I am so happy to be here to share in this special day with you, dear Class of 2017. Although this is my second year at Trafalgar, you are, in truth, my first graduating class. I returned this September to a new beginning, and so it feels appropriate that we share the stage today as you embark on your own new beginnings.
Over the past two years, we’ve often talked about what it means to endeavour – to try your best, to push harder, and to never give up. You, dear grads, have shown us what it means to endeavour. And here you are – ready to take on the world.
You are leaving the Castle, but you are also taking a part of it with you. In fact, Trafalgar is now a part of who you are – truth, virtue and loveliness. To that list, I would like to add one more trait that I have seen in you. And that is strength.
There is a poem that I came across last year when I was drawing on my own strength. Its authorship is unknown but it seemed fitting to share with you as you prepare for the next chapter in your life’s journey. The poem is entitled:
A Strong Woman vs. A Woman of Strength
A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape
…but a woman of strength builds relationships to keep her soul in shape.
A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything
…but a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of fear.
A strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her
…but a woman of strength gives the best of herself to everyone.
A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future
…but a woman of strength realizes life’s mistakes can also be unexpected blessings and capitalizes on them.
A strong woman wears a look of confidence on her face
…but a woman of strength wears grace.
A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey
…but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.
Grads of 2017, I see in each of you, in your own individual ways, strength. Never doubt this strength. Draw on it when you are striving to endeavour. In difficult moments, know also that within you is the strength of an entire community that is the sisterhood of Trafalgar Castle School and Ontario Ladies College. It is the strength of a community of young women who came before you. You are now part of a community that together has more strength than each of you alone. Know that you can always draw on the strength of this community, of this sisterhood, and of the friendships you have found here. And as you prepare to leave us, know that we will always be here for you because the Castle will forever be your home.
So congratulations, Class of 2017. I could not be prouder of each and every one of you. Please keep in touch. We look forward to hearing about the many places you will go!
[Delivered to the graduating class of 2017 on Trafalgar Day, June 17, 2017]