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LVR Valedictorian Micah May — Grads set big goals for yourself

Contributor
By Contributor
June 15th, 2016

L.V. Rogers High School recently saluted the Grad Class 2016 during ceremonies this past weekend at the NDCC Arena.

Grade 12 student Micah May had the honour of saluting the Grads with the valedictorian speech.

May was gracious to allow The Nelson Daily to publish his address to the audience.

Fortunately 12 years of school have provided me with many opportunities to practice giving speeches. 

Like the time in Grade 7 when I stuffed Matt Brind‘Amour into a garbage can and sent him for a ride in the school’s elevator.    

Unbeknownst to me two floors up a teacher was waiting to take the elevator.

That teacher well he invited me to give a speech in my defence.

HopefullyI will do better tonight. 

We all have memories from our school years that on reflection help us see how far we have come.

That is what this graduation weekend is all about starting with this cap and gown ceremony which is much like our school experience.

Earlier tonight as we gathered to put on our gowns it was like the first day of kindergarten. There was excitement in the air.

Midway through the ceremonyhoweverit was as though we were back in Trafalgar.    

We looked around and felt a little bewildered.

We are all wearing big, blue, bulky dresses and have a tassel dangling in front of our eyes.   

As we did back in Trafalgar we couldn’t help but ask how did this happen to us?

And now this moment is like being in Grade 12.

We are ready for it to be over but it is not.  

We students still have assignments to finish and exams to write. And you the audiencehave one last speech to endure mine.

As graduates we are entering a diverse and competitive world. Even life in small town Nelson is impacted by fast paced changes that originate in far off places.

So how has life at LVR prepared us?

On the surface the LVR School community doesn’t look very diverse but actually we are a collection of cultures coexisting under one roof.  

Each culture has its own traditions.

A few years ago ourcross country running coach Graeme Marshall started a tradition of becoming violently ill during each provincial championship meet. This past year Graeme chose not to coach the team so it seemed the tradition would end.

But at this year’s provincials I pushed myself hard during the race and became violently ill at the finish line.   

When asked what I learned from the experience // I replied: “Some traditions are best left to a teacher.”

Food is another way that cultures express their shared identity.

Many students who hang out at the mechanic’s shop pride themselves in being rednecks including a love for red meat. At lunch they fire up a BBQ to grill their slabs.    

Frankly the rest of us are just grateful that they take the time to cook it!

Language is another way that cultures define themselves.

At LVR you may hear people “qui parlent le française” or “que habla el español”.   

You may also hear “Dubai was lit, Abbotsford was more lit” or “ Chill Bill, they’re on belay going SFU”.  

In case you were wondering those were in English but I don’t know what they mean! 

We humans are tribal.

We like the sense of belonging that comes from being part of a tight group and surrounding ourselves with people who are similar to us.

There are however risks in doing so.

For some high school has been difficult as they struggled to find their place. 

There can also be conflicts between groups.

As the Aboriginal Education students have shown us developing understanding between cultures is important.

Many at LVR have worked to bring us together through events that celebrate our connections like this graduation weekend.

Look at us we are like one big family the kind where the parents dress the kids in matching outfits. 

And during intramural sports students we didn’t really know became our teammates. Teachers also participated which created some interesting dynamics.

Say for example you are playing volleyball intramurals at lunch. During the game you spike the ball hard. It drives straight towards the head of an opposing player.

Oops . . . that was your math teacher. . .. Sorry Mr. Roch.

We also came together when we needed to shift the focus from ourselves to others for example:

  • Remembrance Day ceremonies
  • fundraisers for Kenya or Syria
  • and Terry Fox Runs.

Remember when Tim Huttemann dyed his hair blue after we reached his fundraising goal for the Terry Fox Run? I wonder if his new school in Turkey knows they are getting a really big smurf for a principal!

So manyhave worked hard to bring us together –

  • the student and parent grad committees
  • rec leadership
  • global perspectives
  • student council
  • male and female leadership groups
  • Ryan for taking on the yearbook
  • Staff
  • the LVR PAC.

  Let’s give them all a huge round of applause.

Our efforts to build an inclusive LVR community while not perfect have helped us understand what is now required of us.

We must challenge ourselves by demonstrating:

  • more openness than certainty
  • more compassion than judgement
  • more reflection than reaction
  • more courage than fear
  • and to simply never give up.

It starts with us and our passions.

But pursuing our passionswithout considering others can be selfish.   

Working with strong mentors helps us turn our passions into opportunities that benefit not only ourselves but also our communities. 

When I first started bringing my ideas to Tim Mushumanski it felt a little intimidating because he asked hard questions.   

I soon realized that he was giving the support that I actually needed. By challenging me he was helping strengthen the ideas and ensure success.

And then he did the most important thing he not only said yes but he backed up his words with action.

So thank you Mush for teaching us thatto make a difference requires:

  1. facing thoughtful scrutiny of our ideas, and
  2. being people of action.

Let’s hear it for Mush!

And now LVR is losing the other half of the dynamic Tim duo as Tim Huttemann heads to Turkey. Wow we really must have pushed his buttons for him to move so far away!

If we did push his buttons he rarely showed it.     Instead as he stood outside the office during breaks we saw a large man with an inviting smile who greeted us each by name. He would often ask about some detail of our life.

Now seeing our graduating class before me I appreciate how many of us there are. I now understand how hard Tim worked to make those individual connections with us.

Tim – you have given us big shoes to fill literally and as a role model for being inclusive of everyone around us.

Thank you and we wish you all the best in Turkey.

Let’s hear it for Tim!                                 

On behalf of the graduating class of 2016 I would like to thank all those who helped us get to this point.

  • The Board of Education
  • Jeff Jones
  • Brent Cross
  • Tamara Malloff
  • and all the staff who helped open doors and supported us to pass through them.

The broader community because education is more than what happens at school.  We have benefited from partnerships with businesses, organizations and community mentors.

And to our families who stood by us when we hit some bumps along the road and yes sometimes we created the bumpsthen we hit them.

A big round of applause for all these people who have supported us!

We are emerging from the shadow of adults from those who have shown us what it means to stand tall.

To the adults I would say you are not done because the needs of our local and global communities are great. But you can now count on us to stand tall alongside you. 

To my fellow graduates I encourage you to set big goals for yourself.

At times that might mean helping to bring peace to a war torn country.  At other times it might mean doing one small kind act every day.

Big goals aren’t about what people on the outside see.    It is about how big goals change us on the inside how they help us grow stronger.

So set big goals and find strength in being both kind and determined.

Life is an adventure.

It is time to go big my friends so let me hear you are you ready to go big?

I can’t hear you I asked are you ready to go big?  

LVR class of 2016it is time to stand up and on the count of three we will do the traditional cap toss.

Congratulations and goodbye to high school….3, 2, 1.

Thank You!

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