As many of their peers pack up and prepare to put Penticton in the past, a couple of valedictorians are planning to do just the opposite.
Sidne Hack and Cody Gannon, who were selected to represent the class of 2014 at Princess Margaret Secondary School, both intend to stick around in the fall.
“I’m not ready to leave yet, I don’t think,” said Hack, 18, who will now enter the business program at Okanagan College. “I love Penticton.”
Gannon, also 18, wants to get a job and save money before travelling or heading back to school.
“We are blessed where we live. We truly are. We’ve got two lakes, the channel, we’ve got six or seven ski hills within a three-hour drive. There’s so many things to do,” he said.
Still, “There is that sense that it is a small town,” Gannon added. “Stuff gets around.”
Penticton is made even smaller by modern technology and social media, which both graduates feel has made high school harder for them than it was for previous generations.
“With Twitter and everything, you know every single social circle and everything that’s going on. And every mistake is on there as well, so you can’t really get away,” Hack said.
“It’s definitely made it harder.”
“When my parents grew up, physical bullying was what was bullying. Now it’s cyber and everything like that, so you kind of have to watch what you say online because it sticks. It doesn’t go away,” he said, adding, however, that technology also has an upside.
“Nowadays, we have Google in our pockets. We know everything. When there is an answer to be found, we don’t go to the library and look up books anymore, we Google it.”
The valedictorians looked inward, though, as they drafted the commencement speech they were set to deliver to 150 classmates and their guests on Thursday night at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
“The theme is family, so we just kind of tied that in with grades and birth order and everything,” Hack said of their talk.
“With our school at Maggie, we find that being a student smaller body you know a lot more people and everyone connects a lot better. Teacher-student relationships are a lot more content, almost, so family is almost the perfect theme, we thought,” Gannon added.
Principal Terry Grady said the co-valedictorians are good representatives of the school’s class of 2014.
“Their care for and involvement in school and grad functions this year and throughout their years at Princess Margaret has earned them credibility and respect amongst their peers,” Grady said via email.
The valedictorians will conclude their duties following a parade and dry grad activities Friday.