Valedictorians
SEE photos of those valedictorians at the bottom of the list - as we have available).
* after the name = photos of that valedictorian below - scroll down

NOTE: Some of the dates are incorrect.  There seems to be confusion over the last (graduating) year and the following commencement - which is in the next school year. If the year appears in RED text, that date has been verified and now confirmed to be correct.

1924-25 S. Burchell
1927-28 E. Harman
1928-29 G. Baulch
1931-32 Charles Leask
1932-33 Herbert Burchell
1935-36 James Cuthbertson
1936-37 Grant Gold
1937-38 Floyd Rodman
1938-39 Jack McClintock
1939-40 Russ St. John *
1940-41 Bill McClintock
1941-42 Henry Madill
1942-43 Bruce Taylor
1943-44 Keith Wass
1944-45 Garnet Gray
1945-46 Joan Crosby
1946-47 Russel Willis
1947-48 Joyce Pollock * (Bradbury)
1948-49 Marie Broad
1949-50 Morley Malyon
1950-51 Margaret Arnold
1951-52 Donald Shier (See Donald's Valedictorian address below.)
1952-53 Rose Marie Hochberg
1953-54 Eric Mundinger  (See Eric's Valedictorian address below.)
1954-55 Helen Hickling  (See Helen's Valedictorian address below.)
1955-56 Helen Harman
1956-57 Elda Smokum  (See Elda's Valedictorian address below.)
1957-58 Fiona Williams
1958-59 Doreen Montgomery
1959-60 Catherine Beach
1960-61 Grant Feasby
1961-62 James McDowell * (See James' Valedictorian address below.) 
1962-63 Jane Bernhardt
1963-64 Ellen Lapp (Commencement Nov 6, 1964) * (See Ellen's Valedictorian address below.) 
1964-65 Allan Smalley - unknown commencement date  (See Allan's Valedictorian address below.) 
1965-66 Grant Collins (Commencement Nov 11, 1966)   (See Grant's Valedictorian address below.)  

NOTE: There seems to be a problem with the 1966-67 year. In the '67-68 ASTRA, page 89, Ann Gage's Valedictorial address is printed in full - speaking for the class of '67.
1966-67 Nancy Bernhardt & Joan Hickling (Comm. Nov 4, 1967)
1966-67 Ann Gage * - (Cammencement Nov 4, 1967) See Ann's Valedictorian address below.

1967-68 Lois Kydd - unknown commencement date
1968-69 (Robert) Bert Blackburn (Commencement Nov 7, 1969)
1969-70 Keith Elford - (Commencement Nov 6, 1970) - See Keith's Valedictorian address below.
1970-71 Robert Bernhardt (Commencement Nov 5, 1971)
1971-72 Gerry Kydd - unknown commencement date
1972-73 Mike Strobel  (Commencement Nov 3, 1973)
1973-74 Donald Leek - unknown commencement date
1974-75 Keith Kennedy (Commencement Nov 1, 1975)
1975-76 John Cooper (Commencement Nov 6, 1976)
1976-77 Allan Lewis (Commencement Nov 5, 1977)
1977-78 Sheila Richardson (Commencement Nov 4, 1978)
1978-79 Jim Tindall (Commencement Nov 3, 1979)
1979-80 Glenn Irwin (Commencement Nov 1, 1980)
1980-81 Roland Osske (Commencement Nov 7, 1981)
1981-82 Andy Pateman (Commencement Nov 6, 1982) *
1982-83 Joe Curtis  (Commencement Nov 5, 1983) 
1983-84 Mark Ford (Commencement Nov 2, 1984)
1984-85 Arleane Reid (unknown commencement date)
1985-86 Dale Winder (Commencement Nov 7, 1986)
1986-87 Rob MacNaughton & Bruce Hall (Commence. Nov 6, 1987)
1988-89 Graham Wilson (Commencement Oct 21, 1988)
1988-89 Craig Wilson (Commencement Nov 3, 1989)
1989-90 Paul Klose (Commencement Nov 9, 1990)
1990-91 Scott Mills (Commencement Nov 8, 1991)
1991-92 Stephanie Wilson (Commencement Nov 6, 1992)
1992-93 Michael Kerford (Commencement Nov 5, 1993)
1993-94 David Kavanagh (Commencement Nov 4, 1994)
1994-95 Shannon Spillman (Commencement Nov 3, 1995)
1995-96 Jeffrey Baker
1996-97 Christopher Hyde
1997-98 Jamie-Lee Brown
1998-99 Niall Kelly
1999-2000 Josh Grisdale *
2000-01 Spencer Butt
2001-02 Spencer Freeman
2002-03 Andrew Ramsey
2003-04 Jennifer Carroll
2004-05 Simon Ramsey
2005-06 Lori Duncan
2006-07 Shaun Higgins *
2007-08 Thomas Hanley
2008-09 Christopher Bradbury
2009-10 Katie Stefopulos
2010-11 Brad Pullan
2011-12 ?
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Pictures - as available
(filed in chronological order)
(Please submit pictures - up to 3 - for images as a young person; close to the actual Valedictorial address; and now or a much later picture.) Send to the address shown in the "Contact Us" section.

