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My Temporary Home

Class of 2022 Valedictorian Address
By Joshua

Good morning parents, faculty, staff, and friends. It is my true honour and pleasure to be speaking on behalf of the Albert College 2022 Graduating class. I hope you are all doing well today. I am filled with gratitude as I stand here today, and it is a true privilege to witness a day so special to us Grade 12’s as we close one chapter in our lives and start a new one. Our time here has been filled with so many ups and downs, but no journey is complete without a reflection on the experiences we have had together. I know this speech is meant to be inspirational, but it is lengthy, so bear with me.

After heading back to school a number of weeks ago from an Ultimate Frisbee game (which we lost), I noticed an Edsby message from Ms. Weldon. I hadn’t remembered asking her about anything specific until I read the message about me being voted as the Valedictorian for the Class of 2022. My first reaction…Great! First problem, what do I talk about? This problem remained stuck in the back of my mind until I walked past the Graham Hall kitchen one evening. There was a poster on the wall with the quote, “We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.” This moment inspired the entirety of this speech entitled “Albert College, My Temporary Home”.

The concept of “home” can be defined as a place where you live as a member of a family or a household or, a place that we return to by instinct once we leave it. Home is where we belong and can be our true selves. At Albert College, we all come from different places around the world, with different upbringings and various cultures. Some of you live right here in Canada, but if you are an international student like me, coming to Albert College has meant leaving your home and family to study here. As I mentioned earlier, Albert College is, and now was, a temporary home to me.  I have been part of this family for only two years. Some of you have been part of this family for a shorter or longer period than me. But, regardless of the amount of time you have spent here, you have all come to know the characteristics of the home I am referring to. 

A home is a place where you get to learn more about yourself and grow as a person. Learning does not always have to be academic. Here at Albert, I have been able to learn more about people, their traditions, cultures, and different upbringings. It’s always fun to see the world from a new perspective. In terms of growth, I have been able to leave behind my terrible habit of overthinking even though it comes up now and then. And I have seen all of you grow in your own ways too. A home is a place where you feel welcomed and can truly be yourself. From the first day at Albert College, I have never had the feeling of being unwelcome or unwanted. Of course, this is only possible because of the good people I have met here. Lastly, a home is a place where memories are created. I still remember our trip to Camp Tamakwa. It was uncomfortable at first, not knowing what to expect, but I will never forget the magic of that place and the memories we made there. To step out of your comfort zone is to grow! Being part of this temporary home helped us to move past our fears and do something unforgettable. 

The memories I have made with all of you together in this temporary home are what I will take with me for the rest of my life. My friends, never again will we all sit together in this same group. This day marks an ending, and endings can be filled with uncertainty. Let’s take what we have made together here. Let’s go out into the world with the foundational knowledge we have gained here, live our core values in everything we do, and follow our individual passions and dreams. 

I am truly honoured to be this year’s Valedictorian and to have the opportunity to represent our class in such a special way. This would not have been possible without the people around me. To round up this speech, I must give thanks where it is due on behalf of all of my classmates.  First, our gratitude extends to the kitchen staff who made our meals every day. We will always remember the meals we shared together here. I also want to say a huge thanks to the House Directors in Baker, Graham, and Victoria Manor for their dedication to taking care of us and the activities planned for us throughout the years. It was this work that helped us to truly connect as a family. Next, on behalf of the whole class, I would like to thank the faculty for their dedication to teaching us. It is teachers who live to inspire us and make us better through hard work, high expectations, and showing us what is possible when we live up to them. I speak for all of us when I say that we would not be here without the work and dedication of our parents. We thank you for the love and support that you have shown us through the years. 

Lastly, I would like to leave a message to my classmates. We live in a world filled with a cacophony of noises and distractions, remember to live a life that the ten-year-old you would be proud of. Always remember and carry with you the lessons learned from our temporary home. Wherever you go and whatever you decide to become, I wish for your success. I will always remember this place and hope that one day we can meet again. Remember, you are always welcome back to your Temporary Home!

To the Albert College Graduating Class of 2022, Congratulations, and farewell.