Congratulations on your accomplishments! Your years of schooling have taken you to the cusp of a lifelong journey of discovery. Your potential is there for you to tap into, and we are excited to see the future that you craft for yourselves. You have concluded a chapter in your lives that have prepared you to write new chapters of bigger and better things. That is truly something to celebrate.
As you celebrate your achievements, it is important to remember that it was your ability to think that got you to where you are now. As you prepare to celebrate, please make sure you do not abandon those thought processes that have allowed you to succeed thus far.
We saw how alcohol can destroy communities and lives. We saw this during the Stanley Cup riot, in which alcohol-fuelled people made terrible decisions which have resulted in public humiliation. The consequences from these actions will haunt their lives forever.
We are also saddened by the stabbing death of a grade 11 student who was attending an “after grad” party in Penticton. These are two separate tragedies where youths gathered to “celebrate” ended with absolutely horrific results. What common thread do they share? Alcohol.
Here in Sooke, the community has responded by leading through example and choosing to abstain from using this drug ourselves for the entire month. In so doing, we have passed up the consumption of alcohol at birthday parties, anniversaries, retirements, barbecues, etc., and sent you the message that we support you in celebrating without alcohol.
You have been celebrating occasions without alcohol since you were born. Now, as the time approaches to celebrate, remember it was your ability to think that got you to where you are.
Enjoy your graduation and reflect upon everything that it means, and where it will lead you. But please, know that the community is behind you, and remember to celebrate without the use of alcohol.
Cpl. Scott Hilderley