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Working Together to Create Memories

By Félix Fortier, Grade 12
As this school year draws to a close and I slowly prepare to leave Stanstead College as a young adult, I find myself reflecting on my experiences here. It is my hope that this speech will enlighten those who will remain here next year as to how they can approach their responsibilities in welcoming the new students next year and in the next 150 years to come.

When I first registered for Stanstead College, I had some understanding of what to expect from a boarding school, having attended several presentations with my parents. However, there were still uncertainties about what awaited me. Upon arriving at the school, I discovered that Stanstead was located in a remote town near the US border and had a relatively small student body.

I also learned that the academic and athletic programs were challenging and among the best in Quebec or Canada. As someone from a French-speaking background, I knew I would have to make significant daily adjustments. Although I was unaware of who my teachers, classmates, teammates or roommate would be, I was eager to begin my journey at the school.

In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, my family and I prepared everything I needed, from school uniforms to books and personal items. As I departed for the College, I experienced some nervousness and positive anxiety.

I remember on my first evening spent at Davis House hearing in the hallways a house director screaming, “Tourist! Go to bed!”

Yes, I was really scared at that moment and wondered who was that guy? And what I was doing here? But little did I know how close I would become to Mr. Marino. He is just one of the many members of the faculty who made my experience at Stanstead one to remember.

Looking back, I realize how fast time goes by and how much we evolve over time. The pandemic has impacted us all on many levels, but I believe the word "resilient" accurately describes all of us standing here today.

Despite the challenges, I was able to integrate quickly into the Stanstead College community. I learned the rules, expectations and schedules for school, lunch, sports, study periods and curfews.

Moreover, I got to know the faculty members, teachers, students and staff. The school taught me about protocol and the importance of preserving traditions. As an only child, I was pleasantly surprised by how easily I formed bonds with the people at the school, who became like a second family to me. I care about each and every one of them and can say with certainty that they are the essential layer of what makes this school so unique and special.

Regardless of our backgrounds, strengths or weaknesses, I have come to respect every member of the community. I have witnessed the personal commitments of many students to make everyone's experience at Stanstead College memorable.

I learned the valuable lesson that a collective effort involves both giving and receiving, and one cannot work without the other. As John F. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." I believe this quote applies to my experience at Stanstead College.

For the next 150 years, I would suggest that future students entering these walls for the first time ask themselves, "Ask not what Stanstead College can do for you, ask what you can do for Stanstead College." By doing so, they will allow themselves the best years of their lives and a lifelong sense of community.

To end, I would like to say “THANK YOU”. Thanks to the Stanstead College community for welcoming me with open arms. I consider all of you my teammates and leave you with the rallying call, "Once a Spartan, always a Spartan!"