Emily Melnyk was really surprised and overwhelmed with emotion when she was told she had been chosen to be valedictorian for River East Collegiate.
"I really didn't think I was going to be chosen, so I was initially in shock when I heard they chose me," said Emily. "I was excited to take on this position and felt so proud of myself, seeing as this has been my greatest accomplishment."
To earn this honour, Emily put in a lot of effort both academically and socially.
"I've spent countless hours working towards the grades I received, and I made a lot of sacrifices," she said. "Socially, I've always treated all of my classmates equally and I've tried to ensure I'm known as someone people can trust to go to when they're in need."
Her favourite class this year was pre-calculus math; however, biology was a close second because it's closely connected to the medical field, which interests Emily.
Graduating during a pandemic has been challenging, to say the least. It was difficult to find the motivation to do her classes when she was not physically there. Most importantly, mentally it has been difficult seeing all that she and her classmates have missed out on and all that they have lost. It has been a very emotional journey.
Her plans for the future include attending the University of Manitoba in pursuit of a bachelor of science degree, then applying to medical schools across Canada with the goal of becoming a neurologist or neurosurgeon. However, she wouldn't be surprised if throughout her time in medical school she gains interest in another specialty, because the entire medical field interests her.
A passage from Emily's valedictory address: "We made history, we've done what no others have done, we're unstoppable."