Wednesday might have been a day of celebration for the 292 graduating students of Carlton Comprehensive High School, but it was also one of reflection.
While the students’ previous four years were marked with accomplishment, both inside the classroom and out, it was the hard times that valedictorian Hannah Walker wanted to remind her classmates of.
“There isn’t a single person in this arena who can say that these past four years have been a breeze,” she said.
“Every one of us has run into challenges along the way. However, the hard days are arguably even more meaningful and important than the good ones. It is the hard days that determine who you are. In the face of adversity, we learn resilience.”
That, Walker said, is the key. The grads need to remember, she said, that it won’t always be an easy path.
‘“Whatever you think your path of life is now, it will probably change, and that’s OK,” she said. “be excited by the unknown. All of us in here …. Are ready to take on the real world. It is going to be hard. No matter what you choose, the real world will be, at times, stressful, frustrating and absolutely terrifying. In this new phase of your lives, I encourage everyone to find a little piece of happiness and hold it tight.”
It’s a bit like high school, she said. It’s not all about the classes and the lessons and tests and marks. Rather, it’s about the people she met and the experiences she had along the way.
“The same principle applies to the rest of your life,” she said.
“Take the time to discover what you enjoy, what sets your soul on fire and take the time to hold onto that as life gets hectic. Give yourself a chance to remember happiness … instead of the hard parts of the journey.”
Walker’s words were echoed by her principal, Jeff Court.
“Stay resilient, be present and follow your passion are all great reminders as we navigate the next steps of our lives,” Court said.
It Court’s first year as Carlton principal. He was pleased to see the people his students have become.
“It was fabulous It’s such an amazing event. It’s a culmination and celebration of what our year has been. so proud of each and every one of these kids,” he said.
“Hannah’s …. Speech was true to life. We do deal with challenges along the way, and it’s about staying resilient,” he said after the ceremony.
He shared a similar message with the students.
“This group in front of me is intelligent. They are risk takers. They enter every situation with a solutions-focussed mindset. You step up in the face of a challenge and stay resilient when times get tough,” he said.
“It is these attributes that will serve you in life. It is these attributes that I believe make you the leaders of right now. Go out and do great things. We in Prince Albert know that you will.”