The Grad President’s Toast
Thank you for your words, Mr. Wismer.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Alexandra Sinclair and I am honored to be your Grad Class President of 2016.
I would like to thank you all for travelling from near and far to be with us today to celebrate the end, but more importantly, our journey through Brentwood College School. Our much-anticipated graduation dinner and dance is finally here!
Though some of us began our journey four years ago, and some began theirs just ten months ago, we have all finished together.
Standing here today, on the last day that we will ever share together as an entire grad class, the only word I can think of to describe my emotions is “bittersweet.” In all honesty, when I was writing this speech I procrastinated to the best of my ability. Not because writing it was a tardy task or because it was not enjoyable, but because I could not wrap my head around this chapter of my life coming to an end, and more than anything I could not process the fact that I would soon be leaving all of you. The day has come that we have been eagerly waiting for, and now that it is here I am not ready for it to end.
You have heard this many times from Mr. Patel: this is a special grad class. We have been at Brentwood as long as he has! This is a grad class that knows one another inside and out, for better… and sometimes for worse. This is a grad class that cares about one another’s success, and it shows. I cannot tell you how proud and how fortunate I am to have shared my high school experience with you all … even you, Trevor. I want to share with you some special memories, and probably a few tears too.
In Grade 9, 56 of us ran around campus exhausting our arms and mouths by shaking hands and repeating the same four words: “Nice to meet you.” We went to every open house dressed head to toe in the much-anticipated theme! We spent countless hours with each other cuddled up in the Alex common room and gossiping on the rugby fields. And of course, being the guinea pigs, we went through a refugee simulation, “14 Hours in Africa”, which just for the record… was never repeated.
In Grade 10 our numbers doubled and things changed. 116 of us adjusted to new people, new schedules, and new responsibilities. It seemed like such a privilege at the time to be able to select one elective course, and choose our own arts. We eagerly joined any club that we heard of: SPARC, Cooking Club, BEAT, and SAC. We were no longer known as the little Grade 9s, and we were no longer at the bottom of the food chain. My kindergarten teacher taught me an important lesson that I’ll always remember. I’m not going to sing the song for you, because I know it will make my mom cry, but always remember to “Make new friends but keep the old / Because one is silver and the other is gold”.
Grade 10 passed too, and Grade 11 followed. Every year we talked about remembering how we used to look up to the older kids, but soon enough there was nobody left to look up to. We were on our own. We were preparing to run the school.
This year, more than anything, I have learned to appreciate what this school and the people at this school has given to me. The academic achievements, special opportunities, friendships, and memories are unlike any that we will receive again in our lives. I will not lie to you. Brentwood is not a family; it is not a perfect world where everyone gets along, but it is as close to a family as a high school gets and it is a very unique community. Not many students can say that they are on a texting basis with their teachers, or that they go to their house to have tea and talk about human geography. Although I strongly believe that Brentwood forever has and forever will have amazing students and faculty, I feel very fortunate to have been a part of Brentwood during these past four years and have known this particular student body and faculty.
From an outsider’s perspective, people often assume Brentwood is out of reach from reality, but the truth is, it is a raw experience. Most children leave their homes in their twenties, and a lot of you left yours to come to Brentwood before you were 14. We have been put into uncomfortable and new situations and have had to make a decision whether to risk the outcome and mature from our mistakes, or to back out and remain within the comfort of our homes, in a less challenging and time demanding atmosphere. Though not all of us who started are in this room today, those who are all chose to persevere and I truly hope that you are all proud of yourselves for getting this far.
Thank you to everyone who has held my hand through the past four years. And thank you especially to those who reached their hand out to me, even when I did not ask for it. Thank you to my dad, Brad, for forever making me laugh and being my personal cheerleader. Thank you to my mom, Lara, for always keeping me on track and for guiding me through the maze of high school. Please never forget to look around your table at the people whom you owe it all to for getting you where you are today: your parents.
I will never forget you guys and I will never forget this school. Though it is incredibly hard to say goodbye, we are all so lucky to have something that makes saying goodbye this hard. As excited as we are to move on and start university, I promise that you will miss this place, and especially these people.
So I guess that the time has come for me to say goodbye to you all. I cannot wait to see what journeys life will take you on. I’d like to share with you a final quote that is close to my heart: don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. I will miss you all greatly, Best of luck in life.
Alexandra Sinclair, Alex ‘16