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Our students are high school aged youth who, due to complex academic, social and emotional needs, require individual, specific programming and resources beyond what is available in their previous high school.  Staff at our high school work closely with community agencies (CMHA, F&CS, Family Counselling & Support Services, John Howard Society etc.) and families to provide wrap around support for our youth.  Students who live in Wellington County are eligible to be referred to St. John Bosco S.S.  Please see the Registration page under the "About" tab above, for more information about the referral process.

Our students demonstrate a great deal of growth and promise.  Below you will see numerous speeches that our students have presented toward the end of their journey at St. John Bosco.  Their words speak volumes!  Enjoy!


Bishop's Dinner Speech: October 17, 2019

Sydny Hamilton (2019-20 Student Trustee) & Emily Fuller

Sydny :  For someone who has longed for an opportunity to speak about my school and further its glowing reputation, I find myself at a loss of words standing before you. Good evening, my name is Sydny Hamilton and I am proud to represent St. John Bosco Secondary School and the Wellington Catholic Board as a Student Trustee for the 2019 – 2020 school year.

Emily : And I am Emily Fuller, and it is my privilege to not only serve St. John Bosco as this year’s Student Senator, but also to be standing before you tonight. It’s an honour to be here, and to be able to talk about the amazing work that’s done each and every day at my school. 

Sydny : For those of you who may not be familiar with St. John Bosco, we are the Alternative Learning site for the Wellington Catholic District School Board.  We are tucked away, high up on the hill, on the grounds of the beautiful, Basilica of Our Lady. 

Did you know Saint John Bosco was an educator himself? Known as simply Don Bosco, he dedicated his life to educating street children, delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth. Now, to me, this Don Bosco sounds like each and every staff member within this Catholic Learning Community.

Emily : Don established and used a learning strategy that, rather than punishment, relied on utilizing love to teach his youth. Each and every teacher, EA, staff, and volunteer becomes a part of this mission as soon as they walk through our doors. We are a community that runs on love and acceptance, a community that inspires change; and that change is born from love.

Emily (continued) : In 2020, St. John Bosco will celebrate its 10th Anniversary.  The staff and students at St. John Bosco know that in order to provide a specialized program like ours, the Wellington Catholic District School Board has to set priorities. So thank you.

Sydny : Now, before I was a student at St. John Bosco I attended another highschool in Guelph, and what only lasted the first semester of ninth grade showed me that I was one of these troubled youth. I didn't like going to school, and when I managed to go I hardly made it till lunch, I failed my first class for lack of attendance and meanwhile I was taking two naps a day just to keep me going.  I was to say the least exhausted and discouraged. How was I to not only get through the next four years but with the grades that I know I can achieve? My elder sister struggled the same way I did until she graduated with honours from that small school next to the church. That school filled with those delinquents and street kids and the everyday saints that dedicate their lives to them.  From Nicole who experiences selective mutism, to Riley who doesn't like going to school and has attended almost all of them in the city, to Gavin who has dyslexia, or me, who as you hopefully can’t tell, hates any and all social interactions. St. John Bosco is Guelph’s Island for misfit toys and I know I speak for every student when I say we are grateful for our new home. Not only do we as students get the same learning opportunities as any other but they are tailored specifically for all of us. Bosco recognizes the inability to learn and grow in a cookie cutter world. We are supported every step of the way in the classroom and out.  A majority of Boscos students lack a stable person in their lives, especially a parent, and I am one in the same. Yet in the midst of my worst days and my worst experiences I have a handful of people that not only make it their job but their priority to see me through it all.

Emily : Prior to attending St. John Bosco, I felt, for a lack of better words, hopeless. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been living with an anxiety disorder that weaved its way through many different aspects of my life; one of the biggest battles being school. For me, this meant having panic attacks in the parking lot, and even crying at the sheer thought of going to school. Because of these intense feelings, I started to avoid it. Finally, I was transferred to Bosco in grade 9. I can honestly say that since then, this school and it’s dedicated, loving staff have changed my life. Before, my anxiety would trick me into believing that if I went to school, a number of bad things would happen to me. But with their help, I started to enjoy being here. Slowly, my love for learning came back, and then my sense of belonging, and finally, my freedom. The staff at St. John Bosco fought for me even when I didn’t want to fight. They came to my house to tutor me when I was too anxious to leave, encouraged me to do my best, and insisted on helping me even to my stubbornness. Since their support in helping me take my first few steps, I’ve conquered entire worlds. I can honestly say, for once in my life, that now, I’m ready to tackle the next chapter of my life. I couldn’t have done it without the staffs constant support and care, although, if I were to tell them that, they’d insist that I did all the hard work - because that’s just who they are.

Sydny : Now, we both focus so heavily on the staff when we speak of Bosco because I can guarantee our community would not have half as much success without our very own John Boscos. Like Jared, who I told I was nervous about tonight and because of that, has bought a ticket for this evening’s dinner so he could be here for me. Because that is just the never ending support that you get at St. John Bosco. 

Emily : The Wellington Catholic District School Board is imbarking on a renewed Strategic Plan with the motto; Believe, Belong, Be Extraordinary. Believe; I believe that the death of Don Bosco only made room for the next. I believe that God saw the need for people like him and the work he does. And I believe that’s exactly what St. John Bosco is; the ongoing recognition and appreciation for Don Bosco, and the students he taught. 

Sydny : Belong; I belong because Don Bosco thought that students like me still deserved an education despite life's challenges. I belong to a community of strong, bright, resilient students who stand in the face of adversity every day. And most importantly, I belong to a family.

Sydny : Be extraordinary. Extraordinary like Nicole who has learned to communicate through her powerful art. 

Emily : Extraordinary like Riley, who for two years didn’t see himself graduating, but is now completing credits on the daily.

Sydny : Extraordinary like Gavin, who comes to school every day with a curious mind and an open heart.

Emily : Be extraordinary like Bosco.


Valedictory Addresses: June 14 2019

Kylie Barfoot (Class of 2019)
Kylie Barfoot
Renee Duchene (Class of 2019) 
Renee Duchene



Valedictory Addresses: June 15, 2018 ​

Kaylyn Heine, Class of 2018

Good afternoon Bishop Crosby, Monsignor Noon, staff, students, guests, and fellow graduates. Today is an exciting day, but I can’t help but feel sad. When I came to Bosco I didn’t really have a choice. It was my fourth high school, and seemed like the only option with the amount of school I was missing. I didn’t think I would ever graduate, and I probably wouldn’t have if it weren't for the people in this room today. The Bosco community has helped me in more ways than one.

First of all I’d like to thank my fellow students, those who are graduating and those who will in the coming years. My friends from Bosco are some of the greatest I’ve ever had. They have helped me to overcome many obstacles, and to figure out who I am as a person. They aren't afraid to stand up for me, or to tell me when I’m being stupid. I am willing to trust them with things that are important to me, even though I have always found that difficult. They are always there for me, and they always make me feel better. Their support looks different everyday. When something is wrong they usually try to cheer me up, but we’ve all learned that sometimes we just need to be sad, and they just let me know that they are there for me. Without the support of my friends I probably would have avoided school, so I can truly say that I wouldn’t be graduating without them.

