree. Some may have pursued more artistic callings, or some might have sloped themselves into a more math based function. We each represent an individual. But together we represent a vast painting of experiences: some shared and some personal. We have been through a pandemic, learned how to use zoom, and then had to relearn how to be social. Our time here has been full of many moments. Whether it's participating in a club that you are interested in, winning a sports match, making friends, or staring at the clock before lunch break. There are so many things that could be talked about, but there are so many more in each of your futures. As we walk out of these doors and into our futures, there won't just be different branches of us, but a whole forest as we all plant our roots. We will find more people like us. Find more expressions. Be ourselves. The fact is that our future only holds whatever we do with our opportunities. We will make our own great moments. So I implore each and every one of you; my fellow grads, and all of you other guests to keep stepping forward, and squeeze your moments from opportunity.

Today is a celebration of each of us, but I would like to take a moment to thank the people who helped make me the person you wanted to represent you. I will try not to get emotional but I make no promises. First and foremost: my family. I have everything to thank you for. You have taught me compassion, empathy, kindness, and politeness. I wouldn't be standing here as the man I have become without you. To my coaches.  Mr Gremaud, you have taught me what determination looks like. You helped grow a passion and helped teach me that I can work to any goal I put my mind to. To Mr Isenor, my coach at OLPH, who showed me what resilience is. You constantly pushed me to improve and helped me see and achieve the best in me. To Mrs Beeds, who always gives the best advice, even if it isn't what you want to hear, it's what you need to hear. To Mr. Beeds, Mr. Boudreau, and Mrs. Halstrom who inspired me to follow my current path. Who knows where it may take me. To Dave our janitor here at Westsyde. You always had a smile on your face, and I looked forward to your greetings every morning. Finally, To all of my friends. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have all of you in my life. I sincerely wish you all the best in your future endeavors, even if we drift apart.

Thank you very much everyone. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, and remember that you are loved.


Kamloops School of the Arts: Nathan Eggleton & Joshua Morris
Nathan Eggleton and Joshua Morris Speech

This day is the definition of bittersweet. It is both exciting and absolutely terrifying; it’s beautiful. This is the end of a chapter, one of many. We are about to have the entire world at our feet.

It’s a great honour and privilege to be the ones to usher in the very beginning of this new chapter… even if we still have classes for a couple more weeks.

This school is filled with talent, passion, and fire! I would even say that among this group are some of the best and brightest that our school has to offer.

We all have moments in time we remember from our time here at KSA. Maybe it’s that first big piece in an art course, or one of Stella’s experiments or projects, or your social studies course being turned into a miniature dance class. I would like to thank everyone who helped create these memories.

To our peers, thank you for having our backs, giving us companionship and assistance when we needed it the most, and thank you for letting us represent you here at this commencement. We’ve made it this far together, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

To our families, thank you for raising us from when we were small, to what we are now, and for providing us with care and safety during our formative years. We literally wouldn’t be here without you.

To our teachers, thank you for providing us with the tools that we will need when we go out into that big wild world out there. I still don’t know if I’ll ever use sin, cos, or tan when I’m out there, but that’s besides the point.  To our guests, thank you for being here with us at the end of the road, and to help in this incredibly important ceremony. You’ve all had an impact, whether it be big or small, on our journey to adulthood, and for that, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Having gone to an art school for a piece of, or even all of our formal education years, has left an impression on all of us. Although I have not been here as long as most, I feel a positive connection with all the grads. I feel like a valued member of this family.

For some it was a means to an end, for others it is a defining path forward. No matter what journey we took through our time in high school, we have forged ahead and now lie at the very end. Now is the time to look back, reflect, and understand the significance of this day, and what we have done to arrive here.

Living in this day and age, I believe that this generation knows more than anyone else that everything we do leaves something behind. Whether it be on the internet or in the real world, we are becoming more aware of the fact that our actions can have long lasting consequences. High school is a time for self discovery, and the decisions we make here and now will be key to our lives and identities far in the future.  We define ourselves. Our identities are our own, and no person has the ability to take that away from us.

