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New day dawns for Class of 2016

Valedictorian Taylor Lees shares her speech with The Observer.

Taylor Lees / Special to The Observer

Welcome parents, teachers, friends, and of course my fellow graduates.

Today is the day, it’s bittersweet, we will cross the stage signifying our years here at AESS are complete. We have grown together, as friends, and we are truly group like no other. I feel comfortable talking to each and every one of you. We have accepted each other’s differences and gotten to know each other’s strengths as well as weaknesses.

A class of talents, a class of diversity, the class of 2016. That is the only way to explain the people sitting on this stage today. We are graduating high school and in my opinion that is absolutely terrifying. The routines we have become accustomed to, the ones we have repeated five times a week, 12 years in a row, are ending. Everything we have known is going to be erased and replaced with a new way of living. We will create new routines, each different but new and exciting, “The future class of 2016” that’s what all my preschool captions read…it’s crazy, the future has become the present, and soon the present will become the past.

We have been through the ups and the downs, we have supported each other, and we helped each other. The laughter within our academic classes was unexplainable, and sometimes I wonder why the teachers allowed it to happen.

But then i think about how amazing it all truly was… we were altogether in a classroom, laughing, and helping each other. We once sat at opposite ends of not only the class but the school. Now, we support each other through everything, for example: when our Senior girls basketball team played in the BC

A girls provincial final the support from our classmates was overwhelming. Some classmates travelled over 5 hours to watch us play, those who couldn’t come to the game watched online and made sure we knew they were cheering. This relationship we have formed throughout the class will last a lifetime and it is a relationship I am blessed to have.

There are so many outstanding attributes within each person amongst our class that the possibilities as we move forward are endless. Each one of us possess a different set of qualities and our individuality will be the key to our success. “You did it”, that is what most people say as graduation approaches, “you did it, you completed the schooling, you are now ready to move forward”. All of these things are true, we have completed the schooling, we are receiving our diplomas, and now we will move on to greater things. A week from today, we will walk through the front doors of AESS for the last time as a high school student.

We all have goals, dreams, and aspirations that we can accomplish. We may not know where we are going, and that’s okay too, we are still learning each and every day. Our ambitions will guide us to the success we will continue to work hard for.

Graduation symbolizes the beginning of something new but also the end of something great. It is serving as an entrance for the next chapter of our lives, tonight helps us recognize our achievements. Tomorrow we will continue to develop new dreams. Our highschool years have been made up of friends who inspire us, teachers who have acted as our mentors, and so many people who have shaped our lives forever.

As we move forward I can not imagine the amazing things we will accomplish. To quote Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” Without a doubt in my mind I can confidently say that I believe everyone up here with me today will accomplish great things and find success as they move into the future towards whatever field they choose. Just as every path getting to this day was different, every path from here on out will be equally as unique. Some of those paths may overlap from time to time and I can’t wait for those times to come. To see where our ambitions take us.

It is with passion, determination, and a strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world. A new door is opening, and our past years here at

AESS have ably prepared us for it. So, “Congratulations, today is your day.

You’re off to great places. You’re off and away. You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”

Let these words of Dr. Seuss drift in your mind forever. The memories we’ve made, the lessons we’ve learnt, and the people we’ve met have assured our readiness to succeed in whatever we choose.

As this speech comes to an end there are a few “thank you’s” I need to give on behalf of my grad class. Thank you to the teachers for ensuring we made it to this day, thank you to Mrs. Graham, Mr. Lawley, and Mrs, Deschenes for everything you do. Thank you to the coaches for dedicating your time to shape us into the athletes we became. Thank you to the elective teachers for helping us learn where our strengths are. And last but certainly not least, Thank you to our parents and family for supporting us, surely no one can make it to this day without the love and support only family can provide.

I am truly honoured to be standing before you as the Valedictorian for the graduating class of 2016.

Thank you!

Photos from graduation can be viewed here.

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