Following is the presentation made by 2021 Chemainus Secondary School graduating class valedictorian Chayla Pollock Thursday at the school:
“Good morning staff and classmates.
I’m honoured to be standing here representing the graduating class of 2021. I would like to thank all of you from teachers to friends and family for having a profound impact on the students that will be graduating today. Even though our family and friends could not be in attendance this morning, on behalf of myself and my classmates, we would like to thank you for all you’ve invested in us to this day.
This is the time that we all get together for one last celebration before moving on to bigger and better things. What a crazy time this has been. At the start of this year, every single one of us had to experience our last year of high school in an extremely different way, and we have had to make more than a few adjustments. And throughout all that COVID-19 has thrown at us, we have been able to accomplish one of the major early milestones of our lives, being able to walk across this stage and officially graduate, and I’m incredibly proud of all of us for that.
When everyone told you on your first day of Grade 8 that you’d be walking across the stage and receiving your diploma in no time, you never believed them. Now here we are, a short five years later, surrounded by future engineers, hairdressers, scientists, teachers, mechanics, nurses, carpenters and many more. We’ve all worked so hard to get here, and all of that hard work has paid off.
Chemainus Secondary has always had small grad classes, and I for one am grateful for that. Being able to walk down the hallway and name each and every one of your faces, having shared so many laughs and small memories in classes with you all is something I’ll always remember.
From learning how to line dance in P.E., seeing our competitive sides come out in the gym riots, and of course the infamous grad pie toss. We’ve all learned something from one another and have grown with each other over the course of the last few years, during the most important developmental stages of our lives. Every single one of us has been individually shaped into the amazing young adults that we are today, waiting to start this exciting new chapter no matter what that entails.
Looking at you all, the Class of 2021, I realize that a lot of us may not see each other after this. However, the silver lining is that I know that all of you are going to go start your own lives and adventures, and that to me is a beautiful thought. I’d like to leave you all with a small quote from Dr. Seuss:
“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to great places, you’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. You are the person who will decide where to go”.
The two hardest things in life are saying hello for the first time, and goodbye for the last. Right now, it’s time to say goodbye but I’d much rather say, see you guys soon. Congratulations to all of us, the Class of 2021. Now is our time to shine.”