I am so sorry we are not gathering altogether in person to celebrate this milestone with our Graduating Class of 2021, yet I feel very fortunate to be able to address you and your families. While you may not be able to graduate as you envisioned, you deserve to be celebrated- and to be thanked.
Richard Wagamese, an Ojibwe author and journalist wrote, “Life is sometimes hard. There are challenges. There are difficulties. There is pain. As a younger man, I sought to avoid pain and difficulty and only caused myself more of the same. These days, I choose to face life head on- and I have become a comet. I arc across the sky of my life and the hard times are the friction that shaves off the worn and tired bits. The more I travel head-on, the more I am shaped, and the things that no longer work or are unnecessary drop away. It’s a good way to travel. I believe eventually I will wear away all the resistance, until all that is left of me is light.”
I wish to tell you that your class was a light for our school community, staff and students from Grades 1-11, during times when things felt dark and difficult.
We have had the privilege to teach and learn with all of you- whether it has been for twelve years or two. Our mission at SCS is to ensure that when you leave us you are intellectually curious, courageous, and compassionate individuals who have the capacity to be successful in whatever you choose. This doesn’t mean that we believe that things will always be easy- because they won’t- but it does mean that we believe in you and know that despite the hard times, you have the skills, the intellect, and the wherewithal to shine.
As Wagamese so beautifully describes, imagining being a comet arcing through the sky, the more you travel head-on the more you are shaped and the more you are able to wear away resistance that holds you back.
This past year- and indeed the spring before- was hard; filled with restrictions, limitations, and altered approaches to so many notable traditions and events. We know that this was not the year you imagined it would be and that there were lots of things that I am sure felt like they were holding you back.
As I watched your wonderful Grade 12 Farewell E-ssembly at the beginning of June where our community was taken through your memories from SCS, it was a confirmation that despite your graduating year being an important time for you to leave a legacy, your impact on the school runs deeper than one year. Do not hold this one year as the measure of your time at St. Clement’s nor your legacy here. You have always been a class comprised of individuals who demonstrate intelligence, fun, diverse perspectives, creativity, care, and amazing spirit. And you will always be remembered for this.
You will always be remembered for being our leaders during this hard time. I am grateful to every one of you- and to your families- for doing your best to meet things head on. As we navigated this year, you were an inspiration to our SCS community. You modeled how to travel for our students. While learning and preparing yourselves for the future, you were demonstrating how to do so for others and you shone. Thank you for being our light.
Know that this experience, despite being hard, will be one that sets you all up for outstanding things.
On behalf of our St. Clement’s staff and students in Grades 1-11, thank you for being our light and for taking things head on. Know that we will be with you even after you leave us; and if and when the friction is strong, we will ALWAYS be here to help- as you did for us.
Best wishes, take care and keep in touch.