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1939 - 40   -  Russ St.John
1939 - 40  Russ St.John (click to magnify)
1939 - 40 Russ St.John (click to magnify)

1938 - 39   -  Russ St.John - extracted from school group photo (see "Large group photos")
See Russ in context with the entire school - last row, penultimate on the right - filed under 'Large group photos' 193
See Russ in context with the entire school - last row, penultimate on the right - filed under "Large group photos" 1938-39.
 
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1947 - 48   -  Joyce Pollack (Bradbury)
1947 - 48 Joyce Pollock (Bradbury)
1947 - 48 Joyce Pollock (Bradbury)
 
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Donald Shier's Valedictorian address (1951)

It is with feelings of both pride and humility that I as representative of the Uxbridge Graduating Class of 1951, rise to deliver the valedictory address. I can only hope that my remarks will be a reflection of the ideas of those for whom I speak.

This evening we are parting not only with a great school, but also with a definite period in our lives; a period in which a major development has taken place. It was as children that we came here. It is as young men and women with different ideals and aspirations that we say farewell. We did not as Shakespeare once said, "Creep like snails unwillingly to school" for we found our school not only the centre of learning but also the nucleus of our social and athletic life. It is with a nostalgic feeling that we reminisce about our initiation which was the beginning of a glorious five years. Always, there will linger the fond memories of daily assemblies which provided a welcome recess where we could momentarily forget our texts and turn to a lighter vein. Further fulfilling our lives are the recollections of inter-school basketball games and track meets where the Uxbridge banner was mostly at high mast. The preparation for Commencements was an invigorating part of Autumn School Life around U.H.S. and it was with a certain amount of satisfaction that we saw another successful culmination of hard work. The many Friday night dances in the auditorium which was always so superbly decorated for the gala occasion, likewise, will long be remembered, being but one more link in that endless chain of school festivities.

I believe it would be an omission on my part if I failed to mention the three school buses which had a significant role of their own in the life of the rural student. The Drivers, Mr. Tipper, Mr. Bain and Mr. Whetstone must be congratulated for their competency and, because of their leniency, those few hours of bus life each week were noisy and not soon to be forgotten.

Another memory which comes to mind is of the cadets. The discipline and training afforded by the cadets will be truly an asset and may inspire us to higher realizations in our life to come. It is with thanks that I, personally, am greatly indebted to the cadets for the splendid holiday I experienced this summer in the Canadian Rockies.

Of equal prominence to us will be the memories of our teachers. Even though our recollections will be different, our general impressions will be the same. We learned that our teachers were not merely disciplinarians and instructors but were also our guides and friends, giving freely of their time and energy to assist and advise the individual student. In the administration of the school, we found Mr. Bernhardt both friendly and helpful and I should like to express to you, Sir, our sincere gratitude for all that you have done for us. We will certainly recall Mr. Bernhardt and his ominous threat of the June guillotine, Miss McQuade and her apt philosophy, Mr. Russ and his subtle humour, Mrs. Dobson and the cheery songs that emanated from the ventilators and Mr. Cunningham with his genius in woodcraft. We have further recollections of Miss Smith, Miss O'Shaughnessy and Miss Hall of whom we associate French, Physical Education and "good looks."

Also, at this time, I would like to bestow our appreciation to the School Board and also to the Janitor, Mr. Tompkins, who was so prominent in the upkeep of our school.

