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Valedictorian Matthew Lavigne gives his speech

Nine times out of 10, hard work beats natural ability
Matthew Lavigne and Trustee Shelley Sim.

I would just like to mention that any and all jokes made in this speech are done so in good humor and if you don’t like them that’s on you.

You know its gonna be good when it starts with a disclaimer like that, eh?

First of all, I would like to congratulate Vienna and Cassidy for being the runner-up Valedictorians, but as the great Ricky Bobby said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I’ll get to my speech.

High school hasn’t always been easy. I think it’s safe to say that everyone has struggled at one point or another, and yet we have all made it to graduation so, congratulations!

Over the five years we’ve spent in high school, we have all grown a lot. It seems like not that long ago we couldn’t pick B.C. out on a map and now we’re all grown up driving Ford fricken Rangers.

Certainly, a portion of that change is owed to those who taught, coached and mentored us. I couldn’t possibly recognize them all in this short speech, so I have limited it to some of the staff who were particularly influential to me.

Thanks to Fraser and Leary for putting up with me and letting me do my crazy projects. Wheels for giving me the opportunity to play rugby in my Grade 12 year and always having good book recommendations. Mrs. G. for always being there to help and answer all my questions. Mr. Dhanoa for putting up with the pre-cal 12 shenanigans.

And of course, Buck who has been a fantastic mentor to me.

In 2017, I moved from Houston to Clearwater. I left all the friends I knew and a life that I loved, and it probably took me a year before I realized that it was for the best. Now you all are in a similar situation. Whether you are leaving for school or work, chances are, in the next few months and years, your life will change significantly.

Life can be unpredictable. Sometimes you aim for a gopher and end up hitting a monkey instead, but we all make mistakes and the most important thing is to learn from them — or at least get a good story out of it.

As you go on to try new things I think it is important to remember that hard work will beat natural ability nine times out of 10, according to non-existent scientific studies. The great thing about that is that while only some are gifted with natural ability, everyone has the capability to work hard and ultimately be successful.

I think that lots of people think I’m smarter than I really am, it’s not their fault, of course, that’s all part of the plan. When I was in Kamloops taking the res. con. course, what my peers saw was a 17-year-old kid who seemed to excel with little effort. However, what they didn’t see was the three years of being fired by Mr. Buck a couple of times a week for making mistakes, and all the time I spent studying.

That’s the real reason that I did well. Not because I was born with a hammer in my hand, as Zach would claim.

That’s enough about me though, I would like to recognize some of our grad’s fantastic achievements.

First off, congratulations to this year’s boy’s soccer team who not only made it to provincials, but were also sponsored by the Vancouver Whitecaps. Also, congratulations to the girl’s soccer team, who didn’t get sponsored by the White Caps, or make it to provincials, but still had a good season.

As the old saying that I just made up goes, “If you’re not smart enough to be a carpenter, just be a welder.”

So, good on all of the grads who took the initiative to partake in the welding trailer. Unfortunately, you guys probably can’t afford to lose anymore brain cells to welding fumes, so I would suggest looking into other careers.

On a serious note though, from what I’ve heard, you are all doing well in the program. In fact, Parker just won the Ken Lepin trades excellence award for his outstanding work.

We also have some grads doing internships and others who are doing the youth work in trades program, which will give them a head start on they’re intended careers.

And now it’s time for the inspirational quote to conclude my speech: “It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you do it to be the best. Most of the time you won’t be, but don’t let that discourage you because by merely attempting greatness you will become exceptional.”

One last thing, I would like to thank MS Carpentry Ltd. for all the fantastic work they are doing on the grad gift.

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CSS graduates laugh during Valedictorian Matthew Lavigne’s speech.