Valedictorian Speech by Philip Mycek and Hamza Zuberi

Journey from elementary school and beyond….

Hello. This year, like many others, we have all faced adversities. But still, these directors have made their art shine through their movies-

No Hamza, wrong event man.

What? This isn’t the Oscars?

No man, that’s next week

Ok mybad mybad- The Grammy’s have always been an event I’ve wanted to host. Err- is that Drake?

That’s Mr. Bruneau Hamza. Similar style but not quite.

Wait, this says GRAD

Good Morning Parents, staff, siblings, students, and distinguished guests.

It is with great honour that we get to represent the incredible Riverside Secondary Class of 2022.

As a grad class, we have accomplished numerous things:

From the athletic victories

To the academic victories

To the community we’ve built around each other

We belong to a school comprised of incredible teachers, students, and staff.

As a graduating class, we’ve raised money for causes, donated food and clothes, and have fostered a pretty welcoming environment

Some of us survived Lepore’s history classes

(Even if we didn’t always do all the readings)

(I did all of the readings, Mr. Lepore

Speak for yourself)

Our Grad class has witnessed and triumphed over great adversities throughout not only the past four years, but since our academic journey began, back when we still had naptime.

Some of us still have naptime during our math classes.

That’s not to say I don’t love finding the sin of 30

But how’d we even get to the point where practice problems gave us headaches?

It was 13 years ago we first began our kindergarten journeys.

We had our first day

Learned to count

Learned to read

Learned to want to go home

Little did we know that those days would serve as the foundation for our education today

In Elementary School we were even more dependent on our parents then we are now

They made our lunches, dropped us off, picked us up, we complained, they wondered why they picked us up

But despite our complaints, they still put in the work and put in the hours toward our futures. And we have them to thank for shaping us into the mature, conscientious-


sure, beautiful- Individuals we are today

We had activity days

Watched Disney channel cliches

Called half a paragraph an essay

And dont forget about the olympics, though the only thing i rember was carrying that weird looking torch to take pictures with

Elementary School is where we made and shared our first memories with our friends, making connections that would last a lifetime- or until grade 6 at least.

Then Middle School hit, perhaps indisputably the most awkward phase of our lives

I can still remember my first whip nae nae

And Hotline Bling caught us by surprise

Thanks Drake (both)

And fetty wap had us all hype whenever our math teachers would say the numbers 17 and 38

But it was hard to sing when our voices suddenly went down 3 octaves and we couldn’t hit that high e flat no more

Yeah those voice cracks sure didn’t help when trying to talk to our crush

Please, it was embarrassing enough as it is, i don’t think anyone here wants to re-visit it.

And finally, the main event, high school

New experiences, and a whole lotta new people

There was our first relationship

For some our second relationship

Perhaps the third

Realizing you were the problem

(slightly awkward pause)

Do any of you remember grade 9 for a day?

Was I the problem?

Shh, Philip. It’s okay… (He WAS the problem)

Walking through the halls in our first weeks, it was at times hard to distinguish the grade 12’s from the teachers

Especially Barrington, looking so youthful and joyous…

I wonder what his skincare routine is

Rumor has it he’s all nach-oo-rall

Spirit assemblies connected all of us

And spirit we had

RSIDE pride had us wearing our black t shirts

We all adjusted quickly to the more self-directed nature of high school

Then, grade 10. The year started off like any other.


Spirit assemblies

Our last spirit assembly

Then, March of grade 10, 2020. It hit.

Mr. Neufeld got the nicest fade I’ve ever seen

And a global pandemic took center stage in our lives

Covid-19 provided many obstacles

The world shut off and Netflix turned on

Suddenly we were all obsessed with Carole basking and the tiger king.

Online school provided us with almost too much free time

*cough* almost (but not quite)

Waking up 5 minutes before class started

-And waking up again 5 minutes before class ended

Was a different experience that had varying satisfaction

Grade 11

Like a game of basketball, we were playing in quarters

The quarter system was both a blessing and a curse

(My GPA went up) (My GPA went down)

I guess it depends on who you asked

For some, it was a perfect balance between the aspects of online and offline schools

Walking through halls that we’d been through thousands of times had been accompanied with a feeling of… foreignness

It was pretty foreign only being able to walk UP the main stairs

Yeah trying to sneak down them was like trying to rob a heavily secured bank, it was always guarded and was impossible not to get caught

But maybe looking back hallway patrol wasn’t too bad

It was BAD on my back man, those side hallways were C-R-A-M-P-E-D cramped.

Grade 12

Seeing our peers in classrooms and crowded hallways felt… wrong

For like a week then we got used to it

Boom, grade 12

Land of the independent free-thinkers that are in this crowd

And the guy who took my spot in the student parking lot

Scrambling to figure out where to apply, how to apply, when to apply

Trying to plan out our whole future out while at the same time trying to find the correct outfits for spirit week was Overwhelming to say the least,

The stress of trying not to get stung didnt help

Yeah, im pretty sure the teachers lost some faith in humanity’s future when we refused to walk out of class and requested to be carried out.

Oh, and who could forget about that famous Oscar Ceremony-

Woah, be careful what you say next, you never know where Mr. Smith is hiding

After all that struggling I know one thing

Started from the bottom, now we’re here

Started from the bottom, now the whole team here.

