SCCHS class of 2014 grad­u­ates ready for fu­ture chal­lenges


The Swift Cur­rent Com­pre­hen­sive High School grad­u­at­ing class of 2014 walked into the fu­ture af­ter Grad­u­a­tion Cer­e­monies on June 25.

With the theme “We’re here for a good time, not a long time”, the grad­u­ates took the op­por­tu­nity to look ahead to a bright fu­ture while re­flect­ing on the suc­cesses of their school years.

The Stick and Pin ad­dress was given by Kur­tis Pratt and Jade Koch, with their speech pro­vid­ing a hu­mor­ous look back at their class­mates and teach­ers, but also shar­ing their hopes for the fu­ture.

“To our friends and class­mates, thank you for al­ways be­ing there to com­fort us and re­as­sure us, build­ing us up when we are down, and hav­ing our backs by pro­cras­ti­nat­ing equally as much as we have the day an as­sign­ment was due, and if by chance you hadn’t, thank you for help­ing us with ours,” Koch said dur­ing their speech.

“To our teach­ers - thank you for be­ing our par­ents away from home. The life lessons will be car­ried with us through our fu­ture en­deav­ours. De­spite how we may have felt about you tak­ing our phones, re­mov­ing our hats, or telling us to be quiet in class, each one of you has made a last­ing im­pres­sion on our lives and we wouldn’t be stand­ing here to­day if it wasn’t for all of you,” Pratt said.

Koch saved the big­gest thank you for the par­ents and guardians of the grad­u­at­ing class stu­dents.

“Thank you for help­ing cre­ate the voice you have to­day, even though it may have ar­gued back a few times along the way. Thank you for be­ing our chauf­feurs, per­sonal chefs, house keep­ers, alarm clock…and of course our bot­tom­less ATMs.”

“One of the great­est things High School has taught us to ap­pre­ci­ate and pay at­ten­tion to ev­ery mo­ment you life in,” she noted.

Trent Shu­may, Founder and Chief Tech­nol­ogy Of­fi­cer of Fin­ger Foods Stu­dios in Van­cou­ver, was guest speaker at grad­u­a­tion, shar­ing a per­spec­tive merg­ing busi­ness sense and life sense for the grad­u­ates.

As an SCCHS Class of 1992 grad­u­ate, he left Swift Cur­rent to chase his dreams, and is now at the helm of a 60 em­ployee com­pany de­vel­op­ing next gen­er­a­tion dig­i­tal prod­ucts.

“All of you are ca­pa­ble of chang­ing the world. What’s crit­i­cally im­por­tant is that you give yourself the best shot at do­ing that, and don’t make too many de­ci­sions along the way that pre­vent you from ful­fill­ing your po­ten­tial. To­day you are the Grad­u­at­ing Class of 2014, to­mor­row you can be who­ever you want,” Shu­may said dur­ing his in­spir­ing ad­dress.

He en­cour­aged the grad­u­ates to be­come crit­i­cal thinkers, and to have a vi­sion for their fu­ture.

“If what you’re be­ing told to do or asked to do fits re­ally well with your per­sonal mantra, and your skills and where you want to go, do it. If it doesn’t fit, or you know deep down in­side that it’s not your thing, or that it doesn’t make sense, think about it. Make your own de­ci­sions. Some­time you have to do things that you don’t want to do, or it’s a tem­po­rary thing, but long term you don’t want to lock yourself into that.”

Dur­ing what he de­scribed as the first chap­ter of his life, Shu­may was a video game pro­gram­mer for 15 years where he worked on games for EA Sports, XBox and Play Sta­tion, plus he did some pro­to­type work for Nin­tendo in Ja­pan.

Fol­low­ing the global eco­nomic shift dur­ing 2008 and 2009, he took the change in the pro­gram­ming in­dus­try as per­sonal mo­ti­va­tion to start his own com­pany in­stead of los­ing in­vest­ment dol­lars.

“It was sort of the kick in the butt that I needed to get mov­ing on the next chap­ter of my life,” he said. “I think through­out your lives and your ca­reers you’ll find these mo­ments where you need to pay at­ten­tion, and you’ll get that kick in the butt that tells you it’s time to do some­thing dif­fer­ent.”

To­day, Shu­may’s com­pany has 60 em­ploy­ees and gen­er­ated $7.5 mil­lion in rev­enue this past year. Start­ing his own com­pany al­lowed him to spend time with great people, bril­liant en­trepreneur­s, and to learn from them.

He pointed out that com­pa­nies are asked to de­fine their Key Per­for­mance In­di­ca­tors in the busi­ness world, but these mea­sure­ments are also ap­pli­ca­ble in the busi­ness of life. High School KPIs are sim­ple to see through aca­demic grades as an as­sess­ment of your learn­ing.

“What’s about to hap­pen is a fun­da­men­tal shift in how these things are de­fined. Be­cause the sys­tem has been very well de­fined for you, whether you liked it or not. But start­ing to­mor­row, no­body’s go­ing to set your KPIs for you, no­body’s re­ally go­ing to tell you what to do. It’s a lot like start­ing a busi­ness in a sense. No­body tells you what type of busi­ness to start, or gives you a hand­book for how to cre­ate a pizza restau­rant. You have to fig­ure that out. It’s the same thing with your life.”

“If you de­fine yourself by lov­ing school, get­ting great grades, and do­ing what was asked of you, to­mor­row, no- body will tell you what to do. If you de­fine yourself by hat­ing school and re­belling against it and ev­ery­thing else, that’s o.k., you made it here. Good on you. You prob­a­bly learned more than some­body that coasted through the process. But you don’t get any ad­van­tage ei­ther. There’s noth­ing left to hate.”

Shu­may in­spired stu­dents to blaze their own paths in life, no mat­ter how far fetched their dreams and ideas are.

“You need to de­fine your own goals, you have to live within your be­ing, and you have to fig­ure out what will make you happy. Run­ning that life will feel like no work at all. You should not be afraid to pur­sue the thing that will set you apart from the oth­ers, even if it feels a lit­tle bit risky or a lit­tle bit out of the or­di­nary. Or people just plain keep you’re nuts. If you pur­sue that with an hon­est in­tegrity, and an ab­so­lute com­mit­ment to suc­cess, you’ll al­ways be O.K. Ei­ther you’ll suc­ceed, or people will rec­og­nize your com­mit­ment and of­fer you jobs or want to work for you or with you. Or plain old just help you up off the ground if you fall down. But they will re­spect you.”

Booster photo by Scott An­der­son

SCCHS Grad­u­at­ing stu­dents Se­nior Pin Jade Koch and Se­nior Stick Kur­tis Pratt de­liv­ered the vale­dic­to­rian ad­dress at grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies on June 25.

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