Cycle 35 Graduation
November 29, 2013

I would like to say this is such a blessing to be the valedictorian of this grad and I feel honoured to be in this position.

Today, being up here presenting this speech is my very first step at becoming an inspirational spokeswoman. Being a spokeswoman has been in my heart for quite some time now, because I believe I would be great with speaking to individuals who have challenges to overcome.

I would like to be the voice for those who are struggling, therefore being inspired by my story to change their perspective on life. So I take great joy in this and I will cherish this moment for the rest of my life.

I would like to give a big thank you to Ignite's wonderful and caring instructors: Carlo, Mona, Lois, Larry, and Lindsay. All of you have seen potential in us and no matter how difficult we may have been, you never gave up on us. Being individuals who were given up on many times and probably wanted to give up on ourselves, we became a part of this organization: a place that feels like home, that welcomed us with open arms, a place we could run to when all other things on the outside just didn’t seem right. We needed a solid structure to get us going so we could eventually stand on our own two feet and, with the help of Ignite, we sure did do that! Also, thank you to Ignite's investors. Without you, this great school wouldn’t be here. So thank you for all you do and will continue to do.

I would also like to say a special thank you to my mentor Sharon Davis, and to all the awesome mentors and volunteers who have helped us with job opportunities, tutoring, mock interviews, and all around just being there when we needed someone most.

So thank you again Sharon Davis. Without your help and guidance, I would have never got the job I love ever so much at SaskTel. You are greatly appreciated.

Today, my fellow graduates, is the day we celebrate with friends and family. Today is the day we thrive because we made it through 9 long months of school that jam-packed grades 9 to 12 work all in one Cycle. So yes, it was pretty overwhelming at times, but it was also a great life experience and a blessing to have met all of you wonderful and amazing people.

Today we thrive and blossom because we made it through that door that was waiting to be opened, that door of choosing to do something with our lives, and obtain our GED, business skills, computer skills, employment skills, Toastmasters public speaking, and the wellness program. Now that we have opened up this door, I hope we all continue to discover and open new doors of success and happiness, so that we may grow as people, to mold and shape our lives to what we ENVISION.

Earlier I mentioned that there were times most of us felt like giving up due to our personal struggles. I will tell you a bit about mine and how Ignite was there to support and help me to not give up.

When I first started at Ignite, I was living on social assistance because of my disability. I was sick and tired of doing nothing all day, letting my disability take control and keep me in one place. So I said NO! I can’t let being in this chair keep me from what I know I am capable of doing.

I wanted to be independent and to bring home "the bacon" instead of having to rely on my boyfriend. That’s when I got accepted into this program.

I started at Ignite with grade nine knowledge, just taking my first steps, and still battling with a lot of depression. When it came to the end of the Cycle, my negative thoughts started to sneak back into my head. I started to doubt myself.

“What if I wasn’t even going to pass the GED, because I was having a difficult time understanding math?”

Then Larry suggested he could stay after school with me to help out with math. So I stayed after school for 3 straight weeks just so I could have a good handle on a subject that my mother thinks is fun. If it wasn’t for your help Larry, I wouldn’t have passed my math, so thank you for guiding me and staying patient when I was so overwhelmed with work.  

I also had a hard time with poetry, which was my weakest subject. Lindsay saw me struggling so she did some extra work with me as well to get me on top of everything. With her help, my weakest subject turned out to be my highest score on all 5 GED tests.

 At Ignite there is such a strong support system, with instructors who really care for our success and future. Whenever I was stressed and came into work, Mona was always there to listen and to give me advice.

I am sure my colleagues have had similar situations so, on behalf of myself and the graduates, I thank Ignite for all you have done; our love and appreciation goes out to you.

I have seen some of the struggles that my classmates had to endure during our time at Ignite. Sometimes those challenges forced us to want to quit and give up, but we did not break! Do you know why? Because God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers, but never something they can’t handle. The outcome of our hard work and dedication is the fact that we are here today, ready to accept our diplomas.

So my friends, after today, our lives can turn and steer whichever way. During my time with you for nine months, I know that if any tough or challenging obstacles come along, all of you will overcome them. THANK YOU!


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