On behalf of the graduating class of 2013, I would like to thank all of you for coming to support us on this momentous occasion. Some of us are truly surprised to be here. I would like to thank my classmates for making this such an unforgettable year, as well as the previous 13 years.
It is incredible how this year has brought us all together. I would like to give a special thanks to Sara for her role in that. This year has gone by far too quickly, from the first week, planning out where we should build our grad room in the foyer, to all of the grad pranks we thought up but didn’t go through with (you’re welcome Mrs. Lavender), well, with the exception of the chicken incident, until now.
It all just blurs together into one big stressful, incredible and memorable experience. I am genuinely proud of all of you here today and I’m not just saying this because your parents are here.
This year has proven to be very testing on all of us. Not only was it a challenge to be faced with our Grade 12 year, but to be thrown into a new system at this point in our schooling was a struggle. This system caused many minor breakdowns throughout the year and I know that there were times when some of us seriously considered giving up and marrying rich. But nevertheless, we prevailed.
Despite all of the changes it was worth sticking it out because it was an honour to have the opportunity to graduate from Rossland Secondary.
Regardless of whether or not our grad picture will be put up in the main hallway, we are proud to be joining a long list of RSS graduates. I would like to tell the younger students, in particular the Grade 11s, that although you will not graduate from RSS, you will always be a part of it.
Good luck to all of you heading into the soon-to-be overcrowded hallways of J.L. Crowe. They are lucky to have you. Be sure to participate in all the extra curricular activities, maintain our standards of excellence and be proud of where you came from. Oh, and give my best to Mr. Wheeler.
I would also like to thank all of the teachers and staff members here at RSS. You have helped us throughout our high school careers and somehow you managed to get us through this year!
You have all inspired us in your own way. Thank you for everything you have done for us and for our school. You have been the foundation of what has made RSS great. It is sad to think that many of you will not be here next year.
Mrs. Bella will no longer be giving out excessive amounts of sweets, and putting on the Spanish subtitles for Sinead; Mrs. Austin will no longer know everything that happened last weekend, Mr. Winkers will no longer be “terrifying” his students and Mr. McKinnon will no longer be the coach of the Rossland Royals.
RSS has been more than just a school to many; it’s been a home where we have shared incredible memories with our extended family, and if you’re the McKinnons then your whole family.
Even with this year’s “splendid learning” we are still the top ranked school in the district. Don’t get me wrong, we all loved blended learning! It taught us many valuable lessons. It taught us time management, putting everything off until the very last minute, it taught us how to “work in groups,” covering for someone while they were on a Timmy’s run, and it helped us learn about different forms of social media, as we kept up to date on our Twitter and Instagram feeds as well as all of our favourite TV shows.
Despite all these fun new lessons, I know that there are also many stressful and frustrating memories that you can recall from the last nine months. However, when you look back on this a year from now and five years from now, you probably won’t remember much at all!
But you may flashback to a memory of Sadie Hawkins day, or apples to apples, or whatever else you did at home because, let’s be honest, who was actually at school, or think of Spring Formal 2013 and think of Jill, because who won’t when they remember that dance. Whatever it is that causes the memory to surface, think of us, what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished together.
Now while I was looking for things to say and YouTube-ing valedictorian speeches, I noticed that in many of them, they would acknowledge groups of people going into each of the different fields. I thought to myself, ‘Hey, that could be really cool! Except when I began to ask people what their plans were for next year, “I’m not sure yet” seemed to be the theme.
By this time next year many people will have changed their minds and their majors. And if you happen to be one of those lucky people that know what they will be doing for the rest of their lives then congratulations! I may need a place to stay at some point.
That is one of the nice things about high school and especially RSS. That being that we have never had to search for friends. There have always been people here that we have grown up with and relied on.
Next year, however, we will all be forced into situations where we will have to meet new people. Those of us who were involuntarily put into shared dorms, thanks mom, we will have to make at least one friend, and those of us who stay will have to meet new people to fill the void of loneliness caused by our departure. Except for Jill and Kaela, because they will always have each other.
This socially expected ritual will be easy and exciting for some and hard and scary for others. Now, Sara, don’t worry, someone will feel obligated to be your only friend. Regardless of your situation, just remember that home is wherever your loved ones are.
Even though you will be away from your family, your home and all that you know, you are sure to make new acquaintances, new memories and new friends. You will begin to build a new home and then before you know it you will be done school, done your degree and either coming back to mooch off your parents or heading off on your own.
Wherever you are, you will be experiencing new, terrifying and exciting adventures and beginning your life. No longer will you have Maddie to talk to, Sara to laugh at or Jill to tell you what to do.
You will be on your own at last. But always remember that a home will always be here, Rossland will always be here, we will always be here. Some of us will come back, some will never leave. But the nice thing about living in a rural area is we will always have a closeness with each other and our community that you can’t get just anywhere.
There is a big world ahead of us and, as individuals, we may not be the smartest, with the exception of a few, we may not be the most articulate, with the exception of a few, we are certainly the best looking, with no exception there.
Nevertheless, we have grit. Throughout this year and our previous years here we have all shown perseverance and determination, and those qualities will see us through whatever obstacles we face in life. You will all be great, I know you will.
Graduates if you could please stand. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with not only the graduating class of 2013 but the last ever and best looking graduating class from Rossland Secondary School.
— Jaala Derochie, RSS 2013 valedictorian