Grad signals the end of an era and launch into life

Thirteen years. For most, that’s what it takes to get to where 40 of our local kids are today: graduation.

Thirteen years. For most, that’s what it takes to get to where 40 of our local kids are today: graduation.

There are no doubt mixed emotions about leaving the comfort and security of school after so many years of routine,  and not just for the graduates, for parents too.

“Empty Nest Syndrome” kicks in; new worries and excitement, all wrapped up in one, about impending college or university. Or the start of a new career where their “babies” are going off on their own to experience what can be an unrelenting world.

No matter how old our children are, we as parents will always want the best for them, we will always worry about them and we will always hope they make the right choices.

And when they don’t, we will be there to pick them up and help them through and hold onto hope that they will have learned from their mistake.

It is all part of growing up, part of becoming an adult and moving forward. As the great Walt Disney once said: “ We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Having the privilege of meeting with some of the NSS graduates of 2012 not so long ago, I received some entertaining answers to questions about their years of school and various insights into life.

The best way to let all of you have the same intuitive experience as I did, is to let you read some of their inspiring and heart felt answers.  It will make you smile and tweak your heart.

If you could give one piece of advice to a grade 11 student entering into their grad year, what would it be?

“Life is a garden: dig it. Make sure you keep motivated to stay in school throughout the day. Showing up is half the battle,” said Carter Stenseth.

“Keep focused, have fun and do your work. You’re almost there,” Kellan Nishida encouraged.

“Time flies so enjoy every moment of your last year because these are the days you will look back on and miss,” Megan Hughes said.

“Keep on givin’ ‘er!” cheered Levi Cordingly.

If you could do your final year of high school over again, what would you do differently?

“If I could re-do my final year of high school, I would work a little harder at my school work, and try to be a little bit more involved in my school than I already was,” reflected Katie Hoffman.

“I wouldn’t take English Lit,” mused Dustin Larrimore.

“I would make sure I did not procrastinate and finish my studies,” Morgann Black said.

What was the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do in your grade 12 year?

“Playing against Eagle River’s Senior Boys Basketball Team. We only beat them by 57…,” quipped Dustin Larrimore.

“The hardest thing of my grade 12 year was managing my course load along with applying for college, university and scholarships/bursaries,” said Katie Hoffman.

“The hardest thing I had to do in grade 12 is realize I can’t live off my mom anymore. School is like toilet paper, you only miss it when it’s gone,” cracked Carter Stenseth.

If you could bring a movie star to Prom, who would it be and why?

“If I could bring any movie star to grad it would be Megan Fox because she is incredibly good looking and I am in love with her,” Kellan Nishida gushed.

“”If I could bring any movie star to grad it would be Jessica Alba because she is good looking. Also, in her movies she is awesome and seems like she would have an electric personality,” opined Carter Stenseth.

“If I could bring any movie star to grad it would be Tyler because he is awesome,” Mitch Hascarl said.

What is your best and worst memory of your grade 12 year?

“My best memory of grade 12 would be when me and Megan were throwing fruit at each other and we just about hit the teacher! My worst memory would be all the drama and rushing to finish all the school work,” Morgann Black said.

“My best memory of grade 12 would be covering my hands in paint and attacking Morgann and Hannah!  The pictures speak for themselves. My worst memory would be all the drama that is involved in teenage life,” said Megan Hughes in reflection.

“My best memory of grade 12 year was hanging out with the boys. Worst memory would be nothing. I don’t have bad times,” said Carter Stenseth.

What are your thoughts on bullying?

“Bullying is unacceptable. It makes kids feel horrible about themselves and severely lowers their self-esteem when their peers pick on them. It needs to be stopped,” stated Katie Hoffman

“Bullying is horrible!  No one deserves to be treated without respect!” Megan Hughes declared.

“Bullying isn’t cool and makes everyone feel bad. I think living in a small town we aren’t faced with it much. We all grew up with each other. But, I think it’s something people do when they aren’t sure of themselves.” Carter Stenseth said.

“People who bully need to rethink their actions. Bullying is not okay no matter what,” Morgann Black proclaimed.

If you had a chance to say something to your parents about the last 12 years of school, what would it be?

“If I could say anything to my Mom about my last 12 years of school, it would be thank you for pushing me to complete my goals and allowing me to follow my dreams,” said Megan Hughes gratefully.

“One thing I would say to my parents would be thank you for pushing me, Mom, and just sitting there saying nothing, Dad! I love you both!” Morgann Black announced.

“If I could say one thing to my parents it would be thank you for supporting me through everything from hockey to school trips. You have made it so easy to live my life,” noted Ryan Bateman

The last year, an ending to an era: this is what they have worked hard for, this final day where they get to stand up in front of family and friends to accept the official end of their  high school days.

It’s almost depressing when you look at it that way, but then again, it is exciting too because around the corner is a new and impressive world for each and every one of them to experience. A world that will no doubt give them trials and tribulations beyond their wildest dreams.  It will challenge them and give them direction into the great unknown.

Some will stay in our little town and take a break from schooling and some will venture out and create a new life for themselves. Some may never return and  some will likely return to raise families of their own and to be the ones sitting in the audience witnessing their own children graduate decades from now.

Whichever direction these kids take, they will never forget their roots and they will never forget the sense of family and community which has surrounded them for so many years.

Good luck to each and every one of you. No matter where you go or what you do, “Prove it Possible.”