It’s all scary, but I hold out hope. Because these people who stand with me are incredible. I believe we can accomplish anything. All our dreams are within our reach. I hold out hope because I believe. I know we can do it. We are doing it. I believe in every one of us. I believe that we are all capable young adults.    Expand this…..can you provide some inspirational quotes I have hope. Because you can’t have perfection without progress.

All it takes is one more time.

Creativity comes from disarray, from dissonance, from chaos.  Inspired by our experiences and passions, our successes and failures; we create with meaning.

Each performance, each song sung, each movie made provides us with something to remember, or to be remembered by. That can be the highest highs, or the most embarrassing, soul-crushing lows. Every mistake allows for learning and growth, and ain’t that just what school is about in the end? We forge our own legacy with each act on the stage of life, each day we spend with others writes another page in our very own chronology. Every rough draft or unfinished page is refined and fixed as we learn, slowly shaping into our truest selves in the end.

Art is such a critical element of our culture.

It facilitates collaboration and connection.

Expressing thought and emotion in a universal language.

Art is contemporary magic.

The art we leave behind can inspire others in pursuing their passions, or provide those who knew us comfort and good memories.

We’ve left memories of a soon to be bygone age behind us, and now we are here, the future staring at us with hungry eyes and a nearly infinite horizon of potential. You might be ready for it, might not be. I’m sure as hell not. But it’s coming at us real fast.

Motivated by our hardships, failures, obstacles, and successes; the growth we have made from our lows, and the developments we have made at our highs. The lessons we have learned from the past, the significance of where we stand now, and the importance of looking to the stars.

It’s important to look to the stars. But it is equally, if not more important to be mindful of what is directly in front of us, as well as where we’ve been.

Be compassionate; not just for others, but yourself too.

You’re learning, you’re growing. You’re allowed to fail. You will fail. You need to fail to learn.

We are not the same people we were 20 days ago, for we are barely the same people we were yesterday.

For worse, or for better; in your eyes, or mine, We’ve changed.

Today doesn’t only mark the end of a chapter, but the start of the next. 


Valleyview: Fraser Jacoby & Aedan Skinner
Fraser Jacoby and Aedan Skinner Speech

Dear graduates, teachers, family and friends, it is an honor to stand before you today as the co-valedictorians for the class of 2023. My name is Aedan Skinner alongside Fraser Jacoby, and as we give the class of 2023 our final send-off message, our goal is to deliver you a speech that reflects on our highlights, accomplishments, and gives hope and a vision for the future.

Graduation is a very special and important time in our lives. It is important because a couple months, weeks, or maybe days from now, we will all be starting on our very own life journeys.  People will move away, start their new lives, and those who were at one point a close acquaintance may become only a snapchat friend.  Knowing that soon approaching us is one of life’s major intersections with an infinite amount of possibilities moving forward, it is due time for a celebration. As we begin the celebration and close this chapter of our lives, we thought it was only right to take a trip down memory lane.

As many of you may remember, our high school experience had an interesting start, to say the least. On just the 5th day of highschool, many of us decided to take advantage of our newfound freedom and go to Tim Horton’s or the Husky for what would be our standard lunch meal for years to come. But on this day, for some strange reason, the lunchtime crowd consisted of around 500 kids who were all walking in the opposite direction. For those of us who followed the crowd, rather than eating a farmers wrap that day, we accidentally stumbled upon a 20vs20 “ARGUMENT” that ended up on the news. We were officially welcomed to high school on that day.

A couple months passed following the “Argument” when we participated in our very first Vikes day which held a special surprise. After a tedious process carried out by hard working individuals with our futures in mind, Valleyview was granted 35 million dollars by the Provincial Government to enhance and enlarge our school, the first time in our memory that extra money was available for Kamloops schools. Everyone in the gym erupted when the expansion was announced, especially our class, knowing that us as grade 8s were the only ones in the gym that were actually going to enjoy it. Luckily for last year’s grad class, the pandemic allowed for construction to get ahead of schedule and ready for student occupancy early.

