By Andy Labdon
Life after school can be scary, but the Quill Lake Class of 2017 has a motto, “There are no regrets in life – just lessons.”
There are things in life that, as we journey through it, we miss, as valedictorian Jennifer Harcourt said in her speech.
“There are so many things about school that I know I will miss – the little things like roaming the halls with your best friends every day.”
From the first years in high school students’ gifts and characters grow to leave each student a unique individual, as Harcourt said, “Each and every person in this class has something special about them that I will remember looking back on my high school years. I’d like to share with everyone what I will remember about each in our class.”
Harcourt then singled out each student saying.
“Wes is by far the best public speaker. Kaylea is the stylish one. Hana is the quiet one but is the one you can consistently rely on to be a great helper. Amanda is the kind-hearted one. Morgan is the one that you can predict what he’s going to say he did over any holiday. Evan never fails to teach every person he knows the new Trailer Park Boys’ saying.
“Katherine is the strong one. I mean literally. A couple of the guys in our class are afraid to make her mad because they know from previous experiences that she has a nasty right hook,” continued Harcourt. “Layne is the accused. Every time there is something in class like whispering or a phone going off, the teachers will say, ‘Layne be quiet’ or ‘Layne, give me your phone.’
“Riley is who I would call Captain Obvious. You wouldn’t believe the number of times Riley would ask the most obvious questions in history just to make Mr. Gray mad. An example of these sorts of questions is, ‘So, did the soldiers in the First World War go to SIAST before fighting in the war?’
“Kendra, by far, knows the most about farm equipment than any girl I know. Brendan is what I would call the confident one. Last, but not least, Tyler. He taught us all the lesson, ‘Don’t lean on the back of your chair when it is completely silent in the classroom. It doesn’t end well!’”
Harcourt finished her speech wishing everyone well in their future endeavours and expressed sorrow as they part, as she will ‘miss everyone.’
Guest speaker Tessa Fry, opened her speech with the remark, “Sup fam? How have you guys been? Staying out of trouble? Minty! Wes, Mint Juice.” Only the students understood and Fry admitted with a smile, “I promised these guys I would start my speech with that remark.”
Fry welcomed guests and graduates and noted at ‘how well they clean up’ making them nearly ‘unrecognizable.’ She went on to say how proud she was of the students as they were the hardest working she had ever met.
“… I applaud you because there was never a single time that I heard a complaint about having to read ‘The Secret Lives of Sgt. John Wilson,’ no matter how much you disliked the book,” commented Fry.
Fry went on to admit and explain she was honoured to be asked to be the guest speaker but struggled to think of what to say.
“I’ll tell you what I do know, and I’ll level with you. Whether you are heading off to university, trade school, Bible college, or starting work, you’re about to be faced with some tough lessons,” she said.
At university most student’s marks will drop 15-20 per cent in their first year, it’s just one of those things, said Fry. “Be prepared to fail and know that it is okay. It happens to the best of us.”
We learn from mistakes.“You can still do well even if you fall down a couple of times, as long as you work harder next time.”
As our lives change and grow, new experiences come to test, and Fry warned the students.
“Some things may seem impossible to get through. In those times, lean on others for support. Remember you are not a stronger person for not asking for help. Be humble and admit when you need help and thank those who do help you.”
Fry gave some good advice to the students as they embark on a new chapter of their lives.
“Remember, like Harper Lee who famously wrote in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
The 14 students were fetted during the annual graduation ceremonies held on May 26 in the Quill Lake School auditorium. A total of 17 awards and certificates were handed out after greetings given by Kevin Garinger, director of education for the Horizon School Division on behalf of the lieutenant governor, minister of education and the school division.
Mrs. Hufnagel led the singing of O Canada while Mr. Lane Gray introduced the graduands. Principal Michele Presber presented the diplomas. School board representative Christine Gradin provided congratulatory certificates from both the member of parliament and member of the legislative assembly, as well as presented the student recognition award.