Wednesday, April 15, 1998

Valadictorian Address

Mr. MacLean, honoured guests, members of the faculty, ladies and gentlemen, fellow graduates, welcome to the final rite of passage. A long battle has come to an end, my friends. We are the survivors. This night, victory is ours. We are now bona-fide educated individuals, ready to forge our way in the world, ready to stand and be independent. Our various physical, intellectual, aesthetic and moral faculties have been developed and cultivated. We are tonight qualified for the business and duties of life. We have survived hundreds of hours of homework, survived major projects, survived exams, even survived Beaver food. We have won, and now the world has seen fit to cast us out on our own, into a bigger, bloodier, more complicated macrocosm of the battle in which we have just trimuphed; the age of independance is upon us, yet I think that this fine institution that has supported and prepared us these many years will be sending us off well-armed.

How long have we been in school, anyway? Most of us have been coming for thirteen or fourteen years. That's about three quarters of our lives thus far. In all this time, we have followed the same inexorable routine. School comes and goes with the seasons. It has become as natural and expected as the rising of the sun, yet after all this, some of us will never return to school: fourteen years of unshakable routine turned to fairy dust, lost in the wind. It is a sudden, brutal shift in all that we have come to see as constant, but our school has prepared us well for the task. It is tonight that we are qualified for the business and duties of life, is it not? A new and marvelous world awaits us.

And what of those who have set their course to higher education? First year is a slaughter house. Many fall under the weight of the responsibility inherent in independence. This new schooling is not the same. It is a different world, a world of self motivation and independence. Yet again, I percieve that our highschool has outfitted us well for this new battle. Many have gone before us and met great success as a result of the same preparation that tonight comes to its conclusion for us.

We owe a debt that cannot be repaid. We owe our thanks to all of our parents. They have nursed us this long time, given us strength and support, tended to those wounds incurred from this, our fierce battle. We also owe our thanks to all those teachers who fought with us, who have facilitated this, our final victory. Our parents and our teachers deserve our gratitude for preparing us for the fierce battles that lie ahead.

Let us not forget those extraordinary moments in this, our last year. Well now, there was a wee little bit of political action, I do recall; a fistfull of good citizens trying to put an end to butchery, was it? Or was it rank upon rank of good citizens trying to prevent the massacre of Public Education in Ontario, trying to prevent the brutal murder of this great school that has offered you and me so much. Some of us, I'm sure, may think we are escaping the armageddon of the school system: out in the nick of time as the wick runs short. Of course, those pursuing higher education are plunging into a new sea of troubles: the land of tuition hikes. May we never forget and always protect this institution that has educated us so well.

It is my humble preception that Huntsville Highschool is a remarkable place, brimming with incredible talent. For the second time, our Japanese friends came to visit us. That is certainly a unique arrangement; furthermore, for the first time, we have a school paper, a student voice beyond that of the council. It is entirely possible that this year will be the founding year for a continued tradition of school papers. This may be the last year for the Black Whole, an amazing progam that I would claim as being unique to our school. Hopefully it will survive Mikey's axe. We have excelled in competitions of every sort: athletics, music, oration, animation, academics. Our school is capable of knocking the rough edges off of a student until the inherent masterpiece is revealed.

But now, my friends, our long battle has come to an end, and this is our last farewell, the ushering in of a new world of wonders. The shape this world will take, its beauty, its morality, its strength, its quality of education, its continued existence, is dependent entirely on each of us. It is a dreadful responsibility that is now placed upon us, I pray that we shall succeed in forging a better world. And now, farewell.

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