It was an emotional day as the now former Grade 12 students crossed the stage one last time as high school students.
Parents and guest speakers a like held back tears as the students accepted their diplomas, marking their first steps into the next stage of the world.
While the students prepare for what comes next, be it more schooling, travel or going straight into the field to work, the guest speakers had a few words of advice to share with the new graduates to help them on their way.
Jackie Swainson, school board trustee for Sylvan Lake, gave the graduates advice that was a little more personal.
“Normally we look to give advice from famous scholars and celebrities. My advice comes from someone you have never heard of before… His name was William Buston Tuss, and he is my grandfather,” Swainson said.
The advice coming from Swainson’s grandfather broke down into three components, all of which added together to help give meaning and understanding to life as the graduates move forward into an uncertain world.
Kindness. Selflessness. Willingness.
These three small aspects of life added together can make a world of difference, according to Swainson.
“If you can have those three things, and do those three things at the core of everything you do, I can guarantee that you will have a successful life in whatever you choose to do,” Swainson told the graduates.
In his commencement speech, Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre told the grads this time was especially momentous for them, because it fell on Canada’s 150th birthday.
Graduating on Canada sesquicentennial anniversary meant the newly minted graduateswould never forget their graduation, and it would always be marked by a celebration.
“Across the country people are celebrating right along side you,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre’s speech also highlighted every person who helped each graduate make it to the stage to accept their high school diploma.
He mentioned the families, teachers, support network, and friends all helped to see each Grade 12 student to be successful in their endeavours.
“The people who supported you, encouraged you, helped inspire you and lift you up, and worked to equip you … I hope you grads will thank them for their help in your road to graduation.”
McIntyre told the graduates to always remember where they came from as they move forward in life.
To remember the school that taught them, the friends that supported them, and the community that cheered for them.
The lessons learned at H.J. Cody should be taken along in life and not forgotten once high school is over.
It was McIntyre’s advice to the graduates to change the world by starting in the community.
“We live and thrive as a community, both locally and globally. What we do for each other matters, and how we treat one another matters, especially the vulnerable among us,” McIntyre said.
The words from McIntyre were echoed in the song choice of the H.J. Cody Choir, who sang “For Good” from the Broadway hit Wicked.
The song spoke about the change one person can make in another’s life.
“Because I knew you, I have been changed for good,” the song states.
Be kind to others, and make changes everyday – that was the advice of the guest speakers at the H.J. Cody School graduation on June 30.
“You will make a difference in the world,” said McIntyre.