This weekend felt like our 0th reunion. Although we’ve only been out of school for 2 months, this weekend was a last chance to get together before everyone spreads across the globe in search of success. And now, after many emotional farewells, I’m on my way to Vancouver to begin the next phase of my life.
The past 2 weeks were spent relaxing, spending quality time with my family, and reconnecting with old friends in Winnipeg. I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to or spend as much time with some people as I had hoped, but it was a fulfilling two weeks. Thanks for everyone that took time to meet up. It was good to see everyone and hear about all the exciting adventures you’re going through. Congratulations Erin and Aaron on your engagement.
On Friday, I flew down to Toronto with my parents, my sisters, and Baba Coulson. I was quite impressed that they were willing to take time off work to spend a weekend with me while I received my diploma – none of them knew I was the Valedictorian. We had fun squeezing all 6 of us in a large car and driving to Waterloo – luckily we’re a skinny family.
On Friday night I decided to tell my parents I was Valedictorian. It was a carefully guarded secret and I was hoping to surprise them at the ceremony. But a few perks of giving the speech made it impossible to keep them in the dark for long. First, I was invited to the fancy Chancellor’s lunch with my parents. We got to hob-knob with the President, Provost, and Chancellor of UW. None of us like fancy dinner parties, but everyone at our table was friendly and the food was scrumptious. Sitting across from me was Sheena Luu, the Governor General’s medal winner for Engineering. I couldn’t believe it when I found out she was from Winnipeg too – Winnipeger’s Rock!
After lunch, I gowned up and went to the ceremony. Kelsey and Kerry found out I was Valedictorian when they were seated in reserved, comfy chairs in the front row of the gym. Perplexed, Baba told them to look in the program, and they saw that I was giving the Valedictory Address.
The speech went well. I’ll include a copy at the bottom of this post. The speeches before mine were boring, so that helped mine look better than it was. I was super nervous, so I talked a bit faster than I wanted too and rushed some parts, but I spoke loud and clearly and got laughs at the right points. Although sometimes the only person I could hear laughing was Baba. 🙂
After the speech I had several people congratulate me on my speech, including many I didn’t recognize. Three really hot girls came up to me and congratulated me. I should give speeches more often. 😉 I’m glad people enjoyed it.
After the ceremony, we took lots of pictures, and had a reception for the SE students. It was good to sit and chat with everyone. Other than the West Coast crowd, I’m not sure when I’ll see everyone else again.
On Sunday, we took father out for a big Father’s Day breakfast. As Dad commented, it was nice to have everyone together for Father’s Day. I’m not sure when the last time that happened was. Even when I was in Winnipeg, the past few years of Father’s Day have been spent at the Manitoba Marathon.
Sunday afternoon was spent celebrating Chris and Ayelet’s new marriage. The wedding was held in the park and involved a simple, but meaningful ceremony. It was great hearing stories about Chris and Ayelet and the speeches from the parents were all really good. I especially enjoyed Chris’s mom’s speech when she talked about the day Chris was born. It was also nice to hang out with so many university friends – kind of like an extension of the graduation from the day before.
Graeme kindly gave me a ride to Markham after the wedding and I spent the late evening talking with Erin and her family. We had a great time sitting on the deck and chatting. This morning, Erin’s mom cooked up some fabulous omelets and hash browns and we played cards until Erin had to drive me to the airport. I always have a great time hanging out with Erin and her mom.