By Stephen Weir.
It happened last Tuesday. The young man pictured in this week’s Caribbean Camera holding a big blue globe says he has the whole world in his hands. And, on that day in Toronto, so too did over 500 graduating Grade 12 students from Emery, Downsview, Westview, C.W Jeffreys and Father James McGuigan high schools.
The weather was perfect for the students who took part in the Seventh Annual Walk of Excellence. The walk started at the CW Jefferys high school auditorium before heading off on a 4km march up to the main entrance of York University.
This year the Walk With Excellence added a fifth school to the parade – Father James McGuigan High School of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. “It is wonderful to have the public and Catholic students walking together as a community of young minds who have demonstrated student achievement and academic excellence”, says Shannon Ashman one of the Walk founders.
The parade of graduating students was a fun filled event, the teenagers had school banners, and even a blown up globe with the words “The World Awaits You” painted on it. Making sure the graduating students arrived safely were members of the CUPE union and volunteers from the Toronto Caribbean Carnival stood in as parade marshals.
Once at York University the students gathered in a courtyard and listened to live music and two brief speeches from organizer Itah Sadu and the university’s vice provost, Alice Pitt.
The point of the annual parade is to mark the graduation of the students and to encourage them to continue their studies past Grade 12.
“ I want to welcome you all today to York,” said Alice Pitt, “ to the students. And whether you decide to come to York or any other post secondary school, I hope you will all be back here in 4-years to show me your degrees.”
According Itah Sadu, this year’s theme is the reason that pilot Paul Bolt was brought in to give the Keynote address. Bolt is a Transport Canada Check Pilot and the Manager, Flight Training and Standards (Rotor Wing) for Ornge, Ontario’s air ambulance service provider.
He began his aviation career with the Jamaica Defence Force 25 years ago; he also served as an infantry platoon commander, helicopter pilot, flight instructor and Standards Officer. He now lives in Mississauga Canada.
After the walk, the talk and lunch, the students told the Caribbean Camera that they were “pumped” about the fact their high school days are now behind them, and most seem very keen to continue their studies at York come September.
#Walk of Excellence#York U # Itah Sadu#