Cameron Brugger still remembers walking down the halls of Vincent Massey High School for the first time as a shy Grade 9 student.
He remembers feeling nervous and having some difficulty with his locker, something that hasn’t changed over time.
Brugger said he went from "not knowing anybody" to being voted the valedictorian for his graduating class.
"Here I am today, four years later, still unable to open my locker, but I do know pretty much everybody in this graduating class," he said during his valedictory address to the roughly 170 grads and hundreds of family, friends and school staff at Westman Place on Wednesday.
Before leaving the podium, he also wanted to share some advice his father gave him.
"Do not let your career or your job define who you are as an individual but let the choices in your life define who you are," he said.
Brugger’s address to the graduates also gave him the opportunity to reflect on the past four years of his life.
"In these four years I’ve noticed I’ve changed completely as a person, not just on the inside and the outside, I’ve changed socially … being able to meet new people and this is probably the best class … they are so inviting and so nice to each other and it actually makes me really sad that I have to leave."
Included in this year’s graduating class was Dylan Keogh, winner of the $1,000 Variety Pat Riordan Fine Arts Scholarship, the 2013 Acting Out Grad Scholarship and the Class of ’81 Comty/Poole Character Scholarship, both worth $500.
The fine arts scholarship is awarded to a deserving high school student each year who is pursuing education in either music or fine arts at a college or university in Manitoba.
"It’s for having high achievement in the field of art and just being able to participate in a lot of different kinds of medium in the arts industry and getting your art out there and showing it around," he said.
Keogh said he plans to attend Brandon University in the fall for one year and then hopes to study film outside the province. He said that Vincent Massey was a great school for him to hone his skills and artistic abilities.
"It’s been great working here. I find that there’s been a lot of opportunities for me to do artistic things throughout the school," he said. "My teachers have definitely been a huge inspiration for me, showing me all the different kinds of art you can do and just pushing me to work harder and giving me that constructive criticism to make my pieces better."
The graduation ceremony also included the presentation of the Governor General’s Medal for the highest overall Grade 11 and 12 average, which was given to graduate Erica Sharanowski.