Most people remember leaving home for the first time—searching for education or experience, or just a change of pace.
And it’s something now facing those Fort High graduates who are heading off to pursue their post-secondary studies this fall.
“It’s the first time we’re going to split,” said Ian Martin, 18, reflecting on how most of his friends—some of whom he’s known for nearly 13 years—are each going separate ways.
“It’s a turning point in everyone’s life, I guess, but it happens to everybody. It’s just our time to experience it,” reasoned Martin, who will be attending Sheridan College in Oakville to study creative advertising.
After coming here from Swan River, Man. in grade one, Martin’s been pretty much settled in town. He visits his father in Stonewall, Man. for about three weeks every summer, and has even spent a whole one there, but he still feels leaving for college is a significant event.
Tyler Bell, 18, plays in the local band, “Area 51,” with Martin. He’s looking forward to leaving Fort Frances after living here his whole life.
“I’m excited. It’s about time,” he laughed. “I’m tired of this small place. I’m going to a big city, try it out. I think I’m in for a surprise.”
Despite his enthusiasm for change, however, he said he’ll miss the friends he’s made here. “It’s sad—some of my best friends are leaving,” he remarked. “It’s going to be tough.”
Bell, who plans to study engineering sciences at the University of Western Ontario in London, said he’s planning a Thanksgiving dinner for the Fort Frances crowd who’ll be in the vicinity.
Many of his friends will join him at Western while some are going to the University of Toronto or McMaster in Hamilton.
One of those is Aimee Johnson, who will be fairly close by at the U of T. She’s busy getting ready to go these days.
“It’s a little scary,” she admitted. “There’s lots to get ready, lots of stuff to do, like packing. It’s pretty crazy.”
Bell said the most interesting part of leaving will be seeing what everyone has to say when they get back.
“Everyone’s taking off in way different places,” he noted. “It’ll be interesting when Christmas rolls around. We can see what everyone’s been doing.”