May 21st, 2024

CCH valedictorian honoured to lead class across the stage

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on May 9, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Sam McAdam, who says he plans to pursue a career in environmental engineering, has been named this year's valedictorian for the graduating class at Catholic Central High School.


Catholic Central High School students are gearing up to walk across the stage this weekend to receive their diplomas, concluding their first 12 years of learning.

This year’s valedictorian is Sam McAdam and principal Joanne Polec says he was the obvious choice, not only because of his high grade point average score, but because of his many academic accomplishments throughout the last three years.

“Sam, since Grade 10, has been highly academic. He’s quite humble about his progress as a student. He was the recipient of the grade 10 and 11 highest achievement award. It wasn’t really a question as to whether he would be valedictorian or not,” said Polec.

 She said it was a matter of how high that mark was going to be and when they did the math about a month ago, he was 3.2 per cent over the next highest average sitting at 99 per cent.

When asked about being the valedictorian, McAdam said it was a big honour and feels like his efforts have paid off.

“I’ve always been really passionate about learning in school and I’ve always believed we should just work hard at everything. And so, I think it happened because I’ve always tried my best,” said McAdam.

When it comes to his valedictorian speech, he said it is written and ready and he is looking forward to reading it, even though the idea of being in front of so many people makes him a little bit nervous.

“It’s a pretty big responsibility so I’m a little nervous, but I think I am going to be able to do it. I have played piano for the last two years and I have some experience performing in front of people,” said McAdam.

 He said his recital experience will help him keep his nerves from getting the best of him.

During his time at CCH, McAdam was a member of the Robotics Club and said it was an amazing experience.

“When I first joined, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the students who had previously been in the club had already graduated, so we had to start building again from the ground up and it was really interesting,” said McAdam.

 He said he originally wanted to build and design the mechanical aspects, but due to a lack of members to take care of the coding side of things, he stepped up and took on the role.

 “I ended up taking the initiative on that and I became the coder, and I discovered I really enjoyed that as well,” said McAdam.

Outside of school, McAdam enjoys rock climbing and is a member of the Lethbridge Competitive Climbing Club.

“I’m a competitive rock climber. I’ve been climbing for about four years and climbing competitively for three,” said McAdam.

 He said he has not done any competitions this year because he has been focused on school. But previously he has taken part on competitions all around Alberta and British Columbia.

When asked about what is next, McAdam said he will be attending the University of British Columbia to pursue a career in environmental engineering, as he really enjoys science.

“I think it’ll be a satisfying career. I’ll feel like I’m making a difference no matter where I go. I think if I become an environmental engineer, I’ll get a lot of opportunities to help people and the environment, which I think will be a really fulfilling career,” said McAdam.

McAdam will be crossing the stage along with 299 classmates Saturday at the Enmax Centre, with this year’s graduation theme being “The rest is left unwritten.”

Polec said this year theme comes from their graduation song “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield, which was chosen with a 70 per cent vote during the selection process.

Students will also have the opportunity to take part of the graduation mass on Friday night and students who are Indigenous or Metis took part in a feather and sash ceremony Tuesday night

“We have 34 First Nations and Metis graduates who will be recognized with either a an eagle feather or a Metis sash,” said Polec.

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