Valedictorian Marguerite Helberg giving her speech at convocation, June 24. Photo: Jim Bailey

Valedictorian Marguerite Helberg giving her speech at convocation, June 24. Photo: Jim Bailey

Trail high school valedictorian; Here’s to the grads of 2022

‘Throughout our time at JL Crowe, we have built a beautiful community … ‘

by MARGUERITE HELBERG

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A community, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is a unified body of individuals.

Humans need people.

We need to feel seen, heard, and valued. Throughout our time at JL Crowe, we have built a beautiful community, and, as a grad class, we’d like to thank you all for being a part of it. To all of our families, teachers, friends, and mentors, we could not have done it without you.

You have spent the last five years preparing us for the next phase of our lives. Thank you for the encouragement, the safe spaces to grow, and the forgiveness as we made our many mistakes in the process. Our community has given us the motivation to be successful.

As a community, we have overcome challenges and created memories together.

In grade 10, we had to learn how to switch over to online learning after 11 years of in person schooling. There were group Facetime calls between friends working together, group chats to share helpful information, and so much support from our teachers and families.

Unfortunately, many of us checked out, leaving everything to the very last minute.

But, thanks to our community of peers sharing screenshots of the Google Survey Quiz answers, we all made it through.

In grade 11, we were back in person and now we had to learn how to succeed in the quarter system. I can’t tell if those two and a half hour class times were harder for the students or for the teachers.

If you had the honour of being in Mr. Whitley’s Biology 11 class, I’m sure you became very familiar with the Amoeba Sisters, and if you had Mr. Morissette, your dad joke repertoire probably increased by ten. I bet he even has a formula to show this growth.

Even through this, again, we triumphed because we had our community to rely on.

In Grade 12, we were hit with responsibilities from every angle. We were readjusting to the semester system, applying for post-secondary education and scholarships, and finding a balance with our jobs.

I think we all knew it was getting serious when even Kurulok took less Kuru Days. We were also trying to enjoy our final year together. I will forever cherish all of the memories we’ve created as a group.

Grad Game Show Night was a hit.

Payton not knowing the story of Romeo and Juliet sure made the English Department proud that day! Thanks to his community, he now knows the tragic tale. We’d like to extend our deepest apologies to Fran about the garbage bins that Kalla stole as drums for Chaos.

At least some bins survived the boys’ beatings!

Throughout our time at Crowe, we’ve developed our personalities and interests.

We’ve been given the opportunity to find our passions, whether that was through spending time in the shops, in the science lab, or in the art room, and the support to work towards our future.

As we move forward, we will succeed in the real world with the skills we’ve learned here, but more importantly, we will have our new communities to rely on.

But first, you have to find it.

Next year, we will all have the opportunity to find more people whose values, personalities, and interests complement ours. We will find ourselves in new situations, and we will be meeting new people.

Find the ones who can support you, and give you motivation to grow.

Once you find these people, develop those relationships. These are the people you trust to help answer the questions that keep you up at night.

“Is this really what I want to study? Is this relationship working for me? Am I really happy in this job?”

Second of all, use it.

We won’t know how to manage all of our new responsibilities and challenges on our own. That’s okay. We sure didn’t know how to manage the responsibilities of high school when we started, but now we (mostly) have it all figured out!

There will be bumps in the road, and that’s when we will need to rely on our new communities.

Our people will be there to support us and guide us.

Finally, belong to it. Don’t be a dud! Step up. Be a good friend, student, employee. Friendship is not a one way street. You have to work to earn it. Listen to your friends’ questions, and offer them advice in return.

By giving back to your community, you create strong connections, and earn support.

You choose your community, so you have to also choose to contribute to it. The bonds that you form make you part of something bigger than yourself.

This is your indestructible safe zone, so believe in that.

Of course, we will always have our JL Crowe family supporting us and cheering for us. Sorry Ms. Ewankiw, Mrs. Waterstreet, and Mrs. Svenson, but you can’t put a final date on this!

I’m very excited to see where we all end up.

I have full confidence that we will all be successful.

After all, if we can survive CLC, we can survive anything! Right?

Let’s all embrace and celebrate the end of this chapter one more time, as a community.

So now, I ask you to remove your hats, and to prepare to throw them in the air.

We made it through this together, and we should be so proud of ourselves!

Here’s to the grads of 2022!

Graduation 2022School District No. 20 Kootenay-Columbia