To the grads of 2012

Grads, learn from the community-building opportunities you've had in high school and don't be afraid to seek them out after graduation.

There are plenty of things we adults do to recapture our youth — some jump out of airplanes, while others hit the road in a new ride. I’ve even heard rumours that the fountain of youth can be found in a plastic surgeon’s office, but you won’t find me throwing pennies in that fountain.

For me, there is no botox injection or facial cream that will do the job better than standing amongst 151 graduates before they walk the stage. The infectious energy is easy to get caught up in, the kind that would power a city if harnessed — full of hopes, dreams, aspirations and the desire to make a difference.

To the graduates of Ladysmith Secondary School, and to all the local graduates who will walk that stage this month, I have enjoyed telling your stories, capturing your achievements in photos and being a part of the differences you attempted to or succeeded in making in your community.

If there is one piece of advice I can give amongst the dozens you’ve heard thus far this week, it’s to learn from the community-building opportunities you’ve had during the last five years of high school and don’t be afraid to seek them out in your post-grad years, no matter where they take you.

The most important things you do in life will not be the bills you pay and certainly won’t be the “stuff” you acquire. A community is really no different than a high school — we’re all in this together, and the journey is made that much better when the destination benefits us all.

— Niomi Pearson