My name is Ian Loeppky, a local graduate, and Valedictorian of the RJC class of 2020. I have grown up in Rosthern with this community, my family and my friend group my entire life.
Although formerly being a part of a church group and having a close-knit family has shown me a fantastic and caring community, the one that RJC has given me is one I will never forget. Coming to RJC everyone here felt emotions of joy, sadness, nervousness, and excitement for a variety of reasons but on that first day here I am certain everyone felt the outpouring of love by the community.
At first, this love might not have been something that was apparent to us but as we grew as a class, learning from our teachers and messing around in museums, we become a little bit more aware of the love this community held. As we spent more time here the community grew on us and we could soon see the love we were engulfed in.
One of the ways I saw this was on the ALSO Toronto trip I attended last year. There was a homeless man on the street that about 7 of us had stopped to talk to. He had a dog along with him and this was one of the things that we talked to him about. By the time we had to leave we could see he was just like any other person just a little less fortunate than most. As we were leaving one of us there gave him twenty dollars to help pay for a meal and this made me think of the love I had seen this entire trip. As I thought about this more I could realize I see this same love every day in different forms all around the RJC community.
Another way I saw love inside RJC was when the COVID-19 pandemic became relevant to us. By this time later in our grade 12 year we had laughed in joy and cried together in pain, strengthening our relationships making us closer than ever. When the news came that the school was going to be shut down along with the dorms we became overwhelmed with the fact that we didn’t know when we would be back together as a community again. I recall sitting in the dorms as if it were any other afternoon; I had just come from afternoon snack and was waiting for my friends to spend time together. That turned out not to be the case. A few hours later we learned that our school year was going to be radically altered by the pandemic.
With some space for reflection, I have observed the importance of this RJC community; I recognize the wholeness and pureness of love that each of us is surrounded by.
It has felt as though COVID-19 has been the defining point of our high school career but we have to remember it will not define us forever and that it has only been a part of our lives for the past 3 months. The memories we have made will not be forgotten because of this and it is not able to break the bonds we have created in this community.
Community; without it, we would feel lost, lonely, and with no purpose for ourselves. I believe this applies to more than just the students, staff, and alumni of RJC but to everyone in our world. This being said I think that the RJC community is one that is different from all others. It holds something in it that makes it special and makes everyone that is included never want to leave. This place provides a community with many important values that make it more than just “a group of people living in a similar setting with a similar set of characteristics”.
Passion, hope, caringness, worship, and togetherness. These are some of the values that RJC has but above all, there is agape love. For those who don’t know agape love is defined as the highest form of love found in a person. I believe this can be found in every crack and corner of this building. It is the foundation of which this community is built upon and it is what makes the RJC experience so special for everyone. Without it, we might just be like any other high school but with it, it forms a place so unique and so special it defines what this school is.
For many of us, we weren’t sure what to expect when we started attending RJC but by now I am sure all of us know and have felt the presence of agape love in and around the community. We are thankful for the time we have spent here and wouldn’t change it for anything. I would also like to say thank you to our parents, grandparents, and others supporting us on our journey, thanks to the teachers and staff of RJC for making this experience possible, and thank you, friends, now my family for the memories we have made and the time we have spent together.