ADHS 2019 valedictory address

Following is the valedictory address to the ADHS 2019 graduating class, presented by Pippa Norman.

​Good morning faculty, friends, family and peers. I am honored to stand before you today and represent the graduating class of 2019… whom I’m proud to say all made it out of bed in time to graduate this morning, congratulations, you’re all well on your way to adult-ing in the real world.

​Now, just before I inspire you all to conquer your fears, move metaphorical mountains and shatter glass ceilings, I’d like to say thank-you, not just from me, but from all of us in the caps and gowns.

​To our teachers, with the utmost respect, we say thank you. Although we may not always fully appreciate your lessons in the moment they are given, these teachings will continue to infiltrate our daily lives for years to come. Without you, we would never have uncovered the passions that we are all so eager to pursue. To our parents and families, you have continued our lessons beyond the classroom, and your constant support and encouragement has granted us the confidence to succeed. And last but not least, on behalf of the 10 minute Tim’s run lads, thank you to our local Timmie’s employees for the sugar highs and caffeine rushes that simulated life within us, when in reality, our life was still lying in bed with no plan of waking up. We couldn’t have done it without you.

​Being Thunderbolts, we have had experiences that parallel those of no other high school student. Not many of them can say they knew the names of almost every other student in their graduating class, they drove to school via a snowmobile convoy in the dead of winter, and they addressed their teachers as J Sheff, Kal, Dalgity and Irvin, instead of Mr., Mrs., Sir or Mme. These realities, alongside the fact that our favourite way to spend time together was around a blazing bonfire, when it was clearly past the time of year that it was still O-KAY to be outside, are what we will remember.

​From the outside looking in, ADHS is often classified as one thing: small. This may be true in size, but in personalities we are larger than life. Together, we are a collection of oddities; from Lanark Lads and holistic hippies, to OFSAA champions and award-winning actors, to Jack and Mike, our favourite exchange students. We may all be different in character, but today we are graduating as one.

​However, today is also the day we leave this life behind, and begin our journey as individuals, and in doing this we must be careful.​

​When people ask me the reason why I am pursuing journalism, my answer is simple. To erase ignorance in our world. We are all guilty of being ignorant. It’s impossible to know everything. But what we are ignorant of, often defines who we are. Education is a privilege, and I believe it is one that many of us take for granted. So as we, the ADHS graduating class of 2019, are unleashed into this world and all it has to offer, I encourage you to be open, ask questions and never assume. Not only because we all know what assuming does — but also because, as Sir Francis Bacon once said (yes, I said bacon),  “Knowledge is Power.”

​Although we feel as if we could conquer the world walking out of here today, this is only the beginning of our universal education. You’ve just completed phase one: the Almonte edition. Now you can move on to phase two: the rest of your life. And as our planet survives on borrowed time, I cannot tell you for certain how long this second phase will be. But do not let this discourage you. Let it fuel your fire and inspire you to create the world you wish to live in. Wherever this life takes you, whether you find yourself crossing the ocean, or returning to your roots, I encourage you to always put your best cowboy boot forward. Be the change, break out of your comfort zone and in true ADHS spirit, get ‘er done.