On May 17, grade 12 students took to the polls in order to vote for their grade 12 valedictorian. Seven student speeches were presented to the senior student body, before it was revealed on Tuesday that Ben Sigerson, grade 12, won the honourable position.
“[Winning] hasn’t really registered,” said Sigerson. “It’s a surreal thing.”
In order to run for the position of valedictorian, interested students were required to fill out a nomination form that included ten student and two teacher support signatures. The forms were then reviewed by counsellors and administration to ensure that the students met eligibility requirements such as honour roll and good school citizenship.
On May 16, Sigerson along with fellow candidates Anaita Dadinatha, Jay Kim, James Liggins, Victoria Makovetski, Madison Suchodolski, and Elisa Testa, all grade 12, presented two-minute speeches during CL.
“[The speech] is a chance for candidates to show the grade 12 class […] that they can relate to what [the students] have been through, that they would be comfortable getting up and speaking in front of a large audience, and that they would be a good representative of the grade 12 student body,” said Victoria Butterfield, counsellor.
“I always thought the valedictorian had to be someone who was super smart and well known,” said Dadinatha. “When I found out that wasn’t the case, I decided that [running for valedictorian] was something that I knew if I didn’t do, I would regret in the future.”
During the speeches, grade 12 students had the opportunity to score each speech on three different criteria: content and organization, voice and language, and eye contact and body language.
“I was very nervous leading up to the speech, but once I was up on stage with the other speakers, I felt much more calm,” commented Liggins. “During and after the speech, I was really proud of what I had done, and the class was very receptive.”
The first round of votes resulted in Dadinatha, Liggins, and Sigerson placing as the top three candidates.
“I was excited to place in the top three because I was honestly unsure of how I did since everybody gave great speeches,” said Liggins. “My progress in public speaking has really improved since grade 9, so I’m proud of myself for just running.”
A second day of voting occurred on May 17 in the front foyer, where graduates had to present their student IDs before formally voting for their choice of valedictorian.
“I don’t feel like it’s about me,” said Sigerson, following his win. “It’s not the same feeling as when you have a project to present and you get a good mark, but instead it’s a feeling of accomplishment, gratitude, and humility.”
Sigerson will present his final speech on June 15 during the commencement ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
“I can’t say everything for everyone, and I can’t even say everything for myself, but if I say enough and am honest and legitimate about it, then that’s the best I can do,” concluded Sigerson. “It’s all I can ask of myself and hopefully, it’s all the school asks of me.”