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A Message to the 2020 Graduates from Mayor Nancy Peckford

Letter sent to St. Michael's Catholic High School and North Grenville District High School on June 22, 2020

Dear Class of 2020,

On behalf of my Council colleagues, I would like to congratulate all of our 2020 North Grenville graduates.

This is not likely the graduation that you had imagined. Some of you may be quietly relieved to be freed from the angst of prom night and other formalities. Many others of you are, no doubt, deeply disappointed to lose out on the celebrations and the closure that come with an important graduation such as this one.

But the reality is that this pandemic will offer you invaluable learnings – in how to be resilient, in adapting to change, in adjusting your expectations and, equally important, using technology for the good of our communities, the country and the world.

As you embark upon your next adventure in life, I humbly offer you three pieces of advice during these unprecedented times:

1. Be Nimble - As many of you already know, life doesn’t always work out as you had hoped. Sometimes, there are as many disappointments as there are delights. But the truth is - as one door closes, another opens. Always remember this. There is a way forward. Learn to think outside the box, stay focused on your goals, and do what makes you feel alive and hopeful about the world.

2. Be Collaborative - As Mayor, I have learned that collaboration is key. You simply cannot get stuff done alone. The team you join or the team you build up will be crucial to your success. True teamwork requires honesty, self-awareness, flexibility and the capacity to see what makes others tick. These are often learned skills and there are worth the time and investment. 

3. Be Kind – Quite simply, it pays to be kind. Power and wealth have their limits. Kindness does not. I have seen time and time again that when we treat others like we wish to be treated, good things happen. Of course, boundaries are critically important. You must start by being kind to yourself - but if you can act from a place of compassion, for yourself, others, and particularly those you may not like or understand, it will make the world of difference. And the world will be better as a consequence. 

Congratulations Grads of 2020!

You are more powerful than you may realize right now. Each and every one of you will shape how this century will turn out. As individuals, you deserve a life free of prejudice and fear, and the opportunity to be your best self.

While this has been a most unexpected year, I fully expect that you will take your place in the world - and succeed. We are counting on you!

I can’t wait to see what you accomplish next.

Sincerely,

(originally signed)

Mayor Nancy Peckford 
North Grenville, Ontario