The following is the text from Sage Sidley’s valedictory address to the Class of 2011:
Good afternoon honoured guests, community members, staff, family, friends and fellow graduates.
I feel very privileged to be representing the graduating class of 2011. We made it!
Graduation is a time to look at the past, present and future. It’s a time to celebrate our achievements, reflect on the challenges we have faced, and be proud of what we have accomplished.
It was seven years ago, when we first set foot into Rossland Secondary School. We were from rival elementary schools — Cook and MacLean — but we came together at RSS. We were just LGs and LBs trying to find our place in these big hallways.
I remember seeing the Grade 12s, and being so afraid, and wondering how we were ever going to be like them some day.
In Grade 8, we became more a part of RSS. No longer Snowflakes, we got to go to Snoball for the first time. By choosing electives, we explored all that RSS has to offer beyond the academics.
The years flew by through Grades 9 and 10. Our individuality grew as we pursued our courses, joined clubs, and played on school teams.
In Grade 11 exchange students came to RSS. It was crazy, but made for entertaining classes. It was the year we found our place as we focused on our goals and aspirations.
We also discovered our sick wheels.
In reflecting back on those years and everything that has happened, let’s have no regrets. We can’t change the past, but we can take the good from it. All experiences, good and bad, have brought us here today and have helped us to become who we are, and we’re awesome.
This brings us to our Grade 12 year. Everyone told us it would go by quickly, but I had no idea how fast. It seems like just yesterday we sat in the foyer for the first time.
We are the class of 2011. We may have stumbled along, had spats and drama, gained and lost friends, studied hard and not so hard, passed and failed, but we are all connected. We are a family. We may have our differences, but we care about each other. I know if anyone of us were in trouble, we would all be there to help. Because we are from RSS and there is something special about being able to walk down our hallways and know everyone’s name.
I can’t wait for our class reunion to see 45 wonderful and successful adults. Graduating is a huge achievement and we should be proud to be here.
However, we must not stop here. Learning and growing is a life long commitment, which we can all aspire to.
So class of 2011, let’s live our lives to our heart’s content. Take the path that leads to happiness because in the end, that’s what matters most.
I would like to say a special thank you to the hard-working staff at Rossland Secondary School. Our teachers go well beyond just teaching us the curriculum. Through their tireless commitment, they model and inspire us to give 110 per cent.
Graduating is not only about quizzes or test marks. It’s about what we have learned about ourselves and trying to become better people. The RSS staff has taught us this valuable lesson and, for that, I would like to thank them.
Tonight wouldn’t be what it is without our parents. After this evening, they will no longer be parents of children but rather parents of young adults. Thank you moms and dads for your support and for always being there for us.
I’d like to thank the grad committees for all their hard work and for this special night they’ve been planning since the fall. It is truly magical.
We must not forget the valuable members of our community, who support our events and fundraising. Thank you to our elementary teachers who prepared us for high school. And thank you Subway for feeding us through the years.
Thank you friends for knowing us, and loving us anyways. Thank you facebook for the opportunity to waste away our lives.
Thank you cellphones, we can’t imagine a class without texting.
Well I can.
As the wise tortoise from Kung Fu Panda says: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.
The gift today is our graduation. So let’s celebrate! Congratulations class of 2011, we did it!