Thursday June 27, 2019 was a very memorable day as over 230 young men of the Class of 2019 graduated Chaminade College School after four years walking through the halls and sitting in the classrooms of the 55 year-old school. To my surprise, my peers elected me to represent them in giving the valedictorian speech. I thank those who proofread this speech, and offered kind advice in making this speech as representative of the Class of 2019 as possible. The following is the text I presented the night of graduation:
Dear staff, parents, guests and friends of the class of 2019,If you know me, I am not keen on speaking in front of large crowds, or giving scripted speeches, but these young men have chosen me to represent them, so I will give it my best.
Four years have gone by, 40 months of high school from September 2015 to June 2019. Many ups and downs, laughter and tears, joys and sorrows.
I don’t know if you can recall, but every parent got a gold handbook like this, and it said “Class of 2019”. When I saw the booklet, I thought, “2019? When is that going to come?” And I am sure many of the young graduates here thought the same thing.
Four years may seem like a long time, but those who have been through high school can testify that it is not. Tonight is a night to celebrate what these four years have brought back to every one of us young men. We entered a high school classroom from all walks of life, from north, south, west and east, attending a school on 490 Queen’s Drive. But what did attending this 55 year old school these past four years bring us?
Some may say that these four years gave me y=mx+b, y=x^2, or knowing the parts of a PC from the hard drive, RAM… or knowing how to mix colours to get a new tone for a painting, how to give a proper presentation, how to cite work… But Chaminade College School hopefully brought us something much more than that.
Many of these young men sitting here have been very active in sports such as football, cross-country, track and field, ultimate frisbee team to name a few. Some were involved in various clubs such as Student Council, the Outdoors Club, Stop the Stigma, while some were involved in the smallest tasks within the school community such as setting up the gym about 9 to 10 times for Mass, or taking part in the Mass band. These sports, clubs and other small things that we have taken part in has helped to form who we are today.
Thankfully, there is so much more to Chaminade than just marks, clubs and sports. For four years, we have been identifying ourselves as, “the men of green and gold”. But some of you may be asking, why “men of green and gold?” Why not red and white? Blue and gold? Or any other colour? Green represents the hope that young people have in themselves, a hope to do well in school, a hope to succeed. Gold represents strength, strength that young people should have within themselves. This strength does not pertain to just a physical strength. Rather all goes back to the words on the crest that we have been proudly wearing the past four years, “FORTES IN FIDE – STRONG IN FAITH.”
We leave Chaminade not only with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, but hopefully with stronger faith, because that is what makes a Catholic school – the aspect of faith. It is the hope that we leave here tonight as men of strong faith not only in God and his Church, but also in ourselves as well. Hopefully we have learned exactly what St. Paul said, “I can do ALL things in Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).
I hope we leave tonight seeing ourselves as different people than who we were in September of 2015. I believe that if we have seen some positive change in ourselves, then our parents and teachers have done their job well.
Tonight we should take the opportunity to not only celebrate the class of 2019, but also offer some words of thanks for those who have brought us to this day.
We first of all give thanks to almighty God for his great love for us. It is through His love and guiding hand for having placed great people within our lives to lead us in faith, hope and love.
Our parents were our first teachers and planted in us the seed, to help us grow into who we are today. Their care and concern for their children is great, which may upset, or even get us stressed… but deep down, we know that all comes from a great heart.
Tonight would not come to us without the great staff at Chaminade. We owe a great debt to these people sitting up here. They have spent countless hours not only teaching, but many of them coaching, and moderating clubs. These people strive to get young men to succeed in school and in life.
I know that there are some parents and friends who have brought the members of the class of 2019 to where they are today that have gone before us, according to the Lord’s plans. Let us take a moment of silence to thank them, and pray for the repose of their souls (moment of silence).
My last words go out to my fellow classmates in the class of 2019. Dear friends, it has been a blessing for all of us to walk through the same halls and sit in the same classes for the past four years. Each of you have been a gift and we have all been blessed to have known each other. Wherever we go, let us be “Fortes in Fide – let us be Strong in Faith”, because with strong faith, we can do what God wants us to do in our lives. God is good and only wants the best for each and every one of us.
I would like to close with this short prayer:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand. (Irish Blessing)
To all of you, thank you. God bless.