Suit jackets and ties were draped over chairs. High heels were strewn on the side of the dance floor. Hands were in the air as bodies gyrated to the sounds of Rihanna‚Äôs 'Unfaithful' and Shakira‚Äôs 'Hips Don't Lie.'
The DJ pumped other songs through the loud speakers, but I do not have any recollection of what they were. And it was not because I was intoxicated ‚ÄĒ far from it.
Eight years later, those aspects of my high school graduation banquet remain engrained in my memory. So too are the elaborate twirls of my dance partner, who I thought was the most beautiful girl in my high school.
There are other high school memories that have stuck with me since graduating from Strathcona Composite High School in Edmonton: smashing an old car with a sledgehammer, claiming an individual silver medal in the High School City Golf Championship in Grade 12, and all the band festival trips I was a part of.
However, more important than the memories I made in high school are the relationships I formed with some of the 485 graduates I shared the stage with the night before the banquet.
There are times when it is difficult to fathom that eight years have elapsed since I wrote my last high school diploma ‚ÄĒ Social Studies 30, Part B. And I sometimes wonder about the lives my fellow graduates have formed since we were all last together. How many of them are doctors? Are any of them journalists? How many of them are parents? Who have we lost?
In the years ahead, I expect some of these questions, plus a host of others, will be asked by Moose Jaw‚Äôs newest high school graduates. Although questions will be raised and memories rehashed about the ‚Äúgood ‚Äėol high school days,‚ÄĚ in some form or another high school helped form the young men and women who are leaving behind their childhood and entering the next phase of their lives.
Did I see myself as journalist when I graduated high school?
I do not think the thought even entered my head. But here I am.
Did I see myself already losing my hair?
Not a chance. But I am.
Did I see myself living in Saskatchewan?
I cannot say it was a place I wanted to live. But I do now.
If I have anything to say to the graduating classes of Peacock Collegiate, Central Collegiate, Vanier Collegiate, Riverview Collegiate and Cornerstone Christian School, it is this: expect the unexpected, and take it in stride.
Whether you are a valedictorian, a successful student athlete, arts junkie, or struggled to find your niche in high school, remember the words of C.S. Lewis: ‚ÄúThere are better things ahead than any we leave behind.‚ÄĚ
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.