Of course I’d like to thank the staff. The Bosco staff have gotten me through high school, and as if that wasn’t enough they’ve also gotten me through a crisis or two, as well as a number of other struggles. In my first year at Bosco I only got three credits. I felt like a failure, but they never once said that they were disappointed. In fact they said that they were proud. They said they were proud of me for overcoming my mental health struggles, and for the changes I had made as a person. They never made me feel unwelcome, even when I was not productive. When I was ready, they helped me learn the time management skills I needed to graduate when I wanted to. They pushed me when I needed it, but they also supported me when I just needed a break. I know that the story of every graduate here today is different, but I also know that none of us could have accomplished what we have if it weren't for the truly wonderful staff of St. John Bosco.

Thank you to our parents and guardians. You were our first teachers, and your continuous support has gotten us to where we are today.

Bosco has changed me as a person, mostly for the better. Since walking through those doors I have learned to stand up for myself, I’ve learned how to be confident, I’ve learned how to manage my time, I’ve learned how competitive I am when playing games, and I’ve learned that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes. Sure, I do swear on occasion now, but I’m going to say that’s because I’ve learned how to express myself. Bosco may have been my only option, but now I definitely feel that it was the best option. I am sad today because I don’t want to leave, but I know that I am lucky to have a community that is making it so hard to say goodbye. Thank you again to everyone who is here today.


Dani Amican, Class of 2018​

Good afternoon to the Bishop Crosby, Monsignor Noon, staff, students and St. John Bosco’s class of 2018. Thank you to all of you, because of your support- we are all standing here today. Some of you may not know who I am, and that’s because I go to school once a week, so I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Dani Amican.

I wasn’t sure how to go about writing this speech, because every single one of the graduates here today has a different story to tell. We all go to school at different times, see different teachers, and have our own struggles and stories that I am sure could make great material for a movie or a sitcom on Netflix. And yet, we are all gathered here celebrating this event. I know for a fact that getting here, was no easy task for us. At times, it may have felt like we would never get here. Through grueling hours of staring at those books and online courses and random assignments, all while balancing personal lives, mental health and self discovery. High school is so hard, one of the hardest times in life. There are so many all-nighters and nights spent crying if we’re ever going to make it, if we’re ever going to​ be the people that we want to be. I don’t think we get enough credit for all that we go through, so I’d like to take a minute right now and give us all a round of applause. Because, we are here and graduating as the class of 2018.

People say that human beings can only pay attention for 10 minutes at a time. So I’m hoping that this is the 10 minutes that you’ve been paying attention to. I am not going to tell you what life after high school is like, and I am not going to tell you that today is the start of the rest of your life. But what I am going to tell you is that, you don’t have to fit in. You don’t have to take the same path as the people around you, and you won’t. The road that we have taken to get to this point, is so different because of who we are and that is something that we should celebrate. Is it unpredictable at times? Yes. Is it hard? Yes? Sometimes, it’ll feel like that day will never come. Sometimes it’ll feel lonely. But it is all worth it. Us graduating here right now, is only a testament to that and a checkpoint in the rest of our lives. So as we move forward in life, and out of this high school, I hope that you remember to celebrate who you are and how you got here, even if it’s unlike the path that the people around you are taking. You have come so far and achieved so much, and will continue to.




Kaylyn Heine - 2017-2018 Student Trustee

Good evening Bishop Crosby, Minister Sandals, honored guests and supporters of Catholic education. My name is Kaylyn Heine and I am a student at St. John Bosco Catholic Secondary School. I am honored to be here tonight as a student trustee and as a representative of my school. 

The environment at Bosco is very different from other schools. There are only 100 students, most of whom, including myself, do not attend everyday. On any given day only about half the students are actually at the school. We do most of our work independently with the support of our teachers. This gives us the flexibility to have full time jobs if we chose, or to do our work from home if we need to. 

The students call the staff by their first names which is a bit hard to get used to at first, but ultimately allows us to build better relationships. Relation are very important at Bosco. Each student has a caring adult who helps them reach their personal and academic goals. Bosco is often described as one big family, and we truly are. We eat breakfast and lunch together everyday which is provided by the Food and Friends program. There are weekly gatherings, and open discussions. Everybody knows everybody, and most importantly everybody knows they are cared for. 

​Now I would like to share with you why Catholic education is important to me. Three years ago I was a student at Our Lady of Lourdes. I can honestly say I loved it there. I had friends, I liked my teachers, and I was doing well. All was going great until I got sick. I was missing classes left right and center, and I was falling further and further behind. My teachers were great. They gave me extensions​ when I needed them, but I was not only behind in my academics, I was also missing out on my social life. I began to feel isolated and the idea of returning to school after months in the hospital was petrifying. At that point I was referred to St. John Bosco, and for that I am grateful. At the time I was nervous, but all my reservations melted away the instant I walked into the school for my intake meeting. Everyone was welcoming, and the atmosphere was very casual. On the wall in our only halfway these words are written. “Show​ ​Up,​ ​Be Respectful,​ ​and​ ​Do​ ​Your​ ​Best”​ These are the only rules at Bosco. I was instantly accepted into the school community, and I try now to make new students feel just as welcome as I did. I quickly got back on track with my academics, I made new friends, and with all the stress of keeping up with my peers lifted off my shoulders both my mental and physical health improved drastically. 

I am a different person today than I was three years ago, I am much more confident and sure of myself. I have St. John Bosco and the Wellington Catholic District School Board to thank for that. I still have anxiety, and I still have a chronic illness. I still have bad days, but there are a lot more good days. I now know that I have a very supportive, and rather large family behind me who will support me through the hard spots, and ultimately help me to reach my goals. Although there is very little pressure at Bosco students still succeed. Some go to university, some go to college, and some go directly into the workplace. There is no discrimination between these students. One pathway is no better than another pathway. 

There are no levels of success. Success is success. St. John Bosco has taught me that we all need to support each other no matter what. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my story, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening.​



McKenna Hilpert - 2016-2017 St. John Bosco Senator 

Good evening, my name is McKenna Hilpert and I am a second year student at St. John Bosco Secondary School. For those of you who many not be familiar with our learning community, St. John Bosco is a small school located beside the Basilica of Our Lady – the former St. Stanislaus building.  This year we had 75 returning students and 20 new students. St. John Bosco is not your typical high school.  At Bosco, each student has the opportunity to take control of their own learning.  With the support of their classroom teachers and caring adult, each student sets academic and personal goals based on the needs, strengths and barriers that each student has.  

