It wasn’t always easy, the journey wasn’t without missteps, but in spite of any and all obstacles, Lacombe Composite High School grads celebrated the end of their high school careers Saturday.
Homework and exams behind them, a total of 269 students crossed the stage Friday afternoon at the Enmax Centrium in Red Deer to receive their certificates of completion, marking the end of one journey and the start of another.
With a few references to Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” and her Hannah Montana alter-ego’s “Life’s what you make it,” graduates were encouraged to value what it took to get to graduation, and embrace the road ahead of them.
“Life is the climb… High school has, in many ways, been just like the climb over a mountain – long, tiring, but rewarding,” said Salutatorian Aakriti Pandit during her address.
Pandit served as the presidents of the Interact Rotary Club and spent time volunteering at the hospital, in addition to holding down a part time job. Driven by a desire to help those around her, she’s set to attend the University of Alberta in pursuit of a Bachelor of Nursing – fitting, for a girl teachers said amazed them with her “capacity to make positive changes with grace and humility.”
It was that same grace and humility that she credited not herself, but those around her and her fellow graduates in helping them all to reach the summit of high school – graduation. Families, she said, provided the foundation for the climb, while staff, teachers and friends supported and guided them through the rough terrain along the way.
“Even though we’ve reached a milestone in our lives, there’s many more to come,” she said. “Even though everyone here is plagued with senioritis, and dreading the idea of anything other than sleep, there’s so much more left to life. We must get back on the road, wherever that might lead us.
“As we leave this building today, we must pack our bags filled with memories, encouragement from teachers and lessons from parents and continue on the voyage that is life.”
Those sentiments were carried on by Valedictorian Tanika Ensminger, who was named as such in May with a 95.6 per cent average.
“We’ve learned how to deal with out failures and successes…We’ve learned to take things one day at a time and in the grand scheme of things, a few bumps on the road don’t keep us from our destination,” Ensminger said. “For each of us walking the stage, we’ve learned what we’re capable of.”
Graduates found out just how capable they were in organizing themselves for the ceremony, as LCHS Principal Valerie Yaremchuk pulled a grad prank of her own, reversing the order in which grads would take to the stage.
For her part, Ensminger joked that her “unmatched talent” for saying the alphabet backwards came in handy.
“For all those times you’ve thought to yourself, ‘When am I ever going to need to know this,’ – oh, you just wait,” she said.
“Now, we each move forward and start our own journeys. While I cannot promise all of them will lead to bountiful success, as Hannah Montana says ‘Life’s what you make it’ so you can either make it rock, or, well, not.
“Go forward and choose to make your own success.”