Inspiring valedictorian speech sends LHS grads onto the next steps of their lives

MAIN PHOTO: LHS grads pose for photos after their grad ceremony in the morning at MSVU. (Healey photo)

BEDFORD: A heartfelt, inspiring valedictorian speech at the Lockview High graduation ceremony last month saw many in the crowd need to have extra Kleenex for the tears that rolled down their faces.

Quincie Grant gave such a speech that even a couple days later people were still talking about it and what a speaker he was, even one that should enter politics.

Grant, one of the 276 graduates who crossed the stage at the Seton Auditorium at Mount Saint Vincent University where Lockview held their graduation ceremony in two separate services, started his morning ceremony speech talking about his mom being a single mom raising him, and his stepdad coming into their lives and being his dad, motivating him.

His family was in the crowd, and he pointed to them on a couple of occasions.

LHS valedictorian Quincie Grant points towards his family in the crowd. (Healey photo)

As he started out his valedictorian speech, Grant said he was “deeply honored and humbled” to have been standing before his fellow peers as the Valedictorian,

He wanted to thank all the teachers at LHS who contributed to moulding us into the young, strong, successful, intelligent young adults sitting in cap and gowns.

“I’m speechless to how fast these years have gone by with you all, and I’m thankful that you all have given me this platform and become a part of my life,” Grant said in his speech. “We have succeeded and been set back. We have triumphed and we have fallen. Some have loved and some have lost.

“Others may have given up, sat down, and embraced failure, but not us. No, we stayed strong through our hardships and with every setback we responded with two steps forward. We confronted the herds, withstood the bumps and bruises of high school and the failed tests, the failed classes, the failed relationships.

Melissa Hann receives her graduation diploma from Lockview principal Kelly MacLeod. (Healey photo)

“None of these were enough to stop us from standing here today. We learned from our mistakes.

“And the hardship that we’ve endured over these last two years. We have become strong, and we have persevered.”

He said it took the graduates years of hard work to be able to walk across the stage and have those who love them look at us with admiration were rewarded for our patience and, we must say, patient, as we leave this part of our lives behind.

“Throughout the next steps of our lives, we may not immediately succeed,” Grant continued. “It may take a year, five years, 10 or 20, but we will not fail. For lack of success has only fail.

“If you allow it to conquer, we must say strong and we must say vigilant. We’ve achieved something today, graduates. We now hold the world at our hands.”

Grant said the past is something that humans often cling to, as it is the only thing they know to be true and to be definitive.

“But we cannot allow ourselves to dwell so much on the past that we forget about the present and the future: the past does not belong in the present,” he said. “We must live without regrets. Think back to our first day at Lockview, to our grade nine orientation, back in the days before the gathering restrictions remark on how distant this day felt, how far out of reach it may have seemed.

“It’s here today, today will live forever within us, but just as this day came, it shall go, shall tomorrow and shall the next. So look around you, take it in, look at the faces of your Classmates, look at the faces of your friends.”

The more than seven-minute speech, which followed one by Principal Kelly MacLeod, continued enthralling the crowd as they listened intently as Grant spoke.

“We may hail from different provinces or countries, you may come from wealth, and you may not, but today we are together as one,” he said. “We hold open arms to those of different nationality, religion, creed, race, Sexuality, gender identification.

“We hold no wise towards each other, for we are all family, for we are all Dragons, Dragons!”

“We now stand with finite possibilities, ahead of us lies the rest of our lives, a new journey, a story that only we can write.

“Be proud of yourselves, be proud of each other and look forward to what the future holds.”

In ending his Valedictorian speech, Grant had a simple message for his fellow grads.

“Life is an opportunity, and we are opportunists,” said Grant.

Emily Alford has her tassel on her cap turned by Principal Kelly MacLeod.

Several top awards were handed out to graduates after each had received their diplomas. Those included the following:

Sarah MacDonald Miles – Citizenship Award (morning service)

Molly White – Citizenship Award (afternoon service)

Hannah MacLeod- Dragon’s Fire Award (morning ceremony)

Olivia Chute – the Governor General’s Medal (morning ceremony)

Holly Legere – Queen Elizabeth II Medal (afternoon ceremony)

Many bursaries and scholarships were handed out to the graduates as well and were announced (if the grad wanted them to be) as they crossed the stage to accept their diploma.

After the morning ceremony, many gathered outside for photos with friends and fellow grads as keepsake memories of the day under the hot summer sun.

The Laker News was very honoured and grateful to LHS for allowing us to be at the ceremony to cover it and snap some photos (we took about 1200 pics between the two services.). It was hard to decide on which photos to use in this story as a result.