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PECI graduates ready to begin next chapter of their story

More than 100 Prince Edward Collegiate Institute graduates walked out of the Picton Community Centre into the light of the full moon Thursday evening ready to begin the next chapter of their story.

Valedictorian John Conroy

“What’s your story and who’s writing it?” asked John Conroy, valedictorian. “We’re 15 minutes into the movie of our lives. Is the plot fixed yet? Is it clear where our story is going?”

Conroy said the students’ story as a senior class will not be remembered by grades, popularity, likes or re-tweets, “but by our relationships – the kind of person you were, might have been and may yet be.”

He asked his peers to examine if they were the screenwriters, or merely characters walking around in someone else’s screenplay.

“Like me, many of you may not know who you want to be, and that’s OK, but I suggest we put some thought into the story we want to create,” he said. “Most movies get to play out, and we have so much more to write… all we need to do today is decide who will be the author of our story.

“We need to decide it’s our story, and that we will write it,” he said, noting all the resources are there “but they’re only what you make of them. Your eagerness to learn, to work, to form loyal bonds and fulfilling friendships is what provides depth and meaning to your story.”

His advice, usefull for all ages, included the warning not to waste time on a career you do not enjoy as patience, passion and dedication come easily only when you love what you do.

“It’s useless to be fearful of others’ opinions. Fear weakens and paralyses. If you let it, it can grow worse every day til there’s nothing left of you,” he offered. “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will, so listen to your inner voice and go with it.”

Most of all, he said, don’t procrastinate.

“Appreciate the people around you – friends and family are an infinite source of love. And if life closes a door, grab that handle and open it again. That’s how doors work.”

The ceremonies honoured 110 students, 39 of whom earned standing as Ontario Scholars, having earned an average of 80 per cent or higher in six Grade 12 courses. Arts, business and technology certificates were also presented.

More than 100 subject awards, bursaries and prizes were handed out during the evening.

Skylar Pierson received the Governor General’s Academic Medal for highest academic standing, from trustee Dwayne Inch.

Abigail Margetson received the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award from trustee Dwayne Inch, for exemplary volunteer involvement within the community.

Sharon Lafferty Roberts presented the MP Neil Ellis Citizenship Award to Brooke Roche, for exemplary service to school and community.

Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board Awards were presented to Chloe MacDonald, Abigail Margetson, Olivia Rideout, Hannah Sills and Zoe Taylor.

The Prince Edward Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Award for students proceeding to post secondary studies in health sciences, were presented to Colleen Ball, Alannah Burris, Elise Ens, Brooke Jackson, Monica Lindsay and Ashley Mitchell.

Don Roberts presented the Community Care for Seniors Foundation Award to Chase Lavender.

Bill Roberts presented the Roberts Indigenous Reconcilliation Bursary to Ruby Gaudett, whose past, present and future efforts build a meaningful bridge between the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and Prince Edward County.

Lucy Mee received the George Elson Memorial Award for best all-round student, from students’ council co-president Jackson Deboeuf.

Salt of the Earth Awards (for students who have undertaken major responsibilities in extracurricular activities and carried them out with exceptional devotion) were presented to Emily Boone, Gillian DeMille, Wyatt Gilbert, Skylar Pierson, Alannah Burris, Elise Ens and Monica Lindsay.



Filed Under: Featured ArticlesHastings & Prince Edward District School BoardPECI - It's a Panther Thing

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