By Justin Seward
Foremost School celebrated their 2019 graduating class of 20 students in front of a packed gym full of friends, family and community members on May 24.
The class’s theme was “The World Awaits” which refers to the world is a place waiting to be explored and there is a lot to learn about different places and cultures ahead for the students.
Nancy Csaby, who grew up on a farm near Skiff and was a graduates of the school 33 years ago, was the guest speaker on the evening and spoke about her life obstacles and what awaits the graduates in the future.
It was five years ago that Csaby was diagnosed with breast cancer, which gave her a new outlook on life and made her realize she did not want to live life any smaller.
It only gave her motivation to saddle up on the back of her horse as a barrel racer and once she beat cancer she was right back in the rodeo circuit where and rode for herself with the winning mindset.
That mindset would qualify her for the Calgary Stampede and Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) multiple times. She would claim the 2015 and 2016 CFR titles in barrel racing.
“There are many lessons given to me over the 50 years that I have been in this world, but these three lessons have taught me the most ,” said Csaby.
“When I feel lost, guidance is always given, service sets me straight and going back to my routes grounds me.”
This past summer she was selected to participate in Amazing Race Canada- Heroes edition with her partner Melissa Hollingsworth against nine other teams.
“ Essentially it’s like a glorified treasure hunt where we’re given tasks and challenges for me and my teammates to complete,”she said.
“In some ways, that’s really how my life has worked. I’m given a task or challenge to complete, but now guided through group markers, road blocks and detours. These group markers or guidance as I call it are people , choices and circumstances that keep me in a direction.
“People are brought into my life to teach me and to show me who I really am. It’s never by chance that they’re in my life, it’s not by coincidence. It’s what I call a master plan.”
She can tweak that master plan by the choices she makes, but her story has already been written, she added.
Cancer taught her a lot about what her outcome in life should be.
“I received an ear pulling when I was diagnosed with cancer, ironically at the same age as my mom, at 45 years old,” said Csaby.
“Even though I wouldn’t wish cancer on my worst enemy. I’m actually kind of grateful I got it . You heard right ‘I’m grateful I got cancer.’ It opened up my eyes to be present, for the past is over and the future hasn’t even begun. When I’m present, I do good work. When I run down that alley on the back of my horse I am present and I don’t hold back.”
Foremost provided an unforgettable experience for Csaby growing up.
“Needless to say looking back on it now, Foremost was an incredible place to grow up and really it was my saving grace,” she said.
“We always had a class size around 25 (to) 28. We all grew up from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and we were all friends. As much as I didn’t want everyone knowing my every move, reflecting back on it now I had a whole village of parents where they held me accountable but yet watched over me at the same time.”
“Routes … don’t always mean where we grew up. It can mean something spiritual as well. What fuels my soul. What I know is when I connect to a higher universe, God, Buddha, banana, call it whatever you want, I feel a sense of comfort and all is OK and I’m not alone.”
She ended her speech by saying “Reflect back on this life you had here in Foremost. Think of the lasting friendships you created, the undying support you have been given from everyone in this room. Ponder how has growing up in Foremost made me a better person. When you feel stuck, you can go back to your routes, family and friends and know you are free while the world awaits.”
Valedictorian Ashley Owen said there are many thanks to give in the speech and to a laughter from the crowd began the speech with a funny remark.
“My dad calls it the Valedi-Nerd-ian speech,” said Owen.
“I would like to thank the arms by my side, my legs for always supporting me, my fingers and toes because I can always count on them and some of us could use the extra help with and don’t forget our hips for not lying, just kidding of course.”
“On behalf of the class I would like to thank the staff here at Foremost School. Each one of you have impacted us one way or another. Thank you everyone who came out and celebrated with us tonight. Thank you to our parents for loving us, supporting us and guiding us in the right direction.”
“The world awaits. This is true. However time does not. It never stops ticking and it definitely won’t slow down. We need to go out there and live life to its fullest.”