Back in October, when Arjan Manhas’ friends told him they thought someone should nominate him as Chemainus Secondary School (CSS) valedictorian, he thought it was a bit of a joke.
The 17-year-old says he didn’t expect he would be valedictorian, but when members of the Class of 2014 put forward the names of students they’d like to represent them, Manhas was one of three chosen. Students then voted on their valedictorian, and they chose Manhas.
“It was exciting,” he said. “It’s cool knowing your classmates think you can do the best job representing them.”
Manhas admits it is also a bit nerve-wracking because he is just one person representing the whole class. His speech, given during the June 20 graduation ceremony, focused on the idea that he and his classmates made the most of their high school years, and they shouldn’t be too sad about leaving high school. It’s a big world out there, but they’re going to be OK.
Manhas was born in Duncan and has lived in Chemainus his whole life. He describes some of his highlights of his high school years as prom, spending time with friends and family, a lot of road hockey games, going to the movies with his friends, and all the family get-togethers he’s had.
While at CSS, Manhas played soccer, volleyball and basketball and did track, and he also did track and karate outside of school, and he plays soccer and golfs regularly with his friends.
Manhas’ favourite subjects in school are math and physics.
“I really enjoyed English class when we got into creative stuff like poetry and writing stories,” he added.
Manhas is interested in engineering, and he will be going to the University of Victoria this fall. He hopes to get a civil engineering degree.
“I really enjoyed doing physics in school, so the idea of applying math in a practical means really appealed to me,” he said. “I was also a big fan of designing stuff through computers, so that’s also why engineering appealed to me.”
Manhas really enjoyed his time at CSS.
“It’s a small school, but it’s pretty great,” he said. “All the teachers are there to give you an extra hand if you need it, and they actually care about you. Because it’s a small school, you know everybody, and they are there for you. It’s easy to make friends, and everyone’s very accepting.”
Manhas is thankful for everyone who worked so hard to make his last year of high school such a good one.
“Thank you to all the parents for making this year pretty amazing,” he said. “They put a lot of work into making sure things go well. Prom was great, and I’m sure dry grad will be great as well, so I want to say a big thank you to them.”