What started out as a quarantine project to pass time, turned into so much more. While classroom learning was suspended, Lauren Cogan, an Oak Park High School grade 12 student was inspired to create a graduation message that went beyond her Charleswood community.
“Because this pandemic is global and is affecting everyone, I wanted to make a video dedicated to Class of 2020 graduates around the world as we are all in this together,” said Cogan.
Over the course of a month, she filmed and gathered footage. The savvy teenager applied for a grant through Canada Service Corps and within two days was approved. She used the funds to create an Instagram ad with the hopes of reaching out to graduates across the globe. After a few weeks videos started coming in from graduates in Toyko, South Africa, India, Kenya and even Bangladash.
“I was not expecting to receive so many submissions…The video makes me emotional every time I watch, even though I created it. Some of the advice students give at the end of the video is really touching.”
The messages were edited by another talented Oak Park student, Reis Best. Once the video was ready, the duo shared it far and wide. Within days, it was viewed more than 14,000 times on a number of different social media platforms. Cogan believes this project is an example how rewarding it can be to take risks and follow your passion. It is fitting advice for her fellow graduates.
“I encourage everyone to use this extra time you have off to learn something you’ve always wanted to. Whether that be a new skill, reading a book, exploring Manitoba, or learning how to cook. I encourage you all to be learners before students. Students complete assignments attend classes and receive grades; however, the mentality of a learner revolves around developing objectives, seeking understanding, and being curious. Once you leave school, you are no longer a student, but the pursuit of learning can be lifelong.”
In the fall, Cogan plans to pursue a dual business and economics undergraduate degree at Huron College, an Ivey School of Business, at Western University. On behalf of Pembina Trails Board of Trustees and Senior Administration team, we want to congratulate Lauren, Reis and all our 2020 graduates who have proven how resilient they can be, even before setting off into the world.
Watch the full video.