The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Graduation Ceremony at U School (Edmonton, Alberta)

Edmonton, Alberta, Tuesday, June 6, 2017


I acknowledge that we are gathering today on Treaty 6 territory, traditional lands of First Nations and Metis people.

Good morning, everyone!

I’m so glad to be at your U School graduation ceremony!


This is a big day. Each one of you has earned your way here. Today, you become graduates of this great program.

You should all be very proud. We certainly are. Each of you left your communities to come here for this experience. Many of you travelled a long way to be here!

That takes courage. That takes guts.

Why did you do it?

You did it to learn. Because learning is important. In fact, it’s one of the most important things we can do.

And what better way to learn than to meet new friends, new teachers, visit new places, and study at the University of Alberta?!

In fact, I did something very similar when I was not much older than you.

I’m from a pretty small town, too.

Has anyone here ever heard of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario?

That’s where I grew up, and when I graduated from high school, I had the chance to study in a big city: Boston, in the USA.

That was a long way from home for me—about an 18-hour drive away!

I was pretty nervous, but I did it anyway, because I knew just how much I would learn there. I knew it would be the experience of a lifetime.

As graduates, you’re now going to go back to your communities to share stories about your experiences and what you’ve learned with your friends, your families, your teachers.

And because of that, you’re going to inspire them to go out and learn and succeed, too.

And who knows, maybe you’ll come back here one day to go to university? You’ll have an advantage over all the other students, because you’ve already graduated!

So keep on exploring, asking questions, and being curious about other people and places.

Thank you to everyone who helps to make this innovative program possible. You are making a real difference.

And congratulations to all of our young graduates once again.

Have a wonderful day!