It’s the end of the road for graduates of Whistler Secondary School, and three of the school’s top students look forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
All three are going in different directions — one is pursuing a music career; another an Olympic dream; yet another will be heading further up the academic ladder by pursuing an education at a major Canadian university. But all of them, no matter where they’re going, are going to miss their time in high school.
“I’m a little daunted, I’m a little nervous,” said Ali Milner, a 2008 graduate. “I feel like it’s time to move on and I feel like I wish I had done more and taken more courses.”
Milner, 18, has already made a name for herself as a burgeoning musician. She’s a recording artist with EMI and her music, self-composed jazz and rhythm and blues pieces, has earned praise from artists such as Sarah McLachlan and Michael Bublé.
She is a regular performer. One of her most notable performances was at a cultural festival in China, where she played on a stage before 60,000 people in a performance that was broadcast to 90 million viewers worldwide.
“It wasn’t that nerve-wracking, because I wasn’t going to see them ever again,” she said. “There was like 10 dancers behind me, and like pyro and pelicans on a moat on the stage. It was crazy, the Chinese do it huge.”
This summer, Milner will be spending five weeks at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, a school that has counted prominent artists such as Branford Marsalis and Melissa Etheridge, as well as producer Quincy Jones among its alumni.
In addition to her time at the college, she’ll be working on a second CD after her 2006 debut, Venus . Though much of her work has been jazz-oriented, this time she’ll be seeking out a new sound.
As for her university prospects, she has been accepted to the University of Victoria and Humber College in Toronto, with scholarship offers from both schools. However she’s waiting on an acceptance to the University of Toronto to decide where she wants to go, and may take time off to do more music.
Not all of this year’s graduates will be looking to do more school, at least not yet. Victoria Whitney, who’s graduating along with Milner, will keep doing what she’s done all through high school — skiing.
After nursing a knee injury that kept her out of competition last season, Whitney is making a comeback as the only female member of the B.C. Ski Team. She has already made a name for herself in numerous competitions, notably the 2006-07 Mars B.C. Cup race series, where she placed fourth in the women’s giant slalom. She also once placed fourth behind three members of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team at a Senior Nationals event in Whistler.