I became a student at St. John Bosco in second semester last year.  I had been at St. James, and although it is an excellent school, it did not work for me because my anxiety made it really difficult for me to learn and grow in a large school environment.  I found it very difficult to relate to my peers and I was not able to ask for the help that I needed.  The pace was so quick, and if I missed a day, the thought of returning and being behind was so overwhelming.  So, I stopped attending.  It was too much.  Thankfully, that staff at St. James offered me a new opportunity – St. John Bosco.  

    To be honest, at first I was nervous and afraid.  I had heard both good and bad things  about St. John Bosco. I just didn't know what or who to believe.  The first day I attended was for a meeting to meet the principal and teachers. The staff was very nice and welcoming. The students were pretty quiet and shy, except for a few who were loud and welcomed me with open arms.  St. John Bosco provides me with the opportunity to learn and grow in an environment that makes me feel comfortable, safe and supported.

There are three basic rules at St. John Bosco, they are: Show Up, Be Respectful, and Do Your Best Work.

Each student is unique and at St. John Bosco, each student has a unique schedule that meets our academic and social-emotional needs. Following that schedule and showing up for each scheduled class is really important.  Some students come every day, while other students cannot attend daily because they work full time or have a family to take care of or their anxiety makes it hard for them to leave their house. These students check in with their teacher to ask questions and to hand in work or they email and call their teachers.  For me personally, I attend daily and work on four courses at my own pace.  If I am sick, when I come back, my teachers welcome me in and I don't need to worry about the work I have missed.  I just pick up from where I left off.  

Doing your best, similar to showing up, is an expectation that is unique for each person.  Each student has their own learning style and need.  My strengths might not be the same as the student sitting next to me. Bosco values each of us individually and respects where we are at each day. If I am having a really bad day and am feeling really down, I can talk to my teacher, my caring adult, or any other staff member.  Someone is always available to help me. Bosco is a strength-based school and I have had the opportunity to find and plan my coursework around my abilities.  Since I started at St. John Bosco, I have gained 4 credits so far and I am very proud of the work I have completed in such a short period of time.

    The most important expectation at St. John Bosco is to "Be Respectful."  Building relationships is so important in any community, but at Bosco it is essential. The staff at Bosco works hard to show respect and build relationships with the students and in turn students respect them. We know that the staff love and respect us, because they do so much each and every day to support us.  Ou​r staff volunteers their time to prepare and serve breakfast, lunch and snack for the entire student body, and we show our respect by cleaning up after ourselves and putting dishes in the right places, instead of leaving it for the staff to clean up. The staff also give up their lunch hour to play a fierce game of UNO or to work away quietly with a student on a 1000-piece puzzle. St. John Bosco is like a second home to most of us.  It is important for us to respect it and take care of it.

    At St. John Bosco, we are all working on developing positive peer relationships and developing ways to work out our issues.  Although we do have our rough days, every student really tries to respect who their peers are and really try to keep calm when our emotions get the best of us.

Another important part of respect that St. John Bosco has taught me is that I need to respect myself and my abilities. The confidence I have developed over this past year is allowing me to stand here tonight and speak with you.  I won't lie…leading up to this my anxiety was pretty high, but I am learning to manage it and keep it from standing in my way.  

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story and to give you an idea of what life at St. John Bosco is like, but seeing is believing!  Come for a visit.  It really is a great place.


Valedictorian: Madison Hooper

Ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, faculty and staff, special guests and most of all...Graduates of the Class of 2017! I am Madison Hooper and I am so honoured to address you this afternoon.

Each day at St. John Bosco has been an adventure and I have learned so many amazing lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.  I am sure that same is true for each one of you as well.  

I learned that happiness is achieved when you give something back to others, much like the staff at St. John Bosco do every day.  

I have so much admiration and respect for every one of you.  You are all here every single day, striving for the success of each student….more than we are sometimes.  It took me a really long time to learn that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others all the time.  The teachers at Bosco helped all of us understand that our path to success is completely different for every one of us, as well as do their best to make sure we are not discouraged when we hit a rough patch. There is a quote that reminds me of all of the amazing staff of St. John Bosco and everything they do for us:

“The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.” - Dan Rather

So can we have a huge round of applause to all of the staff of St. John Bosco. because of you, I believe that St. John Bosco is one the most positive, and influential schools around. Thank you so much for everything you do for us!

To you my fellow graduates, because we showed up, did our best, and were respectful, we are here today. Each one of us arrived at Bosco with our own challenges, fears, and reservations. You have all worked so hard, and have overcome the obstacles that challenged our success. Each one of you dug down and found the strength and determination you needed to tackle the courses required for your certificate or your Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Congratulations! Your hard work has paid off, and everyone present this afternoon is so proud of you.  

It is important to recognize that we haven’t been alone on this journey. We’ve had parents, guardians, friends, extended family members, and community support over the years. Although we are becoming adults, we all still need help sometimes, and St. John Bosco as well as our other supporters will always be there to help.

I feel like this is the time when we realize that life is finite.  When I started at Bosco when I was 15 years old, life just seemed like this thing...that goes on forever.  Consequences didn’t matter as much because the future was unfathomably far away.  As I progressed through the rest of my years here, I realized that the future is coming up fast, actually, it’s already here, and how it looks actually does depend on what I choose to do now.  So I challenge you, live life to the fullest, make good choices, put others first but never at the expense of yourself, and never forget what you learned at St. John Bosco.  

Dr. Seuss said it best, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”

``One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. – Carl Jung

Once again, congratulations graduates! I’m sure the rest of your lives will be filled with love, happiness, and success.



Valedictorians :  Holli Wilson, Dominik Kowalewski, and Dinner Toast by Alexandra Ouellette

Holli Wilson
Good afternoon staff, students, surrounding community members, trustees, Father Noon, and other honoured guests. My name is Holli Wilson and I have been a student at St. John Bosco for 4 ½ years. When I arrived at St. John Bosco Secondary School for the first time, I was nervous and not in the best place in my life and I know this was the same situation for many of you.  However, unexpectedly, we were pleasantly greeted and welcomed with open arms by the staff and students here. This personally helped me to warm up quickly to the change of a new school, with new faces and new experiences.

Many of us have trouble dealing with change and adjusting to a new environment, therefore, I am confident when I say that without the great community of people at Bosco, guiding us and helping us, a lot of people may not be here today to celebrate this joyous moment in our lives- graduation.

There are many moments along our journey at Bosco where we wanted to give up, but the teachers and staff were here to help keep our heads afloat and Jodi always had a shoulder for us to cry on when we needed it. All the caring and faith they had in us is what got us to where we all deserved to be... graduating today! They showed us our potential to succeed at our dreams and helped us recognize our self-worth. They did this by extensively working with each one of us individually throughout our years at St. John Bosco.   Four and a half years after I personally arrived here at Bosco, I am graduating with all of you and achieving what once seemed impossible to me and I am sure, for many of you graduates as-well. Here we are today; we made it!

