The latest message from Owen Charters, President & CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (June 19). Full transcript below.
It’s the time of year when we celebrate graduation, the transition from secondary school to whatever path you have chosen to pursue next in life.
At our Clubs, we work hard to help youth achieve high school graduation—an important milestone—and often the transition to the first steps as an adult. You may be going on to community college, university, taking a job, or exploring the world with a ‘gap year.’ Or you may not know what you want next.
I am reminded of the difficulty in celebrating this significant milestone this year when I see the many signs placed on lawns in my neighbourhood, congratulating those who are graduating this June.
It’s tough not to celebrate graduation in the usual way—no cap and gown, no long ceremony, and no prom dress or tuxedo waiting for you.
In fact, it feels like all the significance of this moment has been ripped away—everything that any young person looks forward to, including an unknown fall semester in post-secondary schools.
But you have this: you will be a unique graduating class. Your whole life, you will have the story of being in THAT cohort—the one that didn’t do graduation like everyone else did. The one that was changed because of the coronavirus.
And what I see of graduates in my neighbourhood applies to all of you—you are a class of resilient, forward-looking youth. You have seen the challenges that life can throw your way—much too vividly this year.
And you are the youth that are teaching us. You are pushing for drastic action on climate change. You are marching in the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. You are leading Reconciliation between Indigenous youth and settlers. You are waving the rainbow and transgender flags of Pride.
You are creating the world you want, the change that must be.
It may not be the graduation you hoped for this year, but you are the class, the youth we hoped for. You are leading us into the future, and the crisis of this pandemic has made you more resolute.
Good luck to you. Lead us. Show us. And build the world we need.