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Caledonia Grads 2002

Valedictorian's Address

Kory Yamashita

If our class were an average one, I would list our great many achievements, a long list of personal and group victories. However, we are not normal. The Class of 2002 has been confronted by a great many hardships this year, and we have not faltered at one.

With the tragic passing of one of our most esteemed and honorable peers, we were hurt and stricken, yet we have prevailed and learned from her legacy. When our educators went on a labour strike and we lost our extracurricular activities, up-to-date marks, and extracurricular help, did we roll over and let our futures be swept away; No, we gathered our strength and doubled our efforts to succeed. We will never be average, for in our graduating year, we have overcome emotional, logistical, psychological, and intellectual hardships. We have proven that we are strong, for through these great setbacks, not only did we prevail, we excelled. We upheld the impressive list of accomplishments set out by our predecessors.

Here we are, at the brink of successfully completing what is, to date, a life-long epic, a thirteen year long crusade to free our minds. We have sacrificed so much for this glorious event, this recognition of competence that will remain a part of us for the remainder of our lives. We have battled and lost, and fought again and won. For thirteen years, we have sought the glimmer of light off in the distance, and now here we are at the end of the tunnel, about to step out into a brilliant, sun-filled world that is vacant of pre-walked paths and has great untouched fields waiting in their stead. No longer shall we pass our days with the occupation of our lives being dictated by a single greater power, funneling us all down to one eventual goal. Now is the time where we each examine our selves, and do as we see fit. We are free now, to accomplish our goals, to use the tools given to us throughout the past 13 years, to finally look into our futures and see a purpose.

This year, we celebrate a great achievement, a milestone victory on the path of live, yet we also mourn the division, for we shall separate, go our own ways, choose our own destinies, walk our own paths. We shall leave this great edifice, this shrine to learning and to the creation of our lives and bonds, but we shall do so with the knowledge gained, and the memories intact. Farewell, Caledonia! We are graduating, not just from this institute, but from the social and psychological setting of high-school as well.

Some may have once thought graduation to be the ultimate victory, but in reality, it is just the beginning. We now face a reality that is both hard and tough, a society that, at times, seems harsh and unfair. We are to confront our infamous adversary: the world. And throughout this battle, we may stumble, but we shall never fall. We will not succumb to these obstacles. We will overcome them gloriously. Beware world, for your newest adversaries are youthful and sound of mind and have a craving for excellence. Where those before us have merely prevailed, we shall strive and prosper, for this class has the strength to succeed and the desire to achieve.

It is with the greatest of fondness that I shall remember these great times at Caledonia (Nofriendo Club Forever!) Goodbye and the greatest of luck to all of you.

Kory Yamashita

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