Despite the differing paths we may all take, I am certain that this grad class will accomplish more incredible things in the future

Whether it be a gap year, post-secondary institution, or straight into your passion, that you choose to go into-

Whether you were a provincial champion, an actor who had to learn their lines during troubling times, a musician, a French Immersion student trying not to forget your second language,

Or an international student trying TO learn a second language,

Or in the learning centre or library trying to get that sentence or math problem right,

a shop worker, bike rider, volleyball bumper, puck slapper, penalty kick taker, or a Riverside Lounge couch enjoyer-

-or a skipper

You made it

And always remember that life is precious. There are some graduates unable to join us today who are smiling down on us, and it is ON US to always remember to always work hard, be empathetic, and enjoy life, because it can be taken away at any moment. We are the bearers of their memories.

So you walked across the stage today and proved to everyone that you CAN do it.

But wherever the future may take you

We only ask that you choose to pursue the passions that you enjoy and showcase your greatness

Just like a river, we’ll all flow down our paths, some going separate ways

But we’ll always be rapids regardless of whether we stay in our little ponds or venture into the ocean

G22, be the change you wish to see in this world

(woah Philip I didn’t know you were gonna get all metaphorical on us)

That was actually a SIMILE Hamza.

Please no, Ms. Shong’s class is coming back to me.

While you get ready to say goodbye-

-Take a moment to enjoy not the past nor the future, but what we have now right here, in each others presence, one last time

OK, G22. On the count of 3 I I’m going to say whose side and while you say RSIDE I want you to throw your caps in the air!




Who’s Side?

Salutatorian Speech by Ammarah Siddiqui and Ella Aspinall

Salutatorian Speech 2022

Welcome everyone to the Commencement of Riverside’s Class of 2022 we would like to start by acknowledging the land where this ceremony takes place. My name is Ammarah Siddiqui, and I am a settler on this land. My mother immigrated here from Pakistan and my father draws roots from both Pakistan and England.

My name is Ella Aspinall, and I too am a settler on this land my mother comes from England and my father from Scotland. I would like to take this time to acknowledge that our grad class will walk on the land of the Kwikwetlem, Katzie, Sto:lo, Qayqayt, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen, Musqueum, Tsleil-Watuth, and Squamish nations whose land we have played on, learned on, and grown on. Teachers, families, alumni, and staff.

And of course, 2022s grad class

We owe much of our success to the people here with us today and to those that couldn’t make it

So, thank you.

Little did we know we’d all be standing here together today

When we were voted your salutatorians, we were a tad unsure of how this speech was going to go

And also, how to pronounce our newly earned title

Say it with me “Saluta – torian”

Sal utorian


This role gives us the opportunity to welcome you to our ceremony, or as our youth would call it

A “pregame”

So, lets us take us all back 4 years

The beginning of high school

Little did we know

That these four years would make us the accomplished graduates that walk this stage today

In grade 9 laptops were mandatory

Because Riverside was a tech school, with amazing wifi

Pro: our parents were forced to get us one

Con: the Digital boot camp (insert joke/explanation here)

It wasn’t all bad though

(Transition here)

We underwent social upheaval

Middle school friend groups collapsed

As did our mental health ***(does this need context?)

But we got to know the Pitt River kids

And the Citadel kids

And those of you from Kway

No longer divided by a long road

We were brought together by Riverside

Grade 10 was the year after this convergence

Our grades didn’t really count yet

And we had figured out, pretty much, that rooms with 1s were downstairs and the 2s were upstairs.

We hope that’s not new information

And to talk about the elephant that needs to leave the room

Little did we know

Our grade 10 year would be (the ultimate) cough and cold season

In grade 11 we started to grow into the young adults we were meant to be

We recognized the faults within ourselves

And the world around us

And we sought to change them

Some tried to make capstone bigger than themselves

And others went through hours of volunteering

To leave our childhood in the past

But to make our child self proud

This was the year it finally came to light (ella has questions – ella at 11:40pm practicing)

Who was going to peak in high school

And finally, the day we had all been waiting for

The first day of senior year

We were very different people that entered the building this year


Not for some of us; Smarter

Not for some of us

Or a little more lost

But changed for sure

Frank Ocean said it best, “we’ll never be those kids again”

The kids that watched Beyblade tournaments in the gym

We now become the adults watching our peers in world stadiums

The kids that were always broken dishes

Were the same ones switching tabs during online school

And the kids that kept silent past chin’s room and walked just a little faster

Okay maybe we still are those kids

To quote Troy Bolton, “we are all in this together”

And we needed to be

Because university applications

And travel visas

and full-time jobs

were all just getting closer

We had spirit days

And stings

Sports games

And literacy assessments

All the highs and lows in our road to graduation

And now that we have finally made it here

To quote what we impose to be G22’s favourite movie

“May the rest of our lives be the best of our lives”

Mamma Mia

So, as we step back for our peers to step forward

We ask you to applaud and cheer with vigor

For all the grads, and all they have persevered through

Because these graduates that walk across this stage

You’ll see again

At their press releases

And their book signings

In Costco lineups

In heated PAC meetings

And on all other world stages

And g22, little do you know

That these years were not the best years of your life

But they were important ones

They made you live, laugh, and love

Despite having 10 assignments due the next day

They gave you another place to call home

More people to call family

And they made your little five-year-old elementary self, proud of all you’ve done

So, thank you for being the best class that we had the honour of being part of and representing

Once a rapid, always a rapid

Whose side? RSide!

Here comes the class of 2022:



Stopping in the sentences


Be more committed to jokes

Goal in mind – invoke emotions

Be yourself