Finn Ready turned 18 on Friday, and his sights are firmly set on his future.
For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Ready, 2021 valedictorian for Collingwood Collegiate Institute.
Q: For how long have you lived in Collingwood?
A: I grew up in Collingwood until I was two, then I moved to Thornbury. I moved back to Collingwood when I was nine.
Q: What schools did you attend?
A: From kindergarten to Grade 3, I went to Beaver Valley Community School. In Grade 4, I went to Cameron Street Public School. From Grades 5 to 8 I went to Admiral Collingwood Elementary School. All four years of high school, I was at CCI.
Q: You were named valedictorian for this year’s graduating class. How did you feel when you heard?
A: I was over the moon. I was so excited.
Q: This school year has been different than other years. How did the process work this year?
A: They took names of students who were interested in the position. You had to get nominations from other students. You only had to get one (to be eligible). I think I got like 35 nominations. They did a vote, and that was it.
Q: With COVID-19, this school year has been different from past years. Did you attend school in-person?
A: I went in-person, but (during lockdowns), I stayed home.
Q: When you look back over the past year, what reflections or lessons are you taking forward with you out of COVID-19?
A: The biggest one I took away was the importance of friends and having good, in-person relationships with people.
I’m a very social person. I did not enjoy the online learning environment. I can respect how it is better for some students, but personally, I didn’t like it at all. I found it hard to get the same kind of help and in-class connection with other students. Getting help from teachers was harder, not because they were harder to reach but it’s hard sitting on your computer all day waiting for emails to pop up.
The thing I took away is friendships, and not to take those relationships for granted.
Q: What was the message of your speech? What it strange doing it via video rather than in-person?
A: I felt confident. I knew the speech by heart. Doing it (by video), the only person I had in front of me was Mr. Young.
I didn’t have a live audience, and I kind of like that little bit of pressure. I like public speaking. I did a lot of leadership activities when I was at CCI.
In that sense, it was pretty underwhelming but I still felt honoured.
For my speech, I tried not to focus on the negative parts of COVID, and instead focused on what people can take away. Even though a lot of people did lose things over the past two years, I still think there were some benefits or lessons from having things taken away.
It’s a bit of a reality check, for me at least.
I will never take my friends or family for granted moving forward.
Q: You play rugby. How did extracurriculars and sports being put on hold this year affect you?
A: It took a huge toll on me. I lived for going to after-school practices. That’s why I loved CCI, because they encouraged moving, exercise and sports.
I’ve played with the Georgian Bay Titans Rugby Club since I was six.
It took a toll on my mental health, definitely.
I stayed in shape. I bought exercise equipment for my home gym, and I still ran and threw a rugby ball around with my brothers.
I got offers from a few schools to play (rugby). I went down to the University of Toronto to play in a couple of practices with them and it was one of my best moments ever. It was so much fun getting back into it, because I hadn’t played in almost two years.
Now things are starting to get back into it. I broke a couple of my fingers so I can’t play for another week and a half. I missed tryouts for Team Canada. I’m on Team Ontario, but I’m an injury reserve player for them. I can’t even play for my club right now. That was a hit.
Even getting back onto the pitch with the university guys, everyone’s skill development was so much lower because nobody’s even thrown a pass in two years.
It felt foreign to me. It was so weird! It felt good though. It was surreal.
Q: You’ve received a rugby scholarship to the University of Toronto for the fall. What will you be studying there?
A: I’ve been accepted to the Bachelor of Kinesiology and Physical Education program. It’s a four-year undergrad program. I applied to four schools, and I got six offers to come play rugby, which I was a little surprised by.
It will be a privilege to play rugby there, and it’s absolutely an aspiration of mine to play professionally. But, at the end of the day, I’m there to study.
Q: Do you have any other aspirations beyond playing rugby as a career?
A: With the kinesiology (degree)... I enjoy working with kids. I’ve coached at a lot of summer camps. It’s really fun and I think you need to have a special kind of personality and a level of patience to work with young kids.
I’d like to do something in the future with youth athletic development or youth physiotherapy. That would be one of my dream jobs.
If any younger students want to reach out for help either academically or athletically, I may not always be the best resource but I have a lot of connections. (Ready can be reached via email here)
I’m involved in a lot of community stuff. I’m not hard to find.
For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every Saturday. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email email@example.com.