Grad week is always a unique experience.
On Thursday night I was in Gibsons covering Elphinstone's formal and commencement, while Friday afternoon I was in Sechelt covering Chatelech's commencement.
Grad ceremonies are fun assignments. Despite sitting in a stuffy gym on a hot night, grad ceremonies bring out something different from covering a hockey game or a council meeting.
Over the past few years I've had the pleasure of getting to know many of the smiling faces I saw up on stage over the two days - some through their successes in the classroom, most through their exploits on the soccer pitch, arena and gymnasium.
This year's graduating students, like the ones before them, are all unique and have many special talents. It was pretty cool to listen to some of the stories from this year's valedictorians (both speeches were awesome) and see the students in a far different light than what I was accustomed to.
Seeing everyone up on stage, dressed in their finest tux, prom dress or cap and gown (as was the case at Chat), got me thinking back to the day that I graduated.
Fourteen years ago (boy, where does the time go?) I was up on stage in New West-minster's Massey Theatre with my grad class from Port Moody Secondary School. Our grad class was huge, and because we didn't have a large enough facility on campus, we used the theatre for our ceremonies.
I started thinking about my athletic endeavours - not much, except I do have a ring from a provincial football championship tucked away at home - and my struggles with Grade 12 math and all the after-school study sessions.
I'll admit, there was a point there when I didn't think I would graduate. I was not the greatest of students. But hard work eventually paid off and I found myself up on the stage getting my diploma. Then came the realization I needed to figure out what I was going to do with my life because mommy and daddy weren't always going to be there to feed me.
It was a scary thought, but eventually I found my passion, my calling - the world of journalism beckoned.
I wonder if this year's grads experienced the same challenges, highs and lows that I did. And judging by some of the stories told and the grad videos I've seen, many of them did.
If I have any advice for this year's grads, it is to enjoy the experience. Enjoy the time you have left this summer with your friends, as come September many will move away to work, go to university or travel.
And while you're enjoying your last few moments before the "real" work begins, know that the best is yet to come. Sure, it's going to be hard work, but nothing in life is ever easy. Sometimes the rewards are sweeter when the road getting there is a bit of a struggle.Good luck to all of you!