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REPORTING · 18th July 2013
Walter McFarlane
The Graduating Class of 2013 walked up on Friday, June 21st. The large gym was packed full of family, well-wishers and teachers.

The night began with the candlelight ceremony. The lights were passed from the grads to the grade 11s before receiving their diplomas, signifying the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next. Each grad was called forward to receive their diploma and have their tassel turned before the stage was turned over to the speakers.

School Board Trustee Linda Campbell congratulated the grads on a job well done. She acknowledged the Haisla Traditional Territory and thanked the staff at Mount Elizabeth for helping the Grads succeed. She advised the grads to learn from their successes and their challenges and do not be afraid to ask their parents for help.

School Board Superintendent Nancy Wells was the next speaker. She welcomed everyone and acknowledged the traditional territory and thanked the grads, their families and the staff. She stated she might not know the grads, but she has watched them grow and perform.

Speaking from the heart, she advised the grads: “This class is leaving a wonderful legacy here at MEMSS… or do you prefer Mess. Tonight, as you leave this special, safe place, into a larger and much less familiar environment, would you please consider one word, just one word, and that word is possibilities. ”

She encouraged them to be curious and consider everything that is out there. She advised them not to take the first thing which comes along or let others encourage their choices. She advised them to remain curious and their futures will not be the same. Wells encouraged them to ask questions as they have a lot of special talents and curiosity.

Principal Janet Meyer turned the podium to face the grades. She welcomed everyone and announced her mixed emotions. “While I am thrilled to be here to celebrate you accomplishments, I’m feeling somewhat uneasy about your departure from Mount Elizabeth,” said Meyer.

She explained the grads were hardworking, tolerant and kind, although there were days where she dreamed of the moment. She told the grads their generation will have many challenges, possibly having to have to change careers more than once in their lives.

They will have to make choices as to what is important and what is white noise. She wanted them to put a positive spin on as many situations as they can. She encouraged them to have a cup half full rather than half empty.

She admired what the grads had become, proof of good parenting, public school education and hard work and commitment. She was proud to be their principal.

“Make good choices, let the cup be half full, pay attention to the important stuff and don’t forget your big girl panties,” concluded Meyer.

McKenna adjusted the podium back to face the audience. Teacher Robert Whitmell moved it right back for his message. He advised the grads in the form of the alphabet, the ABC’s of Life. From “Always be yourself” to “Zest for Life is a beautiful thing.”

“I know you will make us proud in this next exciting stage in your life,” said Whitmell.

Randy Tait delivered the message from the parents who once again adjusted the podium to face the grads. “I know you all as very caring, and unique individuals and speak for all parents, when I say we are very proud of your achievement. You are often told how much, we have parents have given to you. I am here to tell you that what we have given to you, does not match what you have given to us,” said Tait.

He advised the grads on how much they have done from their parents. They share their confidence and enthusiasm every day, and give of themselves. When they do this, it will come back in multiple ways which will warm their hearts.

The final speakers were the class valedictorians, Mathias Tait and Logan Martel, who gave possibly the best grad speech this reporter has ever heard.

Using humour, they explained hard lessons lie ahead, how the grads will have to police themselves and do what it takes to win, purpose and self-motivation, how life can leave you battered and bruised at the end of the day. They expressed they were not perfect, but it is important to accept imperfection.

They expressed working through life’s hurdles would be the greatest thrill they have never know. Life is going to suck and friends are going to part ways. However, nothing will match the satisfaction of surviving situations which cause them stress.

The penultimate conclusion they came to was graduation was not about moving on, but to rip them away from their homes and parents and endure. They enjoyed the fun social experiment called high school, and now it is over.

The ceremony was concluded. Time was taken for photos before the grads retreated down to Riverlodge for their Dry Grad celebrations.