Lindsay Thurber Valedictorian credits his time in French Immersion for success
Striving for excellence and continuously pushing himself to be his best version has landed Lindsay Thurber graduate Samuel Bakker the title of Valedictorian for the Class of 2023.
Samuel, who was given the news earlier this month, said it was an extremely exciting moment.
“I knew I was in the running for it, but I wasn’t sure if I had gotten it. I was able to keep myself composed when I was told, but I did a little happy dance after,” he said. “This year, the Valedictorian race was extremely close and all of the students in the running are all exceptional people who deserve this just as much as I do, but it is an honour to represent our class.”
Samuel, who has been in the French Immersion program at Red Deer Public Schools since Kindergarten, said the program has afforded him some great opportunities.
“The main thing that led my parents to register my sister and I in the French Immersion program was because it was something that was a little bit more challenging, and a program we might find a little more engaging,” he said, adding he recognizes it may open more opportunities in his future. “Overtime we learned the value of it, and what I have enjoyed the most is the sense of community we have with the people we’ve gone through the program with. It’s been nice to have a core group of people to go through my schooling with.”
A highlight of high school for Samuel has been the opportunity to be part of the school’s Student Council.
“I’ve loved the work I’ve gotten to do with the Student Council. I run our community division so I’ve gotten to do lots of charitable drives and fundraising,” he said. “We’ve been able to do so many wonderful things with the resources of the school behind us.”
As for plans after high school, Samuel will be heading to the University of British Columbia to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree. “I’m not sure yet what I will minor or major in, but I would like to do graduate school of some kind,” he said.
As part of his role as Valedictorian, Samuel will address his fellow graduates on May 25 at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre during the school’s graduation ceremonies.
“The overarching theme of my speech is how we've been through the journey of high school together and are now heading off on our own adventures,” he said. “High school has shown us who we are and how we can take forward what we’ve learned and apply it to whatever we encounter in the future.”
As the Lindsay Thurber graduation is right around the corner on May 25, Samuel said he is looking most forward to the ceremony.
“I am really looking forward to walking across the stage, getting my diploma and being there with my family.”
Chris Good, Principal at Lindsay Thurber, said being named valedictorian is a testament to the hard work and dedication that Samuel has shown during his time at the school.
“He has earned this distinction through resilience and commitment to his course work. In addition to his academic achievements, Samuel also makes our school a better place to be through his work with student leadership,” he said. “I look forward to hearing his address to our graduating class.”