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

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Column: One parenting book certainly doesn’t fit all

Like the fingerprints they are born with – each child is different.… Continue reading

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department receives $25k grant

Money used on a truck with low volume, high pressure water pump to fight wildfires

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Okanagan sisters-in-law sleep out successful

Kiley Routley and Heidi Routley raise nearly $2,400 and awareness for youth homelessness

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Most Read