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.
Marcus McDermand, valedictorian, Kwalikum Secondary, Qualicum Beach
Next year: Studying French and mathematics at UVic in preparation for becoming a teacher.
We made it. Despite everything the world has thrown at us, we can still have our various forms of commencement ceremonies: the final stops on our trips through high school, and gateways to the adventure of whatever comes next. Before we pursue our own paths through that adventure, let’s take a look back and revisit … whatever the heck that was.
From our very beginnings, the road to this day has been somewhat rocky, for reasons we don’t remember, but you might. We were born from late 2001 to early 2003, during a time of great change following the Sept. 11 attacks. While the rest of the world tried to figure out their next courses of action, we were learning to crawl, then walk, then run, experiencing the wonders which the world had to offer. Our parents and guardians guided us through these earliest days, ensuring that it was the joys that we learned, and not the chaos surrounding.
As we climbed through elementary school, the world kept moving, with a financial crisis raging in our early years alongside the invention of the smartphone. Together, we grew.
Before we knew it, we had gotten to high school, where we would spend the next several years working our collective rears off. Our eyes gazed into the future, and we started asking ourselves the big questions: Who are we? What do we want to do with our lives? We don’t have provincial exams? New curriculum? What do you mean we have to do a capstone project?!?
The world kept moving. Some days, it moved seamlessly. Other days, it was interrupted — as it was when the pandemic brought our graduate year to a screeching halt. Regardless, we carried on.
And now, here we are, with turmoil to our backs and uncertainty in front of us. Though none of us know what the future holds for us, we made it here. Where else can’t we go?