January 24th, 2021

Announcement catches CCH valedictorian by surprise

By Lethbridge Herald on May 8, 2020.

Elisha Wong reacts after receiving a surprise visit by teachers, staff and a small group of friends, including Emma Knodel and Madi Gal, as they came to her home Friday morning to let her know she had been chosen as this year's valedictorian for the graduating class at Catholic Central High School. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Ian Martens
Lethbridge Herald
Normally the naming of a valedictorian would be a formal affair with a call down to the school office to receive an official letter of acceptance from the principal. With schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s announcement instead quite literally came to Elisha Wong’s doorstep.
Teachers, staff and a small group of close friends made a surprise visit to Wong’s home Friday morning to let her know she had been chosen to represent the 2020 graduating class at Catholic Central High School.
“This is amazing. I think this is even more interesting than it would have been if everything was normal,” said Wong. “I think this is even better!”
Even with the abbreviated school year and accommodations being made for graduating students, principal Joanne Polec said Wong earned the honour fair and square, having completed her diploma exams before the pandemic impacted schools, earning an overall average of more than 99 per cent.
“There was no doubt that she would be named after that,” said Polec.
Wong says she is looking to attend the University of Lethbridge’s neuroscience program next year with an eye towards exploring medicine in the future.
“Growing up with parents in the health-care field, especially seeing how they have to work and help other people a lot during this time, it encourages me even more to further pursue this goal.”
Friday’s surprise announcement was fitting as this weekend would have normally been when CCH would be celebrating with its graduation mass, convocation ceremony, banquet and dance.
The school is planning a digital ceremony, where Wong will deliver her valedictorian address, as well as looking to hold a graduation parade next month, with small groups of students at a time receiving a graduation presentation while filing past the school’s east campus.
“The school community is really great and all the teachers and admin, they do really care about us students. Considering the circumstances they have really tried to make this grad as best as it can be.”
And with her valedictorian announcement only minutes old, Wong managed to begin thinking of her message to fellow grads with a word of encouragement.
“Even though things are rough sometimes it’s going to get way better and you’re going to be really happy one day.”
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