Graduates from Carlton Comprehensive Public High School heard messages of encouragement Thursday from school staff, fellow students and alumni as they prepared to embark on the next chapter of their lives.
With a total of 321 students graduating Thursday, the class of 2018 included a diverse group of kids, all with unique talents and abilities. In her last graduation address Thursday, Principal Dawn Kilmer urged the group to be kind, try new things and get to know new people. Kilmer is retiring this year, capping off nearly 30 years as an educator.
“Be really comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Kilmer told graduates Thursday.
Class Valedictorian Ellora Haukenfrers told fellow graduates they can change the world. Even Haukenfrers’ family members didn't know until the ceremony that she had been named valedictorian and Haukenfrers said it was an honour to represent her class.
During her time at Carlton, Haukenfrers participated in the drama club, helped plan the charity carnival every year, played basketball, tutored other students, worked at the fitness centre and volunteered. Haukenfrers will be moving to New Jersey soon to study science and biochemistry in the honours program at Seton Hall University. She plans to work toward a medical degree and become an oncologist.
“I wanted to encourage them not to be boxed in by being from a small town, or by being from where we are or anything. I wanted them to believe in themselves,” she told paNOW.
The graduates also heard from alumnus Michelle Zatlyn, who graduated from Carlton 21 years ago. A co-founder of the web security company Cloudflare, Zatlyn urged graduates to work hard, be assertive and be open to opportunities.
“You have the opportunity to decide who you are going to be,” Zatlyn told the crowd.
“Find people that believe in you more than you believe in yourself.”
On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt
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