Essayas Haile delivers a moving speech to Winnipeg Adult Education Centre at the Remembrance Day Service November 9, 2012.
Student speeches by Adier, Anyang and Issa – November 10, 2011http://blogs.wsd1.org/waec/files/Remembrance-Day-Adier.flv http://blogs.wsd1.org/waec/files/Remembrance-Day-Anyang.flv
June 29, 2011
Someone very dear to me quoted simple words that will stick forever. “If you believe you can do it, go for it!” And that is what we have done. That is why we are here today. As graduating students, we will always remember how we started our path to a better education and how we are ending our days with more knowledge, vital information, and skills that will assist us in the future as we head off to college, university, or to gain a new career.
But getting to where we are at this moment was not an easy road for most, if not all of us. As adults, we had our children to look after, making sure that they were taken care of by a relative, a friend, or a daycare. Sometimes we brought our children to school with us if we were unable to find a sitter. The good thing about that was that our teachers and classmates were able to see just how pretty and handsome our children were.
We had our jobs to maintain, making sure that we were not late to catch the bus that would take us to work right after school. At times, we would have to miss class because of that odd work shift we were scheduled for. But thank goodness for very understanding teachers who allowed us to leave and still update us the next day on what was done in class.
Most important, we had all of our school work to complete, studying for tests and quizzes, books to read, movies to watch, and preparing for final exams. It was surely a difficult task to juggle everything together. But thanks to people we care so much for and who care for us, we were able to accomplish all of the small duties of everyday life that needed tending to.
For all of our families who would look after our children while rushed to complete our homework that we waited last minute to do. To our friends who were loud and crazy, yet still had the wisdom to always tell us to keep going and to never give up during times of frustration and complete hopelessness towards school and life itself. The appreciation we all have for you is so great, it cannot be truly explained in words. We could not have gotten this far without any of you.
To all of our teachers who had to put up with our tardiness, our loud greetings to our classmates who were just a few feet from us, and our ability to secretly text and talk at the same time, but not to listen. We have so much respect for what you have to do on a daily basis. Not only have you taught us, but you have also laughed with us, and showed us that educators do have a sense of humor. You made learning a fun experience and none of us will ever forget that. For that, we would like to thank you will all of our hearts.
Now, looking back on our very first day, the Winnipeg Adult Education Center was just a school to most of us, A place where we come in, do our work, and end the day by going home and completing all of the assignments that we were given. Some of us did not know a single person when we started school. We just kept to ourselves. Probably the only time we had ever spoken to someone we did not know was to find out what we had missed in class and to photocopy notes that we were not able to get. But look at us now. We have good friends that we have made during this year sitting in front of us, behind us, and beside us. They are listening, sharing, and taking in this very special moment, as we are right now. The Winnipeg Adult Education Center is no longer JUST a school. It is like a second home for some.
There are those comfy couches on the third floor that students enjoy hanging out at or taking their naps on, the snacks and the free phone in the student lounge, the simple volleyball games in front of the school yard, the library that was meant to be a quiet place to study, but at times became another hotspot to mingle with friends, and the faces of people you know right when you walk into the building. The Winnipeg Adult Education Center is a comfortable atmosphere for everyone; students, teachers, and school staff.
So here we are, celebrating our very last day together as educators and as students, but not as friends. What we have gained from this year will never go away. It is a treasure that will always be remembered, not forgotten. We now have stories that we can pass onto our children and hope that they have the same great experience in school as we did. We will all truly miss each other, but know that we are ending this year with something great; more wisdom and a lifetime of friendships that will truly live forever. Graduates, let us congratulate ourselves for the hard work that we have accomplished and the proof that strong beliefs do take you far.
Again, congratulations to the class of 2011. We did it!
by Sarah P.
Ishimwe Aimée Clarice delivered this moving speech to W.A.E.C. at our Remembrance Day Service November 10, 2010. http://blogs.wsd1.org/waec/files/remembrance-day-2010.flv
A man may know how a war will start, but he never knows how it will end. There are so many stories to be told about war, by those who have experienced it in different countries around the world. I’m not a professional storyteller, nor am I a public speaker, I’m just a young girl who has experienced war first hand.
