When Paige Maher and Cortney Cameron first met in Grade 6, they were not immediate BFFs. Six years later though, the pair hosted the Alberni District Secondary School 2021 graduation ceremonies—together.
“We do everything together,” Cameron said. They joined late French Immersion in Grade 6 and shared leadership classes throughout high school. “We thought, why not give it one last shot and do the MCing.”
Maher and Cameron couldn’t be more different. Maher is a Canadian national champion wrestler and rep soccer athlete, while Cameron is an accomplished dancer with Stage West and the Alberni Armada. She was also a member of the track and field team and Red Cross Respect Education program (with Maher).
(Or, as Maher puts it, “When I was on the wrestling mats crushing blast doubles, Cortney was on the ballet barre: plié, plié, plié!”)
In Grade 8 the two had matching class schedules despite their different athletic interests, and their friendship solidified.
This year they joined the grad council together. “We do a lot of stuff around the school. We do a lot of the school presentations,” Maher said. “We thought it was fitting the two of us have something to do with grad.”
Both Cameron and Maher have also taken leadership courses with teacher Mike Roberts, and said some of their most impactful high school moments came from that class.
“Being in the leadership class, seeing the change we brought to the community,” Maher said. “Fundraising for different things like local KidSport—trying to make a positive difference in our community. You don’t really realize how much impact the leadership class has on the community until you’re a part of it.”
Cameron said her teachers had a lot of impact on her five years of high school. “A lot of them have made impactful moments on where I am.” She singled out Roberts because of what he brings to his leadership classes.
She was proud of being part of the record-breaking pancake breakfast team when she was in Grade 9. The ADSS pancake breakfast is one of the most popular (pre-COVID-19) fundraising events that the leadership class takes on.
Never to do anything the ordinary way, Maher and Cameron recorded their MC speeches in front of a small crowd—mostly the video and lighting crew and a few teachers—on the ADSS Theatre stage on June 18.
Their segments will be melded into the graduation video that Richard Spencer is assembling.
“This is the second virtual graduation ceremony that ADSS students have participated in,” Maher said. “When we were in Grade 11 last year, each and everyone of us thought ‘I’m so glad it’s not us.’
“Now, after almost two years living through pandemic restrictions…one-way halls…and incessant hand washing…our grad class is now graduating—virtually!”
Cameron gave credit to the graduates themselves. “Although we didn’t participate in many of the usual ADSS graduation traditions, the class of 2021 definitely left their mark,” she said.