Anthony Tomizza, Director of Community Relations and Development

On March 31, we were thrilled to host our first in-person event of the year in honour of Class of 2022. True to the HTS Graduate Breakfast tradition, the 107 soon-to-graduate Grade 12 students gathered in the HTS Dining Hall for a delicious breakfast and inspirational conversations, allowing us all to pause, reflect and celebrate how far we have come. Parents had the opportunity to join in the celebration virtually through a live stream. This year, the students were in for a special treat as one of Canada’s go-to media personalities, Jesse Jones, joined us for a fireside chat! Here’s how the morning unfolded.

Welcome from the Head of School

The Graduate Breakfast started with a welcome from HTS Head of School, Ms Helen Pereira-Raso. In her address, the Head of School encouraged our graduating class to live with kindness, empathy and integrity, and to have the courage to get back up and try again when life knocks them down. 

Citing Cleo Wade’s book “What the Road Said,” the Head of School called back to some of her first remarks this school year, which touched upon resiliency in the face of unexpected encounters on our journeys. Ms Raso noted that this day was about celebrating each Grade 12 student and the road that has led them to this day, as well as all the roads they have yet to travel. 

“As you think about what lies ahead, what it will be like, perhaps you are wondering if you are ready,” Ms Raso remarked. “Don’t spend too much time worrying about the “what ifs”. Rather, spend your energy learning new skills, knowledge and building your self-confidence so that no matter what you face, your response is “I can and I will”. 

“Everything you need to succeed you have within you.” 

The Head of School also urged students to not shortchange who they were meant to be, encouraging them to pursue their dreams, and no one else’s. “The greatest gift you can give yourself is to live your most authentic self. Be fierce and relentless in your pursuits, because you are worth it.”

Opening Grace

Followed by the Welcome from the Head of School, School Chaplain Father Crowther offered Opening Grace. He reminded us all “to take time to honour ourselves and remember that we are all important, that the moment we’re in is important. Embrace it all and take it in.”

Fireside Chat with Jesse Jones

Perhaps the most anticipated part of the morning then followed as Jesse Jones, a go-to Canadian media personality, and CEO of Jones & Jones Group, took stage for a fireside chat with student moderator Erica Coppa. Students and parents had the opportunity to ask Jesse questions about his path, how to find passion and inspiration, pieces of advice for the next chapter ahead, and living life to the fullest.

When it comes to finding passion and purpose, Jesse’s advice to students was to take some time before the next phase, and write down a list of things that light up and excite them. Everyone’s list is different, whether it’s sports, writing, reading, theatre, fashion, math or science. Jesse noted, “Whenever we make choices in the future, we should use this list as a guide and make sure that some of the things from our list are represented in the choices we make every day.” Jesse also encouraged students to follow their interests and try things out in real life to find the right fit before making a lifelong decision.
When speaking about living life to the fullest, Jesse offered a baseball analogy and encouraged students to keep on swinging, even if we miss sometimes. “Professional baseball players make it into the Hall of Fame for hitting the ball 3 out of every 10 times at bat. All we need to do is step up to the plate, and keep trying. We may never stop being nervous, and we will certainly strike out sometimes, but we have to be able to brush off our last disappointment and step up to a brand new chance. When we are busy trying things, opportunities will find us.”

Jesse also reminded us that what truly matters is finding time for ourselves and our loved ones, and using the technology available to do so. As parting advice, Jesse assured us all, “It’s going to be okay. Your list is like a shopping list, you’re going to the mall of life, spend money on things that matter.”

Thank you so much to the HTS event organizers, staff, the Graduation Committee, student volunteers and speakers for your passion, professionalism and integrity to make this event a huge success. It was a day to be remembered and cherished for weeks and months to come!

Dear Class of 2022, you are some of the most thoughtful, engaged students we have had the pleasure of getting to know. You have made an impact on the imprint of our school that will last a lifetime. Thank you for learning and growing with us, and letting us learn and grow with you. We cannot wait to see where the road takes you next.

View the Photo Gallery from the 2022 Grad Breakfast here.