Rundle Academy's 2015 Valedictory Speech
Congratulations to the class of 2015. Your hard work, dedication, and countless hours of studying have lead you to overcome many challenges such as learning disabilities, Math 30, and the emotional ups and downs of high school. Having attended Rundle Academy since grade 5, I am honoured that I am representing our graduating class on this memorable occasion. Having attended such a small school, I feel we have all come out with a unique experience that sets us apart from other high schools. I can say with absolute confidence that I personally know every student who has walked this stage today. We have all supported each other in one way or another throughout our high school experience, whether it be helping someone in their academics, drama, athletics, or student council. We have made connections that will last a life time. You all truly represent the Rundle Academy community in a positive way.
Joseph Campbell put forth the theory that every hero in follows the same path. I would like to think that we are all pretty heroic, and I bet our mothers would agree. The journey starts off with a call to adventure, or in our case being accepted into Rundle Academy. It’s not quite Hogwarts, and I am sure not very many of us thought of it as the start of an adventure at the time.
The hero is then supposed to reject that call which I am sure most of you wanted to do; I know I did. But that is not the hero’s destiny. It's our destiny is to save the world… or graduate high school, and then save the world.
We then meet our mentors, whether that be Dumbledore, or Mr. Vesey, they are the ones who show us how to cross the threshold from our ordinary world and learn to become a better person than when our journey began.
We are then put through tests to find out who we can rely on. Tests like orientation camp, where first impressions are made. Some of us received some nicknames that stuck for quite awhile: I actually thought Jesse’s name was Philippe for a month.
After this, the hero has to figure out his approach - how they are going to achieve their goal. We all approached our high school experience differently, but we all ended up in the same place here today, graduating. But our journey to get here is the really interesting part. There were many challenges on the way to graduation. Some of us had a harder time than others, and will want to forget some of the more traumatic parts of high school. Personally, I am excited to be able to watch a Shakespearean play without someone asking me if I know who wrote it. There is no question Sean is excited, or as excited as Sean gets, to not always be asked if he wants a glass of sewer water. The experiences that we have had in high school, good and bad, have helped to shape who we are today and will continue to influence who we are going to become. Going to see the Eiffel tower with all our friends, giving the word grenade a new meaning, going to volleyball provincials, making a first free-throw shot, winning the student election (or in my case, losing) are all things high school has given us beyond the knowledge of the quadratic formula, punnett squares, and proper comma use.
The stage part-way through the hero’s journey is transformation. Graduating high school is a momentous occasion but I am pleased to say it is not going to be the most momentous thing to happen in any of our lives. We are so lucky to say that some of the best days of our lives have not even happened yet. Yes, we are closing a chapter in our lives as high school ends, but we are also opening a new one. A chapter filled with the excitement of discovering new things: whether that be university, work, or travel.
This is now the part where I am supposed to give advice on what to do in the years ahead. But the truth is I don’t have any advice to give. My journey is not over yet, and I don’t know what the future holds for any of us. So instead of getting advice from me I am going to give you advice from someone who you probably know pretty well by now. William Shakespeare wrote that, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” It is up to us now to make our own destiny. Soon gone are the days of having things handed to us; it is our turn to go out and make our lives into whatever we want them to be. For many of us, it is a scary thought to leave the faces we see every day.
Our hero’s journey is not complete; we still have trials ahead. We are not done with this adventure; all of us have so much left to discover, and in turn grow and change. However, the hero always remembers where he or she started and takes time to reflect on that when their journey is complete. Reflect, and thank everyone who made it possible for all of us to reach this milestone of graduation.
Thank you to our teachers, coaches, and mentors for always going the extra mile to make sure we achieve our goals.Thank you to our parents and families for making sure we got to school on time, or in my case 15 minutes late, for supporting us through high school, and making it possible for us to go to Rundle Academy. Our ambition, work ethics, and ability to overcome obstacles is a testament to your guidance throughout the years, and I know that we wouldn’t be here without your constant support. The last stage of the hero's journey is the road to return. Charles Dickens said that, "The pain of paring is nothing to the joy of meeting again." I know none of us will forget our years of high school spent together, and I hope we all meet again one day.