Valedictorian 2009: Gaurav Sekhon '09

by Gaurav Sekhon ’09

Hello Mr. Headmaster, members of the board, faculty, family, SMUdents, and people who do not fall into those 4 categories. When Mr. Marchand first grabbed my collar and said, “You got five minutes to say watcha gotta say, capiche?” I thought “Five minutes, eh? That’s about how long Soulja Boy was popular.” I’m going to try and get what it feels to be a SMUdent across to you in five minutes – a task that even the most determined auctioneer would have a hard time with, I should let you know – so I ask you to forgive me for anything I miss. By the way, every time you give me a thundering standing ovation, Morgan Freeman reads a bedtime story to a sleep-deprived teacher. Moving on.

SMUS is very much the opposite of Vegas; nothing we do here stays here, whether it’s 13 full years of a healthy mix of SMUS sports and studies, or just one year, for those of us who didn’t want to put up with small class sizes, pitifully dedicated teachers, new textbooks, and well-maintained lab equipment, but I digress. The point is, no matter what you do here at SMUS, it sticks to you like the Brown Hall tables stick to your plate. For those of you who have never dined in Brown Hall, imagine a two-litre bottle of coke spilled on linoleum and left to dry. Do that like, six more times and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how Brown Hall tables stick. The layers of filth that have built up on Brown Hall tables are a lot like the layers of wisdom we achieved during our time here at SMUS, from the “Free the Children” advocates, to the Mathletes, to the Cricket team’s least reliable asset [gestures to self]. Each layer causes more stickiness, as is evident in the amount of scholarship offers stuck to the collective portfolio of this graduating class. I’d go through the obligatory joke about AP exams around now, but you’ve probably heard them all, so I’ll just say that I’d rather play bloody knuckles with Iron Man than write an AP exam. Either that, or listen to Akon’s discography in one sitting. Both of those are equally painful. Moving on.

Our grad class has enough achievements to fill up the hole that Chapel will leave behind once it has been deconstructed to make way for a much more holy swimming pool. If I tried to list them all, you would become bored half to death, and for the already half-dead heat stroke victims in grad gowns behind me, that could be fatal. Suffice it to say that eternal spiritual salvation seems to be the next logical step in the staircase of scholarships, coffee shops, and African schools that the grad class of 2009 has helped create at SMUS. The metaphorical staircase, that is. The African schools are in Africa, believe it or not. But we created more than schools, coffee shops, and an alarmingly large pile of scholarship dollars; we built each other. We are what we are because of the people we had around us, teaching us, talking to us, guiding us, and just generally interacting with us. You know, the math teachers confusing us and loving it, the chem teachers who showed us that yes, you can call coloured liquids in test tubes “science” and English teachers finding metaphorical meaning where the author meant for there to be none, to the extent where they could make George W. Bush look like one of the greatest poets of our time. There’s all of that, and then there’s the single greatest thing that has given us the drive to be the best we can be; that’s right, I’m talking about that video about the vision statement. The constant slowly zooming in on smiling children, slowly zooming out on pictures of people playing sports… [sigh]. The pinnacle, of course, was Mrs. Rajotte moving a pen in mid-air, while the special effects guy made some math show up on-screen. Look up inspiration in a dictionary and you’ll find the words “math teacher pretending to write on a whiteboard.” Moving on.

In all seriousness, though… no, wait, who am I kidding? I’m just going to say that SMUS gave its students what not many educational institutions can; knowledge. I mean, we get information from school all the time, but knowledge comes from within, and is way above and beyond anything you can get in a textbook. I don’t think I speak for myself when I say I’m very grateful that SMUS provided the environment that allowed us to discover ourselves in the crucial period of a person’s life called teenagerhood. Microsoft Word thinks teenagerhood’s not a word, but it gets the point across. We must’ve discovered compassion, because otherwise we wouldn’t have involved ourselves in so much charity work. We must’ve discovered hard work, because it’s impossible to hold a SMUS diploma without having on at least four occasions sweated 50 calibre bullets, whether on a test or on the field. Man, we owe so much to SMUS, and we all know how to repay it, even though it’s never been written down; “get obscenely rich and pay for a new building.” That’s what should’ve been in the vision statement.

Unfortunately for those of you who have already become fans of me, I’m almost done. I’ll conclude with quote:

In the words of the totally sober Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne, “Fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me.”

Wait, no, wrong speech… [shuffles papers] Ah, here it is:
As the not-so-famous Brad Shoemaker said at the end of an “I Love Mondays” video – irrelevant context, I know, but completely relevant words:

“Thanks for being here, and thanks for being you.”

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