As the school year comes to an end, students and staff alike take the time to think back to September and reflect on all that has happened in the past 10 months and how things have moved forward in that time. One of the highlights of the annual closing ceremonies is the candid student speeches, as they put into words what their school year at SMUS has been like.
At Friday’s Senior School Closing Ceremonies for our Grade 9, 10 and 11 students, three sets of students had the opportunity to address their classmates, parents and the SMUS community. The following are excerpts from the speeches by the Grade 9, 10 and 11 student representatives.
Our peers have helped create an open, caring, intelligent atmosphere for the school. The diversity within our grade is reflected within the school, including so many cultures, passions, strengths and interests. Everyone is different and we accept that, and every one of us fits into this school somehow. When we say we fit in, please don’t take that as us saying we are all stuck in niches – it’s truly the opposite. Our best athletes are often our musicians, our quiet students can be great leaders. We all have our place in our grade and school community, and that place for every one of us is an incredible mash-up of strengths.
Many of those strengths were tested this year as we transitioned into high school. For some, it was their first year at SMUS. For others, this year marked the start of their 10th year here. Regardless of when you arrived, we are a united grade now. The transition into high school was a huge one, and it certainly shook things up. We are not the same people who were in the gym for our LINK orientation 10 months ago. We are now full-fledged high schoolers, complete with stories, achievements and plans for next year.
If we were to leave a piece of advice for next year’s Grade 9 class, it would be this: find yourself. Take this year and the next few to try everything you can. Discover your passions, figure out who makes you happy to be around, and don’t stress over things that will one day simply be growth experiences.
For our Class of 2018, I have three goals for us:
1. I hope that by the end of next year, every one of us knows each other’s names.
2. I hope that we, as a class, grow into leaders who will change the school for the better.
3. And finally, I truly hope that we can all appreciate what we have by going to this school. I want everyone to see the greatness of SMUS, because that, in turn, will fuel us to give back to the school.
An excerpt from a speech by Emma Demarchi, who, along with fellow Grade 10 students Oria James, Jessa McElderry and Philippe Welter, spoke on different aspects of life at SMUS.
This was my very first year at St. Michaels University School. I transferred to this magnificent institution in hopes of gaining a more advanced education and surrounding myself with peers who reallywant to succeed. And believe me, this year was far more challenging than any other school year that I had been through previously.
Something that astonished me after receiving my first report was that each teacher-written comment was totally personalized. I had lived with the same copy-pasted responses for years, and it was so special to be noticed as an individual.
The social structure at SMUS is nowhere near how I would have expected it to be, and I was pleasantly surprised. I made friends in a matter of days, believe it or not. The whole community seemed so open to me and I felt genuine connections with some students right away. From this I have gained study buddies, formed alliances and even discovered my new best friends. I thought that coming to SMUS I would blend into the background and personify a monotonous machine, but I was mistaken. Here I feel appreciated for my talents and encouraged to push myself academically, all thanks to you.
An excerpt from a speech by Jasper Johnston and Sena Youn (Grade 11)
Twelve years. To some adults in the room, events from 12 years ago may seem like just yesterday, yet to the majority of our grade, 12 years is how long we have been attending grade school. An eternity of homework assignments, bagged lunches and early mornings. During this time we have witnessed governments fall, and corporations rise, we have seen the dawn of smartphones and the end of the VCR. Throughout the years, we have grown and changed along with our fragile world, learning more about it every day. As we prepare to enter our final year of high school, it is important to reflect on the things we have learned from our peers, parents and teachers. Lessons of leadership, passion and compassion, that have shaped us into the young adults that we are today and will guide us in the years to come.
As future leaders of 2016, our grade has begun to look forward to the many grade 12 leadership roles, which range from prefects to heads of clubs or councils to LINK leaders. Regardless of titles or appointed positions, simply by being in Grade 12, every person in our grade will have the chance to set the tone for the year and lead by example.
Throughout the year, we have received amazing support from our teachers and fellow students, who consistently push us to be our best and pick us up when we stumble. With only one year left, we have many things to look forward to.