This year's valedictorian for George McDougall High School is Maia Zezulka.

Zezulka was very honoured to be picked for the role and to represent her classmates on the stage. She was surprised when she was named valedictorian.

"I wasn't sure what the outcome was going to be because there were so many great contenders. Being selected, it's such an honour, I was embraced by the community."

The Principal brought her into her office when she was delivered the good news, Zezuilka was so excited she hugged the principal.

George McDougall High School's graduation ceremony took place on May 23 at Genesis Place. When asked about what her message was to her classmates, it was a message of reassurance that it is okay wherever you are in your life right now.

"You don't have to have your life determined at this stage because there's so much more discovering to do."

Zezulka took part in the horticulture program during high school as she always liked gardening and being outdoors. She also took part in the Green Certificate Program which allowed her to leave school and work on construction sites to gain worksite experience.

"The teachers there are honestly the best, they're so caring, and passionate and always want to see you do your best."

Also during high school, she joined the registered apprenticeship program which allowed her to earn hours and credits toward her landscape horticulture apprenticeship. Once her apprenticeship is done, she plans to get her bachelor's of applied science in horticulture from Olds. Following her passion, she is also currently working at the Calgary Zoo. 

AirdriePhoto of Maia Zezulka working at the Calgary Zoo.

At George McDougall, Zezulka took part in all kinds of sports including rugby, curling, badminton and track and field. She was also very passionate about being a representative for many types of communities in Airdrie, including the LGBTQ+ community.

When asked about what one of her favourite memories is from high school, it's when a little mouse decided to join her Math class.

"The entire class went into hysterics of this one small little mouse and we were all standing on our chairs and it probably took up the whole hour and a half period. But it was just it was kind of a shared scary experience."

Zezulka wanted to thank all of her teachers who helped her enjoy her time at George McDougall and her parents who helped push her and supported her on her journey.

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