“I feel very honored”: Due to the COVID agreement, PEI bid farewell to the speaker and gave his address 11 times


Giving a farewell speech to your high school graduate can be a nerve-wracking experience.

Brandon McKinnon, the farewell speaker at Charlottetown Rural High School, did 11 times.

The COVID-19 pandemic agreement means that the entire graduating class cannot be gathered together immediately, but the school still hopes to provide a face-to-face graduation ceremony that families can attend. The solution is to hold 11 separate ceremonies so that each gathering is small enough to meet Prince Edward Island’s public health guidelines.

McKinnon personally delivered a speech at each ceremony, but officials told him that if he wanted to, they could record the first speech and replay the video.

“I know what I registered,” he said.

“I am the only student in the graduating class who has really seen all 300 of my peers graduate, so I am really excited and I feel very honored.”

The ceremony takes place over two days, starting at around 8:30 in the morning and continuing until around 2:30 in the afternoon. Except for the speeches he delivered at the ceremony (including him as a graduate), every speech was the same, during which time he added a personal gratitude to his parents.

Different goals

In his speech, McKinnon admitted to completing the challenges of high school during the pandemic, but he did not want to wander on this issue.

“I finally said,’COVID-19 is bad, but let’s move on.'”

He said that at a ceremony that often focused on academic achievement, the core of his speech was to acknowledge that not everyone graduated with the same goal.

Brandon MacKinnon delivered one of his 11 farewell speeches for the graduating class of 2021. (Submitted by Ashley Hughes)

“This is not the only way to choose a college or university. There are many other options. So I want to make sure I include all students,” McKinnon said.

McKinnon will attend the University of Prince Edward Island next year, majoring in political science, and will focus on law school in the future.

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