Wise words and congrats from Manu Madhok

At the FSJSS Grad ceremony on Friday June 9, Nechako Lakes Assistant Superintendent Manu Madhok offered his congratulations: “One of the pleasures of living in a small community is that we all have fond memories of each of the students in preschool, elementary school and now, graduating from high school.

Manu addressed the students directly, sharing words of wisdom around the notion of..

Paying It Forward

“Arguably, you been given the opportunity to be housed, fed and educated in one of the best countries in the world. You all know this is a privilege not shared by many young people your same age across the globe. You are intuitive enough to know that you owe a great gratitude to those who helped you get to the stage you are on today.

“I want you to know that I speak for many in saying that the greatest gratitude that you can show us is to pay forward by engaging as an educated citizen in the personal and societal challenges that will come your way. Two quotes from cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

“Take some time to research and investigate the movements that have made a difference in our world. They are rarely done through politics, policy or directive. The large majority of positive change movements have been started by a small group of determined individuals. As an example – did you know:

Fort St. James is the only community within Nechako Lakes School District that has completed the hard work of sponsoring a family from Syria.

“A committee of small determined group of people have helped a family be welcomed to Canada and build a new life. You only have to see the smiles on their faces to know how grateful they are that this group of people paid forward with time, commitment and hard work to make this happen. We expect nothing less from all of you. The second quote by Margaret Mead:

Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.

“We are living in a time when many people are using fear as a means of persuading policy to shift towards exclusion. This is the complete opposite of your experience in our schools where we practice inclusion by welcoming all.

“As you have learned there are often many sides to complex issues and we expect you to be a democratic citizen by making sure that you understand all of these sides prior to exercising your democratic rights in our society. There is a great big world out there that we want you to explore. But more importantly there is a great big world out there that we want you to improve. Hate prejudice and violence have created significant challenges and what we want from you, the 2017 graduating class of Fort St. James, is to go and make a difference. I have no doubt that each of you will be successful in your own special ways. What we want is for you to put your learning, empathy and passion to good use in paying it forward.

“Graduates of 2017 please know that we congratulate you, we love you and we look forward to telling your stories.”