Technology a barrier to life, Rawlinson advises grads

Technology has become such a part of our lives that we almost couldn’t imagine how to function without it.

PCHS principal Ian Rawlinson congratulates valedictorian Presley Waknuk before she speaks to graduates during the commencement ceremony June 7.

PCHS principal Ian Rawlinson congratulates valedictorian Presley Waknuk before she speaks to graduates during the commencement ceremony June 7.

Technology has become such a part of our lives that we almost couldn’t imagine how to function without it.

But Ian Rawlinson, principal of Ponoka Composite High School (PCHS), suggested to the graduating class of 2013 that maybe it is time to put down the technology and live life. He spoke to graduates during the commencement ceremony June 7.

He referred to Y2K worries that technology would be unable to manage the change in century and many people were worried of the outcome. “I don’t know what we were thinking or why that would happen.”

Graduates entered the school system 13 years ago to deal with advances in technology and Rawlinson considered what people have learned since then.

Since 2000, reality television and wireless technology has grown and in some ways Rawlinson feels this same wireless technology has put an end to some things.

“You embrace it, you love it, many of you even sleep with it,” he joked. “I’m here to tell you we are wrong.”

Twitter used to be a funny twitch but now it’s used to express opinions in 140 characters or less.

People do not have the patience to continue any longer and discussing problems comes in 140 characters or less. This has created an environment of people who have shorter attention spans and less personal interaction.

“I didn’t give an anniversary or birthday wish online. I offered them a hug,” stated Rawlinson.

Separating the work life and personal life was much easier but now people have access to email and texts related to work. He believes technology has allowed people to be close to each other but has created a different form of alienation. Devices such as the iPad and iPod miss one important piece. “We.”

Being able to Tweet and Instagram in front of people who may just want to get to know a person have become almost too much.

“It’s taking over aspects of our lives. It is destroying relationships,” said Rawlinson.

His wish for graduates is for them to learn something from the principles of kindness and friendship and to reverse some of the negative effects of technology; he suggests they turn off the cellphone and post everything on Facebook later so that graduation can be remembered.

“A part of me wishes technology would have died on that fateful day of 2000,” stated Rawlinson. “Remember it’s people and relationships who make us who we are.”

Words of wisdom from the valedictorian

Valedictorian Presley Waknuk remembers coming into high school and getting used to the changes in her life. Eventually students who came from different schools started to become friends and they all were part of PCHS. Life’s responsibilities took over and students had to manage the many aspects of their lives. “We had the responsibility of balancing homework, extracurricular activities, a job and a social life.”

Sometimes students found themselves wishing for the more simple life of elementary school. She congratulated all the graduates for their work, which culminated in their graduation day. Not only did students work through all their responsibilities but they had to contend with a high school under construction.

She believes the lessons they learned at PCHS will help guide their decisions after high school. Whether graduates enter the job market or attend a post-secondary school these lessons will be with them.

“Just like when we were children we should continue to listen to our hearts,” suggested Waknuk. “We will be rewarded with true happiness.”