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EDHS valedictorian will send a message of hope and positivity to graduating class


by Sylene Argent

Graduation night will be extra special for Essex District High School (EDHS) student, Caleb Brockman, as he will be responsible for providing the final words of inspiration that will propel his classmates into the next chapters of their lives.

  “I’m very excited about it,” Brockman said of his valedictorian nomination. “I did a little happy dance when I got the call.” Fellow students nominated Brockman for the position.

  He is still in the process of putting his valedictorian address together, but he wants it to encompass everyone’s high school experience, not just his own, because everyone experienced different things that got them to where they are, and where they will end up, as adults.

  “I just want to send a message of hope and [being] positive, because everything has been so negative lately. This online school has been a drain on everybody. So, I just want to end it off happy and positive for everybody,” Brockman said.

  Essex District High School is planning a “drive up” graduation for Friday, June 25, with a rain date of Monday, June 28. A graduation video will also be released online on Friday, June 25.

  Though Brockman will have to record his valedictorian speech, he is looking forward to the freedom making a video will present. “With the video, I can spice things up, change locations a couple of times, and really have some fun with it. It kind of gives me a little more creative freedom.”

  He describes his fellow class mates as being close and friendly. “Everybody knows everybody, there is no drama. Everybody gets along well. We are just all good friends and everybody is friendly with each other, and that is what I love,” Brockman said, adding that even though students tend to form small groups of individuals with whom they hang out, “At the end of the day, we are a class together, and everybody gets along great with each other.”

  A major factor in his class’s friendliness, Brockman said, is due to Essex District High School being a great school in a great community. “People around here are just raised well,” he commented.

  For many years, Brockman was an avid volunteer at the Essex Area Food Bank, and hosted his annual Food Bank Frenzy at Jeff’s No Frills to collect non-perishable items to help area individuals and families in need of a little support. He had to cancel this year’s collection, because of COVID. Though the past couple years have been busy, he still tries to lend a hand when possible.

  For Brockman, volunteering at the Essex Area Food Bank was, “An eye-opener as to how lucky I have it, to have food at the table consistently, and a great supportive family,” Brockman said. “It really puts things into perspective into how fortunate we are.”

  He said that through COVID, with the graduating class not being able to celebrate in-person, “We can get all down on ourselves, but it can be much worse, who we have to be thankful for what we got.”

  As a Red Raider, Brockman played a little hockey and loved being part of the leadership class in grade 11 and 12. “It was just a great place to get together with like-minded people, who wanted to make an impact and wanted to be leaders. It was a great environment to get stuff done…even this year with COVID-19, we were able to make the best of it. We made some music videos, which was a blast to boost morale.”

Throughout the pandemic, Brockman said everyone has been resilient and no one has gotten too down on themselves. He thinks that will translate well into life, which “Will knock us down and beat us up a little bit, but we can get through anything.”

  In addition, he loved to participate in Phys-Ed with all his buddies and really enjoyed taking science classes. Overall, however, he admitted he really loved all his classes. “It is all about the teachers, subject matter doesn’t matter. I had nothing but great teachers,” he said.

  Brockman is at a fork in the road on his pathway to the future. He was accepted into the Honours Psychology program and the University of Windsor, and he also has an opportunity to become an apprentice die maker. He is unsure which path to pursue as he loves school and helping people, but he also has a hard time sitting still and enjoys working with his hands.

  The biggest thing he will miss about being a student at EDHS is seeing fellow classmates and teachers every day. “I am just going to miss the closeness and the group of kids we had. As we all go our separate ways, I hope we can all remain in contact, because it has been an amazing experience,” Brockman said.

  For young students preparing to start their high school careers, Brockman recommends they get involved. Especially in Essex, because he said everyone is going to be friendly. “So, don’t be shy. Talk to people. Try everything and make friends. Just be yourself. You can be yourself in an environment like that.”