J. L. Crowe Secondary students completed their final assignments Friday night when they accepted their diplomas in front of family and friends.
About 1,000 people watched in the stands of the Cominco gym, where $98,000 in scholarships and burseries were also doled out to 77 of the 156 graduates.
“At graduation our emotions and thoughts are in a state of contradiction; we look forward to what’s next, but reminisce on what was,” said Principal David DeRosa. “We yearn for the promise of the unknown but cling to the comfort of the here and now.”
Valedictorian Collin Wynnychuk was pleased to address all of the people who helped mold him throughout, what he called, the most crucial years of his life.
He was humbled when he arrived at Crowe and realized that he and his classmates were no longer in charge, a feeling he expects after high school.
“Seeing the vitality coursing through the halls was exciting and eased the anxiety of going to a new school,” he recalled from his first experience at the Trail high school. “Even better was that we were granted an actual choice in what we got to learn.”
Graduation comes with even more choice, as some classmates will go onto study post secondary while others will dive right into the workforce. But success will come so long as there is ambition, said guest speaker Don Freschi.
He’s not an “old dude” but rather a “seasoned” or “experienced” man, who has been thrown a few curve balls but always found his way. The 1979 Crowe grad remembers his graduation ceremony all too well and opted not to bore the 2013 class with poetry and instead provide clear advice.
The Trail entrepreneur recommended the graduates write a Top 50 goals list immediately and follow this as a guideline.
This was an exercise he did after graduating and to his surprise he has completed most of his notes.
Armed with a Diploma of Technology from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Freschi landed a job in Teck’s semiconductor division, which eventually led him to going “all in” on what was formerly known as Firebird Technologies and later became 5N Plus Trail before closing its doors.
He is now the general manger of Community Futures’ business incubator, where the former local company began.
“I just turned 51 and now I’ve completed 42 of my 50 life-time goals list,” he said. “Be passionate about your life-time goals because . . . goals will stimulate your ambition and a strong ambition will give you the opportunity to succeed.”
Other guest speakers took the stage to add their advice, including Trail councillor Robert Cacchioni.
The former Crowe teacher was honoured to send this class off with a few words.
“Congradulations to you all,” he said. “You were a wonderful class then when I taught you and you’re a wonderful class now.”
Students rose to their feet and waited patiently to walk the stage. The room beamed with excitement, as a 13-year (give or take) educational journey was ending but a new beginning was just around the corner.
“Whatever you may choose to do in life, you must never forget that you can do it,” Wynnychuk offered.
“Regardless of the doubt and speculation and the odds, you are capable of anything.”