Good evening ladies and gentlemen, students and alumni, friends and guests:

I would like to begin by congratulating my fellow classmates. Can you believe we’re actually standing here? Throughout the years at Island Pacific School, our class has shared many, many experiences together. I am extremely proud of each grade nine here.  I would also like to thank each of the teachers individually for supporting and encouraging me throughout my years at IPS.

This is only the second year that Mr. Simmonds has been the head of Island Pacific School, yet it feels like he has always been a part of it. It is amazing how much he has contributed to the school in such a short period of time. This year, Mr. Simmonds taught me many skills in science, assisted me with my lack of organization, and helped me immensely with my Masterworks Project.  Thank you Mr. Simmonds.

Tania has always been extremely supportive. In humanities she has opened my mind to many diverse religions, and has widened my perspective on the topic of Indigenous Peoples. She has improved my grammar, taught me how to debate, and helped me feel confident to express my opinion whenever we did “talking circles.” Thank you Tania.

Graeme just started teaching at IPS this year, and already everyone has a strong bond with him. He recorded many key moments throughout this year with his creative photography, taught me important math skills, and that math is indeed “real”. He made math enjoyable by assigning projects such as pasta tower construction, and was always available to answer questions. This year we started learning skills such as trigonometry, and even radicals. Thank you Graeme.

This was Kaija’s first year at IPS also, and she successfully taught us new French verbs and conjugations. She made French interactive by having us read plays such as Cyrano de Bergerac, and she (along with Deirdre) organized an unforgettable Quebec trip. Thank you Kaija.

Deirdre always seems to be in a  pleasant mood, which naturally rubs off on others.  Although I have never had the privilege of having her as my tutor, Deirdre has always been available to help, no matter what the issue is. I would like to extend my congratulations to Deirdre, as she now has a newborn child of her own. Thank you Deirdre.

This year we had two main art teachers-Mr. Bill, and Sharon. In the first part of the year, Mr. Bill helped me to articulate my expression in art. He taught us about value and perspective, how to produce decent water colour paintings, and helped us learn how to portray emotions into artwork with the compassion project. For the last part of the year, Sharon has encouraged us to have faith in our own creativity as we worked with sketching and canvas painting. Thank you Mr. Bill and Sharon.

Karla is always the one that upholds the IPS spirit. I for one, have never enjoyed PE activities such as running, but somehow Karla makes even the dismal sports enjoyable. She has helped me to push myself until I realize that I can exceed self-set barriers, and has taught me to always stay optimistic whilst playing ultimate.  This was the first year for kayaking and biking, and Karla set up the first annual IPS triathlon. I will miss her BOOMCHACKA attitude, Thanks Karla.

Brad Ovenell Carter is the only member of IPS faculty who has taught me since grade six. He taught me early math skills, helped me to develop as a writer and how to think critically in philosophy. Most importantly Brad always encouraged me to “let my voice be heard”, even if I’m afraid of what other people might think. Because of this, I have learned to express myself in ways that help to differentiate myself from my classmates, and I would like to thank him for that. Even if we don’t share the same opinion when it comes to hockey, I will miss him when I leave the school this year. Thank you Brad.

I had always dreaded being in grade nine, it seemed so far away even when I was in grade eight. It seemed so challenging to be the top of the school, one of the people that set examples to all younger students. Never mind masterworks..But here I am. Without the everlasting support of my friends, family, teachers and classmates, I truly believe I wouldn’t be here today, I would have given up long ago.

My advice to younger students is to never give up. There may be a point in your educational lives where you feel like you just want to quit, but IPS teaches you to fight against, and eventually master that feeling. Don’t ever hesitate to ask for assistance, whether it’s from teachers, older students or even friends. Try to stay organized and avoid procrastination. Most importantly, make the most of your IPS experience, you will be graduating sooner than you think and I for one, have definitely taken it for granted.

Although IPS is a tiny school, we have a huge legacy to uphold. Our founder stated that it was his goal was to make sure that every IPS graduate left the school with “a head on their shoulders”. It is my opinion that since arriving at the school, every grade nine student in this class has achieved just that. In this class we have an amazing amount of knowledge, creativity, and of course, wisdom, courage and integrity.

Everyone in this class is unique and to me, this is precisely what it means to be a successful group – individuality. We all have different ways of expressing ourselves, and different ways of learning. We help and encourage each other through everything and eventually everyone succeeds.

I will never forget my IPS experience.  From the good old times when at a school “dance”, all the boys would be on one side of the room, and the girls on another, (and of course we all had the best hair..) Strenuous expeditions such as Garabaldi or the Kayaking trip, the difficult days where it seems impossible to concentrate, or we manage to somehow get off topic in class…again. Flying, our fundraisers such as the 30 hour famine, to our grade nine endeavors such as the Quebec trip, Masterworks and our Anvil Island solo. There are so many. As memorable as these moments are, they would mean nothing to me had I not been able to experience them with this class.

I feel truly privileged to have been a part of Island Pacific School, and this class. I will take all the lessons I have learned with me, education-wise and further. I won’t be afraid to stand up for what I believe, because I have Learned to Make a Difference.  I know that everyone in this class will someday achieve something outstanding, and it is my great honor to represent the graduating class of 2009.

Thank you.

Ashley (’09)