Class of 2020

Graduation is meant to be a big deal. Graduation from high school is really a monumental task. It recognizes the successful completion of a 13-year project. It is a difficult task to accomplish under normal circumstances; so much can happen over 13 years. Some of you may have had personal illness or parents and loved ones with illness, some have had personal struggles, parents losing jobs, elementary school burning down and housing a school within a school. And just when you had dealt with all of those issues, the world hit us with a pandemic. In spite of all of this, many of you have continued to make progress. As a graduating class, you have earned over $220,000.00 in scholarship and bursary money. This total will continue to grow in the next couple of weeks. It is a great example of your ability to adapt to the continuous challenges our world is throwing at us.

But the best thing about this graduation during a world pandemic, is that you still met your requirements to graduate. You completed 13 years of public education through difficult times, good times, uncertain times and worrisome times. You were able to adapt and adjust to stay focused on your goal of completing your formal high school education.

Jonathan Brady,

Principal


NorKam Senior Secondary Class of 2020 Grad Video


NorKam Senior Secondary Class of 2020 Valedictorian Matthew Ciardullo and Lindsay Mierau 

Lindsay Mierau

My experience at NorKam has been incredible. My teachers went above and beyond delivering the curriculum; they would help me at lunch time and afterschool if I was struggling. I was also able to lean on them for support and advice about post secondary education.

When I switched out of IB at the start of Grade 11 I was super stressed that I wouldn’t get into university because I wasn’t able to handle pressure. I got a lot of advice, but it was Madame Kabotoff, who supported me through the decision and reminded me that school wasn’t everything. It's important to work hard but also to enjoy life and play sports. I will always be grateful for her support in making a decision that was best for me.

I will be attending the University of Victoria in the fall where I will be studying sciences. I plan to major in neuroscience and following my undergrad, plan to pursue a career in medicine, specifically neurology. I hope to spend my life helping others and taking part in volunteer trips to third world countries, where I can build schools and possibly teach the basics of medicine.

With this new chapter of our lives, we are going to make mistakes but that’s okay. Take those opportunities to learn and better yourself. The mistakes you make now are going to shape you into a stronger person in the future.

Advice to future graduating classes: try new things, whether that's joining a club or playing a sport. Go out of your comfort zone and do the things you want to do. Be yourself because it doesn’t matter what other people think.

 

 “Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.”

                                                     - Oprah Winfrey

Matthew Ciardullo

My focus on in-class education has been very erratic over the years, while the only thing that has stayed truly consistent was sharing in the community at my school(s). Classwork hasn’t always been my biggest priority (not speaking for the passion that classes have inspired in me to feel), but since I have come to value studying hard as an avenue for me to achieve my future career goals. I have learned more outside of the classroom than I have in it, despite acknowledging the values that I have adopted as my own in part from daily interactions with my peers and teachers at NorKam.

I began to commit myself more to school after being chosen in grade six to compete in a Jr. Skills Canada competition. I couldn’t understand why I was one of those chosen, with so many others in the class with better grades and focus. Mr. Wielgoz showed me he believed I was capable and gave me a real chance to prove to myself that I can work hard for something. We took the gold in the competition, and the sense of pride as grade sixes is like none other after beating a ninth-grade design with our own.


I have never been able to narrow down a particular prospective career confidently, as I have kept a multitude of interests since early on in middle school. I plan to study sociology, environmental studies, journalism, and applied ethics at the University of Victoria. Someday I hope to do a TED Talk about the importance of encouraging youth voice in any community, and what that can do to inspire the leaders of the future. 

We can all write our own life’s story as we see fit, and while we can’t define our circumstances, we are in full control of our reaction to them. Space for growth is few and far between within one’s comfort zone, so grow instead of merely recognizing discomfort. Set out to achieve two, five, ten long term goals in your life, as though not to create restrictions for yourself, but understand that your priorities will change along the way. During the pursuit of these goals, many find themselves through humanitarianism; subsequently, do so without neglecting your well-being for the sake of another’s. With coming to age traditions in mind, I will also address the importance of continual perseverance in our pursuits and learning from each mistake we make. 

I would like to elaborate on what the NorKam school community provided for me. There are certain times when I receive a bad test grade or have an argument. When the world just seems so unfair, I make the decision that I am going to have a bad day while justifying that everyone shouldn’t need to be open and talkative all the time. I can tell you with near certainty that when walking down the hallway scowling, all it takes is three smiles until I am grinning back at my peers. Spreading optimism is the best favour you can do for your future angry self, as people create a habit of interacting with you positively, and the infectiousness of their smiles steadily conquering your grumpiness and winning you over.

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence"

                                                     - Helen Keller

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