Kaylee McCullough, 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.

Kaylee McCullough, valedictorian, Parkland Secondary, North Saanich

Next year: Taking a year off school to pursue other interests and save money.

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We have the ability to change our perspective of the pandemic. We can choose to see it as an opportunity for further growth and personal development, even though it may feel like the world’s version of tough love.

Looking back at my senior year, it’s easy to imagine all the missed opportunities and to think of all the little things I often took for granted; however, now I can clearly see how important it is to live in the moment and appreciate what I do have instead of what I could have had.

The pandemic has changed my perspective on my own life completely. Instead of diving right into university, I have decided to take a year off to further pursue my passions, such as dance, art and photography, in greater depth as well as spend quality time with my friends and family and save money.

I am so proud of our rising generation. We have learned to make the best out of the worst situations and appreciate the good times more than ever before. I believe that our current world is shaping the young people we are to be stronger, smarter, and to think more sustainably.

I am beyond excited to witness the next generation of lawyers, doctors, leaders, activists, teachers, police and politicians among many more because I believe we will bring a better future full of respect, accountability, equality, sustainability and prosperity.

Even though the pandemic may have ruined our idealistic vision of the perfect graduation year, I hope everyone can make the choice to change their perspective and see the world not as a construct of limitations, but an infinite void of undiscovered potential.

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