I recently had the experience of watching my seven -year-old son practise for his debut at Folkdance in the Park, a splendid event put on by the Louis Riel School Division. I marvelled at his concentration and beamed at his enthusiasm, feeling so grateful for the hours and hours that his dedicated teachers have invested in him.
In a few short weeks, I’ll be privileged to witness students graduate from Dakota Collegiate, Glenlawn Collegiate, College Jeanne Sauvé and Centre Scolaire Léo Rémillard. I feel so proud of each student, and I adore watching the parents and grandparents who are overwhelmed with emotion.
I can appreciate that for the parents, the event is a culmination of hours of helping with homework and projects, driving car loads of kids to games, concerts, plays, and field trips, and feeling the anguish and ecstasy of friendships lost and renewed and crushes that, well, can be crushing. The question now becomes, what is next in store for these young people?
Many students will continue in post-secondary institutions to further their educations and will be able to enjoy the tuition tax rebate offered here in Manitoba.
Others will study to become part of our ever growing skilled workforce and take advantage of the apprenticeship program our government offers.
Some will go on to become teachers themselves and be tasked with the awesome responsibility of not only covering the required material, but nurturing a sense of lifelong learning and social justice.
We will all be the beneficiaries of those who pursue careers in nursing or medicine.
Last week, I attended the graduation of Manitoba’s largest class ever from the Faculty of Medicine, including some students who live and work in our constituency Seine River and all of southeast Winnipeg.
I was struck by the faces of the parents there. They were full of pride and passion for the achievements of their sons and daughters. I imagine, though, that these looks were not much different from those on the parents at Folkdance in the Park.
Dr. Seuss was right all those years ago, just as he is today. So I say to our high school grads, with admiration and respect: "Oh, the places you’ll go!"