Without the significant help of the St. John Bosco community, a lot of us would not be where we are today. If we didn’t have their continuous guidance and support, maybe we wouldn’t be graduating this year. Maybe we would have to take another victory lap to get there. Or, maybe we never would. Therefore, I want to thank all the teachers, staff, and fellow students for giving us a home away from home so we could all achieve this special milestone. So, here’s to the school that never gave up on us when others did!           Thank you!



Dominik Kowalewski
Thank you, Holli. 
​ Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Dominik Kowalewski. It is an absolute honor to be here, standing before you today. I would like to first and foremost express my absolute gratitude to my family, teachers, friends, and those close to me for helping shape me into the man I am today. Everyone who has put even the tiniest amount of effort into me has my utmost gratitude, as they are the people who helped give me this opportunity.

It honestly feels like yesterday that I was just a young boy entering high school for the first time. I have always struggled with compatibility everywhere I went. I never seemed to fit in anywhere, no matter what I did. I was always a bit of an oddball, and outlier if you will. I was different from the other kids, and I never could figure out the reason why. I also never had the best grades, just skirting by on the edge of being a pass. Even though my sense of self-worth was at an all-time low and I had no hope for the future, I refused to be broken. I willed myself to be more than just an existence, and I started to strive towards more success, towards the victory of overcoming my own weaknesses. So many kids think of themselves as worthless or they give up because they think something is out of their grasp. In both of those aspects they’re wrong. I have gathered up enough strength at another push against the barrier we all know as life.

I had a major eye opener when I first came to St. John Bosco Secondary School. I came to the stunning realization that I’m not the only one out there that struggles to find who they are and what they want to be. I always tried too hard to be something that I’m not. I’m not a super hero, or a sporty jock, or Einstein reincarnate; but I am who I am, which is better. Everyone is who they are and they should fully embrace that because of the fact that no matter how far you’ve fallen, it’s not impossible to show how far you can go up again. William Shakespeare once said “We know what we are, but not what we may be”.   I took this quote to heart and realized that I know what I am now, but not what I have the capability to be.

St. John Bosco is a saving grace to many students who would otherwise be denied the opportunity to excel in what they want to be. It makes students feel that they are a name and a person, not just a locker number and another nuisance to deal with. I funnily enough used to think that Bosco was a heavily guarded pseudo-prison for delinquents who didn’t fit with societal standards. But let me tell you how wrong I was. I have for once in my life felt accepted for who and what I am. At this wonderful school I met some of the most amazing people; they care for each other and took me as one of their own right away. I accomplished more in my goals towards a successful life at this school then I have in all my years at my previous schools. Thank you so much everyone at this school for such an amazing experience. I will retain the memories and the friends I have made here for the years to come. I only wish I could have come here sooner -  I would have, like so many others before me, been able to experience the true joys of being earlier. But most importantly thank you St. John Bosco for being the guiding light in the darkness of life for me.

You know, I try to live my life to not regret anything. But as much as I strive to do just that, I must admit: I do regret one thing: not being in St. John Bosco school family long enough! So, people – spread the word about this wonderful school, which will seriously help you in the long run, every moment here is worth it, no word of a lie.
Graduates, you all have the special people in your life here today to witness this event. These are the people who have helped you grow and learn, to help you become what you are today and what you will become tomorrow.   I personally would like to thank my mom, dad, brother, grandparents and close friends for helping me become what I am and teaching me how to love and succeed. Without you guys, I would be nowhere in life.

It’s kind of funny that not many people nowadays believe in destiny, but as far-fetched as it may seem, we all do have a destiny; a God-given purpose in life. We just don’t realize that we are the ones who can shape the journey we will take to reach that destiny . We are our own story-tellers; therefore we choose our own destiny.   I would like to just say to all the graduates, remember that your story has only begun. Just aim for the heavens but strive for beyond. The sky is NOT the limit!  Congratulations Graduates – Class of 2016!  We all did it!
Thank you.
Alexandra Ouellette
Good evening everyone.   I am  so excited to be standing in front of you today after a long & beautiful journey with Bosco. It’s really a shame that it’s coming to an end. I owe every step and leap i've taken to this school & community.   They have been my rock, & I am  going to enlighten you as to why. 

Bosco is different. That's what makes it unique and indescribable. It takes your strengths, love and dedication & applies it in so many different ways!   When I started high school in Grade 9, I was a student at Our Lady Of Lourdes High school. I was a typical young teenager going into grade 9. I loved to learn, and to interact with people, apply my knowledge & take what I have learned to benefit the lives around me.
Unfortunately, I just didn't fit in. We all have our differences, our desires, and hope for what our lives are going to turn out to be. I was an academic student, I did everything I could to be normal. "Normal" being, socially accepted.  I tried to avoid confrontation, but everyone has a battle on the inside they're trying to fight. I ended being brought into situations that really didn't involve me, or would deter me from my goal of learning and focusing on what is best for me. I would miss days to build confidence back, but it would be shattered once I returned to class.   I didn't know the work, the lessons & the techniques to get the curriculum done properly. I always felt like I was behind and left to play catch up. People would stare and whisper all because I couldn't find the courage to face school, peers, work, & fake interactions. Everyday I'd slap that fake smile on.  I just knew I didn't belong there. That couldn't be the "4 years" everyone wishes they could go back too.
Finally, Bosco was offered as a solution to my troubles. I was told, "Maybe, they'll be able to help. We've done all that we can do & try".    I felt lost and like there was no hope for me. I didn’t fit in like everyone else. Why would I let that define the rest of my life? Maybe they didn't see my full potential, maybe I could still do this. I felt like an outcast because I couldn't go to a "normal” high school but  I eventually came to the terms with the fact that I am  far from normal. I am unique, and I have to love myself. A hard lesson to learn is that you can’t expect  everyone to love you when you barely love yourself.

Little did I know, Bosco would be the best thing to happen to my life & education.   It started rough; it did for most of us. Bosco is different. We have 6 classrooms, a library, but no sports teams?

Bosco didn’t need it. What Bosco lacks in physical items, it more than compensates with love and support.   I can tell you a story about each and every teacher, who have personally reached out to ask me if I needed help or some support along the way. They all have huge hearts, and treat us like we are there own. We really can't do wrong in their eyes.   Honestly, I won’t miss the school. I might a little, because it's cute and I have so many memories there. It is the staff that I will hate to say goodbye too. They are a huge part of why I am who I am today, and how I’ve gotten to this place in my life. They are my second family.

I started Bosco at the age of 16. I also then found out I was expecting my gorgeous baby boy at the age of 18. I didn't know what to expect or what life had coming my way, but I did know I wasn't alone through any of it.  They pushed me to keep going and to continue my progress with my credits, despite my new arrival and the obstacles I had to face being such a young mom. This is one of the reasons I am in front of you today.  From the minute my son was born, I was determined to give Phillip & my family the life I knew we deserved. Bosco not only accepted me, but encouraged my feelings about my son being my number one priority. They also were right there to remind me that  can’t let life slip through my fingers, and I can’t make everyone happy. They always saw something in me, regardless of how hard the day was for me. They have always acknowledged my potential, especially when I couldn’t see it.

