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LVR Valedictorian Liam Long encourages classmates to first make mistakes, then learn from them en route to a successful life after high school

By Contributor
June 9th, 2013

LVR Senior Liam Long delivered a passionate speech during the Cap and Gown Ceremony at the 2013 Graduation Ceremony.

Liam was gracious enough to allow The Nelson Daily to publish his speech in its entirety.


Good evening to our administrators, teachers, friends, family and, most importantly, the LV Rogers graduating class of 2013. I have to say that I am so honoured to be up here tonight representing such an amazing and talented group of individuals.

Before I start, I’d just like to thank Bruno’s mother, Carla, for coming all the way from Mexico. That is some parent love right there!

It was only a few short years ago when LVR was introduced to the class of 2013. Coming to school for the first day of ninth grade was so nerve wracking, and that was mainly because we had absolutely no idea what to expect.

Our class already had a bit of a bad reputation from the previous years at Trafalgar, so that didn’t really help our cause either. Sure, maybe we weren’t exactly the most responsible group of kids that LV had ever seen, but I do know one thing: we were already in full support of each other. We also learned very quickly that the school would be one of the most supportive places we could come back to every day, for at that time we didn’t know how much this place would become a second home.

During that year we got used to how the school ran, and the freedom it granted us as well. We also got over the initial terror of Mr. Mace’s “inside” voice, and realized he was a teddy bear… only with less hair on his head. Another thing about high school was that we started to get to know ourselves better.

There was an almost overwhelming feeling of freedom that we weren’t used to, so that really allowed to try new things that interested us.

Tenth grade came and went as quickly as the year previous. Ms. Naka had recently discovered the apple tree on the top field the previous June, so she still went up there for a snack every once in a while. It was awesome to see everyone start to branch out by getting to know different people, not just in our grade, but around the school as well.

That year I met two of my best friends that I still have today. Thank you to Greg Syvertsen and Andrew Woodward for letting me sit next to you in our Science 10 class.

Taking that seat has been one of my best decisions that I’ve made during my high school career, and I’m so lucky to have made it. That year was not entirely just new friendships though… we were also getting to know our teachers better, and they were really starting to get a feel for the kind of people we are.

I honestly cannot say how many times I walked through the hallways during class time only to see the one and only Cam Shukin in his usual desk set up right outside of Mr. Belanger’s classroom. I’d walk by and see Cam with such a wide smile on his face, and right there I knew that his daily mission had been accomplished.

Originally, this was going to be the part of my speech where I walk about eleventh grade… I’m not going to do that though! No one really likes grade eleven… There’s nothing very thrilling about it. It’s basically just a ‘whatever’ kind of year.

I’m just going to skip to this year. This has been the best of school that I’ve had because of this group of people sitting right in front of me. What a good looking crop this year, hey?

We’ve finally made it to the end of high school, and the best thing is that we all did it together.

However, we wouldn’t have been able to make it this far without all of our teachers. They really have been the key to our success because they have constantly pushed us to be the best that we can be.

In our school, we have such a dedicated staff that has devoted so much of their own time and energy in to insuring we reach our expectations and goals.

Obviously I cannot thank all of you personally, but there are a few that I would like to acknowledge.

Ms. McTague, I know that I haven’t really been easiest person to teach, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all of the attention that you give to every student that comes through your door. I don’t think that many students see how much of your own time that you give to us, so I thought it would be appropriate to thank you for your effort.

This year, we had a new counselor join our school. I’m sure that most of you know Mr. Francis (or J Franny as some of us from the streets call him), and I would like to let him know how much of a contribution he has made to this school. I am so grateful that he came to LV this year. Our administrators, Mr. Hutteman, Mr. Mush and Mr. Cross have had their plates full with us this year. I don’t think that Mr. Cross has fully unwrapped everything from our gift wrapping this year.

Thank you for being such good sports this year. Mrs. Morrison and Gib, this school would be so lost without the two of you. You guys bring so much laughter and love in to the hallways. It’s incredible. The two of you are so loved, not just by me, but by every kid that you teach. You have impacted and changed so many lives (including mine) for the better.

Lastly, I would like to thank Mr. Larry Veregin for retiring last year.

These past years could not have been a more positive experience. I have learned so much from all of you guys. I now know that Kyle Poulin is the next Mac Miller, Jesse Zak has been (and will continue to) bring sexy back more so than Justin Timberlake himself, and that Simon Yole’s butt makes a whip noise whenever he flexes it. 

There are so many people here that have success written all over them. Jordan Mulvihill’s space ships are going to take us where no man has gone before, Connor Banks is going to be the next big shot when it comes to pharmaceuticals, Bruno Moro will eventually become the Prime Minister of Canada, and Gabe MacDonald’s beautiful face is going to be on posters and bill boards everywhere.

I can’t believe this time in our lives is coming to an end. It’s sad to see everyone split up, but I know that it’s for the better. We are all ready for this change because we all have changed. We are no longer the nervous ninth grade children that started high school four years ago. We have all become the young adults that have nothing but potential.

This will be one of the biggest changes in our lives, but the world is out there waiting for us. And believe me; we’re ready to face what it has in store. The only thing that I can say to you now while we’re all still together is: make mistakes.

Make them huge ones too.

Let them happen, but learn from them.

Take these experiences with you because they will help you grow in to the best person you can be.

Unfortunately, we have been stuck in a hard generation, but that does not mean that we can’t change things. Make yourself known by making real contributions to our world.

Most importantly though, have a ton of fun guys. Life is not long enough to be taken so seriously.


Categories: Education

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