Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS) valedictorian Emma Fines is excited to give her speech in front of a graduating ceremony that will be “mostly back to normal” after two years of COVID-19 restrictions.
This is the first time in two years that the ADSS graduation ceremony will be in person, rather than virtual. The ceremony will be split up over three events on two days (Thursday, June 23 and Friday, June 24). Fines will be giving her valedictorian speech at all three events—and will be crossing the stage to receive her diploma three times.
“It’s pretty cool,” she said.
Fines was selected as valedictorian through a class vote, after applying for the position with support from her classmates and teachers.
Fines has been involved in a number of extra-curricular activities throughout her high school years, including running for Totem Spirit at this year’s Totem tournament.
“I’ve always been really involved in school,” she explained. “This year, I wanted to be involved as much as possible. This was sort of the last thing I could do.”
Most of Fines’ best memories from school are from her time on the dance team. She has been a dancer since she was very young and has been on the ADSS dance team since Grade 8. Last year was tough, she admitted, because the team wasn’t able to dance during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions.
“It’s been pretty fun to have it back this year,” she said.
She took a look at sample speeches from past valedictorians before she began the process of drafting her own. Fines says she wanted to write a speech that represented her class.
“I’ve known them all for a very long time,” she said. “We’re not too serious, so I wanted to make the speech a little more fun. There are lots of jokes in it.”
After graduation, Fines is planning to attend Vancouver Island University to receive her Bachelor’s of Education. She plans to return to ADSS—this time, as a teacher.
“I’ve wanted to teach since I was five years old,” she said. “My Grandma was a teacher and I looked up to her.”
It was after she started attending ADSS that she realized she wanted to be a high school teacher.
“It’s been really fun here,” she said.