Valedictorians: McNally College’s Jonathan Afowork


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Jonathan is a socially acutely aware and considerate younger man, pushed in the direction of alternatives for social schooling along with motion. He’s actively engaged within the Social Justice Membership and facilitates instructional alternatives round occasions like Anti-Bullying week. As a first-generation scholar who’s confronted his personal difficulties find high-profile alternatives, he’s created his personal publication, CoCurriculum, which is a scholar information that consolidates data round internships, summer season applications, and different excessive school-related data. CoCurriculum has grow to be a useful resource used at McNally and amongst a number of neighborhood teams, such because the ELITE Program, a company connecting Black youth to trade internships and college analysis labs within the Edmonton space. Jonathan is voracious in his need to assist the individuals round him, whether or not it’s appearing in a mentorship function to a youthful scholar, or volunteering in his neighborhood. He was an energetic tutor with McNally Excessive College, appearing as a peer tutor to a few of our extra weak college students. He acted as not only a tutor however as a buddy and function mannequin.

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Graduation excerpt:

As we head out into the world to pursue our plans in life, whether or not it takes you to the trades or to the humanities, I hope you do not forget that preferrred, that each one onerous work yields a revenue.

As I mirrored on how far I’ve come at McNally, I mirrored on my Grade 10 self. By the tip of Grade 10, I had the brilliant thought to take Physics 30 in summer season faculty, on-line, throughout COVID. Physics 20 had been a breeze, and I anticipated Physics 30 to be the identical. I couldn’t be extra incorrect! Day by day, I’d get up at 8 a.m. to move to class for hours, and on the finish of daily, I drowned my stress in bike rides throughout the town and Popeyes Hen Sandwiches. Suffice to say, I used to be manner in over my head.

By the tip of the summer season, I’d handed Physics 30, my legs have been jacked, and my abdomen felt horrible. As we glance into the long run, there’ll most likely be many extra Popeyes hen sandwiches to return, extra bike rides, and sadly much more Physics (sorry Mr O’Donnell). However, these failures are what assist us develop, they’re what inform us we’re on track. Though Physics wasn’t my favorite topic, I did study that you simply don’t make an affect by slowing down. My future failures, your future failures, may embody heartbreak, tutorial failure, skilled failure, self-doubt, and hopelessness. As we encounter these moments, it is very important do not forget that one thing higher is ready for us on the opposite aspect. Let’s have a look at failure and study from it, and develop into higher individuals. Not essentially for as we speak, however undoubtedly for tomorrow.

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Valedictorian Q&A

How do you assume the pandemic modified your highschool expertise?

The pandemic signalled the tip of what I considered a “standard” highschool expertise — pep rallies, 24-hour faculty occasions, and far more. However what I considered the disruption of the “standard” highschool expertise allowed for brand spanking new experiences to emerge. Dwelling through the pandemic has taught me the significance of pursuing new pursuits. Though extracurriculars and teachers moved on-line, that double-edged sword has allowed me to entry new alternatives within the metropolis. I’ve grow to be part of on-line entrepreneurship applications and mentorship experiences, and within the spare time the pandemic has afforded me, I’ve been reflecting on passions I’d’ve by no means recognized about.

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What’s the one takeaway you are feeling ought to come out of the upheaval of the final two years?

Sarcastically, the pandemic didn’t kill my friends’ need to study and develop, however solely revived it. From founding our college’s first newspaper to fundraising $10,000 for most cancers analysis, I’ve seen my friends study to assist and rejoice our neighborhood in new methods. As we head right into a post-pandemic world, I hope this need for innovation stays.

What’s your favorite factor about Edmonton?

I like Edmonton for the small communities it fosters and the alternatives these communities create. The networks now we have as Edmontonians, be that spiritual gatherings, skilled teams, or cultural organizations, have allowed me to faucet into the perfect and brightest within the metropolis. As we pursue numerous pursuits in life, it’s necessary to proceed constructing these communities.

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Who’s your hero?

I’ve two heroes: my mother and father. Coming to Canada as Ethiopian refugees and elevating my sister and myself has been the best present they may give me. It was my dad who taught me the worth of a robust schooling, spending nights studying my math homework regardless of the language barrier. It was my mother who taught me the worth of onerous work, working day and evening to assist pay for my science honest charges. Their instance conjures up me in each endeavour I undertake.

What’s your favorite quote or expression?

“I hated each minute of coaching, however I mentioned…don’t give up. Endure now and reside the remainder of your life as a champion.” — Muhammad Ali

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