Paul Stephen Valedictorian Speech 2007 – W/Evaluation Form

Paul Stephen Valedictorian Speech 2007

NCA Eval


Analysis Essay


Pers Eval


Info Eval


Click “more” for a transcipt of the speech
I have uploaded this after the numerous requests from friends and family who could not be at my commencement.

Before I begin I have an admission to make:
This is how I dress when I’m not at school.

Good Evening Parents, teachers, friends, community members, honored guests

Grads, are you all as excited as I am?!

We are finally here! I can’t believe that after 13 years of lunch bells, late classes and sick notes that we have made it this far. The way I understand it, the only thing standing in your way from graduation is….me! So, I’ll do my best to make this short and sweet and straight to the point.

But what is exactly the point? I’ve had a hard time deciding that over the last few weeks. Being valedictorian isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, you know! Every time I’ve made a mistake, answered a question wrong in class or done something stupid it’s the same four word response.

“And you’re our valedictorian?!”

For example:

“Paul, what is the tube between the proximal convoluted tubule and the collecting duct of the nephron”

“Uhmm, the afferent arteriole”

“No Paul….and you’re our valedictorian?!”

Every time I cut someone off in the parking lot, tripped on my own feet or walked into a door it was the same response.

“And you’re our valedictorian?!”

BUT, I can’t think of a bigger honour than being selected to speak on behalf of Grad 2007!

I can remember the last day of Grade 8, terrified on the last day of blissful ignorance before I had to grow up and go to Ballenas.
I was 5 foot 6, 145 pounds.

4 years later, I am now six foot one, still 145 pounds! And I’m terrified about leaving the place I found so ominous four years ago.

But, I don’t have to worry about getting a job after school because, i sent my measurements to a group of architectural engineers who analyzed my measurements, I’m perfectly suited to be a telephone pole, the CN tower, or Mr. Catherall’s replacement.

Whether you came from the wilds of Nanoose, the depths of Errington, the heart of Parkville, the corners of Qualicum, the crags of Coombs or the bowels of Bowser, we have all come to share one important commonality: Ballenas Secondary School, its teachers, the classrooms, the hallways and the students. We love the amazing friends we have all made here. And what amazing people they are!

We are top athletes, star artists, pro mechanics, amazing mathematicians, talented writers and pretty much the greatest thing Ballenas secondary has ever produced! In fact, I think this may be the most stunningly beautiful group of people to gather in one room, ever!

Who else has won the volley ball provincial championships? Where else will you find a school that sends 20 students to the Dominican Republic to help those who need it most, or students who develop international environmental awareness programs? What other class has won MOGA 3 years in a row?

And now what? We’ve written our tests and had our gossip, pulled our pigtails and scraped our knees. I guess we are supposed to become responsible adults: grow up, leave high school and work hard the rest of our lives.

But I don’t really like the sound of that…. That’s why I’m going to be a teacher.

That’s a joke because, while we are all pretty amazing, I guess we can’t take all the credit. We couldn’t have gotten where we are today without the time, effort and skill of all the staff at Ballenas and the School District, the generous support of the community, and the loving care of our parents, friends and family. We all thank you sincerely.

There is one more person that I know our grad class would like to thank personally. He was the moral wind under our newly spread wings. We all wanted to make him proud. Mr. Rawlins (or “Bill Dozer” as he was affectionately known by his Dominican Republic volunteer group) welcomed us in grade 9 with open arms when we were bright eyed, bushy tailed, naïve to the ways of the world and shorter than all our girl friends. Grade 10 he comforted us as the rest of our teachers tried to trick us into thinking this was an important year. In grade 11 he shook some sense into us (metaphorically, of course) when we thought we owned the place.

Mr. Rawlins, you pointed us in the right direction, and shaped and influenced every one of us. You are unequivocally loved and respected at Ballenas Secondary.

Mr. Koop, thank you for helping us through our final and most difficult year at Ballenas, when we really did own the place.

And now to the future. I’ve thought long and hard on what to say about our future. How do I reach everyone when we are all going in such different directions? And then it came to me. Think back on your schooling career. What do you remember? It isn’t the math quiz you failed, or the history paper you aced. What stands out are the people you met; favourite teachers and best friends. It doesn’t matter where you are going after high school, what matters is how you get there. What’s important is how you treat people along the way.

The Dalai Lama said “He who is kind and selfless will be met with much friendship and success wherever he may go (or she)”. So don’t worry. Parents, as your children prepare to leave and you cry as they run into your open arms, or as your children prepare to leave and you cry as they run into your open wallets, you don’t need to worry because Grad 2007 is the friendliest, most compassionate, most talented group to ever come out of Ballenas. Thank you

Now, I don’t know about you guys in the audience, but I’m going to wrap this up because we have the rest of our live to get to. Hats off, Grad 2007

[Freeman] Thank you Paul. Paul, where are you? Traditionally the hat toss comes at the end of teh ceremony

[Paul indistinct] I do what I want

[Freeman] And you’re our valedictorian!

What do you think?

Written by Alexandra Jones


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