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The way we play the hand

Joseph Poulin, Grade 12
Four years ago, my sister was standing where I am right now, delivering her prefect speech. Rosie talked about being an MVP – not the most valuable player of a team but the most valuable person. She also talked about being a benchwarmer and the joy of it.
She believed that even if you weren’t very good at a sport, it shouldn’t stop you from making the best out of it and having a good time.
Two years ago, my brother was also standing where I am right now, delivering his prefect speech. Elliott talked about SMART goals. He believed that every day was a new opportunity to learn and experience new challenges. He talked about how it was ok to not be the smartest in the class or the 90% average kid. Elliott would set goals on a daily basis which would enable him to improve himself. This was his way of making the best out of his learning experience here at Stanstead College.

For the majority of the people sitting here today, you only have a couple of months or even a couple of years at this school. So why not make the best out of it?

Back in September, you were going to bed one night in your super comfy Stanstead bed and next thing you knew, it was already December. And then later that day, you would be sleeping in your Physics class and when you eventually wake up, it’s going to be June. Trust me, it goes fast at this school.

When I entered the school last year, I won’t lie to you, I was completely horrified about leaving my family and my friends. I was scared of meeting new people and talking English all the time. As you are currently listening to me talking, I honestly think we can say that I’m doing fairly well with this second language, even though I still can’t pronounce my h’s and i’s. But hey, that’s alright because it didn’t prevent me from making the best out of my two years at Stanstead!

At the beginning of the school year, a good friend of mine reminded me how much fun I had while playing hockey. For the ones who remember, I was a very talented hockey player with a lot of skills. While playing, I would make a turnover or miss an open-net and I would just laugh about it, because there was no point at being mad. Stuff happens and it’s alright. We all make mistakes and that’s true. We all do. We make mistakes and we should learn from them. Make the best out of it by learning from your worst mistakes. In this case, I learned that I should focus before the games, because I never did.

This summer, I received a letter saying that I had been placed in Bugbee as a prefect. I was not very pleased with this decision. At one point, I wanted to give my tie back. However, after discussing with my parents and some of my friends, I decided to give it a shot and see what happens. The first days of school went by and I told myself, at one point, ok forget this, I’ll stay and I’ll have some fun.

Things don’t always go your way but that shouldn’t stop you from living or having fun whatsoever. Honestly, this is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I’d like to thank the Bugbee prefects for making this year a memorable one. It is always a pleasure to be in their company because they have a sense of adventure.

They are the ones who have reminded me multiple times that it isn’t always about school and grades but having fun in whatever we do. What I want to say is that we don’t always choose what comes to us in life and that everything teaches us a lesson in some way and the obstacles you have to go through shouldn’t prevent you from making the best out of every opportunity.

If there is one thing you should remember from my speech today it is that we shouldn’t be scared of the unknown. As one of my teachers said this year, the joy is the unknown, and we shouldn’t be scared to experience new things. When you are going to look back at your Stanstead experience, you’re going to remember those nights when you hung out with your friends while listening to some music in the lounge, not the nights that you stayed on your computer to play video games.

You are going to remember that time that you decided to go bust out some moves at the dance, not that time you stayed on the couch playing on your phone. You’re going to remember those fun yoga practices when you decided to try a new sport instead of sticking back to your old roots. Stanstead is all about trying and experiencing new things. Don’t be scared of what others have to say about you. Be the one who stands out, be the one others want to join, be the one who makes the most of it.

I want to leave you guys on a famous quote from Randy Pausch that my dad always loved. His quote implies that we shouldn’t try to change ourselves, but instead, embrace who we are and be proud of it. Pausch said: “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”