When the blue ribbon, held by more than half a dozen dignitaries and two students, was eventually cut last Thursday afternoon, a crowd of 350 burst into a raucous standing ovation that lasted for three full minutes. The occasion? The official opening of the sparkling new, $16 million home for Drummondville Elementary School.
The media were well represented with four cameramen filming the event and at least two print journalists scribbling notes and snapping pictures.
Politicians were similarly well represented. Because Drummondville straddles two provincial ridings, both of the city’s MNAs, André Lamontagne (CAQ) and Sébastien Schneeberger (CAQ), were present as well as Christopher Skeete (CAQ) who represents the riding of Ste-Rose and is the Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers. Also present was Drummondville’s new mayor, Stéphanie Lacoste.
All three MNAs spoke briefly and addressed the crowd in both official languages, but it was Christopher Skeete whose message was most directed to the 284 students in the crowd.
“I want to tell you a story about a boy,” he said, “a boy who failed Grade two and had to repeat his year. This boy had to go to summer school in Grade six to get his Math. The boy got through high school, but he took four years instead of two to get his Cegep. He went to university, but it took him 10 years to earn a degree that should have taken three. He enrolled in a master’s program that should have taken two years, but it took him four, so that he was 42 years old by the time he finished his studies.”
“That boy,” he continued, “was me. What I want to tell all of you is that you will succeed if you persevere. Don’t give up on your dream. Keep working hard and you’ll reach your goal, whatever it is.”
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