The prospect of graduating from high school is a major change for every young person making their first steps into the adult world.
“For me and a lot of my friends, it didn’t really sink in that we were leaving high school until this week when we all got our cap and gowns. Now everybody is forced to look forward into the future,” said Jaida Smith. “Even though we had a lot of those plans sorted out, they weren’t fully realized until now. It is definitely going to change a lot.”
Smith is one of the valedictorians for the 2018 graduating class at Penticton Secondary School, along with Xelian Louw, who has been watching the different reactions his peers have as the reality of their graduation settles in.
“Most people will get excited about the future. They think about summer or next year, stuff like that, but every now and then you get people who stop and they just have this nostalgic flashback. You see memories of high school hit them a little bit and how life is going to be,” said Louw.
Louw thinks those memories and the lessons learned over the years play a big part in the graduating students’ thoughts as they look at what they look at their identity.
“People started thinking about pieces of themselves and lessons they are wanting to hold on to, and how they are going to stand on their own feet. I would say a lot of people are confident in their abilities to stand on their own feet,” said Louw, who is headed to the pre-medicine program at Trinity Western.
Smith is going to be at the University of British Columbia studying International Economics.
“It’s been freaking me out a little bit. I’ve definitely had to learn to make Kraft Dinner over the past few weeks,” said Smith. “There has been a lot of life lessons along the way; I’ve got to learn how to live on my own.”
Both valedictorians say the grads are getting lots of advice.
“Nobody really knows what to expect. You get so many different stories from different people, ‘life is going to be like this.’ They just give one piece of it that they remember,” said Louw. “You get so many different pieces of what the future is going to look like, it’s kind of confusing.”
As valedictorians, Smith and Louw are going to have a chance to dole out a few words of wisdom of their own, though we’ll have to wait for the Pen Hi graduating ceremonies Friday to find out what they are.
“A lot of it is under wraps at the moment. Even my mom hasn’t read the whole thing,” said Smith. “A lot of it is about the memories you make in high school.”
Steve Kidd Senior reporter, Penticton Western News Email me or message me on Facebook Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram