Jessica Snyder is Gateway Christian School valedictorian.
(Photo contributed)

Red Deer’s Gateway Christian School valedictorian inspired to become teacher by her mother

Graduation ceremony set for June 29 at Canyon Ski Resort

Gateway Christian School valedictorian Jessica Snyder wants to follow in her inspirational mother’s footsteps and become a teacher.

Snyder wants to become a teacher after she graduates this month after seeing the difference her mother made in the lives of her students. The graduation ceremony takes place at Canyon Ski Resort on June 29.

“I was so excited to learn I was named valedictorian. I was so happy,” said Snyder. “It’s such a huge honour that I get to address my class and congratulate them.”

She added being named valedictorian has been a goal of hers since middle school.

“It took a lot of hard work and I had to be very dedicated to my work. It took a lot of strength especially through COVID,” said Snyder. “My family and friends really helped me to keep going and keep learning. It’s all a learning experience, so that was a motivator to me; the more I devoted myself to my work, the more I learned.”

Completing high school in a global pandemic has presented a number of challenges, but the student didn’t let that stop her from achieving her goals.

Looking back at her time in school, Jessica said there were many highlights, but it’s the small moments that stand out to her the most.

“Most people like to remember the big things that happen like school trips, which were so much fun. But I think the real moments where I bonded with my class were the small moments like sitting and playing Uno at lunch, and if it’s a hot day outside, we go and play at the park. It’s those small moments which meant the most to me.”

As for her future, Snyder will attend Red Deer College next year as she has been accepted to the Bachelor of Education program.

“I am going to go with the secondary route, which means I will be teaching in the higher grades,” she said. “My mom is a teacher, so I have taken after that just seeing the impact she has had on students’ lives. Growing up in a family with a teacher has definitely helped shape my life, so I think it would be great for me to follow in her path and make it my own.”

Snyder added she is excited to address her fellow classmates during graduation.

“Over the past couple of years we’ve had to show a steadfast character; being loyal and committed, devoted and dedicated whether that’s with our relationships or working towards finding a job,” she said. “I want to encourage my class to keep going with that because it helps us get to great goals like achieving our graduation.”

Gateway vice-principal Chris Kooman said he is extremely proud of the student.

“Jessica is a hard-working student with attention to detail and a love of learning. She takes her studies seriously, working diligently to excel in every area,” he said. “She cares about her classmates, is fun and energetic, and works on relationships as much as her studies.

“Jessica’s willingness to help others, improve herself, and constantly improve are qualities that will take her far in life.”

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