On the threshold of a new life ahead, we look back and with a hint of remorse, we must admit that often we have not used our great opportunities to the fullest advantage. In varied instances, we have fallen short of the few responsibilities with which we were confronted but the realizations of our shortcoming will, undoubtedly, make us live more fully in the days to come. Surely, friends, is not that the purpose of education? Education can only awaken the dormant spirit with which we are endowed. And, so reluctant though we are to leave this great school, as always when we have something dear to us, yet we are cheerful at the prospect of the coming years when the influence of the past will prove our most essential stimulus.

There is a wonderful challenge in the world today. Many pessimists and noted prophets prognosticate that this fine world is headed for chaos and annihilation. As a student and a citizen, we should set ourselves to the task of seeing that this does not become a reality. We have been given the opportunity denied by so many others, of equipping ourselves with knowledge and education for the tasks ahead. Let us therefore apply the industry and the initiative which our school has helped develop in us. We will not forget Uxbridge High where the foundation for any success we make of life has been laid. Nor will we forget our motto "Per Ardua. Ad Astra" which literally translated means "Through Adversity to the Stars."

We of the 1951 graduating class have met here tonight, not only to receive our diplomas but also to pay tribute to our school. The tradition of Uxbridge has been high and it is the duty of every student who enters her doors to keep her good name untarnished. While we were here we tried to uphold the standards of our school. Now we pass the trust to you, the undergraduates, to cherish her ideals, to profit by our mistakes and to bring honour to U.H.S.

- Donald Shier

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Eric O. Mundinger's Valedictorian address (1954)
(Click to magnify) This is the first page of the Valedictory.
(Click to magnify) This is the first page of the Valedictory.

(Click to magnify) 2nd page of Valedictory.
(Click to magnify) 2nd page of Valedictory.

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Helen Hickling's Valedictorian address (1955)
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     Tonight I speak for the graduating class of 1954. I would like you to know how deeply I appreciate this honour and to assure you that my appreciation is not lessened even if I am not completely successful expressing all that is in my heart.
     I suppose every farewell has a connotation of sadness and not only in France but in all places it is true that: Partir, c'est mourir un peu:" to go away is to die a little. That feeling is not lacking in us today when we remember the friendly years we have spent at Uxbridge High School, and our teachers who were so helpful and co-operative and our principal, Mr. Bernhardt, who, both friend and adviser guided us through our darkest moments.
     Sometimes during our sojourn here this help and co-operation did not seem too apparent to us, particularly when exams were tough or when we were caught red-handed in some misdemeanour, but I think we have a little perspective now and I can realize more readily that the sense of discipline and responsibility inculcated in our hearts by U.H.S. is even more important to us than the knowledgte of facts instilled in our heads.
    But I don't want to give the impression that our life at U.H.S. was all on a "life is real, life is earnest" basis. We entered our field with exhuberance, we played our hardest at basketball and danced the longest at our school parties. We enjoyed every minute of our school life, even in the classroom.
     I came across a story the other day about a teacher who wrote on the blackboard, "I ain't had no fun all summer." Then she asked Willie "What can I do to correct that?"  Willie hesitated, then said dubiously, "Get a boy friend." Maybe that didn't happen at Uxbridge, but I feel certain that is could have. It is a little intimate memory of this sort that we treasure and  hug to our hearts when we think of our alma mater.
     Alma mater is a phrase that has beeen used so often that in many cases it evokes no feeling at all, but if we translate it to "nourishing mother" it becomes warm and tender and expresses exactly our feelings torwards Uxbridge High Schhool, which has cherished and understood us during our time with her, but more important, like a true mother, she has guided and prepared us to meet life.
     And that is why I think there is no real sorrow in our graduation but only a somewhat nostalgic sadness like that expressed by Longfellow when he mentioned:
     "A feeling of sadness and longing
     That is not akin to pain
     And resembles sorrow only
     As the mist resembles the rain.
"

    And there can be no sorrow in our contemplation of U.H.S. realizing that she has accomplished successfully what she set out to do, making us more thoughtful, more responsible, more mature. She has prepared us for adult life in a sphere outside of her direct influence, but we are helped always by the unforgettable memories of her wise counsel and guidance during these years.
     We are all familiar with the Latin phrase, "Ave atque vale," Hail and Farewell, and I think our feelings tonight can best be expressed by a reversal of it. Farewell Uxbridge High and all your kindly forbearance, wise discipling and careful teachings. Hail life, the adventure which we feel sure we can meet on a much more equal footing, because of the comprehensive preparation we have received in these years.
     Thank you.
Helen Hickling.

