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ECS valedictorian had perfect marks; shares important message

Elora Holman has been accepted into the faculty of education at the University of Regina to become a mathematics teacher.
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Elora Holman - valedictorian for Estevan Comprehensive School's Class of 2024.

ESTEVAN - The valedictorian of the Estevan Comprehensive School's Class of 2024 had perfect marks in her Grade 12 year and some important messages for her peers. 

Elora Holman delivered a speech during the school's graduation ceremony on Saturday afternoon at Affinity Place. After it was noted by teacher Kevin Perkins that Holman had a 100 per cent average in Grade 12, Holman took to the stage to deliver her speech.

Holman recalled that when they were in Grade 9, they were told that high school would pass by in the blink of an eye. She didn't believe it, but now they have reached the day they have been waiting for.

"There is no doubt that there will be times we're going to wish we still had our parents there to hold our hands through the rough times, but that doesn't mean we aren't capable of making it on our own," said Holman.

The students have been eager to have their parents nearby at the first sign of trouble because their parents have always been there.

"You have raised us with unwavering compassion and love. Even when we broke a family heirloom, ratted out dad to mom, or coloured on the freshly-painted walls, you seemed to keep your cool," said Holman.

"Honestly, I don't know how you dealt with us, but on behalf of the graduating class of 2024, we want to thank you. We know we would not be walking across this stage today if it wasn't for you getting us poster board at 11 at night, helping us cram for a big test … or comforting us when we get a bad grade."

Holman noted that her mother Melissa Holman is a calculus teacher at ECS.

Over the past four years, they have had many different teachers and many different experiences. And while they questioned why they had to learn some things, Holman knows there was a point.

"Whether we learned from you how to use a table saw, balance a chemical equation or calculate the area of a really, really big circle, we're grateful for all of the work the teachers have put in. We promise to try our best not to forget everything you have taught us."

As she looked upon her fellow grads, Holman saw so many "exceptionally" talented and "uniquely" different people eager to make their mark on the world.

Holman reminded the Class of 2024 that it is OK to fail as long as they learn from their mistakes. They have dreaded the thought of failure and mistakes, and feared failure so much they might have ignored opportunities that would have helped them grow. But failure is inevitable, she said.

After watching the movie National Treasure and hearing a quote about the importance of not giving up, she knew what she wanted to discuss in her speech.

"We are bound to reach our goal eventually, but most of us give up right when we are at the verge of achieving it," she said.

 As the grads venture out on many different paths, they need to remember it's OK to stumble along the way. She encouraged them to savour every second rather than wishing time away.

"Before you know it, summer will be long gone, and some of us will be off to university, college, trade school, entering the workforce or taking a gap year. But whatever it is, take a break every now and then and do not feel guilty about it."

Perkins told the crowd that he has taught her various science classes since Grade 10.

"Elora is a pretty amazing student," Perkins said. "Other teachers have described Elora as intelligent, hard-working, brilliant, driven and organized. And these are all true, but I have seen the incredibly funny, sarcastic side of Elora. I have seen her smile and I have seen her cry."

She gives rides to students when needed, helps out at her church, volunteers with the Estevan Student Basketball Association and works at Black Beard's Restaurant. Perkins' parents had rave reviews for her service at the business. When Perkins' father died in January, she went to the funeral.

Holman has been accepted into the faculty of education at the University of Regina to become a mathematics teacher, to Perkins' delight.

"I love it when amazing, smart people become teachers," said Perkins.