Edmonton's valedictorians: Dona Tom George from Holy Trinity

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Dona is a member of the Holy Trinity’s Worship Band, Ethics BowI participant, and was a member of the 2023–2024 Math Club, which won the Waterloo Math Competition. Additionally, she was a proud recipient of the Lumen Christi Student Faith Leadership Award, the Lumen Christi Model UN Most Outstanding Delegate, the Chief Superintendent’s Award of Excellence, the Fr. Mike Catfish Mireau Christian Service Award, and Holy Trinity’s Principal’s List.

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Dona’s hobbies include volunteering for the Corpus Christi Church youth choir as the pianist and summer camp as a youth leader. Born in Kerala, India, she attended Mary Hanley Elementary School and Father Michael Troy Junior High before coming to Holy Trinity. Dona has been accepted to the University of Alberta for Business Economics and Law.

Commencement address:

If there is one thing I can say to my fellow graduates as we move onto the next chapter of our lives, it is that change should not be feared; it is not the villain of our stories. I understand that graduating is a bittersweet experience; it opens up endless possibilities, which itself is a double-edged sword. Although such opportunities ensure that we are not trapped in a path we do not desire, it also makes it harder for us to decide what we’re supposed to do and what we’re meant to do. Graduating means leaving behind this consistency we have known for these past three years, but change is inevitable. But we know this. All of us have braved our own struggles all while balancing school, family, and extracurriculars. We’re a class that has championed adversities and come out the other side stronger.

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I know change can be difficult to embrace. But we did not work this hard in our classes, practices, games, and performances to stay static. We worked this hard to improve ourselves, to innovate ourselves, and to build ourselves up to our goals. Although the future is uncertain and the pages unwritten, remember that you are not navigating it alone. Remember the first chapters of our story, the child within the commas and apostrophes.

The child you were when you started your education journey. Some of us might have been in different countries, following different time zones, but we were all that confident young child that looked forward to growing up and becoming the heroes of our society. So if you feel down, remember that child and their enthusiasm, excited about the opportunities of life. Do it for them. Do it for our parents, guardians, and loved ones who are present here to celebrate our special day.

But also know we don’t always have to be strong; even our favourite superheroes have their moments of weakness. Therefore, as we move forward, let’s always remember our school’s motto: We care, we share, we serve. Let’s care for one another without judging, without bias. Let’s care for the environment, our homes, and our fellow classmates. Let’s share what we’ve been given, our talents, and our time to promote positive change in this imperfect world. Let’s serve the community without hoping for something in return.

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What is your favourite thing about Edmonton?

My favourite thing about Edmonton is my home.

Who is your hero?

Both of my parents are my heroes because I cannot decide who inspires me more.

What is your favourite quote or expression?

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

What one word best describes your graduating class?

Holy Trinity’s graduating class of 2024 can definitely be defined as distinctive.

We often hear that, as a society, we are more divided than in the past. How can young leaders work to bridge differences between groups?

With an open mind that lacks bias, great communication skills and commitment, young leaders can work through these differences to help groups find a common connection.

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