1955 - 56   -Helen Harman 
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Elda Smockum's Valedictorian address (1957)
(Click to magnify) 1956-57 valedictory
(Click to magnify) 1956-57 valedictory

1958 - 59   -  Doreen Montgomery
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1959 - 60   -  Catherine Beach
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1960 - 61   -  Grant Feasby
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James McDowell's Valedictorian address (1961)
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         Tonight, we of last year's grade 13, can feel several opposing emotions rising up within us. We feel proud - proud that we have had the privilege of learning many things, and of graduating from this institution. And we are humble, for we realize, increasingly, that we have only started learning.
     As we look forward to the challenges and pleasures of adulthood, we feel very happy that we can be full-fledged citizens, making our own contributions to society. But although we may not like to admit it, we feel just a little sad that after tonight we will be merely graduates and no longer will have an active part of the friendly circles of U.H.S.
     But one emotion for which each of us feels no opposite is gratitude. We are debtors to many people. We express our appreciation to this year's Students' Council for arranging an enjoyable programme tonight. We say "thank you" to the school board and the citizens of this municipality for providing facilities which enables us to work efficiently and easily. We are expecially grateful to our teachers and principal for they have helped us immeasurbly with our studies. They have taught us to love knowledge for knowledge's sake. Their influence has gone far beyond the intellectual. We have found in them friends whom we shall always regard as friends. They have shown us by precept and by example how to be worthy citizens, how to get along with others, and how to lead happy lives. May we live after the pattern they have lived before us.
    Most of all, we wish to pay tribute to our parents this evening. It was they who were compelled to live with us during our explosive adolescence. I doubt that even we know how much they have tolerated during the past five years. It was Dad who made sure that the gas tank was full, who kept our souls and bodies together, who signed our report cards blindfolded. And Mom made sure we got up those dark winter mornings, packed our lunches, and pressed our trousers for us. And if we seemed ungrateful then, we want you, Moms and Dads, to know that we deeply appreciate these and all the other things you did for us.
     Now, before this fellow strips all the grads of every vestige of self-respect and independence, I should like to say that we consider ourselves a pretty good group. In fact, one of our teachers told us that all the time last year. We enjoyed being together, working together, playing together, and talking with one another. Sports, clubs, social events, trips, special assemblies ... in all these things we liked to participate together. The friendships that have been made from '56 to '61 will, I am sure, be cherished and lasting ones, for a group of people with a common goal must learn to rely on and help one another. And we have done just that. Tonight, we do not point to individual achievements and proliferation, but rather each member puts his contribution in the middle of a big circle; then we all stand back and see what Providence has given to all of us, humbly grateful for all we see.
     Then we hear it, a voice which says, "Freely ye have received, greely give." And as a group we take these gifts and distribute them to others. We become increasingly amazed, for the more we give, the more we find we possess: And frantically we work, distributing what we have received, while still receiving more and more. And so it continues ... This is not fantasy, but fact. These gifts that have been given to us, you see, are not tangibles, but intangibles; and only intangibles increase with use and decrease with idleness.
     Thus we graduates find a way to repay you, our friends, and God, our Father, for the  happiness of the past five years. We will have the privilege and challenge of upholding the priceless principles upon which this school, our community, and the nation have been founded. With this, commencement takes on its total meaning, for it marks as well as our farewell to high school, the beginning of our contributions and service to our fellow citizens which we know will be rendered more effective by the preparation we have received.
- James McDowell
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1963 -  Allan Smalley
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     Mr. Bernhardt, members of the staff, ladies and gentlemen. Tonight I am honoured to be the first valedictorian to have the privilege of speaking on behalf of a graduating class in this modern auditorium of the new Uxbridge Secondary School.
    It is a very difficult task to attempt to express in a few words what the past five years have meant to all the graduates here tonight. To some, the fondest of memories may be of teh football games, the basketball games, or any of the sports activities which we have engaged in through the years. Indeed, these will mean a great deal to us as we look back on our high school lives, for it is here that we have learned the value of co-operation and friendship which carries over from our sports activities into everything else that we do. Others may look back with pleasure upon the social events during our years at U.H.S., such as the dances, the skating parties and ski hikes. Or perhaps they may remember best the initiations, at which everyone always has a good deal of fun, including, I'm sure, the first-year students who seem to take the brunt of all that fun. And some might even remember the things we were to frequently told not to forget about geometry.