I’ve been here 4 years, a little longer than some of us here. I’ve had the opportunity to watch our school grow! Sarah has gotten married, and has her beautiful daughter Jane! She is expecting her second child, and I couldn’t be more excited and thrilled for her. I wish her and her family, the best of luck through their journey through life.
I guess if I had to sum up my experience, I am left wishing there would be a way to know you are in the good days before you leave them. I have met some of my best friends, I have become a mother and now a graduate of 2016. Bosco has given me the strength to go on. Bosco is anything but limited to unbelieveable outcomes, once you set foot in the school. We are not only graduating, we are taking the next step into our lives because of Bosco and its staff.

​So to conclude today, I would like to make a toast to the graduates 

of 2016. Let’s not lose sight of happiness in pursuit for more and 

always remember our roots.  Cheers!​​




Jacob Sega, Student Trustee

Hi my name is Jacob Sega and I am a student at St. John Bosco Secondary School. Our small school community is located on the top of the hill downtown Guelph beside the Basilica of Our Lady.  It is a small school with 6 classrooms and less than 100 students. It exists to give youth a second chance and in order to be a student here, you need to be referred from our other three Catholic high schools or a community agency. The students that we give second chances to are the ones that are having struggles with school.  The struggles are often compounded by low self-esteem, anxiety, addictions, family issues and/or other mental health factors. All of these lead to three basic expectations that my school heavily encourages which are; Show up, Do your best and Be respectful. These three expectations are like bricks that were placed in order to create a strong foundation for success.

            To be successful one has to show up for school. Each student at St. John Bosco is unique and therefore we each have a unique schedule. I show up every day, and if I miss, there is a good reason. Some students cannot attend daily because they work full time or have a family to take care of, so they bring work home and meet with their teachers when able to. For me personally, Bosco made it easy to show up everyday. I struggled with my attendance at my previous school but there was something about St. John Bosco that was different. Everyone was accepting and friendly and I knew that if I got up and went to school I would have a better day than staying at home.

Doing your best, similar to showing up, is an expectation that is unique for each person.  My best might not be the same as somebody else's, but that doesn't mean what I do is more or less valuable. Bosco values each of us individually and respects where we are at each day. If I am having a really bad day and am feeling really down, I can tell my teachers that and they will understand what I need. All that they ask is that I put my best self forward for that day. Other schools have traditional classrooms with a lot of structure. St. John Bosco has flexible classroom schedule and this made all the difference for me. I can still get things done, just in a different way. Bosco prides itself in being a strengths-based school. They helped me find out my strengths and weaknesses and plan my coursework around my abilities. Another great thing about St. John Bosco is that you can work at your own pace and there is no limit to how many credits you can get. Last year I was able to get 12 credits and graduate on time, which was huge accomplishment for me.  Bosco also gave me the opportunity to participate in the dual credit program. I earned two high school credits and two college credits at Conestoga College learning from a real college instructor with real college expectations. This helped me to realize that doing my best can take me to places I could not have imagined.


            The last expectation that St. John Bosco has is to be respectful. This expectation is the foundation of the three expectations. The staff respect students, students respect the staff, everyone respects each other and everyone respects themselves. Building relationships is key to building a community. The staff at Bosco works really hard to build relationships with the students and in turn students respect them. One example of this is through our school food program. Our staff volunteers their time to prepare, serve and clean up breakfast, lunch and snack for the entire student body. One way that we show our respect is by cleaning up after ourselves and putting dishes in the right places, instead of leaving it for the staff to clean up. We are so thankful for the people providing the food for us that doing this does not seem like a chore. Something that the teachers graciously let me and my friends do is play Dungeons and Dragons after school and at lunch. This has been a great way for my friends and I to get together at school and do something we love. St. John Bosco is like a second home to some of us so it is important for us to respect it and take care of it.

Respect between students is not always easy, but it is an important part of the Bosco community. The awesome thing about St. John Bosco is that we are all so distinctly different. That being said, we also do not always agree on things and see eye to eye. The community that we have built in Bosco has made it important for us to look past those differences and realize that we all have our own story that deserves respect instead of judgement.

Another important part of respect that St. John Bosco has taught me is that I need to respect myself in order to be successful. I realized that If I didn't respect myself I wouldn't be able to show up as often as I do and get my work done. I didn't always respect myself even though I knew that I should have. My school showed me why and how to do that.

Don't get me wrong, the three expectations to Show Up, Do Your Best and Be Respectful would be nothing without the people inside the school walls. We are a community. This includes our principal, teachers, educational assistants, students, custodian, social worker, child and youth worker, the chaplain and visitors. When you walk into our school you know you are being welcomed and accepted for who you are. That is St. John Bosco and if you haven't come to visit us up on the top of the hill, I recommend you do!   Thanks for your time!



Valedictorians :  Hannah Hamilton and Johanna Koestel

Valedictorian Hannah Hamilton as she delivers her address at commencement:

 Good afternoon staff, students, surrounding community members, trustees, Bishop Crosby, Father Noon, and other honoured guests. My name is Hannah and I am honoured to be standing here in front of you as valedictorian of the class of 2015. Now if you told me 4 years ago I would be standing here on my graduation day giving the valedictorian speech, I would most likely have rolled my eyes and laughed. If you had mentioned it would be for St. John Bosco I would have been downright hysterical. But if me, 4 years ago, were sitting here today I would have a few things to say to her. I would tell her that 51% is not good enough. 51% is a state of mind people easily fall into. I would say, this mind set is for people who are afraid. Afraid of failing, afraid of not being good enough, afraid of falling short of expectations, but most of all afraid of succeeding. If you never succeed you never fail. If that expectation is not there, there is no chance of falling short of it. This makes life a lot more safe. So, 14 year old Hannah, for a crazy little control freak like yourself a life like this  would be preferable, but you’re better than that. I would say to  her that failing is a part of life and as the great Mahatma Gandhi once said “strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength”. Class of 2015, we are all here because we have used our strengths. 

There once was a time, believe or not, when this stubborn 14 year old Hannah sat in guidance counsellor's office of Lourdes being convinced to attend St. John Bosco and not with great success at first. Bombarded with information  ranging anywhere from home cooked lunches to knife fights in the hall. I truly didn’t know what to believe or who was telling the truth. As you all know prejudice and over exaggerations are a part of life. So naturally, surprises and being humbled are a part of life too. As I walked into the bright, inviting, and warm atmosphere that is Bosco I felt a wave of pity. Not for the school, or for the students, not even for the staff, but for myself. My mind not only was a 51% kind of mindset where I doubted myself but it was also now the kind of mind that put trust into rumours and believed in ridiculous stereotypes. For most of my life I truly believed I was a fair and unbiased person. That was until Bosco. St. John Bosco has changed me. I no longer look at someone and think I know the slightest thing about them. I no longer assume things are the way they appear to be. Bosco has changed everything- the way I think, the way I see, the way I live. I’m no longer of the 51% mindset, not only because it would be  “frowned upon” here at Bosco but because I truly believe that I am more than that now. This is exactly what I would say to the 14 year old Hannah sitting in that guidance office.


