The advice came in many forms, from a monologue from Port Alberni Mayor John Douglas to a recitation of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go from acting principal Rob Souther, and ukelele accompaniment courtesy of School District 70 superintendent Cam Pinkerton. At the end of it all, approximately 240 students had graduated from Alberni District Secondary School.
Friday’s grad ceremony (June 27, 2014) was held at the AV Multiplex. The district’s administrators organized this graduation as well as those for VAST and Ucluelet Secondary School, due to the teachers’ strike in British Columbia.
Pinkerton played the ukelele and sang a song to the grads to underline one of his pieces of advice—take risks.
“Somebody told me ‘nobody remembers your speeches, Cam,’ so I thought I would make it memorable,” he said while strumming the ukelele. “I’ve never sung in front of a crowd before…I’m taking a risk, I’m role modeling and I’m going to sing on stage. Then I’m going to get off of it,” he said.
Douglas urged students to follow their dreams, but consider coming back to be invested in their community. “Keep your dreams. Have a plan A and a plan B. Plan A is to stick to your dreams and plan B is to follow plan A,” he said.
Deb Foxcroft, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, stressed the importance of family in students’ future paths. “They’re there to support us and be with us every step of the road, whether it be education or training or whatever it is; they’re there to support us,” she said. She talked about her educational journey, which brought her all the way to university and back to the Alberni Valley to lead the Nuu-chah-nulth.
“Don’t let anything stop you,” she said. “There’s always going to be bumps in the road…if you can’t go through it, go around it, go over it, or go under it, you can always find a way to move forward in a positive way.”
Also see our photo album from graduation ceremonies on our Facebook page.