While we are all aware of the hardships that have been felt from the COVID pandemic, that’s not what we’re here to talk about during our graduation ceremony.  As a class, we were not immune to these hardships but were still able to find a few positives in the situation. First, we were given 6 more months to break in the new school, many students had time to hit the gym and got absolutely jacked, and those of us who may have been failing a class when we went online, were able to squeak by with a free 50 percent. You all know who you are.

From there, grade 10 and 11, things started getting a little more serious.  We actually had to start thinking about our futures instead of picking the first career that came up on Work BC in our grade 9 career class.  Some students realized they had to take school a lot more seriously, others started dedicating themselves to the sport they love, and the smartest ones realized that they barely needed to show up, because “we’re literally never gonna have to know this stuff in the real world.”

These years blew by faster than we ever would’ve expected, and before we knew it, we arrived at senior year. Now looking back, throughout the last 5 years at Valleyview each one of us have had different experiences, memories and relationships but whether you were an athlete, musician, drama student, artist, writer, metal worker, or a scientist…we are all Vikes and I am honored and filled with joy to have had my high school journey be spent with you all.  As Mr. Macintosh always says, “Once a Vike, Always a Vike. Together, we enjoyed packed, deafening basketball games, carnivals, intramurals and barbecues at lunch. As a class, we were able to make our last year of high school as fun and memorable as possible.

As the days count down in our last year, and you continue forward in life, please strive to go out of your way to be thoughtful and do so without the thought of a potential reward.  Because years down the road, you will find that your time here at Valleyview will not be remembered by your grades, popularity, or likes, but by the way in which you affected the lives of those around you.

Finally, I would like to take one more minute of your time to honor someone who has undeniably connected with students and staff from every corner of the school. Someone who was loved by all, and we mean ALL. Someone who has personally cheered us up on days that weren’t going our way through her wildly hilarious storytelling. And most importantly, someone who everyone respected. For those in the crowd who don’t know who we are speaking of, Dianne Arnott was Valleyview’s custodian on and off for 15+ years. We lost Dianne early this spring, but it is on us to carry her legacy forward. If you can take one thing away from this graduation speech, it should be to carry her compassion, kindness, and generosity with you. If we as a class moving forward in life can take a sliver of her values with us, I have no doubt in my mind that we will be successful.

We would like to thank the staff, friends, family, graduates and most importantly the parents and guardians for the love and support that you have given to us over these past 17 or 18 years. Today we are specifically honoring the efforts throughout the past 5 years as you've pushed us to persevere through academic, personal, or social challenges to get to this day. Thank you everyone.


Chase: Ava Cowan & Royal Young

Ava Cowan Speech

Ladies and gentlemen, faculty of chase secondary, proud parents, and fellow graduates,

Today, as we stand here on the cusp of our futures, it is an honor to address you as valedictorian of this amazing graduating class. We have traversed a challenging journey together, filled with countless memories, profound growth, and invaluable lessons. In reflecting upon our journey, I would like to highlight five points that have shaped our time here and will continue to guide us as we step into the vast unknown.

Firstly, let us treasure the friendships we have made through our time together. The bonds of friendship, the laughter shared, and the support we have offered one another has been instrumental both personally and in our academic development. As we embark on different paths, let us remember to nurture these friendships, for they will carry us through life’s challenges.

Next, let us celebrate the countless experiences that have shaped us into who we are today. We have laughed, cried, stumbled, and succeeded together. It is these experiences both inside and outside of the classroom, that has broadened our perspectives, fostered resilience, and ignited our passions. As we move forward, let us continue to seek out new experiences, embrace the unknown, and never be afraid to venture beyond our comfort zones.

