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Meet Tessa, Artona Ambassador 2021

About to graduate from Terry Fox Secondary in Port Coquitlam, Tessa is one of our fourteen ambassadors for #Grad2021. At her school, she's involved in two leadership programs Student Council and Link Crew. By being a part of both programs, she has helped plan social events like dances and spirit assemblies, as well as organize bottle drives, food drives and other fundraisers like “Toonies for Terry" to support various causes within the community. She says both clubs have made her who she is today.

When she's not in school, Tessa can be found reading fantasy novels, playing guitar, thrifting for clothes, baking chocolate chip cookies, embroidering a new pattern or studying Tae Kwon Do, which she almost has a black belt in. We recently asked her a few questions about her high school experience, what it's like to be a #CovidGrad and how working with us has been. Here are some of the highlights:

What advice would you get students who are entering high school?

"The best piece of advice I received when I first entered high school was to get involved. I promise that you do not want to look back at the four years you spent in high school and have your fondest memory be of a homework assignment you did good on. So, is there a spirit assembly? Go. School dance? Go. Field trip? Go. Leadership group that interests you? Join. Plus, joining a leadership group will give you the joy and satisfaction of leaving your mark and teach you lessons that you will carry for a lifetime"

How has your Artona experience been? "Working with Artona has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Within this program, I got to work with an amazing photographer who allowed me to get comfortable during my grad session and take memorable shots. I have been able to work alongside Artona staff and be a voice within my school community. I shared my views and the views of my fellow students. As an ambassador, I feel important and that my voice is really being heard, which seems like a rarity for someone my age. Overall, this experience was one I would love to relive and never want to change" How has the pandemic impacted you?

"The pandemic took away any chance of having a traditional grade 12 year dances, fundraisers, spirit assemblies and more. I missed out on my final choir trip, and a once in a lifetime trip to Europe. The ever-changing pandemic restrictions only allowed very little social time with family and friends, so my mental health took a toll, as it did for many others. Even my grades started to lower. Although there was so much bad, this time has allowed me to grow as a person and learn how to cope better mentally and physically"

Now that you're graduating, what do grad photos mean to you?

"These photos signify both an ending and new beginning. Every year, my family prints our school photos and frames them above the fireplace. We make prints and give them to my extended family to display as well. In ten years, we can look back at these photos and remember everything that we have accomplished and that we're still growing, learning and working towards our overall future"

After graduation, Tessa is heading to BCIT for their Interior Design program. She's had a few ideas for future career paths in the past and this one feels right....for now. She knows minds change and maybe hers will too.

"We’ll just have to see where life takes me"

Interested in applying for the #Grad2022 Ambassador Program? We have extended the deadline to apply! Click here for all the details.

Want to congratulate Tessa on her upcoming graduation? Leave a comment below!


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