Perseverance was the word of the night, as 150 J.L. Crowe students celebrated their graduation on Friday.
Principal David DeRosa described this year’s class as a mosaic, fitting he said, because “they are a reflection of their world and of the community around them.”
“They arrived here tonight having taken many different paths,” he said. “And yet, somehow they persevered and they are all here tonight.”
“This mosaic of personalities, interests and beliefs will transition to their next life stages and they will make a difference.”
The crowd in the Cominco Arena listened as special guest speaker and former Crowe student Amanda McIntyre-Frey imparted words of wisdom to the grads, some of which they may not have wanted to hear.
Nothing comes easy, failure happens, circumstances change and success doesn’t always come in the form of fame and fortune, she summed up, citing the troubles celebrities like Steve Jobs of Apple Inc., Jerry Seinfeld and Michael Jordan had before they got to where they are today.
“The shortest distance between two points is a straight line but I suspect that most people who feel they have succeeded in life will tell you that their journey was like a small child’s connect-the-dots — that is, not a straight line,” she said. “And I think that life would be a little bit boring if you achieved success on your first try.”
Valedictorian Ryan Macklon quoted Robert Service, saying that, “no man can be a failure if he thinks he is a success — if he thinks he is a winner, then he is.”
“As graduates and future leaders of this world, we must leave the safety net behind and dive head first into any challenge we might encounter. As our world once expanded so profoundly with the transition from elementary to high school, so will it expand now as we move out on our own into the world’s many possibilities.”
As many of the graduates will be heading to universities far from home, remembering your roots was another strong theme throughout the night. Macklon and McIntyre-Frey both encouraged grads to remember where they come from.
“We were once the students of J.L. Crowe and we owe great thanks to the parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, neighbours and anyone else who has motivated and inspired us to strive and struggle to reach this point,” Macklon said. “Without them we wouldn’t be the people we are today.”
“For those of you who just can’t wait to get out of the small town and into the big city, I promise you that you will meet people along your journey who will say, ‘You’re from Trail? You’re so lucky’,” said McIntyre-Frey, who is finishing her PhD at the University of Washington in Seattle.
“And they’re correct — you’re lucky to have grown up with such wonderful surroundings. As much as some of you are wanting to leave this place this instant, you will miss it … Appreciate it.”
Sixty-eight graduates received 129 awards, scholarships and bursaries from businesses, unions, universities and other organizations; the total of which came to more than $87,000.