Equally as significant, are the lessons that we have learned along the way. Our education extends far beyond textbooks and lectures. We have learned the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity, the value of critical thinking and problem solving, and the power of collaboration. Armed with this knowledge, let us strive to make a positive impact on the world around us, constantly seeking opportunities to learn, grow, and contribute.

In the midst of our accomplishments, we must not forget the unwavering support of our families. They have been there, providing love, guidance, and encouragement throughout our academic journey. Let us express our profound gratitude to our parents, siblings, and extended family for their unwavering belief in our abilities. As we embark on our new endeavors, let us remember to remain connected to our families, sharing our triumphs, seeking their wisdom, and being there for them in return.

Finally, as we prepare to leave the comfort of this school, we find ourselves facing a world with endless possibilities. Our goals and aspirations may vary, but what unites us is the shared ideals to go out into the world, and find ourselves. Whether we choose higher education, or enter the workforce, let us approach the future with confidence and determination.

Class of 2023, through the last 12 years the majority of us have been together, and while many have come and gone, I hope we will continue to rely on the friendships we have made here. I wish you all the absolute best in whatever you may decided to do.

Thank you. 

Royal Young Speech

Dear fellow graduates, parents, teachers, and friends

It is an honour for me to deliver this valedictorian speech on our graduation day. Today we stand at the threshold of a new phase of our life, filled with so many possibilities and opportunities. This is indeed a moment of pride for all of us.

As we stand here today, we cannot help but reminisce about the times we have spent in this school. From watching someone blow up a microwave in the foods room, Dyson ehem. or Calvin hurting his ankle for the 12th time this year. Each one of us has had an unique journey, with its own challenges and victories. As we look back on these experiences, we realise how far we have come, and how much we have grown.

Along the way, we have encountered many individuals who have impacted our lives. For me, it was my step father. As much of a pain as I am, he saw through it and made me the best man I could possibly be. I am sure all of us here have that someone who taught us valuable lessons, and helped us become who we are today. To all the teachers, mentors, and staff of this school, we extend our heartfelt gratitude. You have been instrumental in shaping us into the individuals we are today.

To our parents, we say thank you for your unwavering support and sacrifices that helped us make it to this important milestone. Your love, guidance, and encouragement have been our backbone, and we treasure the memories we have made with you.

As we bid farewell to this school, we look forward to the future with a sense of optimism and enthusiasm. Our dreams are now within our reach, and the world is ours to conquer. We have been trained to face challenges head-on, to persevere and to never give up. Now we graduate as confident, resilient and resourceful individuals, ready to take on the world.

Of course, the journey ahead will not be easy. We will face obstacles and setbacks, but we must not let these discourage us. Instead, we should use these as opportunities to grow and learn. We should never forget the values this school has instilled in us- honesty, respect, compassion, and community service. These values will guide us as we navigate through our future careers and personal lives. How Victor will be a logger man, how Keira will be an electrician, or how Dysons…

As we move forward, we must also remember the importance of giving back to our community. We must use our knowledge and skills for the betterment of others and make a positive impact on the world. We should always remember that no action is too small, and every little bit counts.

In conclusion, I want to say that today marks the end of a chapter in our lives. But it is also the beginning of a new one, filled with endless possibilities and opportunities. As we move forward, let's seize every opportunity, chase our dreams, and make a difference in the world.

Once again, I congratulate all the graduates here today, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours. Thank you.

Sun Peaks

Sun Peaks: Charlie Roberts

Abby Rilcoe

Barriere: Abby Rilcoe
Abby Rilcoe Speech

Good evening family, friends, teachers, and of course this year's graduating class of 2023. My name is Abby Rilcoe and I'm honoured to be standing here today representing our class as the 2023 Valedictorian.