     However, despite all these extra-curricular activities in which everyone likes to participate, we have found time to do a little work on our studies, with the result that we have now successfully completed our grade thirteen.
     No doubt this appeared impossible when we bagan in grade nine, but with a great deal of assistance and encouragement we have finally reached our goal. This has, of course, required much work on our behalf, but it would not have been possible without the help of our parents. Perhaps they felt sometimes that we were not accomplishing much, and that their ambitions for us would not be realized, but they kept on getting us up, making lunches, and pushing us out of the door until now it seems that their efforts are justified by our graduation tonight. This is only one instalment on the great debt of thanks we owe to them.
    The other part of our debt we owe to our teachers, whose patience and perseverence have, at times, been the only forces driving us forward. When our final marks were received, they were no doubt quite surprised to find that we have been doing some pulling while they had been doing so much pushing. However, they were always ready to help us with any problems that arose, and for this we wish to express our deep and sincere thanks.
     To those graduates who are still on their way up to grade thirteen, we say "Keep Clilmbing!" You have an excellent opportunity before you, and it is a very rewarding and worthwhile accomplishment, as we now realize. Man's only cause for labour is to fulfill his desires: what is worth having is worth working for, and the best helping hand is at the end of your own arm. We hope that you will continue at U.S.S., and keep up its good name. May the spirit of the old school and all it has meant to so many others remain, and not be completely lost in the rush and enthusiasm of the new.
     But now that we have reached this level, we must not think of it as an ending, but rather as the beginning of a new phase of our lives, in which the old is not left behind, but carried with us to give a deeper meaning to what we do in future years.
     It is now our turn to go our in the world and build ourselves a future. Each of us must build his own, and protect the rights of those who follow to do the same. Let us then, as individuals, stand up for what we each believe is right, and not as small tributaries be swallowed up by the stream of life.
    A famous writer once said, "It's not the gale, but the set of the sail, that decides where our ship will go." Let us set our sails for the truly worthwhile goals in life.
- ALLAN SMALLEY
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1965 -  Ellen Lapp
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       It is a great honour and also a great responsibility to be asked to speak on behalf of a graduating class of this size and calibre, a class of both quantity and quality. And so I wish to express my appreciation at being given this opportunity even though the greater part of my experience in public speaking has been talking on the telephone over a party line.
     Tonight we must leave the old and familiar world to explore a new horizon of different experiences and opportunities. We look back to our first days of getting lost in this large and unfamiliar school and our sympathies are with the present Grade Niners whose new world is much vaster than ours was. Initiation, which at the time may have seemed an intolerable humiliation, is now an amusing memory mellowed by time and a new maturity. We all remember dances and parties, Field Days and basketball games, classes and homework, and perhaps a few even remember the definition of a parabole, the Cross-Ratio Theorem, and Hamlet's soliloquies. We spent out years in Uxbridge learning physical skills, moral values, sportsmanship, co-operation and obedience, initiative and persistance, concentration and Geometry.
     However, we cannot claim all the credit for our graduation. We must thank our teachers, and expecially Mr. Bernhardt, for their endless patience and their persistent belief that we were reliable students, capable of great success, even when the overwhelming majority of the evidence was to the contrary. If all the students who slept in our classes were placed end to end ... they would be much more comfortable.
     We also owe a debt of gratitude to our parents for all their efforts. These weary mortals lived through fads such as Elvis, the Beatles and Ben Casey blouses. Somehow, they guided us through crises involving fashion, school, friends, family and personal bankruptcy. They attempted to make us do homework, come home by midnight, and even study for examinations. May they feel their efforts are at least partially justified by our graduation.
     However, our dept is not ended tonight. We must go on paying it the rest of our lives by putting our best into everything we do. It is not necessary to be rich and famous to be successful. Personal happiness and fulfillment are most important.
     The person who is really successful in this life is one who knows what he wants and keeps after it until he gets it. It is good to have the right aim in life, but you must pull the trigger. Unfortunately, too many people do not know what they want, or they are too busy trying to get things that other people want and they think they should have also, even if they do not actually want or need these things. George Bernard Shaw said, "Take care to get what you like, or you will end by liking what you get." Be true to yourself and your own highest convictions. And never allow yourself to cease learning. Education must be lifelong, for the understanding always continues to change; if it is not growing, it must shrink and die. Human improvement, or degeneration, is from within outward. Let us all, both the graduates and the present students, make this verse by Longfellow our motto and guide:
      The heights by great men reached and kept
     Were not attained by sudden flight,
     But they, while their companions slept,
     Were toiling upward in the night.