When you are at Bosco you can feel the amount of care in the air. The teachers are, to put it mildly, supportive. Everyone who walks in the doors is treated equally and are encouraged to find greatness. No matter where you came from or where you’re going, Bosco supports you and nurtures that dream. Rather than being of the 51% mindset, Bosco has their own mindset. I think we should refer to this mindset as the lily pad mindset. This beautiful little flower grows from a dark and hostile environment but once this miraculous flower meets the light it thrives and grows into a spectacular beauty of a specimen. Due to the uphill battle this plant encounters in its early years it ends up stronger; it ends up a fighter. No matter how dark, scary, traumatic or overwhelming a students beginning is, Bosco knows that if they just give a little light and a little encouragement they can and they will grow into beautiful, strong, and incredible little lillies. I see a room full of failures and triumphs. I see a room full of fighters. I see a room full of graduates. I see the future.


Bosco is represented by the phoenix. Now this is not just because Harry Potter features a super cool phoenix. This is because we as a group have risen from the ashes of despair, anxiety and fear and we have flown into  a world full of possibilities and greatness.


Now regardless of whether you’re a lily or a phoenix I would like to leave you  a few words of advice from  a tree:

        Stand tall and be proud

Go out on a limb

Remember your roots

Drink plenty of water

Be content with your natural beauty

and enjoy the view


One last thing I would tell 14 year old Hannah is “don’t worry so much, you are going to get there”. Congratulations graduating class of 2015!

Valedictorian Johanna Koestel as she delivers her address.

Good afternoon staff, students, surrounding community members, trustees, Bishop Crosby, Father Noon, and other honoured guests. Like so many of you, I too have endured hardships. Throughout them, I lost my sense of worth. I have come to find that adversities can lead one astray from the path they have the ability to travel. We come into this life with the best intentions, but life has an uncanny ability to lead us astray. I was lost for a really long time. Now, I am thankful for that. It lead me to St. John Bosco. It lead me to all of you. And finally, it lead me to be here- standing before you all- graduated.

This may come as a surprise to those who know me- but I am at a loss for what to say. How can I articulate such deep, strong feelings? How can I possibly express my gratitude to you all? St. John Bosco helped me realize how important I am. You helped me realize that my life is worth an awful lot. I am not my hardships. I am simply a reflection of them- the way that I have overcome so many obstacles defines me. I believe that the other graduates feel like this too. St. John Bosco, you gave us another chance. And for that, I am eternally thankful.

Before I came to St. John Bosco, I had already been to two different high schools. I struggled to succeed, and I struggled to fit in. I found myself confining to social standards where I sacrificed big parts of myself just to fit in. When I became pregnant at sixteen, I switched schools again. Lucky, I switched schools for the last time. St. John Bosco is unlike any other school I have been to. For starters, we have a very small population. Our school only has six classrooms, a tiny library, we don't have a science lab, we don't have any sports teams, and for some reason we don't even have a chess club. For what we lack in resources, we pick up in school spirit. So what did St. John Bosco offer us? The answer is simple- our identity. They took us as we are, flaws and all. They recognize we each have our own story, but when we come to Bosco, our stories intertwine to fill the pages of our school.

We each come with our own reality. We carry our own struggles, and our own hardships. Often, they have shaped us into some pretty rough characters. I, for one, was embarrassed when I first attended the school. I was pregnant; I was sixteen and pregnant- I never imaged that there would be a place for me amongst all of you. At that time, I didn't stick around often enough to find out. In fact, I didn't begin coming to school regularly until two years ago. The more I came, the more I opened up the school. And soon enough, I connected with people. I became more involved in the school community. What I have learned in all my years at St. John Bosco, is that I am my own person- and I can be accepted for that. I do not have to conform. Our school is small, but our diversity is infinite. Every student is equally different, and equally important. We are reminded that we should never be embarrassed of our hardships. We should not be ashamed of our past. We all struggle, but how we rise above- that defines us as a person. St. John Bosco, you supported us. You recognized that we all have a voice. You helped me realize how powerful that is. Thank you for letting me use mine today.


Testimony of Gabriella DeHoyos           Graduating Class of 2015

March 31, 2015

Being at St. John Bosco has helped me to graduate by having the help to get to know my strengths and my weaknesses.  The amount of time teachers and EA’s  gave me in every class to get me to my diploma took a lot of patience and persistence.  I hated math and it took me a year and a half to complete it.  Once this year came along, I started off the year with my first class being Math.  This one EA sat with me and helped me through the steps of Math.  It was frustrating, but after 3 weeks, I completed Grade 10 Math.  After I got through that Mat I started my next Math course and I did that with very little help.  If it was not for that EA that took her time with me< I would never have gotten this far!

I have been more successful this year than previous years.  St. John Bosco has not only helped me with Math but with everything that comes along in everyday life, setting goals to get work done.  Every week, my Caring Adult spent a few minutes with me to see how the work I’m doing is going in every course.  When I needed something or needed help with my work, they would go out of their way to find a better way to get the work done, like chunking the courses for me so it is not overwhelming. 

Going to St. John Bosco has helped me a lot to graduate and be successful.  Having that help really had an impact on me and thinking about future goals.  St. John Bosco has seen me get from 0 to 10 this year, something they sometimes thought would never happen.  I have completed 15 credits over this year, finishing them left, right and centre.  If it was not for the help, time and effort that St. John Bosco has put into me,  I would not be graduating on time.  In fact, I think I would still be working on Grade 12 Math.  Would not have the confidence to do any work let alone Math.  My school has been the best high school that I have ever been at and I’m very thankful for everything they have done.




 Madison Hooper, First Student Trustee

Good evening everybody! I am so excited to be here as St. John Bosco’s first Student Trustee. I’m even more excited to tell all of you about this amazing school. Bosco focuses on a lot of thing to make sure our school is a comfortable environment for everyone, but the three main things St. John Bosco revolves around is caring (for students and staff), positive culture, and community.

Everybody knows that Bosco isn’t the largest community, but that makes the bonds between students and staff even stronger. As a smaller school, more steps can be taken on a personal level to help students reach their main goals, in the manner they most prefer.  Not every child learns the same as the student sitting at the desk next to them. Personally, my abilities are limited in a mainstream classroom setting because I find it does not work well with my personal learning style. The mainstream classroom setting does not work for a lot of other youth also, which is why at Bosco the teachers and staff will do everything in their power to help each student reach success. A philosopher once said “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life believing it is stupid or ignorant.

