Tonight, I sat amongst a sea of parents, families, and friends and watched as my brother reached one of the most important milestones of his life. It was his highschool graduation ceremony tonight, and it brought back so many memories of my own, a long 8 years past. I remember running to Bill Copeland Arena at 3pm to set up and practice with the senior band; I remember putting on that really awkward maroon cap and gown and taking a picture on my front lawn; I remember finally making it down to the arena for a second time that day, this time as one of the graduates. I remember shaking as we waited in the ugly hallway to walk to our seats; I remember crying when Ben made his valedictorian speech because I was so freaking proud of everything we had accomplished.
I remember being pushed on stage by a teacher, who never failed to make me laugh or make me turn beet red; to be welcomed back down by a pair of open arms and a great bear hug from another jokester. I was so lucky that the two teachers I admired most during my 4 year stint at BNS were the two teachers to send me on my way, and welcome me back down. Mr Stanley, Mr Hilton – no words could ever describe how thankful I am to have had you two in my high school life.
8 years ago, Mr Hilton hugged me, and said to me “Congratulations Echo. I’m so proud of you.” I walked back to my seat in tears.
7 years ago, I ran into Mr Hilton again during a quick visit to BNS. It was summer, and everyone was packing up to do. It was sheer luck to have run into him, his green thermos and his most beloved truck. He hugged me, and told me “Take care of yourself Echo. Be the best that you can be, and I know you can make it anywhere.” I walked back to the car in tears.
6 years ago, I said my goodbye to Mr Hilton. He passed away, so suddenly that I wasn’t able to comprehend reality until I stood in the church and saw him there. So quiet, so peaceful. Those aren’t the words I would generally associate with Mr H. Not unless I hear the beautiful sound of his saxophone and sneak a peak into the band room as he played. I cried all the way home.
Tonight, I sat at Bill Copeland remembering an extraordinary man, the best kind of teacher one could ask for. I miss you more than you could know. I wonder if the girl who won the Lew Hilton Memorial award realised what an honour it is to have received the award dedicated to such an exceptional man.
Needless to say, I cried tonight.
How could I not? My baby brother walked across the stage tonight with the same gown, same honour cord, same service award as I had 8 years ago. I’m so flipping proud!!
Excellence can be attained if you care more than others think is wise,
Risk more than others think is safe,
Dream more than others think is practical, and
Expect more than others think is possible.
– Cadet Maxim