Thursday November 20, 2014

Graduates hear life lessons

Class of 2014 Valedictorian Alexis Watson:
Review photo 5005 — Greg Nikkel

Class valedictorian
Alexis Watson gives her valedictorian speech at the graduation ceremonies for the Weyburn Comprehensive School on Thursday morning, held in the new Cugnet Centre. She followed on the heels of her parents, Drew and Laura Watson, who provided the reply to the tribute to the parents.

The graduating class from the Weyburn Comprehensive School were given three lessons to take from their years of education as they move on to their adult lives, in the valedictory address given by Alexis Watson.

The graduation ceremonies were held Thursday morning in the new Cugnet Centre, with a standing-room only crowd estimated at over 1,200 filling up the new auditorium to hear speeches from principal Wade Oberg, board member Len Williams, and teacher Kristy Gall, with Alexis’ speech as the final one.

Saying it would be hard to top the speech given by her parents, Drew and Laura Watson in the reply to the tribute to parents, Alex said she wanted to avoid giving a speech full of cliches.

She laid out three crucial lessons she has learned from her years at the Comp.

“I have had countless embarrassing moments at this school, from failing to be an entertaining mascot with Lauren Garven, to my mom taking over the microphone on the bus pretending to be a flight attendant during an 18-hour music trip bus ride to Denver. All of these events amounted to learning a lesson, and graduates, you too have learned important life lessons that will help you as you leave high school,” said Alexis.

The three lessons she passed on to her classmates were patience, seizing on every opportunity, and learning not to be ashamed or embarrassed as one goes through life.

In regard to patience, Alexis pointed out teachers are well-versed with this virtue, giving as an example their mechanics teacher, Allen Klassen, “from him putting up with trucks being driven off hoists to late assignments, he was relatively calm.”

For a student example, she cited the “Grease” musical the school put on this past spring.

“The Grease cast and crew that performed in a small church handled the situation well and put on a great show. The limited space pushed the performers’ comfort zones, but they stayed cool and amazed everyone,” she said, adding about all staff and students, that they “know a little bit about patience thanks to the constant construction that provided us with screeching noises and shaking floors. In the future people will push you to the brink of breaking, but as long as you stay patient, you can handle almost any situation.”

Her second lesson was to seize every opportunity and maximize on it, to “prevent the feeling of any regrets. There are many examples of my fellow graduates doing exactly this. The Gold Wings took a hold of a national title and will not regret their season. Ben Rumpel trained hard and broke school records for high jump; he will not regret his high school legacy. Jo Stewart applied herself and received an incredible academic achievement for having an exceptional average in her final year here.”

Earlier in the grad ceremony, Stewart had received the Governor-General’s medal for having the highest average in the graduation class, of 96.9 per cent.

Alexis also made reference to athlete Madison Kot, and the Comp’s curling teams and basketball team, which went to Hoopla for the first time in a few years.

“Maximize on every opportunity and I promise you won’t regret anything,” she added.

For her third lesson on not being embarrassed, Alexis said, “You will look back at every embarrassing moment and laugh one day. Most of those terrible memories in high school will seem like a blip in your life. I’m already starting to forget half of everything that happened. Do not be embarrassed by your passions. For those of you that do not know what you want to do with your future, turn to what you love.”

She added that no matter what happens in one’s life, “do not be embarrassed and just laugh like (teacher Kelly) Glaspey so things don’t get awkward in the silence,” she said to laughter.

Alexis noted that the teenagers sitting on stage are the adults of tomorrow.

“They are kind, considerate and gifted people. Everyone has changed over the past school years. We owe a big thanks to our parents; we went from helpless lumps of baby fat to screaming kids that ate glue and hurt themselves a lot.

Our parents were there cleaning us up screaming that glue wasn’t food, and from there we evolved into the kid that didn’t want to go to kindergarten and knew no one when we got there.”

She spoke of the confusion and hormones of junior high and added, “I guess things didn’t really change when we hit high school. By some miracle, our parents have been able to put up with our attitude and the occasional wrecked vehicle.”

She added of her own parents, “Drew and Laura Watson, you did a pretty good job; now we are breaking off from your constant care.”

Thanking the parents for all of their input over the years, Alexis said, “The future may look a little scary, but we’ll be just fine. Remember: glue is definitely not food, meet new people, don’t be rude, drama happens, and don’t forget, car insurance is there for a reason.”

Alexis commented she wouldn’t change anything about the Class of 2014, saying, “You are some of the classiest and funniest people I have ever met, and I am positive you will all go on to do something amazing. So congrats class of 2014, it’s been a heck of a ride.”

She then quoted last year’s valedictorian, Jesse Sidloski, in her final comment: “‘Adios, au revoir, shalom, sayonara, peace out!’ and my own personal touch, GG.”


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