SHS Valedictory Addresses
Hello families and fellow graduates. My name is Jessica MacMillan and Geneva and I have been selected to be this year’s valedictorians for the Class of 2021. These past two school years have been nothing even close to normal. We went from being told “sharing is caring” our whole lives to having to keep six feet apart at all times. I know I couldn’t have gotten through it without the help of my friends, family and teachers. As someone who has gone to Sacred for over 10 years, I have made many memories and learned some lessons that I will remember for the rest of my life. For example, in grade 6 when we went on our Winnipeg trip. For a lot of us that was our first overnight field trip with our classmates. I’m sure that Mrs. Spooner and Mr. Johnson had so much fun on a bus with over 20 sixth graders blasting music on a speaker and singing our hearts out for hours on end.
In the past years, I found it’s the little moments that stuck with me. Such as when the class would be in the “hot tub” during our playground time trying to stay warm in the freezing winter recesses, or on the grade 6 water day when I discovered I could fit in the classroom sink. But what affected me the most wasn’t those fun little moments I’ve had, it was the many friendships and connections I made through the years. Some of my classmates have become my lifelong friends and I know that I will never forget them. Mostly everyone graduating today has known each other since we were tiny and immature, and we have watched each other grow up into the people we are today. It was the experiences and what I learned at this school that shaped me into who I am.
I want to send a thank you to some of the important people in my life that helped me get to this point. I would like to thank my parents who taught me many things, including time management skills. This helped me try my best to get a reasonable amount of sleep each night and I was able to figure out about how much time I needed to run across the street in time to get to school just as the bell was ringing, which as Mrs. Hall and the other office staff know sometimes didn’t quite work out as I planned which resulted in a few more late slips than I probably should’ve had.
I want to thank my teachers from the past 10 years such as, Mrs. Cospito who helped us throughout our first weeks in online learning, Mr. Esposito who reffed some of my hockey games and may have let me beat him in class ping pong a couple of times, Mrs. Spooner who taught me how to use a bread machine and so many other amazing members of the SHS Staff who had such an effect on me as a student and person.
I would finally like to thank my classmates. They have made my Sacred Heart School experience interesting, and especially in the past year have all become people who I can call friends. Special thanks to Cassey, who has been one of my very best friends since the beginning of first grade. Geneva, who was the first friend I had ever made at Sacred. And Sophia, who I have no idea when we even became best friends but it happened and we have been a packaged duo ever since. Of course, that’s not all of the special friends I’ve made over the decade I have spent at Sacred Heart School, but I was told to only mention a few of them so here we are.
Before we say our goodbyes I would like to shout out three very special teachers who are also leaving Sacred Heart School with us. They are Mrs. O’Donovan, Mrs. Kurytnick and Ms. George. I am sure that everyone at SHS will miss you very much. Thank you for everything you did for us.
For my final words in my valedictorian speech, I want to share a quote from my mom. She has always told me that “everything happens for a reason” and I always like to keep that in mind.
Thank you everyone for listening to my valedictorian speech and congratulations to all of my fellow graduates, we finally made it!
Good evening and welcome to our 2021 virtual graduation ceremony. My name is Geneva Otto. A special welcome to all the graduates and parents, grandparents, friends and family members, and all the school faculty. Thank you to all the parents, teachers and students who helped in making this graduation happen. I would also like to extend my gratitude for being selected as valedictorian, it is an honour and a privilege, thank you.
So, this is it. We have finally made it. Ten long years! A whole decade! Can you believe it? We know so MUCH! But it wouldn’t be possible without our teachers and most importantly everyone in between. I would like to recognize the janitors, administration, and maintenance staff. First I’m sorry that we are so messy, it would have probably been easier if indoor shoes were such a thing in our classrooms. I don’t think school would be possible without all of you. Thank you for everything you have done for the students and our school in keeping it organized, clean and in good repair.
A special thank you and farewell to the teachers who are retiring - Mrs. O’Donovan, Mrs. Kurytnik and Ms. Rhodes/George. Your years of service and commitment to the students will not be forgotten.
There are several teachers who have made an impact on my learning experience over the years that I would like to mention. Mr. Carroll, who had to be the best art teacher ever, taught me ALMOST everything I know about art. Mrs. Chabbert who never tolerated girl drama and made learning easier because she told us making mistakes is good so that you know where to improve, which encouraged us to express ourselves freely through our work. Mrs. Cospito who was very fair and may have followed the text books to the letter but was perfect for those of us who liked school the old fashioned way - paper and pencil. Mr. Bridge who helped simplify mathematics so that it made sense. Mrs. George who often allowed me to sign books out of the library early, even though it was not our class sign out day. I hope I didn’t just get you in trouble. Mr. Johnson who was good natured about our early 50th birthday celebration and knew how to throw a good party! It was a blast! He was also a super mixed-sports coach and great story teller. Mrs. O’Donovan for her endless patience and compassion for every student, who made learning fun. Mrs. Winstanley, who fascinated us with the ability to travel the world in our classroom. Mrs. Spooner who created competitive literacy, helping us rise to the challenge. She also taught me the difference between a teaspoon and tablespoon of salt when making bread. My bad! Madame Philpott who made French Friday’s fun. Mr. Esposito who had to be the coolest and most silly teacher I have ever had. He tolerated our teen attitudes the best.
My fellow graduates, these past two years have been pretty difficult. Being in and out of quarantine, cancelled sports, limited to no contact with each other and so on. But even through thick and thin we have still managed to make some great memories. Memories like our grade 5/6 Winnipeg trip. I recall blasting music on the coach bus, buying gifts for friends at the zoo, or my personal favorite, jump-scaring other groups running around the museum at night, in the dark, yelling and screaming, well just the other school and teachers were mostly screaming. Oops! Or perhaps being the only school in the theater up till early in the morning watching a movie that I’m sure we have all seen before and sharing candy with each other. Thanks to the teachers and chaperones for knowing how important it was for us to enjoy every single minute of the short school trip and allowing us to stay up, laugh endlessly and generally just drive you all crazy. You were all very tolerant of our antics. I cannot even imagine how crazy a Toronto Trip would have been. It is probably my only regret that we will not have those final parting memories from a trip we looked forward to for 10 long years.
Some of the things I will miss the most about Sacred Heart School is our community, friendships and ALL THE ENDLESS HOURS OF SCHOOL FUNDRAISING that all our parents supported. I know our neighbours will be glad another Otto has finally finished elementary school. During the 10 years I have spent at Sacred Heart School I have met many wonderful people with great personalities and made super cool friends that I will not forget.
Thank you to all the teachers who have prepared us well for our next journey in secondary school, sharing all their knowledge and wisdom. It is because of that my final parting words come to mind, that I quote from my Dad, that my Dad quoted from somewhere else, “QUICK, hire a teenager while they still know everything!” Best wishes to everyone in your future endeavours and remember Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Thank you and good night.