Vancouver native and Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds has recorded a special message for this year’s graduating class of Kitsilano Secondary School.
Reynolds is a former student.
With the novel coronavirus pandemic, schools are not able to hold graduating ceremonies and parties this year, leaving grads to find other ways to mark the special occasion.
Reynolds starts the video by mentioning a teacher at the school – Jonah Eckert – who was a friend of Reynolds when they went to school together.
“When we were graduating I remember he was super excited because he was going to start a money laundering operation with the cartel in Southern Mexico,” Reynolds says.
“But I guess becoming a teacher was plan B?”
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Reynolds says he doesn’t really have a plan in making the video but adds that Kits Secondary was one of the best things that ever happened to him, up to that point anyway.
“I’m still friends with so many people I graduated with, so that says something,” Reynolds adds.
Reynolds offered what he called a “little chestnut of wisdom” to the grads, which he says has worked for him: practice some form of compassion every day.
“Whether it’s for yourself or someone else – especially for someone else is good.”
Urging the grads to practice empathy, rather than to divide and conquer the world, Reynolds says empathy has got him so much farther in his life and in his career than anything else.
“Mirroring, empathizing, validating someone else’s experience or point of view, is just about the most radical act of ambition you can ever demonstrate.”
“Above all, it made me happy.”
At the end of the video a message comes up saying Reynolds misses Nat’s Pizzeria, located close to Kitsilano Secondary.
Every grad will be getting one large pizza each, paid for by Reynolds, as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.