Tumbler Ridge Grad 2016 Valedictorian Speech

Braiden Chalifoux

I would like to start off and thank everyone for coming and joining us for our graduation ceremony. When I was in grade four…which was literally eight years ago… wow. Anyways way back when, before I moved here me and my friends were sitting down and calculating when we would graduate, and we came up with the number 2016.

Well, back then we thought that this was forever ago, but yeah, I guess this is today.

Until the end of last year, I was never really close with my class. Then all of a sudden we started planning out our grad and I noticed I was getting closer to many of them. I realized that I wished I got close with them sooner because all of them are super great people.

I moved here in my eighth grade thinking I had to find a specific group to be friends with. I came from a bigger school so this was quite normal, at least I thought it was. I entered Tumbler Ridge Secondary School and on the first day I realized my entire class was pretty close with each other. I think it’s pretty great to have a small class, like us here today.

I have had the chance to get to know everyone on stage with me today and that’s pretty wonderful. I know now that I wouldn’t have wanted to graduate with any other class than this one here with me today. For that I’m pretty grateful to share the stage with these magnificent graduates.

Two weeks before graduation I had a little panic where I had no idea what I wanted to do after high school. And for most of you who know me I’ve always known what I wanted to do. This affected me pretty hard until I just took a nice calm day to figure things out.

I figured out that we don’t have to know what we want to do at this age. Guys, it’s completely okay to not know what to do or to change your mind later on. We will all stumble in life but that’s just life, we will learn from it. We’re young adults and we have so much time to decide what to do. Many of us on this stage are probably pretty scared right now, I know I am.

I went into my grade 12 year thinking this year will be a breeze and then I get to graduate, leave home and have all this freedom. But on this day of June 17, 2016 I definitely do not feel the same. I feel that I’m not ready to leave home, but I know I have to.

To all the parents, grandparents or any guardians here today. Please know that we don’t want to leave you, but we must to figure out who we are. We are going to stumble and fall, and probably make some mistakes in life but this is the only way we will truly discover who we are. We all have our goals we want to achieve, ones that will make you proud of who we are. Just know that we will be alright, that we will survive and live the best lives we possibly can.

Thanks again to all the special people in our lives for all the guidance and knowledge you have given us. Before I end this I just want to thank all the staff of Tumbler Ridge Secondary School because we honestly wouldn’t have been able to do this without you. I also want to thank the whole community of Tumbler Ridge in supporting us. We appreciate all the volunteers who have helped us in sports and other activities, as well as all of people who have been there to give us guidance, or simply the ones who have had to put up with us.

And I just want to thank one last person here today, Mr. Broderick. This man on stage with us today has been my principal since the day I moved here and if some of you don’t know, he and his family will be leaving Tumbler Ridge. When I found out the news I was pretty sad about it, I look up to this man. Tumbler Ridge Secondary school will miss you dearly and I know I will too when I come home to visit. Thank you again for being a magnificent principal and role model Mr. Broderick. Thank you everyone again.