St. John Bosco has the most positive culture I’ve ever seen in a school. I have been to five different high-schools in three different districts, and I have never felt so welcomed and at home at any other school.  Everybody at Bosco are equals, and expectations from one student will not trickle down to the next one. Everybody in the school has their own personalized, individual schedule that works for them.  Bosco has a motto, and it is “Show up, do your best, and be respectful”, and that motto actually applies within the school. Students work based on their strengths, to gain the confidence to tackle their weaknesses head on so they can learn and grow in a positive way. Bosco provides courses in all different subjects, and doing work is fun. You don’t have to worry about anybody judging you for not being able to solve an equation. Teachers and staff will sit with a student until they understand something they did not before, and actually make sure the students know what they need to do to be successful. A student is never left in the dark about something that has to do with them, and if there is an issue we get right to the roots to eliminate it.

At Bosco, we have the excellent “Food & Friends” program, which allows the students to eat breakfast if they need it, a snack between classes, and a hot lunch in the middle of the day completely free of charge on the student’s behalf. A big problem I notice is that students are not getting proper nutrition and that can actually jeopardize the full capacity of your brain learning. Eating breakfast and lunch can make a world of difference in a student’s priorities with learning. In the Food and Friends program, it is also worked into a food and nutrition credit. The student’s cook lunch with teacher supervision and serve it to the other students to help towards a credit. We have parents who volunteer to come in and cook a delicious ethnic meal for the kids. Bosco also organizes amazing field trips for the students, for example, last year the school went to “Ripley’s aquarium” in Toronto, and the school was even able to subsidize the price so that student’s would be able to attend. Bosco has a public health nurse who comes in every Tuesday to help students with any questions or concerns they might have. Our school also works closely with other services such as CMHA, F and CS, Public health, etc to provide wrap around services for students.   No student is ever not recognized for success, and every Monday there is a school gathering in the common area to highlight student success, staff success, or just small things to be grateful for.

Thank you everybody for giving me the time to speak on behalf of St. John Bosco, and I am really looking forward to this school year, and all of the positivity that comes with it.




 Valedictorians : Miss Ashley Todorowski and Miss Julia Lundvall

Valedictorian Ashley Todorowski
Good afternoon staff, students, administrators, and surrounding community members. My name is Ashley and I stand before you today as one of the proud valedictorians of the 2014 graduating class. There are so many significant things I would like to discuss about St. John Bosco such as the school as a whole, the wonderful staff and of course my fellow graduates- but I will try my best to keep it short and sweet. 

As I was trying to sort my thoughts on where to begin the physical structure of the building came to mind. It is definitely not your typical two-story building, but there is an unquestionable sense of community that can never be compromised. Every inch in St. John Bosco has had a small personal touch added by students, staff or members of the community. For example; we were able to paint the bathrooms, make a garden in the front of the school and have hand-made benches outside courtesy of Alfred’s woodworking class. Whether it be a credit tree to show who has recently finished a course or just pictures of every student surrounded by what their peers think their strengths are, there is student strengths and accomplishments hanging on the walls of each and every classroom. There is also artwork lining the hall from the front of the school all the way to the back and you can never underestimate the intensity that builds in the gym when it’s a teacher vs. student dodge ball game or the excitement that fills the halls every day when Chris makes lunch! 

St. John Bosco could easily fall into traditional ways like most other schools but with a collection of educators who have amazing hearts and a different perspective on the education system, every faculty member here invests their heart and soul to make this school represent hope for youth. The staff here has gone beyond the academic aspect for education. They have journeyed alongside us through our hardships, milestones and have left and everlasting effect on our lives. Every staff member has helped students find their strengths and apply ourselves no matter what the situation is or how nervous we are.  We were not just taken under their wings but taught to grow and develop our own to get where we are today.  I’m sure I can speak for most when I say thank you is never enough for how many lives you have substantially restored. 

Although the staff and faculty have taught us so much I would also like to say thank you to my fellow classmates and graduates for teaching me a great deal as well.  For some students, the road to graduation may have been long and possibly rugged but we have helped encourage each other to persevere and get to this finish line. Both staff and students have given me so many words of wisdom to carry with me for the rest of my journey and for that I’d like to thank all of you.

While I reflected on the words of wisdom all of the staff and fellow students have given me in my time at St. John Bosco, I wondered what enlightening words I would give my younger self if given the opportunity. 

The first thing I would tell my younger self is to stop worrying so much, all the time, about everything! By the time you reach your destination you won’t remember all of the unnecessary worrying you did. You will remember the moments where you persevered, rose above and accomplished your goals. The end of the year can be hectic, especially for grads to say the least, yet here we stand and all of the worry and stress that may have occurred along the way is insignificant to this moment.

The second thing I would want to say is raise the bar for yourself, and raise it high. As long as you follow the rules of Bosco by showing up, doing your best and being respectful there is no goal out of your reach and nothing you cannot accomplish.  As Wayne Gretzky once said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

The third and final thing I would say is to get involved! Not just in school but in life! Make sure you fill your time on this earth with the happiest times, the kindest people and the best places possible. Experiencing new things can be difficult and nerve-racking but do not let it stop you from taking control of your destiny. I had never gotten so involved until I started attending Bosco and looking back I’m glad I was able to leave an impression through volunteer work around the community or at the least leave a small piece of me behind.

In conclusion, I would like to say thank you to everyone that is here today. To the staff: I honestly don’t know how to begin to explain my gratitude for the thousands of small things you do for all of us every single day. It is never unnoticed or unappreciated and if it wasn’t for you most of us wouldn’t have found the inspiration or motivation to obtain our diploma. To all of the family, friends and surrounding community members, your attendance represents your encouragement, support and belief, not only in our school but in our graduates. Finally to the grads: thank you for being the reminder that not every square peg fits into a round hole. If there is one thing I could wish for all of you is that no matter where life takes you after today, you never forget that impossible is two letters too long. ​



Valedictorian Julia Lundvall

Good evening and welcome parents, staff, administrators and peers to the “Class of 2014” graduation ceremony.  On behalf of the graduates, I would like to shole heartedly thank everyone here today that has come together to share in this solemn and joyous occasion.  As I look out now to all of the familiar and beautiful faces in the crowd, I can see exactly who has joined us for this commemorative moment.  You are the ones who have always been there, to protect, motivate, care and encourage the wonderfully spirited individuals wearing the silly capes in the front row.  

In retrospect, I view my journey through secondary school as challenging to say the least, and I have been inclined to think that most of the graduates here today would express themselves similarly with their own experiences.  Life isn’t always fair, and it’s difficult to follow the flow when faced with the bleak, disheartening, or downright backbreaking obstacles that can be thrown a person’s way.  The first piece of advice I have to give to my peers here today is that it truly does’t matter where you’ve come from or what you’ve done, it’s what you are willing to undertake to achieve your dreams and fulfill the life you have been gifted with.  Change what you can, recognize and rearrange the problems, and learn to accept what you can’t.  Human beings are naturally passionate and drawn to companionship, and the happiness of those we care for certainly reflects onto our own, especially when their happiness is induced by you personally.  

