When COVID-19 struck a few months ago everyone was forced to adapt to a lot of changes quickly.
This adaptability and flexibility is what Lucas Obst, Eckville Jr/Sr High School’s valedictorian, wants the Class of 2020 to be proud of.
“Take the success to heart and really use the pandemic and the break from school as a baseline to prove to yourself ‘I’m adaptable, I can do this’ and let’s see how far we can go,” said Obst in a phone interview.
They all pushed through a pandemic to still graduate and even though it doesn’t feel the same to finish in the building or without a ceremony, it shouldn’t feel thrown away, he says.
“It feels different, but in all reality it’s the ceremony and a public celebration is the only difference,” Obst added. “You still get the gratitude of knowing I did my best and I’m still graduating.”
Becoming valedictorian is a “dream come true” for Obst, who set the goal for himself back in Grade 8.
He says the achievement is the reflection of his support system including his teachers from elementary school through to high school and his parents who were always there to answer questions and lend a hand whenever he needed it, as well as his fellow students who provided competition along the way.
“I really thank my classmates for trying their very best and pushing me to do my best because without them I have no reason to work hard,” he said.
“It feels very, very gratifying that I’m finally here.”
As he and his classmates leave high school behind, Obst says what he’s going to miss most is going in every day and seeing people then heading home knowing you’d be back the next.
He says there was always something to do and there was never a dull moment as there was always something to keep each day different from the one before.
“It definitely doesn’t feel the same to know that March 13 was my last day walking the halls of the school as a student there, it definitely doesn’t feel almost real,” said Obst.
The school is planning to host a ceremony for the Class of 2020 sometime in the fall.
When Obst finally gets to give his address the main points he wants to hit on is being flexible and adaptable.
“Use this year as a baseline to show the world that you had to deal with this on the fly,” he said of the messages he would share with his classmates in his address.
“You had to become one of the first graduating classes to ever miss out on a graduation because of a pandemic, we’re the first one in 100 years.”
Another message he would want to touch on in his speech is to keep working hard as they all take that first step in life.
“This is where we all branch out and go our separate ways and remember that hard work is what got you here today and keep using that hard work that got you here.”