My name is Ishimwe Aimee Clarice, and I was born in Rwanda in 1988. Rwanda is a tiny land-locked country in East Africa. It is the Land of a Thousand Hills. It is home to the famous mountain gorillas. Rwanda is a beautiful country, with breathtaking landscapes and one common language, Kinyarwanda, that unites its people. The Rwanda I knew as a child was a peaceful place where the sun shone down on us. It was a place where I could be free with my family and my friends. A place where we could share laughter and love. It was my home.
However, one day in 1994, the sun that I had come to know was replaced by a blanket of darkness. The love and laughter was replaced by fear and hatred. The home I had come to love was changed forever.
In 1994, a war broke out in Rwanda. It was a war unlike any other the world had ever seen. The genocide started in April and continued for 100 days. More than 800, 000 Rwandan lives were lost. I cannot paint a complete picture of the war for you. I did not come here to tell you everything about the violence that destroyed a nation. My words cannot adequately describe the tragedy that struck Rwanda in 1994.
You do not need to know all the details of the violence to understand the impact war has on the people who live in it. When war destroys a house, bricks and stones can be rebuilt, but when war destroys a family, no amount of glue can put it back together again. War takes away sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and loved ones that can never be replaced. The destruction from war is not just seen with the eyes, it is felt deep in the heart. It causes wounds so great that no amount of medical attention can ever repair them.
When I hear the word “war’’ my heart jumps in my chest. Memories I long to forget rush into my mind. Images I pray I will never see again play before my eyes. When I remember what war has done to my country, to my family, to my friends, and to me it makes me sad. I hate war.
I remember when the war started in Rwanda. At first, I didn’t understand it at all. How can a child of 6 years old understand the meaning of war? When my family heard that first gun shot, that first bomb, we hid under the bed. There are no lessons on how to survive a war. No books to read, no courses to study. When war comes knocking at your door, you do everything in your power not to let it into your house. Before the war happened in Rwanda, I was no different from anyone of you sitting here today. I had no experience with machetes or bombs, or any of the tools of war. I was just like you. But when war comes, you learn quickly how to fight for your survival.
My family and I hid under the bed and we waited. When the chaos in the streets calmed down, my father led my mother, my brother, my 3 sisters, and me out of our house. It was the last time I would ever see my Rwandan home. At 6 years old, I had no idea that at that moment, my life was to be changed forever.
For three months we navigated the streets of the war in hopes of finding refuge in Congo. For many Rwandans, fleeing the country meant the start of a new life. It meant they had survived the war and could live to tell their stories. However, war followed my family to Congo. We lived in a refugee camp for two years until the day came when we were forced to leave the camp and once again return to the woods. December21st , 1996 was a day I will forever remember regardless of how hard I try to forget it. Although the sun shone outside, our hearts continued to feel the pain of war. I remember hiding in the woods with my father, not knowing where my mother or my siblings were hiding. Guns exploded all around us and offered no hope for survival. My father took me in his arms and said, “Aimee, don’t worry, just lie down and wait, If death wants us, there is nothing that can be done.” The events that followed live on in my mind, but are beyond anything that I can share. My father died that day along with my older brother and my older sister. War took the lives of my family and left me to carry on, injured and alone. I hate war.
For three days, I survived on my own, in a complete state of shock. And it was over three months before I made it to the refugee camp. While there, I was reunited with my mother, my two sisters, and my brand new baby brother who was born just 6 days after the death of my father. We survived the war but more important than that, we were once again together. We lived in Congo for 11 years before moving to Kenya and then on to Canada.
After arriving in Canada, at the age of 21, I was given my very first opportunity to attend school at Winnipeg Adult Education Centre. For my mother, living in Canada provided her first opportunity to visit a real hospital and be seen by a real doctor. She finally received treatment for her fight with breast cancer. It was our first chance since the war to really feel alive. People who live in war zones have no rights, no access to education, to medical treatment. Nothing. They may live, but they have no life. I am so thankful …….
