I know what you’re thinking: “Ugh! Not another speech about how great Stanstead is…” Well, there’s a reason why so many people, given the opportunity to speak, have chosen to speak about the College. Although you might not realize it right now, these are among the best years of your life. There are a million things I could say about the College. I could talk about the memories we make here or about the privileged education we are fortunate enough to have, but I won’t. What I’m going to talk about today are the endless opportunities that arise from attending Stanstead College.
There are so many opportunities at our fingertips as students here. Not only do we have the chance to participate in events locally but Stanstead offers the chance to travel to all sorts of destination across the globe! I encourage you to participate in humanitarian trips and student exchanges because, trust me, it will change your life. Through your travels, you will actually find aspects of yourself that you did not even know existed. You will be able to tap into cultures and traditions that may mirror your own or may be a complete and utter contrast to what you have been accustomed to in your life. Regardless, we must all, at some point in our life, get out of our comfort zone and seek the unknown.
In my Grade 10 year, I transferred to Stanstead after the school year had already begun. And believe me, I did not want to come here whatsoever. Back home, I had a very easy and stress-free life. I was surrounded by my family, my friends, and just in my overall comfort zone. One day, in late October, I got a call from my parents saying that I had to pack up my whole life because I was moving to Stanstead in two days. So you can imagine how this came as a surprise.
Once I arrived at Stanstead, little did I know my whole world was about to change. I had to adapt to a new life: new friends, new teachers, new surroundings and basically a new way of living. However, adapting to this new life was not at all as challenging as I had anticipated. The people here were so accepting and friendly and the teachers were always so supportive and eager to help. Stanstead started to feel more like a home than I could have ever imagined. I decided to let go of all the negativity I had built up inside and chose to indulge myself in the Stanstead College experience. From that day on, I told myself that I would take part in all the opportunities offered that I possibly could. That started with making friends from countries that were foreign to me such as Mexico, Japan, Australia and Germany and ended up with my first big trip by myself.
In March of my first year, I travelled to the other side of the world to be a part of a student exchange. I travelled to Melbourne, Australia, where I was taken in by an amazing family who treated me as if I were their own. Throughout my time spent abroad, I was fortunate enough to spend time both in school and on holiday. The Hearn family and Billanook High School really made my stay there incredible. During my two months here, I not only attended classes and connected with new friends, but I also had the chance to have a road trip all the way to Sydney and take part in a school trip! And let me tell you, this was no ordinary school outing. During this week-long adventure, the mornings were devoted to surfing some great waves at a national park and the afternoons were for hiking various mountains and taking in some breathtaking views. It was truly magical.
None of my trip would have been possible without the help of Ms. Wilkinson, who arranged my whole exchange and all of my teachers, especially Ms. Kirby, who made sure I was able to get caught up on the work that was being done back home. This experience truly changed my life and I highly recommend it to all of you.
However, the purpose of this speech is not solely to entice you to take part in a student exchange and travel. The purpose is to invite each and every one of you to partake in the most opportunities possible and to take advantage of your time here. Because time is running out, and we don’t have a year left to experience Stanstead College anymore. In fact, there is only one term left. So let’s make the best out of it, because, after all, the only obstacle in your way is you.