Keremeos valedictorians look towards future in uncertain times

Keremeos valedictorians look towards future in uncertain times
Keremeos valedictorians look towards future in uncertain times
Keremeos valedictorians look towards future in uncertain times
Keremeos valedictorians look towards future in uncertain times
Keremeos valedictorians look towards future in uncertain times
Keremeos valedictorians look towards future in uncertain times
Keremeos valedictorians look towards future in uncertain times

If there’s one thing the graduating class of 2020 can hold over others, it’s that their graduation will certainly be memorable.

High school graduation is always a bittersweet affair; grads look ahead to a future full of possibilities while also reflecting on the lives they are about to leave behind.

It’s a time of hope and uncertainty. In 2020, that uncertainty has been amplified tenfold.

For Abby Lee and Carter Thompson, the 2020 valedictorians of Similkameen Elementary Secondary School, graduating in such a bizarre time has brought many unexpected challenges.

“Everything is kind of up in the air,” said Thompson of his future plans.

“I wanted to travel next year but you know…,” added Lee.

Both valedictorians have been impacted greatly by the repercussions of the pandemic.

Missing grad events like prom was something both valedictorians were disapointed about.

As well, their plans for what’s next have changed. Lee’s plans may have changed the most.

The new graduate had planned to travel before attending university for the arts.

However, now, she’s not quite sure how she’s going to spend the upcoming year.

For Thompson, he had planned to attend post-secondary at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus to study business marketing. However, with everything that has happened, that might be delayed.

READ MORE: In photos: Penticton valedictorians reflect on graduating year amid COVID-19

The 18-year-old is unsure if he’d like to spend his first semester of college learning solely online.

Whether or not Thompson starts post-secondary in the fall or later, he plans to move to Kelowna “right away” to get settled in.

An avid basketball player, the gym holds many fond memories of his time at the Keremeos school.

While Lee’s immediate plans aren’t as concrete, she does plan on attending post-secondary eventually to earn an arts degree and become a teacher.

For her, she looks back fondly on the arts room and all the time she spent there.

A dedicated artist, Lee was very active in student affairs during her high school career.

She worked school art projects, was on grad council, and took part in fundraising for the grad class.

The school will forever hold her signature; in many of the hallways, lockers are beautifully painted by Lee, in a variety of designs.

Also passionate about the environment, she wrote children’s books that teach young children how to be more environmentally conscious for a science class. She would often read the books to young children after school.

It was through this experience that Lee discovered her passion for teaching. After taking a gap year, Lee plans to attend post-secondary in Kelowna.

While the two valedictorians have different paths ahead of them, they both agree the one thing they will miss the most about high school is the incredible bonds they’ve made with friends and teachers.

“It’s such a small school, so you get really personal relationships,” said Thompson.

“It’s like a second family… it will be hard to make friends I think for me (after high school), because we grew up together here from kindergarten. It’s kind of like a family more than friends,” said Lee of her classmates.

Because Similkameen Elementary Secondary School is small – the current grad class is just over 40 students – all of the graduates will get to attend their graduation ceremony together. However, the June 25 event at the school will be live streamed for friends and family to view from home.

Both new grads had similar answers when asked what advice they’d give to future grads.

“Live in the moment more,” said Lee. “Really enjoy everything that you do every day, because you never know what’s going to happen.”

“When (people) say it (high school) goes by in the blink of an eye, they’re not kidding. It really does go by super fast, so make the most of it,” Thompson said.

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusGraduation 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

After 20 years in the community, Pathways Addiction Recovery Centre has had its funding cut by Interior Health, who says they are bringing addictions services in-house now. (Facebook)
Community outraged at Interior Health’s decision to cut funding to Penticton addiction services centre

People question why Pathways addiction services would be cut during an overdose epidemic

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Penticton bylaw services department. (Submitted file photo)
Penticton Mayor tries again for more bylaw officers

Mayor John Vassilaki wants to see bylaw offer seven day a week services with extended hours

The City Park dock in Kelowna was underwater due to rising Okanagan Lake flooding in 2017. (OBWB photo)
Okanagan facing extreme flooding risk

Water board calls for updated Okanagan Lake level management

Penticton City Hall
Penticton City Hall continues with COVID-19 reduced hours

One year ago, city hall cut its hours in half, now it’s the only municipality left doing so

Crews continue to battle a fire at Rutland’s Olympia Greek Taverna that broke out overnight on the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 7. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Burned down Olympia Greek Taverna in Kelowna demolished

The beloved Rutland restaurant went up in flames in October 2020

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

The restart of the program means seniors can receive affordable meals delivered five days a week Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.
Princeton Meals on Wheels one year trial will cost $92k

Program restarts, and volunteer drivers are needed

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Two Vancouver police officers were struck by a car when the driver learned he was being arrested for allegedly using a fraudulent credit card to pay for food. (Vancouver Police Department)
Driver being arrested for alleged food order fraud rams Vancouver police with car

Two officers are in stable condition, suffering soft tissue injuries following the incident

A discarded blue surgical mask is shown hanging in a bush in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
B.C. RMT suspended for not wearing a mask after confirmed by undercover clients

College of Massage Therapists has 5 open files, said suspension necessary to protect public

Most Read