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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Gosfield’s valedictorian urges classmates to remember smiling can make someone’s day better

by Sylene Argent

Photo submitted

When grade eight student, Ashley Dutot, heard the nomination process to select the valedictorian for the graduating class at Gosfield North Public School opened, she didn’t waste any time putting together a video that supported her candidacy for the prestigious position.

  After classmates had the chance to watch the submitted videos, and vote on their favourite, Dutot could barely contain her excitement when she learned she earned the valedictorian role, as it was something she has been wanting to do for quite some time.

  Through her nomination video, Dutot explained she thought she could represent her peers well as class valedictorian, because she was someone who was very involved in the school for the past few years. Because of her involvement, she believed she could represent everyone well.  

  In school, Dutot played the flute in the school band, was on the chess team, and stepped in to be a lunch monitor.

  Being involved means, “I get to meet a whole bunch of different people and make friends,” Dutot said, adding, her involvement has helped her develop leadership skills, which to her means gaining confidence and being respectful These are qualities that she said she learned from her parents and teachers.

  In the classroom, Dutot enjoyed math class, and working to solve problems, the most. Having to endure online learning, due to COVID, had its challenges over the past year-and-a-half, Dutot admitted, adding she found in-person learning easier. She noted the teachers did their best to make online learning the best experience they could.

  It was hard not being able to go on fieldtrips and enjoy other school traditions, she added.

  Her valedictory recorded speech, scheduled to be shown during the virtual graduation night, on June 23, will include talking about how she and her peers have written different chapters in their lives. She and her peers are now closing the elementary school chapter in their educational journey, while opening another for high school. 

   “I enjoy presenting speeches and talking in front of large groups of people,” Dutot said, so she is looking forward to delivering her valedictory address. “I felt I knew a lot of the kids in my grade, so I thought it would be a fun experience.”

  In preparing for high school, the message Dutot wants to send to her school peers is that, “We can all do it, no matter how hard it gets,” she said.

  Through being a student at Gosfield North, Dutot said she and her classmates were taught to never give up and that they can persevere to get to where they need to be, if they work hard enough. She is sure these lessons will help the graduating class as they continue to grow and learn.  

  Moving on will be hard, but it is an exciting time for Dutot and her peers. She said she will miss the teachers she has had throughout the years the most, as they have all been amazing educators.

Looking ahead, she is excited to participate in some new classes at the high-school level, not offered within the elementary school curriculum. In particular, she is yearning to get involved with the female tech class she hopes to take as a future Red Raider at Essex District High School.

  Advice Dutot will provide to her classmates, as they transition into high school, is to, “Always smile, because a smile could always make someone’s day better.

  In getting to graduate, Dutot wants to congratulate her peers, “Because we have all persevered and made it so far.” She wishes everyone good luck in high school.

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