Cassie Walmsley gave the valedictory address Thursday for the Class of 2012 at F.P. Walshe school.
F.P. Walshe school’s Class of 2012 was urged Thursday to break free of restrictions and chase their childhood dreams.
Valedictorian Cassie Walmsley encouraged her classmates to embrace graduation as a chance to set new goals and have an impact on the world.
“Do something big, do something drastic, do something life-changing,” Cassie Walmsley said. “Do something you never thought was possible.”
Hundreds of family members, friends and school staff filled the F.P. Walshe school gymnasium for the annual cap and gown ceremony.
The 2012 valedictorian, selected on the basis of highest overall average, earned strong praise from other students at F.P. Walshe school.
“We are lucky to have someone who is really genuine to all of us,” said Amanda Hofer, who shared master of ceremonies duties with Logan Gregory. “She just looks out for herself. She’s always making sure everybody else does just as well. as she does.”
Amanda said Cassie excelled in the classroom and in sports, making the all-star team in volleyball, basketball and rugby and along with Sydney Plourde and Nathan Orr earning the Danny Paskal Memorial Award for outstanding athletes at F.P. Walshe school.
Cassie is also known for pitching in to help staff and students whenever needed at F.P. Walshe school.
“She’s just a really outstanding person,” Amanda said. “I don’t think you’ll meet anyone nicer whose walked through the halls of our school.”
In her valedictory address Cassie said graduation is a huge stepping stone, thanking parents and family for support.
“It’s time to celebrate the past and embrace the future,” Cassie said.
Cassie and her classmates will soon be making the decisions that will shape the people they will become and the impact they will have on the world.
Those decisions will be shaped in part by each student’s experience from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
“Each of us takes something different away,” Cassie said.
Some people learn confidence and to socialize, while others learn the value of hard work and determination.
“For me, the most important lesson that I gained from high school is that if you focus too much on the destination . . . you might miss out on the opportunity to accomplish something amazing along the way.”
Cassie drew on a quote from scientist Albert Einstein, who said education is what remains after one has forgotten what they learned in school.
Cassie said right from the start students are restricted by the conventional constraints of the education system.
The valedictorian drew laughs from the audience when she cited as an example a preschool student who answered, “Bacon!” when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. The answer was deemed unacceptable.
Of course it is physically impossible for a person to become bacon, Cassie noted, but it is also because students develop tunnel vision under the crush of standardized lessons and exams.
“Einstein knew that education is so much more than the specific lessons that we learn in the classroom, and that learning is more than the simple acquisition of knowledge.”
Education is made up of the subtle skills that students pick up along the way from preschool to Grade 12.
Graduation is a time to put those skills into play and break free of these restrictions that held them back.
“Our motivational force should be passion, but this passion can easily be sucked out of us by regulations and expectations that instruct us, rather than inspire us.”
Although it feels like the end of something, Grade 12 graduation signals the time for the young people to chase their childhood dreams.
“This is our opportunity to make it a beginning, the beginning of something new, something better.”