With exams and homework and studying behind them, Lacombe Composite High School’s Class of 2019 came together one least time to celebrate the end of their high school journey.
On Saturday afternoon, a total of 239 graduates crossed the stage at the Enmax Centrium in Red Deer to receive their certificates of completion, before embarking down their own unique paths forward.
While it’s inevitable that outside forces will try and dictate which paths are the right ones to take – often those with the promise of big paycheques – Salutatorian Ian Borody, who finished with a 96.8 per cent average, encouraged his fellow graduates to follow the path that makes them happy.
A future urban planner, according to his Twitter account bio, and once MLA for a Day, Borody redrew the electoral boundaries for Edmonton to address concerns regarding how different communities were grouped and brought the changes before the Electoral Boundaries Commission in 2017.
He recognized his talents and interests varied from others in the graduating class, and while some may be interested in welding or hairdressing, everyone should embrace their own skills and talents.
“Often, during school, it seems like everyone’s pushing us to become a rocket scientist or a doctor. To some people, these careers are seen as the only valuable directions in life. This societal push is ill-advised as everyone has their own unique talents,” Borody said in his speech. “We should strive fore whatever makes us happy and make the world a better place using our own methods. When we work only for money, we end up ‘waiting’ through life and not living it…We wait for the next break, next holiday, and ultimately wait for retirement.
“Choose a career based on happiness and what you enjoy, not money, and the rest of your life will be way more rewarding in the long run as money can only get yourself so far.”
A similar message, one on focusing on creating the best experiences, rather than focusing on numbers and test scores, was put forward by Valedictorian Adria Clark.
Clark had a 97.8 per cent average (thought the other 2.8 per cent were made up through her participation in Rams leadership activities, youth mentorship through her church, volunteering in the long term care ward at the Lacombe Hospital and participating with the LCHS skills baking team, as per LCHS instructor Dave Irwin).
Her advice, however, was directed towards the graduates of tomorrow, as she said she was “unable to offer advice to each of you as I, too, must jump into uncertain future.”
Crying about school, she said, wasn’t worth it, but staying awake while driving, parking properly, and leaving your keys in the ignition while in the fast lane of the QEII Hwy is.
Getting too embarrassed by leaving a math textbook in a hotel in Edmonton, meanwhile, will cost $70 to be replaced, while the value of time spent with friends instead of agonizing over tests or labs is priceless.
Chief among her tidbits of advice was encouragement to get involved in some way.
“My best high school memories will not consist of good test marks, but of the memories I’ve made with friends and the experiences I’ve had in my school and community,” she said.
“Teachers love to say high school will be the best years of our lives, but it’s up to every individual to make that happen for themselves.”
The Lacome Globe’s annual graduation feature celebrating graduates from around the area can be viewed here.