Today, we gather to remember the soldiers who lost their lives in order to give others freedom. When we remember those fallen soldiers, please also take the time to remember all those people whose lives are forever changed by war. War is not fought by children, it is not fought by mothers. However, it is they who must find the will to carry on, once war has completed its path of destruction. It is the mothers and the children who are left with the scars – the visible reminders of war. As we reflect on what war does to families, to friends, to countries all over the world, we must also think of how we can stop it. We need to put our voices and our hearts together and say NEVER AGAIN! Never again can we allow war to destroy nations. Never again can we allow war to destroy families. Never again can we leave children with no one to care for them and with no hope in their hearts.
I will stop now, but just before I finish, I would like to ask you to join me as we remember those people who have lost their lives during wars and those who are still suffering the terrible effects of war. Thank you so much for listening to me.
Don Schneider delivers an inspirational and original valedictorian address:
or Click Here to View on YouTube
Winnipeg Adult Education Centre
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Knox United Church
400 Edmonton St.
Valedictorian Address – Don Schneider
The past few months we have been juggling one or two jobs, our children, lonely left-out spouses (and/or significant others and friends) bus passes, and our school.
We have had to find babysitters, daycares, or ask our families to help watch our kids, and we have brought them to our school.
We asked our friends, our families and even our spouses and older children to help us with our homework, and we did homework in our school.
We formed a type of bond with our teachers, just like we were the players and they were the coaches.
We discovered friendships with our classmates; friendships that will last a long time.
Our classrooms became like a family and team setting to us with everyone helping everyone under the guidance of Winnipeg Adult Education Centre coaching staff. All this happened in our school.
Now we will no longer have a puzzled fearful look on our faces when our children ask us for help with their homework. We now know wht all the hype was about when people groaned about all subjects ending in “ology”.
We can now tell our children that we would not make them do anything that we wouldn’t do ourselves.
We are no longer potential lottery winners. We are no longer WISH-WE-DID people. We are now diploma-carrying, essay-writing, textbook-reading, math problem-solving, take-charge-of-our-own-life look-out-world-here-we-come winners. We are now WISH-TO-DO people.
We can now tell our children that if we are able to complete grade 12 while balancing housework AND schoolwork AND jobs AND cooking AND cleaning AND whatever else life threw at us, then they can certainly do it while balancing their schoolwork with Facebook, Twitter, text-messaging, bad hair and bad make-up days.
But we did not do this alone. To the teachers who tried not to show their disappointment when people showed up late or not at all. To the teachers who would lend an ear for our personal problems. To the teachers who understand that as adults we have adult problems that can occur at the most inopportune time. To teachers who waited ‘til we cared for our new babies that we brought to class. To the teachers who took that extra time to make sure we got it when we looked clued out. HATS OFF TO YOU.
To the person or people who came up with the idea for the Winnipeg Adult Education Centre and figured out funding so that Adult Education could happen for us at little or no cost. HATS OFF TO YOU.
To our family and friends for helping us with homework, and housework, and the kids for listening to us when we complained about essays and homework: YOU told us we were not wasting our time when we wanted to quit. For your support, which we appreciated even if we didn’t seem to at the time. HATS OFF TO YOU.
To the organizers of field trips which helped open our eyes to some fun, new and inexpensive activities that we can now do with our families. HATS OFF TO YOU.
To guest speakers who took time out of their schedule to participate in our classes, and enlighten us with THEIR knowledge. HATS OFF TO YOU.
And finally, NOW, to the graduating class of 2010 (If I can get you to stand up now) for whatever reason didn’t feel ready to complete high school when our peers did. It doesn’t matter what the reasons were. What does matter is that this time, we grabbed the bull by the horns, and we were ready to show the world just what we could do. We went head first into our studies and jumped into math with both feet . . . . squared. Each and every one of us should be very proud of our accomplishments, whether we want to show it or not. Most of us are now ready to further our education or better our jobs, or even apply for that brass ring job that we thought was out of reach. We are going to show the world that we are ready for anything.
AND FOR THAT I SAY to the graduating class of 2010 (you can find them later) HATS OFF TO US!