St. Stephen – The St. Stephen High School Class of 2017 can now add another accomplishment to a large list of achievements as graduates.
It was announced during the graduation ceremony at the Garcelon Civic Center Wednesday the class now holds the scholarship record at SSHS, with a whopping total of $503,000.
Rhea Davis delivered the salutatory, and Evan Gullison, who was named the class valedictorian, followed with his address.
Gullison opened his speech with a joke – “An atom walks into a bar and says, “I think I lost an electron.” The bartender says, ‘Are you sure?’ The atom replies, ‘I’m positive’.”
The valedictorian thanked SSHS staff and parents for the support throughout the school years, spoke of many memories the class made together, and identified the day as bittersweet.
“Most of us have been together for the past 13 years, and this week is most likely the last time all of us will be together.”
Gullison stressed the importance to his fellow graduates to always remember their time in St. Stephen.
“No matter where your journey takes you, do not forget your roots. Come back to St. Stephen once in a while to visit the people who helped you through the first 18 years
of your life,” Gullison said, and likened life to driving a car.
“We’ve passed inspection. We’re registered, and our tanks are full of gas,” Gullison said and explained for some, life will be like driving a Ferrari – “It rides nice and smooth, and you’re positive it will get you to where you need to go.”
For others, Gullison said it might be similar to driving a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder.
“You’re still unsure how exactly it passed inspection, and how much gas is really in the tank because the gas gauge doesn’t work, but it doesn’t matter if you are afraid that you’ll break down or run out of gas,” Gullison said.
“St. Stephen High School has prepared us for life, now it is up to us to live it.” – Evan Gullison, SSHS valedictorian
“The most important thing is that you go for the drive. There are always gas stations, mechanics, or even a new car.
“It does not matter if you don’t know where you’re going, or how you’ll get there, you just need to drive because the worst thing you can do is stay parked. If you never move, you’ll never experience life.”
Gullison concluded his speech with a quote from Aubrey Graham – otherwise known as the Canadian rapper, Drake.
“You know life is what we make it, and every chance is a picture; it’d be nice of you to just take it.”
“St. Stephen High School has prepared us for life, now it is up to us to live it,” he added.
Premier Brian Gallant addressed the graduates following Gullison’s valedictory address.
Gallant encouraged the graduates to “remember where you’re from, be proud of who you are, and proud of who you’ve become,” and spoke of the opportunities for them in New Brunswick.
“I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t do this – I’d encourage you all to stay in New Brunswick,” Gallant said, adding the province offers quality education, and saying the economy is growing – for the graduates who wish to immediately enter the workforce.
He mentioned a recent study which deemed New Brunswick a great place to live.
“A study showed New Brunswick provides the best quality of life of all the provinces, so we are literally to live, work and to raise a family in the world.”
In closing, Gallant quoted Margaret Mead.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that has,” Gallant said.
“So you can make a difference. You can make a difference right here in New Brunswick.”