Kaitlyn Kasha, Valedictorian Speech
Did You Know?
Luther students, even though from diverse social and cultural backgrounds, have the opportunity to be part of tightly woven community of students, parents, alumni, teachers and staff. Typically 12% of the school’s student body originates from outside of Canada.
When the College was first looking to relocate from Melville to Regina, it considered land at College & Winnipeg, College & Broad, and 23rd & Albert, finally settling on 18 acres of land on the west end of property owned by Government House, now called Royal Street.
The choral tradition at Luther began in 1914. In addition to in-school performances, the choir has shared its ministry of music with many congregations across Canada and has performed regularly on local and national radio and television shows, at contests and festivals.
The first annual Senior Girls Volleyball Tournament was held in 1998 and is still going strong today!
In the late 1920's, during an in-house baseball tournament, Rex Schneider entered a team called "Prof Schneider's Battling Lions." This is the first hint that someday Luther teams would be known as the Lions.
The International Baccalaureate provides an enriched curriculum that both covers and extends beyond regular Saskatchewan curricula in its depth and detail. It emphasizes the development of the necessary critical skills that university-bound students need to master: reflecting, inquiring, thinking, analyzing and evaluating.
Through the A Time To Build capital campaign, we have added 46,897 square feet of space to Luther College High School, including the Semple gymnasium - the largest high school gym in Regina.
Luther graduates have gone on to universities such as Harvard, Oxford, Pennsylvania State, McGill, Queen’s and other renowned educational institutions throughout Canada, North America and the world.
Kaitlyn Kasha, Valedictorian Speech
Good evening staff and faculty, parents, relatives and of course, my fellow graduates. I am so honoured to be speaking for you this evening.
Today we passed through the old wooden doors of the Merlis Belsher Heritage Centre for the last time as students of Luther College High School. We will not return tomorrow, or on Monday or in September. Yet, this leaving is not a parting.
I came to Luther after a very long grade eight year. On the second day of grade 8 I came home crying, wishing I didn’t have to go to elementary school for one more year and realizing how ready I was to begin high school. It wasn’t that I was bullied or a loner. I don’t want to make this sound like I was a victim, or suffering some great adolescent tragedy. But I was unhappy. I didn’t feel like I truly belonged. One day, completely fed up I wore the wildest outfit I could find in my closet: a hoodie, a fancy dress and runners. Nobody bothered to comment. The way I felt in grade eight could probably be summed up in an art project I did that year. We had to make posters with inspiring quotes for high school-bound students. Mine said, “Don’t be afraid to dance to your own beat.”
When I came to Luther I finally felt like I had found a community of people who respected me for me. From the very first day I knew that this was where I belonged. I finally felt accepted and even appreciated for my nerdiness and weirdness. I’m not saying that we all got along all the time, because we didn’t. But I have never thought that any of us didn’t belong here. Luther has felt like home to me and I have been so happy and lucky to have spent the past four years here, with all of you. We have grown together and grown up together. We have been a community of freshmen, a community of seniors, a community of faith, of basketball, of music, of scholars, a community in stressful, sad and joyful times. We have gathered in the gym, the student commons, the cafeteria, on the stage, in the dorms and the library. Together we celebrated the 100th anniversary of our school, mourned the passing of Mr. Nostbakken, endured the endless renovations and additions, and whipped out our phones when Mr. Beres launched into the bass line of “Uptown Funk.”
Last summer I participated in the Regina Summer Stage production and was somewhat shocked to greet Mrs. Fry at the first rehearsal. Over the course of rehearsals and performances I was fortunate enough to spend some quality time with our Grade 9 Math teacher. She insisted that I call her Gail. When I told her I couldn’t refer to her by her first name she smiled and said, “Don’t worry, Mr. Graf and Mr. Casper only just started to do so.” She will always be Mrs. Fry, the woman who taught us about kissy face polynomial powers and was constantly telling us to “pitter patter, let’s get at’er.” One afternoon Mrs. Fry told me of her plans to meet some Luther teachers for lunch. This struck me. She had already been retired for some time and yet one day in the middle of the summer, she was very excited to be meeting a group of her colleagues. I realized that the sense of community at Luther High School that had impressed me on my very first day of grade 9, continued far beyond the first week or first year. As we all know, Mrs. Fry and all of the retired staff and faculty are still very important members of the Luther family. Luther is a community for life, not just for four years.
So it is with some sadness that I say goodbye to this school and to you, my fellow graduates. I left elementary school with a smile and fist pump, and now I leave Luther with a smile but also a few tears. I know our whole lives are waiting for us beyond those old doors, but it is still difficult to close them. Before we take confident strides towards our futures, let us pause and express our gratitude. Thank you for the opportunities, the friends, the fond memories, the staff and those who have retired, like Mrs. Fry. Thank you for the unwavering support from classmates, teachers and parents. To the teaching staff, not only have you enriched us with knowledge but you have also instilled in us a sense of integrity. As Theodore Roosevelt stated, “to educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” Teachers, thank you for giving us a “Time to Build.” Thank you for the traditions like all college, candlelight, and L.I.T. Thank you for chapel, which was a daily reminder of other perspectives, the importance of reflection and, of course, time to be a community. Thank you for the stress, the sleepless nights, the homework…ok maybe not. Yet, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Luther for helping to shape me into the young woman that I have become. Today, we are academically and personally prepared to take our first steps towards independence and adulthood. Our achievements could not have been possible without a community of dedicated and passionate people working together. It is difficult to say goodbye to the crowded hallways, creaky chapel bleachers, wobbly cafeteria tables and carved desks. However, I know for me and I hope for you, some part of Luther, be it a friend or class or teacher, will always be etched into our hearts and memories. Some part of Luther will always feel like home.
And now here we are, graduating, facing our futures, moving on. I hope we can all learn to embrace our selves and our potential. Make your own formulas, march to your own drum, wear wild clothes just because, dare to be different, be yourself. It’s an old cliché but an older truth. From experience I can tell you that someday, somewhere there will be a community of people that will accept and appreciate you for your truest self. I found one here at Luther, and I am confident that we will all find another beyond the old wooden doors of the Belsher. I encourage all of my fellow graduates to embrace learning and opportunity, especially when it comes to learning about yourselves. I hope that each and every one of you will always feel like an important part of the legacy, community and family of Luther College High School.
I would like to close with an excerpt from a poem called “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” by John Donne. He describes a separation that is not permanent, a leaving which is not a parting.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the other do.
And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.
Thank you very much and congratulations.