Column: Valuable lessons for grads that COVID-19 pandemic has taught us

Council Report by Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison

Congratulations to the 2020 graduates of Kings Christian, Shuswap Alternate and Salmon Arm Secondary.

You are the first graduates of this decade!

This is a big milestone event in your life. The completion of 13 years of grade schooling.

I share the disappointment that you, your family and your friends feel in not being able to have regular grad ceremonies take place.

Thank you to each of your schools for being creative in allowing ceremonies of a unique kind to happen this year.

You are graduating in extraordinary times. COVID-19 has resulted in challenging times for everyone, especially for our more vulnerable and senior’s populations.

At times like this, you, our youth, are more important than ever. Our world needs your bright minds, your creativity, your empathy and your kindness. I have no doubt you will lead us confidently and with compassion into the future.

Everything happens for a reason. There is opportunity to learn from every circumstance. This pandemic is teaching us some important lessons.

Read more: In photos: Salmon Arm Secondary grads come to McGuire Lake park for photo op

Read more: Council Report: Salmon Arm wrestles with parking spaces

I’d like to share three that I have learned:

Firstly, kindness matters. Kindness is our most valuable behavior. There is always time and room for kindness.

Second, flexibility. Being able to adjust to change is a most important life skill. Recent events show we just do not know what is around the corner. Being able to welcome change, to adjust our thinking, and to be open to new ways of doing things, allows calmness during stormy times.

And third, and perhaps the most important, is to try not to judge others. Until we walk in another’s shoes, we cannot understand their circumstance. Everyone has a story. Taking the time to listen, with understanding to that story, is helpful for everyone.

To all graduates, your family, teachers, school staff and friends, your graduation is an accomplishment to be proud of. Now is the time to move forward and create your own story!

The residents of Salmon Arm and city council congratulate you, each member of the 2020 graduating class, and we wish you the very best in your future.

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