As parents of school-aged children can attest, spring is often a busy time of year.
Try being a student in Grade 12, attempting to find a balance between numerous activities and end-of-term schoolwork.
Then throw organizing your class’ grad activities into the mix.
“May has been a blink,” says Jessica Dillon, Vic High’s co-valedictorian with fellow student Noah Spriggs. “June is going to go by so fast. I’m looking forward to a slow summer.”
Dillon has played a leadership role on the school’s grad committee, in a year where students have picked up the organizational slack due to teacher job action.
“We’ve been off-our-feet busy,” she says.
To help reduce the costs to students for tonight’s (June 1) grad dinner-dance, Dillon and her nine fellow crew members organized several fundraisers – with just 13 days of planning.
After purposely lowballing their fundraising goals on each event, but maximizing their efforts, they shattered their objectives and brought in $5,000.
That level of leadership is something of which Grade 12 students have plenty of opportunities to take advantage, she says.
“The last six to eight months have showed how rewarding it can be to see things through and watch (your efforts) produce.”
Being a leader comes in many forms, Spriggs says.
“You don’t have to take a leadership role to help out,” he says, noting that the grad-related events needed many hands.
“Somebody obviously has to do it, (but) it kind of depends on how much initiative you have. You can still absolutely be involved without having all the pressure.”
Reflecting on their school lives was part of working on their speech, Spriggs says.
“Me and Jessica were joking about how everyone kind of went through the dark middle-school years,” he says.
“So much change has happened. I’m just thinking back to how I was even a couple years ago – it’s hard to explain, it’s such a different feel. Even just this year, being in Grade 12, it really kind of does something to you, you’re right at the top and you’re like a role model, and that kind of motivated me to get involved in things.”
For Vic High newcomers – or those entering their senior years – looking to make the most of their time at school, both of these young leaders encourage students to try new activities and courses.
For Spriggs it was dance, rugby and theatre – he just finished a five-show run of A Chorus Line, this year’s spring musical – in addition to his heavy academic course load.
Outside of school he’s involved in gymnastics, both as an athlete and a coach, and is on the Victoria Youth Council.
Dillon, who works every day after school, was also in dance and found herself taking an automotive class this year after buying her first car. “I really enjoyed it,” she says. “I wish I would have taken it earlier.”
Spriggs plans to attend the University of Victoria in the fall for health information technology and computer science. While he envisions one day building a career in another city, for now he’s glad to be staying put.
“I love Victoria. I’m so happy to stay here, and so many of my friends are staying here. To have the solid group I have will really help me next year.”
While she’ll be busy at Camosun College this fall in the social work program, Dillon says she’s going to miss the welcoming, comfortable atmosphere of Vic High.
That scenario contributed to many students transferring there from other schools in the Greater Victoria district, she says. Some of them will be among the 194 students taking part in grad ceremonies next Tuesday at UVic.
Final exams loom after that, but as Dillon says, June will slide by, especially for students saying goodbye to their grade-school days.
Honouring Japanese Canadians
• Five Japanese-Canadian students who missed their 1942 graduation due to the Canadian government’s internment program during the Second World War will be honoured Tuesday (June 5) during the Vic High grad ceremony at the University of Victoria.
• Among those recognized will be 88-year-old Yoshio “Yon” Shimizu of Wallaceburg, Ont., who cannot attend due to poor health. His diploma and a letter from Education Minister George Abbott will be presented to Tom Halbert, a friend and classmate of Shimizu. The ceremony begins at 7 p.m. in the Farquhar Auditorium.