It all started 4673 days ago when we met each other in kindergarten. Kindergarten was our first time away from home, and we had to adjust to the new reality we would face for the next 13 years. Attending school from eight-thirty to three o’clock, five days a week, from September to June. Seems like quite the daunting task for a five-year-old! Elementary school taught us our A, B, C’s and how to count to 10, which later turned into writing paragraphs and understanding fractions. And with all the encouragement we received along the way from staff members and community volunteers, we were able to build the foundation of our education.

However, at the same time, we were also given the opportunity to become friends with the classmates we would be surrounded by for the next 13 years. Going to a small school in a small town, we were inevitably going to spend a lot of time with each other, and in the process watch each other grow into the people we are today. We watched classmates bring in their prize possession during show and tell, learned who would be future athletes during track and field season, and took note of whose passion for playing Cool Math Games would turn into something bigger. Not only were we learning things about each other, we were able to participate in so many firsts together. First away from home trip to Mcqueen Lake, first relationships, and first sports teams. We ended our elementary years surviving Mr Boulter’s class, and celebrating our accomplishments with a trip to Eagle Bay. Through all the experiences we shared, we felt more confident for what was about to come knowing we had each other's backs.

1751 days ago we journeyed three kilometers up the road and started our first day of high school. We were excited, we were scared, but at the very least we were all in it together. Here we were quickly introduced to some of the teachers and staff members who would be with us for the next five years.

Starting off high school we had the quote on quote Barriere Secondary experience. We were enrolled in woodshop and food classes, and watched the Cougar Classic. We went on the yearly mall Christmas field trip, and experienced the rivalry between Barriere and Clearwater. We also had to endure the pain of using a VPN every day, as they thought restricting the wifi would stop students from playing Fortnite or watching Netflix in the middle of class. Spoiler alert, it didn't.

And along the way we were introduced to many new students that we quickly accepted as though they were here from day one. Not only did we feel a part of the high school community, we were also overwhelmed by all of the support that the other 214 students of Barriere Secondary provided. They cheered us on at sports games or lent a hand when we needed one. The worries we had from elementary school vanished and everything seemed like it was going to be ok… until it wasn't.

Friends began to separate as drama took over, and not only were we becoming more distant, a pandemic had to hit, removing us from each other even further. Our grade 9 year ended out of the blue, three months short. Our new reality became Zoom calls and Google Classroom, and we quickly began to appreciate the work our teachers did for us each and every day. We thank them for pushing us to learn even on the days we didn't want to.

When we finally returned back to school at the start of our grade 10 year, it was exciting and weird considering it had been five months since we last stepped foot inside the school.

However it never felt normal as now we had to choose electives that were more in line with what we liked and our future careers, disconnecting us even further from our regular groups.

Although this was not a bad thing, coming apart had its benefits. We were able to surround ourselves with new people who had similar interests, passions, and goals. We were evolving into the people we wanted to become. One of the places where we really felt connected again was during English class with Mrs. Dolha. Here we read a questionable story about an old man named Ova, or created a murder mystery game. But I think all of us can agree that our favourite part was playing the wolf game. This sense of rekindling gave us a taste of what was to come in our final year.

290 days ago we started grade 12. We were all excited, nervous, and sad as to what this meant. It was our last first day of high school ever. This year was not like the rest. Although many of us went in different directions in high school, we all began to reunite. It felt as though no time had passed between us. We learned who would apply to what university, or what road others would take after graduating. And after finding this information out, we cheered each other on like never before. We laughed, we had fun, we got through it, but most importantly the bond we had with each other always remained no matter the ups or downs.

Not only did we believe in each other to get to this point, but we also had the support of the families and friends in the audience who encouraged us to achieve our goals and overcome obstacles along the way. I would like to extend this thank you to the parents of the graduates as we wouldn't be here without the guidance, love, and care you provided over the last 13 years. You pushed us to do better each and every day and were there for us through the good times and the bad. Your sacrifice to ensure our success will never be forgotten, and we cannot thank you enough. We love you.