- Ellen Lapp
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1966 -  Grant Collins
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       It is indeed an honour to speak to you tonight, ladies and gentlemen - an honour and also a challenge. For it is no easy task to express in five minutes what five years of study at Uxbridge High School has meant to all of the graduates tonight. And yet this is what I must try to do. I hope that what I say in the next few minutes will be the feelings shared by all of the graduates.
     As we once again entered the doors of our old school tonight, who of us could help but remember that day when we first came here? That was the day when we marvelled at the many wonders of high school life - changing classes, two laps around that long, long track under a hot sun, and at least one hour of homework each night. How far away that all seems tonight as we stand here, happy that our years have been successful and yet with that feeling deep inside of us, surely common to all graduates when they realize their life at high school is over. It is difficult to describe that feeling. It is a feeling that present members of the student body cannot understand until a night like this, next year or several years from now. It will be only then that you will truly appreciate having attended a school as great as Uxbridge. As for us, we are sorry to leave, yet we would not want to stay. We regret having to leave, because we belong here. We have been Uxbridge's past, just as she has been ours; for she has been the setting of so many mileposts in our lives. But if we are expressing a slight pang of regret, we also feel happy for we have been fortunate to study in a school where the academic standards are above average and where it requires no little effort to make good grades.
     Standards are very important when a basis for the future is being formed. There is an old adage which states: "as the foundation is built, so stands the house." We have been building our foundation these past years and tonight we receive recognition of our efforts. But what has been built here has not been made solely by ourselves. Co-operation by others has been so important. And although these people are thanked at each year's commencement, I feel it is only right that I do so again.
     Commencement could not be complete without mention of our parents. Though they did not help us write our exams, they were there to congratulate or to prod us on to higher efforts. Is is only now that we realize what their faith and encouragement has meant to us.
     Then there was Mr. Bernhardt, the chief engineer of the project, who tried desperately to complete his task in five years. It was Mr. Bernhardt who took the designs of our parents and transformed them into tangible forces in a way we should all be proud of.
     A building cannot be constructed without craftsmen - similarly we would not have been successful without our craftsmen - our teachers. They were the people who worked so hard to spark the light of knowledge in us and to open our minds to the fact that school was more than just concise notes and memory work. Setting an example, they took time out to explain how a student government worked, how to publish a school year book and how the Red Ensign would have made a far superior national flag than three red maple leaves.
     A simple thank you seems hardly enough to express our appreciation to the people I have mentioned, yet, I hope that the sincerity with which it is said, will overcome this difficulty. More important, let us hope that as years go by, both teachers and parents will feel that their investment in us has been a worthwhile one.
- GRANT COLLINS 
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↑ 1966-67 Nancy Bernhardt ↑
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↑ 1966-67 Joan Hickling ↑
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1967 - 68   -  Ann Gage
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What more can I say but thank you, as I speak on behalf of my fellow students in this, the graduating class of 1967 at Uxbridge. We sit here, a group whose hearts are heavy-laden with gratitude for the innumerable gifts bestowed upon up by parents, families and teachers during the past five years.

At this time, I have been given the honour of receiving our many benefits, and must attempt to repay in a few words a debt built up in five years of our lifetimes.

The main characters in this play were our parents. You gave us encouragement when we were down hearted, praised us for work well-done, raised our hopes high after failures and stood by us through times of distress, despair and delight, from examinations to football games. You were always there when we needed you, either to help solve a mathematical equation, or simply to discuss the most recent fad.

Nothing was more important to us, than to know that it mattered to you whether we evolved as successes or failures.

