Graduating Class of 2008

Valedictorian Speech
Andrew Gordon
June 12, 2008

Good evening parents and families, teachers and fellow students.  It's scary to think that in a matter of weeks, after only a few provincial exams, the three of us will be one big step closer to adulthood and the real world.  I'm sure my parents, along with Andy and Jonny's, are flashing back to the seemingly not-so-distant days when we struggled with our ABC's and tying our shoes; now we're up here graduating from high school able to drive and vote.

If you hadn't noticed, our grad class is a bit of a mixed basket.  All three of us come from varying cultural backgrounds and have very different personal interests.  If you were to watch us together for a day, however, you'd see the way we tease and heckle each other like brothers.  It's this relationship that the three of us share with one another that is only possible because of our small class size.  I am glad Glenfir gave me the opportunity to meet and become friends with these two because I don't think I would have had the chance in a bigger school.  I'm sure we would have seen each other but I find it hard to believe that you would see a super competitive self-proclaimed redneck like me hanging out with a guitar-playing vegetarian and a city boy with a love for sports cars.    And now, after getting to know these two, I couldn't see it any other way.  Whether it's playing hopeless, unwinnable games of ping pong against Andy or trying to convince Jonny to eat meat, the three of us are practically inseparable.

Unfortunately some of the questionable activities the three of us have been involved in over the course of the past two years haven't gone unnoticed.  One teacher that has seen it all, and at times, more than he probably would have liked is Mr. Bakx.  Personally, I feel a very close connection to Mr. Bakx after taking 5 Science courses with him.  Lately our relationship has gone to the next level after having to share a bed on our recent grad trip.  Our homeroom teacher for the past year, Mr. Bakx has seen us at our worst and our best.  He has been there to see me wearing a dress (and willingly I might add) and was also the first teacher to know when I got accepted to Gonzaga.  In fact, his opinion of the three of us is so important, on the day we were taking grad pictures at the school and feeling pretty darn good about our spiffy suits, we decided Mr. Bakx deserved to see how we look.  Now Mr. Bakx had gone home and we thought that rather than ask for directions to his house we could locate it ourselves using our teenage intuition.  After over an hour of driving around Summerland searching for his house and shamefully asking for directions, we were finally able to find it.  At the time, we were all driving menacing looking trucks and parked them on the street across from his house.  We knocked on the door and saw a terrified little teacher open the door only to see these three shady characters on his doorstep wearing suits.  As soon as he had taken the time to look us up and down and recognized his three favourite grad students, he welcomed us into his home willingly.  If there is one thing that the three of us can agree on, it is definitely that our time at the school has been enhanced for having the chance to be a part of Mr. Bakx's classes and if it were up to Andy, Jonny, and I, Mr. Bakx would have been granted sainthood for dealing with us a long time ago.

The relationship like the one we share with Mr. Bakx isn't simply limited to him.  We feel a close, unique connection with everyone associated with the school.  From top to bottom, almost every member of Glenfir's faculty has been a part of our time here.  Just a few of the members of Glenfir's staff that work extremely hard and go relatively unnoticed are Mr. Steffler, Mrs. Bonten, and Mr. Taylor.  I don't think there has been a single day I've been at Glenfir where Mr. Steffler hasn't said hello and or at least asked how I was.  The hard work of Mrs. Bonten up in the office this past year has rubbed off on the three of us and if we ever did happen to step out of line she always had that PA system at her disposal.  Finally, there's Mrs. Taylor.  I'm fairly sure that she actually lives at the school.  Mrs. Taylor is one of the major reasons that there is a graduating class of 2008 this year as she has practically kept the school afloat.  Another one of the biggest reasons for Glenfir keeping its doors open this past year is the work of the Parents' Society and Glenfir's Board of Directors.  Words can't express our gratitude to those that kept Glenfir open this past year.  I know I've only mentioned a few of the people that have made an impact on our time here at this school but we want every teacher, parents, and anyone that has ever been a part of our education here to know that they are all close to our hearts.  You have helped turn us into the young men you see before you today.

One last person that can't go without mentioning is Duncan's dad, Mr. Gordon Lindsay.  Mr. Lindsay offered his many toys, his knowledge of the outdoors, and his precious free time earlier in the school year out of the goodness of his heart.  This part weekend the three grads along with Mr. Bakx took him up on his offer embarking on an incredible journey to Waterton Park in southern Alberta where we spent an amazing weekend.  On behalf of Mr. Bakx, Andy, and Jonny, I would like to thank Mr. Lindsay for a trip that we will never forget.

In closing, I would like to re-cite a poem by Rudyard Kipling entitled "If".  The poem hung on my wall throughout my early childhood and puzzled me mainly because I lacked the capacity to read it.  Now, after my 13 years of education, and able to read a few words of it, I can truly appreciate its relevance to what it truly means to be a man.

IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them:  "Hold on!"
 
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - not lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And-which is more-you'll be a Man, my son!

Thank you.