My fellow classmates, what a journey it’s been to this point. We’ve gone through four years of studying, tests, exams, probably some tears, and lots of stress, it seemed like it would never end. But now here we are, all dressed up in green and gold ready to move on to the next steps of our lives.
It seems like yesterday we were in Grade 9 fumbling with the locks on our lockers and trying to figure out where our next class was supposed to be. The Grade 12s must have thought we were pretty weird.
Now WE are those Grade 12s, the seniors that are standing here ready to walk across this stage and graduate from this amazing school and go into the real world. But this is incomparable and humbling, we can’t help but look back and measure the time we’ve spent in high school
How can we measure the time we’ve spent in high school? I suppose in the beginning we counted each day, period, hour, even minutes, I know for me, some classes would drag on so long it would feel like I had been there all day, I’d look at the clock and see only 10 minutes has passed by. I’d think to myself, “well if I’ve done 10 minutes once I can do it 5 more times.”
But all that counting has lead up to this, we’ve finally made it. We went from being clueless at times Grade 9s, to interesting Grade 10s, and then in our Grade 11 year we were preparing to rule the school as the Grade 12s were graduating and passing the torch down to us.
Of course none of this could be possible without the amazing teachers at Tec. Our teachers really cared about us and wanted nothing more than for us to succeed. Through the years they’ve seen us grow and become the adults that we are today. Although they are our teachers I still feel many of us can consider them our friends.
A quote I like is
“Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students.” ― Solomon Ortiz.
I feel this is true to the Tec Voc spirit. We are all graduating here with a teacher in mind that really helped us through the years up to now. For me it’s Mr. Bage, not only was he my teacher but my mentor as well, he showed me everything I needed to know about welding and guided me to a job in the welding field.
Many of us are leaving here today with a vocational degree along with an academic degree. We are all on the path to success thanks to the amazing programs that are in this school. The vocations at Tec, Welding, Automotive, Building Construction, Aerospace, Electrical… just to name a few of them, can set us up with amazing opportunities out of high school.
For me, thanks to welding I will be getting a full time job as a welder at the company I did work experience at. I can’t think of any other school or place that can give people our age the opportunities that Tec Voc can.
I also can’t forget to mention all the Tec Voc pride we had over the years. The sports in this school are great, basketball especially, this year our varsity girls made it all the way to the finals, definitely a good way to end our last year here at Tec Voc, so congratulations girls.
Also this year we’ve lost some people close to us, I want to pay some respects to Mr. Glover and Braxton Ducharme, I know a lot of you here had some connection with either of these two incredible guys, they’ll be missed dearly.
To conclude my speech here, I’m sure I can speak for all of us graduating today that there is a sense of relief, happiness, and a little bit of sadness. Tec Voc is more than just a school, It’s a place where we’ve spent so much time growing, learning, making friends, discovering new things, and even finding hidden talents you never knew you had.
You could almost say Tec is a second home because of how welcome and amazing it is to be here on a daily basis. You’ll always get a smile or a ‘hello’ from any of the teachers walking in the halls and it makes you feel so great knowing that the staff at Tec were happy to see you every day.
Although we will miss this school I am sure that all of us will look back with great pride knowing that we all graduated from such an amazing place. We leave here knowing that anything that may cross our paths in the future we can be prepared for thanks to this school. We came to Tec and became hornets, and now we are graduating as hornets.
Congratulations to my class of 2016, this was a long time coming and I’m sure whatever any of us do in the future it will be bright and amazing just like the time we spent here at Tec Voc High school. Tec has handed us an amazing opportunity to succeed in our lives, let’s take advantage of it!
Student Address – Tec-Voc High School Convocation 2016
It has been a tradition at convocation that a retiring staff member address the graduating class. So on behalf of retirees Mr. Hanuschuk, Ms Kraljevic, Mr. Del Grosso , Mr. Stokotelny, and myself, I accept this honor.
The message I wish to convey to our graduates is based on an African proverb, which roughly translates as:
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together
Like our graduates, we retirees are embarking on a new unknown world ahead. The decision to go fast, or forward, is an individual decision which may cause us to be fearful of making an error, one which makes us feel like we are alone. Although this is a risk, we need to embrace our challenges and rely upon our past decisions, whether they be successes or shortfalls, to guide us. The most important goal that we as educators strive for is that we hope to develop students who are informed, independent learners who are not afraid to make mistakes, because that is what learning is all about, making mistakes and learning to improve on past performance. If the decisions we make occasionally fail, positive attitude and readiness to adapt to challenges in our path are necessary to bounce back and try again.
The second part of the proverb talks about working together with people to attain goals. Team work is seen not only in school as in sports teams, clubs, and committees, but in the outside business and vocational world. Groups excel by harvesting the best qualities of each individual member. In this way, people feel strengthened, valued, and included.
In conclusion we need to be to do both. There will be some instances where it will be necessary for you to make decisions by yourself because that is how you develop your own decision –making skills. You will also need to work with people because you need to learn how to negotiate, share opinions, and make decisions for the benefit of not only yourself, but others.
Here is something I can tell you that may help in those times when you feel alone and fearful. There may be a time when you have to be on a stage like myself and speak to a large group, like yourselves. You feel alone in front of the microphone and uncomfortable with everyone looking at you. I’m going to suggest that, if you can imagine this in the theater of your mind that there is a crowd of people behind you that is just as large as the one in front of you. Who makes up this group? Your family, friends, clergy, elders, teachers, classmates - everyone who has supported you to become the person that you are at this time in your life – in other words all the people who “have your back”. As you move forward and do more public speaking you will get better and more confident. As far as your support network, it will also grow as years pass. Take every obstacle in your way as a challenge - not as an impenetrable wall, for if you can’t do it all by yourself, there are others who will help in time of need, just as you would help others in their time of need. It’s the Tec-Voc way.
Congratulations class of 2016!