GPS 2021 Graduation Ceremony
On Saturday, September 25th, 2021, the Global Pathways School hosted an intimate graduation ceremony with the graduating class of 2021, as their prior ceremony had been cancelled due to the pandemic lockdown. The following is a speech that was delivered to our graduates by our school Principal, Jim Brickell.
Honoured guests, colleagues, and graduates, today we celebrate the class of 2021 and distribute their official grade 11 and 12 transcripts.
The pandemic and lockdowns have affected everyone around the world but none more than graduating classes of 2021. What a dreadful time to be finishing high school!
Cancelled exams, cancelled senior year of classes, no sports, no field trips, no chance to finally be ‘seniors’, no wall of fame, no yearbook, no proper farewell, and none of the comradeship that comes with belonging and being part of a graduating cohort.
Instead you faced enormous uncertainty and unpredictability. Even though you were mostly positive and cheerful through all of it, I know you must have felt anxious, worried, and stressed. How many of you thought or said ‘Someone just tell me what’s going on’? I certainly did.
Covid has been hard on everybody. But despite all the uncertainty and all the hardships, you have made a valiant effort and bravely carved out new learning paths. Among other things you adapted to online learning, masks, social distancing, lockdowns, quarantines….
Never in the history of formal education has there been a school year like this one. And yet, here we are.
You have succeeded through thick and thin. You persevered and learned to overcome obstacles no other group of students in history have had to overcome.
The lessons you have learned about being adaptable, staying focused, being resilient and strong will serve you well for the rest of your lives!
Now I want to say a few words about what comes next. Whether it’s getting a job, enrolling for a vocational training program, or applying for college or university, I want you all to keep this in mind. You MUST set goals and have dreams. But your goals and dreams must be attainable and realistic. Further, your goals and dreams should not limit your possibilities. Keep your minds open to new possibilities. You’ve already shown how adaptable you are. Never say never. When opportunities come your way say YES.
I remember in my first year as Principal – making time to come in to your grade 7 room every day after lunch to read Enid Blyton novels. Do you remember those days?
You’ve come a very long way and I am proud of each and every one of you. Good luck in the future and I look forward to hearing about all your new adventures.
Take care and best wishes.