One of the highlights of the Graduation Ceremonies at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) is the Valedictorian Address.
PSO has adopted the format of having co-valedictorians – one girl and one boy – and it has worked well over the years.
The Class of 2015 valedictorians were Jennifer Sprecher and Robert Parma.
The valedictorians, who went to the same schools since kindergarten, were both surprised about being selected for the prestigious opportunity.
Robert says it was a little weird that he and Jennifer knew each other so long and then “just to be picked like that, first by the teacher and then our peers, was a little crazy.
“I wasn’t expecting it. I think Jennifer had the material, but not me.”
Jennifer says she was excited when she learned she had been selected for the top 3 in the running to become a valedictorian.
“It was really exciting. I was hoping for it and a lot of my friends said they would vote for me.”
Robert and Jennifer say they decided to forego the sentimentality and the offering of advice to their fellow graduates during their Valedictorian Address.
“We wanted it to be realistic and do something funny from our hearts. We did some things on teachers … and then we selected jobs for the grads,” Jennifer explains.
Robert says they spent a lot of time – two weeks of jotting points down on paper – putting their address together. He adds they would work on the speech separately and then collaborate and make changes.
Both say they were nervous as they approached the podium, but they got settled in as they read their lines.
Jennifer says the highlight from the address for her was when Robert took the microphone out of the stand and lowered it for her because she had to stand on her tip toes to speak into it.
Robert says he thought his best line was a poke at school counsellor Crystal Dawn Langton who has a large selection of high-heeled shoes: “Thank you to Mrs. Langton for your wide array of high-heeled shoes, so we would always hear you walking down the hall 10 minutes before you showed up.”
Jennifer will be spending the summer working at her family’s Cariboo Bonanza Resort and then she’s off to Kelowna to go to UBC Okanagan where she will prepare for a career in medicine.
Robert will be on the cleanup crew at Norbord this summer before going to the College of New Caledonia in Quesnel to get a Fourth Class Power Engineering certificate.