In a sea of blue robes and caps, large smiles dotted the beaming faces of the 2015 L.V. Rogers high school gradates this evening. As golden tassels were moved from the right side of their caps to the left, Grade 12 students crossed a large stage to accept their well earned high school diplomas in a ceremony at the Nelson and District Community Complex with hundreds of family and friends in attendance.
Valedictorian Dunavan Morris-Janzen. All photos by T. Hynd
Class valedictorian Dunavan Morris-Janzen lifted the spirits into a soaring roar with his rousing speech inviting fellow classmates to walk this new route of many paths together and with compassion.
Valedictorian speech excerpts
“There is one assignment that graduation transitions left out, one lesson that we as individuals may not have learnt in our high school education and I think it is because no one can teach it to you but yourself,” said Morris-Janzen. “It’s called compassion.”
“Embrace this moment. Feel the energy of 168 kids taking their first step into the world. And as you take your own step, know that you are not alone. Know that every kid wearing a blue gown is right there beside you and that they will catch you if you fall.
“Just imagine if we did graduate alone. Just me walking up here, looking like a freaking nerd, no one around, no friends to share it with, to laugh about all the stupid stuff we did, and yeah we still do sometimes. I’m just a kid!
“Anyways, that wouldn’t be fun at all, that wouldn’t be memorable.
“We are all walking the same road. And we all just came upon a river, running wild and strong. Each one of must cross it and we can’t do so alone.
“But what if we don’t have to.
“What if compassion could be our raft and respect our paddle, and if we fall into the water, friendship our life jacket. I can’t cross this river of alone and I need my friends behind me. I need my class behind me. It will be my deepest honour to stand beside all of you today and graduate with you.”
On Saturday, the class will gather in their finery for the Grand March at the community complex before parading down Baker Street in a cavalcade at 4 p.m.