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Valedictorian Vicky Coo reflects on what King’s taught her about caring

Valedictorian Vicky Coo reflects on what King’s taught her about caring

During her first year at King’s, Vicky Coo got into a fight.

“It was probably January. I was in my residence room. It started to snow outside quite heavily. I looked down and started seeing people out in the Quad throwing snowballs. I came down to join in,” Vicky says. “It was probably about 10 minutes of everyone running around flinging snow at one another around midnight, many of them in their pajamas.”

She remembers someone on patrol showed up. “I was concerned they were going to tell us, ‘Stop throwing snow, you’re going to hurt yourselves,’ and shut it down and he just gave this wonderful smile and said, ‘I love everyone here so much.’ That stuck with me. It was the perfect encapsulation of everything I was thinking and feeling at that moment and have thought a lot since then.”

Vicky graduates next week with a combined Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Contemporary Studies and International Development and was selected by her peers to serve as class valedictorian. In her audition, she reflected on how much she’d learned about kindness and caring from the King’s community. She’s not letting on if that will be the theme of her valedictory address but is sure to reflect on some of her activities at King’s during her four years here.

In her first year, Vicky was a campus tour guide. In second and third year, she was a peer supporter in the Stay Connected Mental Health Project, and she’s been an active member of the Contemporary Studies Society, having her writing published in their journals and speaking at their conference.

One of her greatest passions, however, has been the Kings Theatrical Society (KTS). Last year Vicky directed Thesmophoriazusae for Classics in the Quad and this year she directed Murder in the Cathedral. “The KTS was one of the reasons I came to King’s in the first place because I was always interested in the theatre. Having an opportunity to direct or act or write without having to choose that as a subject of study was really appealing to me.”

Meeting a King’s recruiter at Lisgar College, her Ottawa high school, was another reason Vicky came to King’s. She was interested in the thinkers and books on the reading list, she says. “I came to Halifax, saw the lovely campus, had a wonderful long talk with Will Barton, [BA(Hons)’13], went to Seaport Market and saw the sun glinting on the sea and decided I would probably like it here.”

She was right. King’s, she says, is a special place because of how fully people want to engage with what they’re studying. “That spills over into all aspects of life on and off campus; how seriously people take the texts that we’re learning about and will get angry and enthusiastic and fall in love with some writers and despise others and will bring that energy to things like working for more representative curricula, or publishing journals, or having conferences and putting on plays.”

Vicky is currently working in Halifax at Pier 21 as a heritage interpreter/tour guide on a contract until October. She then intends travel and work some more before choosing what masters degree to pursue. She’s slightly worried she’ll use her tour guide “Hello, Bonjour!” greeting instead of a more appropriate “Hello, fellow graduates,” when she speaks at Encaenia, but is overall grateful for the opportunity.

“I’m most excited to move from the library steps across campus with the whole class. That looks like so much fun.”

Encaenia happens May 31 at King’s.


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