With the pandemic putting paid to large gatherings, including Class of 2020 graduation ceremonies, the Richmond News reached out to the school district’s Valedictorians for them to share their speeches with their families, friends and our readers.
This week, the News will be publishing their speeches online and in print as they come into our newsroom.
By Jackie Crowley
Valedictorian at Richmond Secondary
To the Grads of 2020:
I am humbled to be speaking here today, on behalf of the Grad Class of 2020.
When I enrolled at Richmond High, I could never have expected I would be a part of a group so special. A group so diverse, unique, and with so much potential.
Through the years, I’ve witnessed all of us reach our goals and achieve greatness, with the support of one another.
Every graduating class is special, but not all graduating classes are created the same. This grad class has become unique and set apart from the rest.
Not because we were the year that couldn’t physically celebrate together. We’re special because we came together and held our heads up high during this challenging time.
We showed the world our strength by smiling and embracing this as our opportunity to create change. This is our world to shape and it is our future to create.
This virus has made our year different, and in many ways more difficult. But it has also brought out one of our most valuable qualities: gratitude.
Distance has made us realize how special our moments are, and how fleeting time can be. This year has been the host of some of the greatest moments of my life.
My peers have achieved some of their greatest accomplishments during our senior year. This year has brought us together like never before. From collective preparation for upcoming IB exams and the dreaded IA’s to being in the intense atmosphere of a packed gym for the South Fraser’s Championship game.
We’ve come together in support and unity, realizing our differences are valuable but what connects us is that we are all Colts.
With a minute left on the clock, every single Richmond High student and teacher in that gym was a Richmond Colt, not just the players on the floor.
As the buzzer sounded, we became enveloped in a sea of Colts embracing a hard-fought victory. These are the moments we are going to remember forever.
The success and the work put into it. We won’t remember what the unit tests were about, but we will remember how hard we studied for it and the feeling of relief to see that it paid off.
We will remember the unconditional support we received from all of our teachers and peers, especially through times when we fall short. We won’t remember every score of every game, but the comradery of pushing yourself to the limit in practice alongside your teammates and experiencing a win together is something we will never forget.
It’s time now to step into the next chapter of our lives. We’ve experienced the greatest wins and the toughest losses and learned how to pick ourselves up.
This school breeds incredible individuals, through wins and losses. Because we know now that it isn’t the scoreboard or the predicted grade that defines you, it’s how hard you worked and how resilient you became.
Going forward, I urge you to carry on this resilience. To embrace this unprecedented future. Strive to achieve your highest goals and aspirations.
Know that this community believes in you and that you’re strong enough to overcome any challenge.
As we take on the future, we will know not to take any moment for granted. We know time passes far too quickly to be hesitant and reserved.
We will dive into every opportunity and take on new experiences. This gratitude and eagerness instilled into us will destroy any trace of fear. We will take our resilience, gratitude, and kindness into the future and change this world with it.
That’s what it means to be a Richmond Colt. To not be afraid to make mistakes, because we know we’ll get back up as soon as we fall. To recognize how fleeting these moments are and how precious they can become.
To show kindness to whoever may cross our path, and to strive for greatness. Lastly, to know where we come from and what makes us who we are. This school has made us who we are. The support, love, friendships, and education that our peers and teachers have given us make up who we are now.
Class of 2020, it’s been a long road. But we’re here at the end of the road, at a point that marks the beginning of something new.
It’s been an incredible journey and I’m grateful to be embracing this new chapter with all of you.
To my fellow grads, dive headfirst into the future, unafraid and unrestrained.
Congratulations, we did it.