St. Luke’s grads get over it

Education: Senator Scott Tannas guest speaker at 2014 grad ceremony

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 06:00 am

Sabrina Stewart gives the St. Luke’s Outreach Centre's Class of 2014 graduation address during ceremonies at St. James Catholic Church May 30 in Okotoks.
Sabrina Stewart gives the St. Luke’s Outreach Centre's Class of 2014 graduation address during ceremonies at St. James Catholic Church May 30 in Okotoks.
Bruce Campbell/OWW

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A Canadian senator reached out to more than 40 students to offer congratulations for overcoming obstacles in earning their high school diplomas.

“Many of you have faced exceptional and unusual challenges and you have overcome these obstacles and here you are on graduation day,” said Senator Scott Tannas at the St. Luke’s Outreach Centre’s graduation ceremony on May 30 at St. James Church in Okotoks. “You are all extraordinary people and I am honoured to be asked to be here to be with you.”

St. Luke’s Outreach Centre is for students who have opted out of attending traditional school for various reasons.

The students’ work is done through online courses and some traditional learning with the help of Christ the Redeemer School Division staff.

Tannas also congratulated the parents of the students, jokingly asking: “Parents, hands up if you ever thought this day was going to come?” as he sheepishly raised his hand with his St. Luke’s graduating son Alex in attendance.

He said his shared all of the parents’ thoughts in urging the Class of 2014 to “keep going to be the best that you can be...This achievement of graduating from high school says so much about you. It says you are strong, determined and you want to chart your own destiny.

“There are so many young Canadians who do not achieve what you have achieved... Nobody can ever take this away from you. It is yours and only yours.”

Tannas, who founded Western Financial Group which has its head offices in his hometown of High River, offered the students five pieces of advice as they go on with their lives, regardless of the occupational paths they follow.

Those were: 1. love yourself; 2. get going, don’t wait; 3. tell the truth and tell it quickly; 4. be persistent but not stubborn; 5. be kind and compassionate – especially to those who have less than you.

Tannas said they will make mistakes along the way, but told the grads to make the right kind of mistakes.

“Make a mistake that involves action, don’t make a mistake because you didn’t do something but you wish you had,” Tannas said. “The mistakes of commission are always the ones you learn from.”

When – not if – a mistake is made, own up to it and do so quickly.

“The saying ‘the truth shall set you free,’ is so true,” Tannas said. “Always, quickly tell the truth, even when it looks really bad for you.”

Tannas wasn’t the only one who gave some advice. St. Luke’s 2014 graduand Sabrina Stewart told classmates not to take life too seriously during her graduation address.

“Life is too short for twitter wars or reality TV or playing Halo 3 in your mom’s basement,” Stewart said. “You had a bad week? Get over it. Your girlfriend dumped you. Get over it. I owe you money...”

“The world is your oyster – or however that cliché goes.”


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