Never forget that people genuinely care, some even devoted to provide the foundation of love, warmth, and kindess we all so desperately need to make it through the fast paced and winding river we call existence.  Attending Bosco for the past two and a half years, I’ve come to realize the sincerity of my previous statement, having witnessed the unquestionable permanence of devotion and regard by staff and student alike.  I would like to take the next couple of minutes to acknowledge the staff members of St. John Bosco, because I would not be standing here at our rite of passage without them, and I would bet anything that my companions here today would say the same.  So without further delay and in no particular order of favouritism, I would like to present to you the infrastructure of the SJB community, and attest to the irreplaceability of each individual.

To Ms. Jodi Alward, thank you for your unquestionable ability to untangle the jumble of knotted wires called the adolescent mindset.  You are a constant support and your every smiling face in the light of difficulty helps us all find a way out.  Through diligence and dedication you provide an all too real representation of when you fall off the hourse, you get right back up.

To Mr. Mike O’Rourke, your positive energy and confidence constantly radiate from your being into the hearts and souls of all around you.  You show a continued patience for all of your students and regardless of how many times we disappear, you always seem to find us and steer us back to the right direction.  Thank you for opening up my eyes to the perception that happiness can be found in even the littlest of things and that collared sports shirts can never possibly go out of style.

To Mr. Jared Dowling, the care and support you provide to the students of Bosco is incomparable.  Through friendship, understanding and your amazing sense of humour, you are always able to lend the guiding hand needed on the path to success.  Thank you for reminding me that class work can actually be fun and is legitimately not a death sentence, and that a quick game of “Settlers” can brighten anyone’s day.

To Mrs. Lori Montgomery, you are beyond a doubt the most selfless person I have ever had the priviledge of knowing.  Never before have I witnessed a woman with such undying compassion and love for indisputably everyone in her life.  Thank you simply for being such an amazing person, and spending the hours of time you do making those around you so elated and content.

To Mrs. Chrisina Guest, you have been challenged with the task of keeping the stomachs of each student full every day without exception.  Being the unbelievable individual you are, you over-exceed these expectations, and use something as elementary as food to create an unbreakable bond of community. You provide to each student, especially within the Food and Nutrition class, countless opportunities of growth and achievement.  Thank you for the encouragement, the friendship and the amazingly ridiculous jokes that come along with it.

To Mrs. Alexandra Fitzpatrick, I will be eternally grateful for the guidance and wisdom you have gifted to me.  You have a positive and intelligent outlook on every situation, something only capable to a truly prodigious and enlightened individual.  Over the past few years, you have been monumentally more than just a teacher to me, but you have grown in my heart as a mentor as well as afriend, and that’s something I can cherish forever.

To Mrs. Sarah Abate, you are beyond a doubt the mother hen of the community, giving us all our much needed daily dose of guidance and love.  I cherish the hours of time I was able to spend with you in your classroom, learning of art, literature, but most importantly trust, acceptance and friendship.  We all will forever remain your little ducks, never straying far off the path only a leader like yourself could provide, and will continue to provide to so many to come.

To Ms. Katie Menrath you are a perpetual support to so many studenst and an everlasting smiling face not only in the morning but all day long.  Your easy going personality makes our learning environment with you so comfortable and your support has made us beyond successful.  You’re one of the many people that has brought us to this stage today, so thank you.

To Mr. Leo Barei, after only being a part of the St. John Bosco community a short year, you have integrated so perfectly into a position possibly made to be filled by your well-travelled shoes.  You bring such wisdom and knowledge into our family, and I thank you for the consistent enlightenment and experience you project out into our school.

To Ms. Elly Lambert, thank you for the constant support you provide to us all, not only in one but every classroom, every day.  You are an outstanding help to us all with anything our small but busy school can throw our way.

To Mr. Greg Freeman, thank you for being such a wonderful addition to the Bosco family.  You have an amazing energy that allows such positive and nourishing connections with students.  You are indeed a master educator, and a surprisingly true master chef.

To Ms. Nicole Hearn, you go far beyond being an amazing teacher, but you are able to become such true friends with all of your students.  I can talk to you about absolutely anything, as an equal, and you always know exactly what to say to put out any or all emotional fires.  You continually and positively push us past our comfort zones, encouraging us all to make smart and healthy choices in our lives, and on top of it all you remain the voice in the back of our heads saying, “Relax, you are incredible, and you can absolutely do this”.

To Ms. Eileen Clinton, how can one possibly put a thank you honourable enough into words?  You were and forever will be a pillar of our community, supplying unmatched innovation and intellect that has brought something so unique, and so ground breaking into fruition.  I believe no one could ever possibly love St. John Bosco more, or the people within those walls.  You have provided each and every one of us with an opportunity to flourish and create ourselves within a positive and affectionate environment.  I could truly go on for days, so I will end with a simple thank you for everything you have done, and conceivably never forgetting your ability to turn any day into a marvellous one with a beautiful smile, and a bear hug right from the heart.

To Ms. Nicole De Francesco, coming to Bosco this year, your certainly had some considerable adjusting to take on, as well as some pretty substantial shoes to fill.  As I reflect back on the time we have shared this school year, I have certainly been witness to an amazing transformation.  I thank you for the positive encouragement and change you have adminstered and all the continuing hard work you do to promote our school’s image.  I have the utmost respect for you as an educator and guide and I foresee continued success for you and our community as the school continues to prosper.

Thank you to everyone, every individual who has been able to be a part of the St. John Bosco community, anyone who can call our walls home and the people within family.  The trascendent efforts you have put into creating an environment of such love, trust, acceptance, creativity, intellectually unbarring freedoms and benevolence have bever before been seen by the likes of the Catholic education system.  

Personally, I couldn’t possible feel more rewarded and elated than in this moment.  We are finally standing here on the day of our high school graduation, banded together by friendship with the common goal of dedication and a fortifying unwllingness to let anything stand in our way.  We have always been the strong ones, hurdling over the restrictions and hardships I know we have all had to face.  Never lose that spark within you, the fire that told us to break the system, the one deep within that propels you to wherever it is you feel you need to be.  For me, the biggest fear I have for the future out in a world with endless possibilities is living a life designed by someone else, or by society’s expectations of me, but as Mr. Bill Cosby would say, “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure”.  I want to live a life of happiness, adventure and freedom, and I sincerely wish that for all of you.  

The second and last piece of advice I have for all of you today is that in this world, a world where you can be anything you want, just be yourself.  Do what makes you happy, not what you think others will be happy for.  Go crazy, break the rules and have more fun than  you’ve ever had doing it.  It’s finally our time, annihilate any chains holding you back from living the life you want to live, and just jump in.  Life is short, so live it to the fullest.