On Thursday, June 21, 80 students graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School. This year the graduating class chose Matthew Favreau and Shelby Leroux to represent them as Valedictorians.
Before leaving the halls of St. Thomas Aquinas for the last time we spoke with them about their speech, leaving the high school after four years of fun and hard work, Catholic education, and any advice they would give to the incoming Grade 9s.Q: What would you want your classmates to take away from your speech at graduation?Favreau
: You can never really tell 100 per cent where you're going. People change careers and where they live, but no matter what happens they'll always be able to decide what type of person they are going to be.Leroux
: I hope they realize that it doesn't matter who they were in the past. They're always going to change. If they are unhappy with who they are now they can always improve and I think we're constantly improving. Q: What will you miss the most about St. Thomas Aquinas?Leroux
: The teachers. All of the teachers here are incredibly caring and so dedicated to their work. I think I'll miss that experience. Favreau
: Yes, definitely the teachers. They've become more than teachers. They've become like a third parent and friends. It'll be tough to say goodbye to them.Q: How do you think Catholic Education specifically helped you become the person you are today?Favreau
: My speech focused a lot about who you're going to be. In the Catholic Education system as much as education and academics are a big focus, just as much, if not more, of the focus is on who you're going to be. You'll always represent St. Thomas Aquinas High School, the board itself and the Catholic faith. Leroux
: The Catholic system gives you hope because of God's plan. Because we've been raised with this Catholic Education we have more hope. Q: Finally, what advice would you give for the incoming Grade 9s, who may not be changing schools but are starting their four-year journey?Leroux
: It changes very quickly, but it's not hard to adapt. It'll pass by before you know it, so just keep going.Favreau
: Four years seems like a long time, you spend your whole life thinking graduation is so far away and then all of a sudden it's over. Savour the moment and enjoy every opportunity.
Favreau was this year's recipient of the prestigious Director's Award of Excellence. He is off to the University of Ottawa in September, where he will study music.
Leroux is off to the University of Manitoba where she'll major in math before heading into education. She spoke about what she'll miss the most about St. Thomas Aquinas.