I must not forget an honourable mention for brother and sisters. They too made sacrifices — such as no TV on during pre-examination study periods, and putting up with big brothers bragging after he scored one point in the championship football game. Where would we have been without kid sisters and brothers to cheer us up and make us laugh when we felt like the world was toppling in on us?

Here, allow me to interject a special thank you to a certain family to whom I can never fully express my gratitude for the many services they rendered to me during my high school career, heightened to a peak in my address as valedictorian to-night. Mom, Dad, and Jim, you’re the best rooting section any student could want. Thanks a million again!

Friendships made at school were extremely important to us, and some may last a lifetime. What can be more assuring than to know you have someone living in the same generation as yourself thinking on somewhat similar lines as yourself, to whom you can turn to for advice and confidence? Also, we, as classmates engaged in discussions on a group of never-ending topics, and many modern, but wise, lessons were learned from our peers.

To our teachers, we owe our schooling—a course, which although at times seemed impractical, will constantly recur in our lives, whether we become physicists in a complex nuclear plant or housewives cooking for families. They put before us many lessons, some which we were obliged to accept, others which we could challenge, and at times after. But always they presented us with the opportunity to teach ourselves, one lesson which is invaluable, and never forgotten.

All these people together helped to give us an education. No one individual is responsible for our graduation tonight. We all worked together as in a processing plant into which enters the raw materials to be refined. To the basic substance chemicals are added, treatments given, and impurities ironed out. Hopefully, this seemingly simple, but actually complex system will put forth a product which is in demand by the consumer. So we did embark upon Uxbridge Secondary School as the basic material, not much more than a mere body with a scattering of ideas, most of which concerned learning the latest dance or discovering the name and status of the good-looking guy or gal in the next seat.

But in the years which followed, the vital chemicals were shaken among us by our many creditors, and tonight we embark into the world of the consumer—society. We hope we stand up to Grade A standard.

On this occasion, I have been given the opportunity to reminisce a little, recalling some of the milestones in this, our autobiography.

Many were the times we of this class felt we were the educating system's guinea pigs. We survived through the birth of the new mathematics and biology courses, and restrained our tears when deprived of Grade 11 diplomas. Ours was the good fortune to be the last Grade 12 students who were forced to pay for their textbooks and the first to write the Grade 13 aptitude tests. But in various ways we have benefited from these experiments for all presented a challenge to us. They were just one more barrier which lay in the path of success on the steeplechase course which we followed.

To the students assembled here, I can only say we wish you the best. Your enjoyment of life in Uxbridge Secondary will depend on your attitude towards it. Take it from us, the outsiders, you don’t know how much you appreciate a thing until it is no longer in your possession.

So this commencement marks the crescendo of our high school career and opens the door on the bottom rung of our futures in either further schooling or the business world. Tonight we make our final, official visit to Uxbridge Secondary School as students. As we leave its doors, memories of five joyous years will be all that remains for us, and this no one can ever take away from us.

For my colleagues and myself, once more I thank you. I hope our paths will cross many times during this life, and until they do, may God bless you all.

—Ann Gage.

1968   -Lois Kydd
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1969-70  - Bert Blackburn
1968 - 69   -  Robert (Bert) Blackburn
1968 - 69 Robert Blackburn
1968 - 69 Robert Blackburn
 
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Keith Elford's Valedictorian address - 1970

Mr. Bernhardt, honoured guests, fellow graduates, staff and students of Uxbridge Secondary School, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a great honour and privilege for me to speak tonight on behalf of my fellow graduates. It is an honour, but it is a difficult one for it is clearly impossible for one individual to adequately express the varied feelings of my classmates. Tonight is a stepping stone in our lives. For some, it is a mile post that marks the end of one phase of their formal education and points to further education in a higher institution of learning. For others, tonight marks the end of their formal education. A number of us have already entered a career in the working world.

It is true that although there is a diversity of occupations, we are all still students, for during the years that we walked the halls of this school, we learned a very fundamental lesson that is - to be aware. Some have learned to become more aware of ourselves as individuals as well as our roles in society. Many of us have gained insights that have shaped our present attitudes and will no doubt influence our future decisions. Not only have we become aware of ourselves and those around us, but we have also been exposed to the awesome complexity of God’s creation as portrayed in nature, as well as the ingenuity of mankind’s scientific inventions.

