Great Expectations and Grandiose Success
As the year draws to a close, student anticipate with yearning the summer months ahead of them. But the end of the school year is also a time when students reminisce. It is a time to remember the days that have passed, the vital information that has been learned, and, of course, the friends made along the way.
For thirty Grade 12s this year, it was not only a time to remember their final year, but to remember the five years that they have now spent at Brentwood. This group of graduates, termed the “Lifers”, arrived when they had barely become teenagers, and have, along with their friends and with the guidance of their mentors, blossomed into the young adults they are today: the future successors of today’s economy and society.
To commemorate this momentous parting, Beth Melhuish, beloved English teacher and graduate organizer, arranged for the Lifers to have a wonderful dinner along with their Houseparents and faculty at the Quamichan Inn near Duncan.
The grads rode up to the inn to be welcomed by the faculty standing outside in rows, smiling for their picture. They were then welcomed inside by Ms. Melhuish and Mrs. Pennells to begin what turned out to be a very memorable dinner. Grads chose between filet steak and fresh salmon, and were treated to a sumptuous main course and desert. What most of the grads will remember from that night is not, however, the wonderful food, but the words that were spoken in that Tudor inn by their peers and Mrs. Pennells.
A Lifer from each house gave a speech in remembrance of the years gone by, and the speeches truly brought us all back to those first Grade 8 days: the confusion, the tingling of nerves, excitement for the challenges and opportunities that seem so wonderful when one first begins as a student at Brentwood. The speakers chosen were certainly seasoned in their trade. Anastasia Kosteckyj, Debate Captain, tournament champion, and rower, gave the speech for Allard house. Chris Wong, the man of few but vital words represented Whittall. And likely the most notable speech heard that night came from Mairi Horth of Mackenzie house, who embodied the meaning of Lifer perhaps greater than any other that night. Mairi arrived at Brentwood in Grade 8 as a self-described “shy and awkward” young teenager. Through the years she has transformed into a fantastic soccer player, academic, and socialite, and so entertained the party that night that she has now been chosen to be Valedictorian for the graduating class.
Such a story is common among those who are graduating from the lifer group this year. The five years have been a true transformation for the young adults leaving the roost next week, a story of rough beginnings, great expectations, and grandiose accomplishments. Ms. Melhuish will likely never forget the little Grade 8s who first walked into her English classroom with wide eyes and nervous glances, or how much they have changed in the short time they have been here.
And so the teachers and houseparents, and the graduates themselves, must say farewell and adieu, and though the graduates must part, they will most certainly not forget the school and the people who have crafted them into who they are today. Thank you to Ms. Melhuish for making this wonderful commemoration possible, and to all of the teachers and mentors who have guided the grads along the way to their accomplished finish. The Lifers are truly grateful.
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