This grad class has had its obstacles.
Our initial introduction to the school was after an abnormally long summer, and all that we had was a rushed introduction on who the teachers were and how to unlock our lockers. That first day of school was a time where we all felt the same thing, vulnerable. But as Dr. Brene Brown puts it, “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” Over the past 5 years I have been able to watch my friends and classmates live in their vulnerability and thrive. People have lived in their vulnerability by auditioning for musicals, by moving to a new school in grade 11 or 12, by singing in front of the school, by trying out and being on sports teams, by being a friend for those who needed it the most, by seeking help from adults when some of us didn’t know if we would ever make it to this point in our lives.
We are all vulnerable and without a strong foundation to build ourselves upon, we would not have been able to be successful in our learning and growth throughout our adolescence.
I would like to thank the community of support that has helped me and my classmates persevere through our time at school. I can say that every single graduate on this stage has had a mentor to guide them, whether it be a parent or guardian, a teacher, an EA, a coach, or a counsellor. You have made a significant impact on our lives, building on our foundations so that we may succeed, and we are extremely grateful.
There is a stigma around vulnerability, but the thing is, the word vulnerable can be used in a variety of different ways such as, “stepping out of your comfort zone, being outside of your element, or pushing your limits”.
These phrases are all saying the same thing: be vulnerable and seek discomfort. Nobody ever did anything important without stepping into discomfort. Average and normalcy are the result of living in your comfort zone. We have reached a pinnacle at this stage in our lives, and might I say this school feels a lot smaller and more like home now. It is quite the feat to have accomplished 13 years of education.
Now it is time to build a new path to continue forging on new accomplishments. As we head off to do different things next year, we are all leaving something that we have known for the majority of our lives, we are not going to be in the structured school system anymore with the people you have been going to school with since preschool. We are all going to be vulnerable. But whatever you do, do not be afraid of discomfort or failure as they will teach you more than any other lesson in school.
I ask every single one of you to use what you have learned over the past 13 years to create a change in this world, as everything we do will create an impact on the world and on those around us. Congratulations to the Southern Okanagan Secondary School graduates of 2019, we did it!
Valedictorian’s Address to Grads 2019 at SOSS