The 2018 graduating class of North Colchester High School. Opened as Tatamagouche Rural High School in 1950, the Class of 2018 is the final graduating class in the school’s history, as a new school is set to open in September. Raissa Tetanish photo

The final graduate crossed the stage, diploma in hand, tassle to the other side.

It was a milestone for North Colchester High School, as the Class of 2018 was the final graduating class of the school’s existence thanks to Tatamagouche Regional Academy opening in September.

For Aunix Lockyer-Breen, she was the last student to stand on the stage as the valedictorian. She quoted Drake, a Canadian actor and musician, as well as Neil Gaiman, an English author whose works include short fiction, novels, and film.

Addressing her fellow graduates, Lockyer-Breen acknowledged the obstacles they were able to overcome and accomplish.

“Every student in the graduating class of 2018 has prospered both inside and outside the school,” she said. “We’ve evolved from scared Grade 7s to ambitious and impulsive graduates welcoming any challenge with open arms and mind.”

She said in the future, many will move on – to college or university. They’ll also join clubs and make some friends.

“You’ll meet your first roommate and realize the beds, stacked on top of each other, will make so much more room for activities,” she said, laughter erupting from many in the audience at the reference to 2008 comedy Step Brothers, featuring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.

But while they will no longer be high school students, Lockyer-Breen said they’re still allowed to say ‘I don’t know’ as a response to questions, especially when their parents ask when they’re finally move out of the house and stop eating their food.

“In the future, each and every one of you will do great things and continue to encounter amazing people,” she said. “Street poet and philosopher Drake once said, ‘oh well, I guess you lose some and win some. Long as the outcome is income, you know I want it all and then some.”

Lockyer-Breen shared one of her favourite quotes, which comes from Gaiman’s 2012 commencement address at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts.

“Now go and make interesting mistakes,” Lockyer-Breen quoted, “make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world better for your being here.”

She said Gaiman spoke worlds of truth in that single quote.

“Now IS the time for mistakes, the time to make a choice and then change your mind, and change it again. No decision has to be final. You can make a change in your life.”