Grade 12 Commencement

On Monday June 15, Johnston Heights’ Graduating class of 2020 crossed the stage, received their diploma and graduated!

The staff have continuously worked very hard to plan out and ensure that the graduates can have a celebration of all of their hard work throughout their years in education, despite the difficult situation with COVID. 

Here is a word from Mhatt Ramos, a Grade 12 member of the JHMediaCrew. 

“I remember waddling into JH not knowing anyone when I was in Grade 8. It was very intimidating, since I came from an elementary school outside the JH catchment. Also in Grade 8, I was introduced to the MYP Program, and it was quite the experience…It wasn’t hard, it’s just that myself and my classmates had to work hard and put in a lot of effort for the grades that we wanted. 
I have been a part of the school’s Music Program and have joined multiple ensembles from Grade 8-12. Being a part of this program has really helped me grow as an individual! I was able to meet and befriend a lot of really great people, especially outside of my grade! I was a very quiet and introverted person back in Grade 8. I was the kind of person who waits for the other person to initiate a conversation. Not going to lie, I’m pretty sure to this day I still am that kind of person. I dreaded icebreaker activities at the time, but as I look back, I’m really glad that we did them! Otherwise, I wouldn’t have met some of my friends, and I wouldn’t have been able to connect with so many interesting individuals! Initially from Grade 8-10, I wouldn’t be contributing a lot to the ensembles I was a part of. I only attended the rehearsals I needed to be a part of. In Grade 11, I took on some big leadership roles such as being one of the section leaders in certain ensembles and creating my own ensemble. Those experiences have really enhanced my leadership skills. In my senior year, I have continued to lead, motivate and set an example for other students by investing my time, passion and effort into the further growth of the ensembles. I had the responsibility to not only encourage all the students to strive for excellence, but also to enhance everyone’s experience, while helping them develop a deep sense of care and belonging into the program, just like I myself have. I truly felt a sense of belongingness to that wonderful community. I perceive the Music Program as my second home, and the people in it as my family!
I had so many plans, goals and things I wanted to achieve this school year and look forward to, but due to COVID, I wasn’t able to attain those goals or experience those plans. It’s really saddening that my last year of high school got cut short, and all the grad activities that myself and my fellow graduates were looking forward to got cancelled. Not seeing people because of social distancing already made us feel miserable, and the thought of not having a graduation ceremony added to that sadness. But the staff at JH planned and put a lot of effort to ensure that all our hard work would be recognized. It’s not the usual Bell Centre commencement, but at least we have something! Graduating high school is a big deal, since it marks a really big milestone! 
Personally, it feels bittersweet that we had to end the school year like this. The last time all of us have interacted with each other at school was on March 13. There are so many emotions going through my mind that I’m still trying to process as I type this out. The fact that we managed to finish high school is surreal. We’re heading off into the real world to become adults and have responsibilities. It’s an overwhelming thought, but all of us grads strongly built our personal foundation throughout our time at JH, and that foundation will help us power through all the challenges to come as we head off into different paths. 
To G21, please make the most of your last year in high school because it’ll go by very fast! G20 wasn’t able to fully enjoy a whole school year, so please enjoy it for yourselves, and for us. You’ll be hit with a deadly virus called senioritis, and the symptoms are procrastinating and you want to get out of school asap. There’s no cure, you just have to persevere through it! Hopefully you completed all the required courses needed to graduate. Even though you’re graduating, it doesn’t give you an excuse to slack off. Your marks will be looked at! If you want to get into your dream post-secondary, work hard for it! And, you’ll need to be on the lookout for post-secondary and scholarship deadlines, and you’ll need to be on top of all those deadlines, while still keeping up with your academic work. Give your teachers a bunch of time if you’re going to ask them to write references for you. Don’t do any application at the last minute because it’s really intense. This won’t be the first time you’ll be hearing this, but apply for scholarships!!!! It’s free money and you may never know if you will be granted one! Seize every opportunity that will be given to you, because you may never know if you will be given the same opportunity! 
To the rest of the students, you may think you have a lot of time until you graduate. You do and you don’t. The years will fly by fast, so make every year count! Take the time to connect and know some of your teachers, because they might help you in the future; they can write references for you in scholarships and applications outside of school. If you choose to procrastinate and stay up to finish an assignment, good luck… Join clubs and gain volunteer experience! Maybe one day, you’ll find a sense of belonging in the communities you’ve joined, plus you’ll be meeting some amazing people! Overall, there will be a lot of unexpected turns throughout high school. This COVID experience is one of those unexpected turns. However, it’s your choice in how to overcome those weird situations. Don’t lose sight of all the good things, and keep your heads up. All the hardships will pass, and you will succeed.
Overall, I’m really thankful for all the opportunities and memories that JH has given and offered me. I’m really glad to share my experience with all of you. I’ll sign off here. Thank you!”

-Mhatt Ramos