Congratulations to the 170 graduates who make up the Class of 2021! We are incredibly proud of them for reaching this milestone with passion, and for their resilience in adapting so well to this challenging and important school year.
While their graduation this year looked different, we are proud to have been able to celebrate and recognize the Class of 2021 in a variety of safe and cohorted celebrations. You can watch our two Grade 12 Graduation Ceremonies held on June 16 – the Cohort A event at the top of this story, and the Cohort B event below.
Congratulations to the Class of 2021!
You can read excerpts from valedictorian Divyesh Nagarajan’s speech at the bottom of this post, and watch the speech in full as part of the Grade 12 Graduation Ceremony videos.
Browse and download photos from the two Grade 12 Graduation Ceremonies on the SMUS Photo Gallery. Photos of members of the Class of 2021 on stage can be found by typing their name into the “simple search” bar.
Valedictory Speech (excerpts)
by Divyesh Nagarajan ’21
Our grad class in particular faced many challenges that others didn’t because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is really something on a magnitude I don’t think even our parents have experienced. With so many cancellations and complications in university applications, athletics, and just life in general, getting through this senior year was no easy feat. So, it’s extremely humbling to represent such a strong, capable group of students that have surmounted a great obstacle. Believe me when I say that this class is prepared to tackle almost anything that will come our way beyond this graduation
While we have a beautiful campus with first-rate facilities, it’s not these things that make our school different. It’s us – the diverse student body representing over 25 different nationalities –that truly makes us stand out.
If there’s one thing we can take away from our time together, it would be an appreciation for diversity. The Dalai Lama once said that “If we wish to ensure everyone’s peace and happiness, we need to cultivate a healthy respect for the diversity of our peoples and cultures, founded on an understanding of the fundamental sameness of all human beings.”
As a grad class, I am so proud of everything we do to showcase our diversity each and every year, like the fun chapels and activities hosted by our very own Intercultural Council.
These events are a blast, but we don’t need them just to start celebrating our unique cultures. This appreciation takes root in even the smallest interactions. It’s these interactions that have breathed life into my time at SMUS and filled me with a deep sense of gratitude for all the rich and colourful cultures we have been introduced to here.
But, all that is not to say we always get along. With diversity comes differences, and differences beget conflict. This isn’t what’s important, though. It’s the ability to heal and strengthen our bonds when conflicts arise that will build a more united global community as we step out into the world.
Last month, on May 27th, it was discovered that the grounds of a former Kamloops Residential School housed the bodies of 215 Indigenous children – completely and utterly unaccounted for.
Our nation’s past is tainted by acts of racism and outright discrimination that we may never be able to repent for. But, we can certainly strive to build a more diverse and inclusive future.
Real change must be grounded in action. Our school is blessed with a student body that represents so many distinct cultures. Here, we have the unique opportunity to test our commitment to creating an inclusive future.
This means that we can’t be cocooned – ignorant to the fact that racism exists everywhere. Large-scale change begins with our individual decisions to speak out against discrimination, in any form, even on our own campus. We can’t shy away from confronting and addressing these problems head-on.
Regardless of race, faith, or ethnicity, we are all fundamentally humans, and it’s this fact that we take for granted that will allow us to embrace the diversity we will continue to face in the future.
When you leave here today, I want you to remember that in order for us to go out and create a world where we can all feel valued and respected, regardless of race, culture, or ethnicity, all of us need to be involved.
Maxine Greene, American educator and thought leader, said that the community that diverse students build together in school forms a powerful bond – one that unites rather than divides. I truly believe that we share this special bond, and I hope that we will remain connected beyond high school, joining the large community of SMUS alumni around the world.