Arielle Valencia was overwhelmed with happiness when she was told she was chosen to be valedictorian for Collège Miles Macdonell Collegiate.
"I even shed some tears!" she said. "I felt that all my hard work had paid off, not only regarding my academics, but most importantly, my growth as a person. Having my family by my side while hearing the news meant a lot because I owe them everything."
To earn this honour, Arielle was highly involved with her student council as co-president, working for the well-being of the student body and the activities that support a healthy school climate.
"I was also a member of the Youth In Philanthropy committee, was on the executive for the Vietnam Orphanage Committee, and showed my commitment to the environment with my role on the ESD committee and through volunteering efforts," she said.
Her favourite class this year was IB English, because the class environment was always uplifting and there were always smiles. Even though there were times she'd receive a difficult passage or poem to work with, she was pushed to persevere and was truly guided in understanding the world and those in it.
Graduating during a pandemic has been quite interesting—although everyone was forced to learn virtually or be isolated with the same people every day, she still tried to grow as a person. Arielle believes the experience offers some huge life lessons.
Her plans for the future include attending the University of Winnipeg to study education, where she can pursue her dream to become a teacher and a guidance counsellor. She also plans to go on many adventures exploring the world, whether on solo trips, family trips, or trips with friends.
A passage from Arielle's valedictory address: "These grand events would never come close to compare to the small celebratory moments we all created and shared."