It's that time of year again when students walk across the stage at Stride place, receive their diploma from Portage Collegiate Institute (PCI) and go off into the sunset that is adulthood.

Liam Harnett, the class valedictorian of PCI for 2022, says it is an enormous honour to be chosen by his peers.

"It's really humbling for them to vote me in for this," says Harnett. "It was a little surprising at first. I didn't think I'd be the person they would choose, but yeah, it was really neat and cool to go through the whole process, preparing my speech. It's been really exciting."

Harnett takes time to thank his educators for helping him all the way from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

"They have pushed me to do the best I can and help me with my growth, but also my peers have been a huge supporter for my academic career by just pushing me to go farther and achieve everything I can."

The PCI valedictorian shares that he hasn't been too nervous thinking about graduation as he has been pretty busy, but he adds once he gets on stage, the butterflies will probably start to appear.

Harnett says that he started thinking about his valedictorian speech about a month ago but didn't start writing it until a week ago. From there, he has been practicing and refining.

As he reflects on his education, Harnett notes that it has been a journey.

"It feels like it's time, and it's really exciting as we get to move on to this next part of our lives, and I can't wait for all the new adventures we find."

The soon-to-be high school graduate outlines that he hopes to go to the University of Toronto and pursue a career as an aerospace engineer or medical researcher.

PCI will hold two separate graduation ceremonies today, June 29th, at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. at Stride Place, where 209 students will accept diplomas.