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Grad 2024: To the teachers, from a student

Graduate Abigail Welp-Ellis made the following speech at a graduation ceremony held earlier this month at Powell River Recreation Complex.
Abigail Welp-Ellis

As many of you may know, my mom is a teacher at Brooks [Secondary School]. Because of that I have been able to meet and make connections with so many amazing and caring members of staff.

I have been able to see the behind the scenes of what it's like being a teacher: the sleepless nights, the early mornings and everything in-between. This has helped me see how truly amazing our teachers are.

The impact of the teachers not only at Brooks, but also at James Thomson [Elementary School], have helped shape me into the person I am today. The teachers at all the different schools have done the same for the roughly 200 students sitting here today [June 8], and the hundreds who have come before and the hundreds who follow.

These teachers have helped us make lifelong friendships and taught us valuable lessons. Most importantly, they walked with us on our way to victory. They have helped us all have a seat in these chairs here today. We are grateful that you have created safe, fun places for us to learn.

Thank you to the maintenance, custodial and technical staff, who have helped ensure that our schools are ready for us to learn in, and that the Wi-Fi almost always works. Thank you to the administration, counsellors and support staff who have worked so hard to help your students shine. Your willingness to pick us up when we are down was greatly appreciated. 

Thank you to the elementary school teachers. You have been some of the most influential people in our lives. I am still able to pick out pieces of you in the way I am. The way I curl my 2s like Mme. Denise, the way I pronounce certain French words with a heavy Québecois accent, and the way Melvin taught me the difference between soft and smooth. You have helped shape us into the people we have become. You are so very valued and will always be a part of who we are. 

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to send a big thank-you out to the teachers at Brooks.

You have put up with us as we have learned how to be human and when to put our phones away. You have seen us through the last leg of this journey, changing from immature teens to slightly less immature high school graduates. Your relentless effort to help us learn even when it was the last thing we wanted to be doing has led us all here today.

Thank you for going with the flow when our gazillions of questions led your lessons astray and for telling us stories from back when you had long hair. Thank you for posting videos of the lessons and the notes for the days we missed.

Thank you for letting us live out our acting potential as we read Macbeth and Hamlet in English. Thank you for helping us get through the last 13 years of our lives.

We will never forget the mock trials, the school dances and days when Mastro wore pants instead of shorts. More than anything, we will never forget how patient and caring you have been.

I want to once again thank all the members of staff, TOCs, preschool teachers, school-based adults, board members and every teacher who has been by our side. You have pushed us to try our hardest and be the best people we can. The influence of a teacher is like a sharpie; it can never be erased.

Thank you, merci, chechahathech!

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