And now we are here, the day we’ve been waiting for for the past 13 years. No more crossing off days on our calendars. No more staring at the clock until 3:04. We did it. We graduated high school. And as we celebrate our accomplishments, moving forward it is time we start believing in ourselves, as our lives will begin to look very different after we cross this stage. But by believing in ourselves, we harness the capability to overcome challenges and achieve greatness.

Take a moment and look back on your high school years. Think about where you started, what you went through, and how you became the person you are today. Think about the challenges and obstacles you faced, but successfully overcame with the support you received from the people around you. Now reflect even further and think about how proud your kindergarten self is for getting to this point today. The little child who thought 2023 was a billion years away. Imagine how impressed they’d be with the person you have become. Now with that feeling of accomplishment, think about the life you could live, if you believed and pushed yourself to achieve your dreams. Think about how that version of yourself would feel looking back at you here today.

And as we part from high school, I urge you to remember the importance of believing in yourself, and to never forget that you have the rest of your graduating class rooting for you to succeed.

Thank you and congratulations, class of 2023!


Clearwater: Sawyer Cairns & Martha Taylor

Sawyer Cairns and Martha Taylor Speech

Good evening Trustee Sim, Superintendent Nixon, Staff, Families and Students. We are gathered here today to celebrate the graduation of this year’s student body.

We may not be the first grad class of Clearwater Secondary, and hopefully we aren’t the last. However it’s arguable that we are the best. The people that are leaving this school have made some notable achievements and have started long lasting traditions. While some of us were accomplishing goals outside of school, like getting youth of the year award, being the youngest female racer on the Clearwater Speedway, or graduating university before finishing highschool. Others were hosting week-long video game tournaments, putting on magic shows for the elementary students, starting D&D clubs, and helping to put together the E-sports team.

We managed to achieve all this despite losing almost two years of opportunities due to the pandemic. When we went into quarantine we were still immature little 9th graders. When we came back we were now seniors, that needed to set a good example for those younger than us. It was hard to navigate, as covid did not provide a normal growing environment. Even today I'm not convinced all of us have matured since grade 9. There are other challenges throughout the teenage years too. Like getting over speed bumps without scraping your car, not being tempted to throw a science slide at a window or put badminton birdies in the toilet, or even having three Alex’s in one class.

That aside, we hope new 8th graders entering high school are excited for the full CSS experience, and we would like to take a moment to highlight some of the many offerings of this school. This highschool provides a plethora of knowledge. Usually it’s correct, but I remember one time in my Anatomy 12 class when Ms Herring told us that it only took a person a few months to adjust to a new climate, however Mr Dhanoa is living proof that is false. Sometimes our dedicated teachers will even helpfully demonstrate what not to do, Mrs Lavigne takes it upon herself to show students that hazards can be lurking everywhere even in the most harmless sport. Mr Whelen serves as an example of the value of persevering, even when your favourite team is the maple leafs. CSS always makes sure to supply its students with the finest of cutting edge technology, however some staff aren’t so lucky. Apparently there isn’t any room in the budget for Mr Menards much needed hearing aids. With all of these wonderful staff, you may never want to leave, I’m sure Mr. and Mrs. Buck can agree.

As I look at my fellow graduates, I can see a diversity of emotions, some joy, some sadness, and some just wanting to get the hell out of here. However you may be feeling, remember that we finally have a chance to prove that highschool is not the best five years of our lives. Whether it’s moving on into post-secondary, entering straight into the workforce, or taking time to step back and decide on a course for the future, all of us have something to look forward to. Although, we would like to remind the grads that the path is not always as simple as it seems, life can be like a trip to Banff, sometimes you take a wrong turn and get lost. But even at its most confusing, there is always a way forward, so long as you keep looking.

Now that the year is coming to an end, we reflect upon our time in high school and see a group of resilient, talented individuals who are ready to take on the world.

Congratulations on your successes so far, we look forward to seeing what you all will do as you assume your roles as the future’s scientists, artists, teachers, and leaders of the world.

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