John Mark Soriao, Parkland Secondary

Since they were unable to make their speeches in front of all of their classmates, friends and family, we asked valedictorians — and one class historian — from south Island schools to share them with us. This is an excerpt from one of the submissions.

John Mark Soriao, valedictorian at Parkland Secondary, North Saanich

Next year: Going to get my first-year biology and transition to practical nursing at Camosun College.

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I know that this year will mark the history of all the graduating students because of the pandemic that we are facing.

Even though we don’t have a traditional graduation ceremony, I would like each one of us to feel that we’re all in this together. Let us all remember the words of encouragement Dr. Bonnie Henry said to all graduating students, that we should look at this experience as a unique and historic one.

I know some of us feel that it is frustrating and sad, we missed a lot of special events during our high school’s most important year. Please let me remind you that this is not the end of our life and journey, but this is the beginning of our new adventures in life.

Graduation is a time of reflection, looking back for our past, no matter what, if it’s happy or sad, success or failure, victory or defeat, and looking onward to a brighter future. It is the time that we, as graduates, get together virtually for one last hurrah before moving on to bigger and better opportunities that await all of us. This year we have a very unique and exceptional group of graduates.

I am proud to say that once a PANTHER, always PANTHER. Thank you to all of you. Until we meet again.

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