By Jenn Watt
Published July 6, 2017
When you work hard, even the most seemingly insurmountable goals can be achieved, valedictorian Caleb Schmidt told his fellow graduates at last week’s commencement ceremony at the high school.
“Some of the hardest, most stressful times in life can seem impossible,” Schmidt said, but with the clarity that comes with time, it is apparent that hard work can get you through hard times.
The evening was a familiar, joyous occasion in the perennially hot and sticky athletic complex as the red-clad grads made their way down the aisle crowded with well-wishers, piped in by Andrew Mansfield and led to their front-row seats.
Schmidt took his fellow students through a summary of their four- or five-year experience at Hal High during his valedictorian address. Grade 9 was overwhelming for the “small and annoying” newbies, he explained, who had to make their way in an unfamiliar high school, but it wasn’t long before they were protesting Bill 115 side-by-side in the freezing cold with the Grade 12s.
The first year students flourished, joining clubs and sports teams, persevering through four or five years of school to make it to the commencement evening.
“While Grade 12 has certainly been stressful, in many ways … it has also been the best year,” Schmidt said. “We made it through. We persevered.”
Both vice principal Dave Waito and principal Dan Marsden took turns at the podium thanking the students for their hard work and urging them to put the effort in to achieve their goals.
Marsden reminded students the importance of the simple things: to be kind and humble; honest and responsible.
Trustee Gary Brohman, former principal of Haliburton Highlands Secondary School, told the students to do what’s right, be caring and cultivate a good attitude.
As always, the friends and family were one of the most energetic parts of the evening, as they rushed up the aisles to capture photos on their smartphones of their loved ones walking onto the stage a high school student and leaving as a graduate. They crowded around to get class pictures, as tireless teacher Sharon Dibblee arranged the grads into four sets on the risers.
Meanwhile, the high school teachers sat in their own black robes, looking just as pleased as the parents, smiling and waving to the students, exchanging happy looks as one grad after another bounded off the stage.