This, this is the monumental end. This is the beginning of the rest of your lives. Each of you will graduate from high school only once, and tonight is your night. For some of you, this may be the last time you walk down these hallways, but we have gathered here, for one moment, in our brief lives, to celebrate, remember and reflect on our times here within this building. We are the class of two-thousand-five, and tonight ladies and gentleman, is our night.
Four years ago, the class sitting before me took their first steps into this building as students. N’Sync, Lifehouse, Train and the Backstreet Boys dominated the air waves, Pokemon began to wane from pop culture, and Jean Chretien recently congratulated George Bush on his recent presidential victory. The world was freshly entering the new millennia, and the class of two-thousand-five was entering high school. We got our first lockers in the front ‘niner hall,’ which, still even today has a distinct smell. We got our first table at the cafeteria, and ate caf food for the first time, sampling the various culinary delights such as the infamous poutine, the fries, the GDHS burger (which was decommissioned for some reason unknown), pirogues, and my personal favorite the crispy chicken wrap, far superior than its rival the chicken caeser wrap. We also wrote our first major tests, and examinations that year.
Four years ago, in these hallowed green and yellow hallways, we met each other. We met our friends, the people who would become a critical and influential part of our lives. Here, we know each person here, each face, each personality. We have laughed, celebrated, learned or virtually learned thanks to VA, worked, argued, traveled, talked, and cried with each other. These are the people you have grown, and changed with. Here, we are friends, lifelong, continuous, and unwavering.
Four years ago, we became acquainted with the individuals sitting behind me, and in the crowd. These people, our teachers, are an integral part of the reason why Glencoe District High School and the class of two-thousand-five resonates with success. The hours and time they invested within each of us, is a testament to their commitment to this school and its students. They have bestowed to us, the greatest gift, of inspiration, and a hunger and thirst for knowledge. Fond memories are shared with each of them, that continue to make each of us smile. From Mr. Kings emphatic pronouncement about diet drinks that ‘you are all going to get fat and die,’ to the Auberge Au Lasenby, which still continues to resonate as one of the best dining experiences of my life, and Ms. Iutzi’s famed witty remarks, their character and spirit will continue to enlighten us all in our future endeavors.
The class of two thousand five has bore witness to unprecedented change, both internally, and externally in the world around us. We are the class that watched the towers fall, and saw the mighty nations tremble and declare war. We watched tidal waves submerge and devastate nations, witnessed the death of Queens and Popes, and saw the placement of their successors.
We watched civil rights being extended to all members of our nation: and saw the election and formation of Canada’s first minority government in over a decade: and we followed the scandal that later ensnared that government after its election.
But no longer are we spectators of the world around us. No longer do we bear witness to these changes. The education bestowed to those sitting before me will be the thrust and the means by which change will occur. We have been given a powerful and mighty tool, capable of shaping ourselves, molding the societies we live in, crafting nations, and defining our global village.
Samuel Clemens spoke of this change, this tool, “Twenty years from now will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
And so, it is up to us. We no longer witness, we are an integral part of the world around us. High School is finished. You have been given a powerful gift. This is the monumental end ladies and gentleman, throw up the sails, navigate, and discover.