During his commencement speech June 27, Haliburton Highlands Secondary School class of 2019 valedictorian Nick Toth reflected on how four years had changed his classmates. Before an auditorium filled with hundreds of school staff, families and community members,

Toth spoke about how teachers and school experiences shaped them. But the graduates also shaped each other.

“Appreciate each other,” Toth said. “Every day in the halls and at parties, school clubs and in sports, our
interactions with one another shaped us.”

Toth was joined by 98 classmates in graduating, officially marking the end of their high school years. The class was celebrated by teachers and the principal, with dozens of awards handed out.

Principal Chris Boulay said the school community was proud of all that the graduates had accomplished.

“They have overcome adversities and challenges,” Boulay said. “And they did it their way.”

Valibhavi Marathe earned the Governor General’s Academic Medal for the highest graduating average. She plans to attend McMaster University for life sciences and said HHSS guided her path forward.

“All the classes I took, all the teachers that influenced where I want to go,” Marathe said. “This place basically shaped my future.”

Toth said the years went by fast and came with a lot of change. But he stressed to graduates the importance of holding onto what they experienced in high school.

“Hold onto this beautiful insanity forever,” he said. “We have proved ourselves yesterday, we have proved ourselves today and I know, without a doubt, we will prove ourselves tomorrow.”

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