Pen High valedictorians for 2019, Grace Grant and Matthew MacDonald, have nothing but praise for their experience in high school. (Robin Grant –Western News)

School spirit on high for Penticton Secondary valedictorians

“We are so fortunate to be students at Pen High. It’s a really great school,” says 2019 valedictorian

This year’s valedictorians at Penticton Secondary have nothing but high praise for their school.

Grace Grant and Matthew MacDonald are heading off to university in the fall to study their passions and they say their success is all because of the opportunities they had as students at Pen High.

“We are so fortunate to be students here. It’s a really great school,” said Grant, who is headed to Toronto’s York University to study dance.

She said a focus of their speech on Friday at the school’s graduation ceremony, while lighthearted and funny, is to remind students of the great opportunities available to them.

READ MORE: Penticton students to host Remembrance Day ceremony

“We just like emphasize and remind everyone in the crowd how lucky we are to be here.”

MacDonald agrees.

He said he feels lucky to have had the opportunity to attend because it has advanced placement classes, which have helped him excel in subjects like the sciences, which he loves. He is attending McGill University in Montreal to study bioengineering.

“We have a lot of opportunities,” he said. “I would never be able to take advanced placement classes at a smaller school or without teachers who are willing to go the huge extra step to teach these classes that have prepared me and gotten me to where I am today.”

This year’s valedictorians are interested in different things but said it is the leadership roles they have taken on in the past school year that made them good candidates.

READ MORE: Toys for Tots to Teens set to warm hearts

In 2018, MacDonald helped organize a Toys for Tots to Teens breakfast drive at the school and Grant organized a Remembrance Day ceremony for the 100th anniversary of the armistice that marked the end of the First World War.

Grant said a focus of hers is sports, including pretty much every dance genre possible, and MacDonald said he focuses on academics. They are both enrolled in French immersion and went on exchange to France in Grade 10.

”I’ve been dancing at the Okanagan Dance Studios for the past 15 years and I think everyone knows that about me,” Grant said. “It’s my personality trait that’s what I focus on but I’m pretty big into the arts too.”

Pen High gives students a good foundation for university, which Grant said is important.

“I want to be a dance teacher but also ultimately a French teacher or English because I like inspiring people and showing them that there is an exciting path ahead of them. I’ve had a lot of great teachers throughout my career and I want to be able to inspire and share what I know with younger people.

READ MORE: We for She event inspires Penticton students to lead bold careers

“We have a really great staff here. Everyone is really caring and put a lot into everything. All of the different departments, not just the teachers — everyone puts in the effort. I think that’s really important. There’s a really good sense of community here and I think that’s lucky.”

“All those little things that add for each individual person as a whole make Pen High a really special school,” said MacDonald.

“The bioengineering program is open-ended. I’m kind of hoping it takes me into research and development. I’ve always been passionate about solving puzzles and science. I think it is a good area for me to go into because it’s so new and it is super reflective of the work I have done so far.”

The Penticton Secondary School graduation is June 7. The annual grad parade takes place on June 27.

To report a typo, email:

Robin Grant
Reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or follow me on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just Posted

Maple Leaf Spirits invites residents to 7th annual Christmas Open House

The event takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. at the distillery on Dec. 7 and 8

Shooting victim’s son-in-law sentenced for vandalizing home of alleged Penticton killer’s wife

Zachary Charles Steele, son-in-law to Rudi Winter, pleaded guilty to mischief over $5,000

Penticton athlete taking soccer career to the next level

Maria Iannone will be joining the TRU Wolfpack next season

Vandals target under-construction play area at Penticton preschool

The project was nearing completion when it suffered a setback thanks to senseless vandalism

Three Blind Mice receives park designation from City of Penticton

City to amend current licence to use agreements to require ‘responsible maintenance and development’

VIDEO: A brief history of bumps in the Trudeau-Trump relationship

Remember Peter Navarro saying ‘there’s a special place in hell’ for a foreign leader who aims to cheat?

Half of shoppers say they have no holiday spending budget

B.C. consumers surveyed estimate they will spend $921 this season

Man sentenced in Salmon Arm to one year in jail for luring adolescent girls

Offence took place online, sentence conditions include restrictions on contact with people under 16

COLUMN: Light holiday movies, filmed here in B.C.

How is it possible to come up with so many holiday-themed movie scripts each year?

Penny the Vernon pitbull works on her fitness

BC SPCA Vernon celebrates Penny’s milestones on social media

Falkland shootout suspect has lengthy criminal record

Williams Lake RCMP issued a warrant for Darwyn Sellars’ arrest on Nov. 4, 2019

Okanagan students come out of the cold to stage Frozen Jr.

Centre Stage performance brings Disney favourite to life

Man killed in crash due to ‘absolutely treacherous’ conditions on Coquihalla

Winter means icy roads are dangerous and drivers should be careful, RCMP say

Most Read