This awareness is the result of education – a kind of education that cannot be gained through the memorization of facts, but rather through the development of the mind to think clearly and logically about the past, present and future. This was our real education. It is impossible for anyone to test such education and subjectively assign marks, but it will be tested; for the true test of our learning will be revealed in our ability to use what we have learned and apply it in our lives. I would like then to express our sincere gratitude to those teachers who were instrumental in leading us to this awareness. We know that you have worked hard and we hope that you are not ashamed of your workmanship as it is displayed here tonight.

I hasten to add, however, that this personal awareness did not come totally from our classroom experiences. The academic aspect did not fill the entire picture of our education at this school. We were also strengthened socially and physically. The opportunities to become actively involved in school activities and athletics enabled us to develop our creative instincts as well as to relate to those around us. Important lessons in human relations – tact, tolerance, self-control, consideration for others and the ability to work with others were all taught us both by our instructors and peers. To me, this was a very important facet of our education for unless one can learn to relate to those around him, no amount of academic knowledge will make him a worthwhile member of society. Thank you then, staff members and students for the lessons of life that you have helped us to learn, and we sincerely hope that we have contributed something in return.

Moms and Dads – we hope that you are proud of what we have accomplished. We realize we have not always tried our hardest. We know that many times our actions and reactions have frustrated you, but we are grateful that you “hung in there” with encouragement and discipline when necessary. Thank you for trying to understand us in the times when we were groping in darkness trying to find ourselves. Many times the frustrations of life were hard to comprehend and although we did not often show it, we did and still do appreciate your wise counsel. Have faith in us and allow us to develop as individuals. We may appear a bit shaky at times and we may act a little differently from what you think we should, but show us that you have confidence in us and that will help us to make it. Remember that we are still discovering ourselves. We have fewer answers because we have not lived as long as you. We need not your instruction but your guidance to help us to learn what life is all about. Thanks again for your help.

If I were to say anything specifically to the present student body, it would be simply this – “Be proud of your school. Get involved in activities that you enjoy and your secondary school experiences will be more pleasant. Strive for excellence in everything you do – especially in your academic work and you will find personal satisfaction in what you have accomplished when it is your turn to walk onto this platform to receive your diploma. You have a school of which I am proud to be a graduate. Please do your part to keep it an institution that is a credit to this community and this country.”

Fellow graduates, this is probably the last time that our paths will converge at the same point. We have already scattered to many different areas and are engaged in a multitude of occupations. I want to sincerely wish each of you the very best that life has to offer. Be proud of your work whatever it is and may God’s blessing accompany each and every one of you as you begin this new phase of your life.

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1970 - 71   -  Robert Bernhardt
Robert Bernhardt 1971
Robert Bernhardt 1971
 
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1972 - 73   -  Mike Strobel
1972 - 73 Mike Strobel - with respect to the Valedictorian speech, it apparently was 'off-the-cuff' and subsequently l
1972 - 73 Mike Strobel - with respect to the Valedictorian speech, it apparently was 'off-the-cuff' and subsequently lost to history. Alas.
 
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1974 - 75   -  Keith Kennedy
(Click to magnify)
(Click to magnify)
 
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1981 - 82   -  Andy Pateman
Andy Pateman - 1982 commencement valedictorian; middle - Principal Dave Brown; far left - Ray Newton (?)
Andy Pateman - 1982 commencement valedictorian; middle - Principal Dave Brown; far left - Ray Newton (?)
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1983 - 84   -  Mark Ford
Already at maximum resolution
Already at maximum resolution
 
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1999 - 2000   -  Josh Grisdale
(Click to magnify) Grad picture from U of Waterloo with a 'now' picture from Japan.
(Click to magnify) Grad picture from U of Waterloo with a 'now' picture from Japan.
 
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↑2006 - 07 - Lori Duncan ↑
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 2006 - 2007  -  Shaun Higgins
2007 - 2008 Shaun Higgins  (click to magnify)
2007 - 2008 Shaun Higgins (click to magnify)
 
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Miscellaneous commencement pictures
(Click to magnify) ... Commencement November 2nd, 1984 - Mark Ford, Ms. Trenka, Ted Samuels
(Click to magnify) ... Commencement November 2nd, 1984 - Mark Ford, Ms. Trenka, Ted Samuels
 
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