Closing the School Year

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - By: Bud Patel

Welcome to this morning's Graduation Ceremony for the class of 2013.

I must start with an unfortunate omission from an earlier assembly that I am now able to correct. I'd like to announce that Samantha Dutcyvich scored 99% on the English 12 exam. Now that I've cleared that up, we can begin.

Welcome to some special guests - Governor Bruce Homer, Class of '69 from Whittall House, Governor Diane Zell, former Headmaster Mr. Bill Ross and his wife Marion, former Head of School, Mrs. Andrea Pennells, emeritus faculty member Mr. Gerry Pennells, and President of the Old Brentonians, Mr. Scott Matheson, Class of '78 also from Whittall House. Finally, welcome to the parents, family and friends of our graduating class. Congratulations, you made it!

I would like to acknowledge the incredible work and mentorship of our Assistant Heads, Directors, Houseparents, faculty, and staff. In particular, I would like to thank Mr. Rick Rodrigues and his university counseling team for their stewardship of this year's class.

While Mr. Rodrigues will take you through the highlights of the 2013 class, I want to acknowledge and thank them for leading from the front. Earlier this week, I read a Globe & Mail article reporting that student stress, at the university level, is at an all-time high. The survey of 30,000 students revealed that over 90% felt overwhelmed by their work load, 50% felt hopeless, and 63% reported feeling lonely. Wow, that's the world our young people are moving into.

Adding to the challenge, a recent report indicated that young people in urban centers are not likely to be able to afford to purchase a home. Currently, the national average of income spent on housing is 42.5% and rapidly rising. This means mortgage payments, property taxes, and heating costs eat up 42.5% of their incomes. The lowest urban centre in Canada is Edmonton at 30.4%. The high, Vancouver, is a whopping 82.3%!  Not much is left for eating, paying for gas, or having a beverage with a buddy.

Sounds like an exciting future…OR…perhaps you'd prefer to stay here?

We believe, however, that through your learning at Brentwood, you're extremely well prepared for that world. To tackle the rigour of post-secondary schooling, to compete in the most globally competitive time in history, and, we hope, to live a great life. You're resilient, optimistic, shrewd, collaborative, globally minded, and hard working. These qualities will carry you through the good and bad times.  And for that, we are very proud.

Please leave here with no regrets and only fond memories, for if you're like the hundreds of Old Brentonians I've met, you will always have Brentwood in your heart and we will be sure to pass the torch for you from generation to generation.  De Manu in Manum.

I now invite Mr. Rodrigues to introduce this year's graduating class.

Mr. Bud Patel, Head of School

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