PHSS Grad 2013 Speech

My eldest daughter graduated from Pender Harbour Secondary earlier today. As the local school board trustee, I spoke at her graduation.

Here is the transcript of my speech.

***

Friends, family, community members, staff. Graduates.

On behalf of the Board of Education of School District 46, Sunshine Coast, I bring greetings and congratulations.

This is a favourite time of year for our Board as we celebrate the accomplishments and successes of all of our students, especially our graduates. In public education, our students are our focus and from the moment they first set foot in one of our facilities either through one of our early learning programs such as StongStart(r) or SPARK!(r) or at some other point of the K to 12 hierarchy, our staff and our board work our hardest to help them to realize their full potential.

In Pender, the community rallies around its youth through their presence at this celebration and the presentations of the generous bursaries and scholarships that support these young men and women in their post-secondary education. Thank you for tremendous show of support for these graduates.

One thing I’ve always loved about the way Pender holds its grad is the entrance- the symbolism of the graduates walking through this room of well-wishers: the families, friends, staff and community members that have supported, loved and encouraged the students for years. How incredible to be surrounded by all this happiness, and as you depart at the end through those doors, you leave us behind, but know that we will always be behind you, supporting the next step of your journey.

The PHSS student community is no different; they are a family, with multi-grade sports teams, peer tutoring, mentoring and an acceptance of each other that transcends differences.

These graduates have been student leaders and a family of their own for many years. I have witnessed this first hand as I have a personal connection with this class. My eldest daughter is on this stage and so many of these young adults have been a part of our family for many years, starting with Serendipity Preschool, moving through the classrooms at Madeira Park before transitioning to these walls at Pender.
I have witnessed first hand the friendships, mentoring, the squabbles, teamwork, the unfriendships, refriendships, tolerance and acceptance within this group.

On behalf of us parents, I would like to say good luck, and for the most part, you’ve been good kids. You are now adults; and to paraphrase Erma Bombeck, to have a child is to forever have a piece of your heart outside your body. We are so proud and very happy for you and a piece of us is screaming “Hallelujah! My child has graduated!!”
We have loved you from birth to first steps, from the first day of school to now, the first day of your adult life.

As Broffenbrenner states;

Every child needs at least one person who is really crazy about him or her.

. I have been so honoured and truly blessed to have been one of these supporters, as ‘crazy’ as I am.

I will continue to be that person for each and every one of you. Keep in touch.

I love you all, and one of you, just a little bit more.

Congratulations!

Candidate Speech for Provincial Council

I’d like to share the speech I made for the February 25th, 2012 Provincial Council. I was not ultimately elected in the by-election, but I do plan on running again for the BCSTA board of directors at our AGM in April.

Here it is:

I am honored to be our board’s Provincial Councillor and represent the Sunshine Coast, as well as the South Coast Branch of BCSTA.
It is very exciting to be one of the candidates for the vacancy on the board of directors. The support and advocacy that BCSTA provides on behalf of all Boards across the province is very important to public education. This support from BCSTA gives our districts the training for our new trustees while working with returning trustees in their continuing professional development. I believe I can be an integral part of our BCSTA Board by bringing our South Coast Branch voice to the table, and continuing the connections I have built with other trustees in the province through mentorship with items such as policy review, parent engagement and trustee development.
Harold R. McAlindon said “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”. His words certainly emulate where we are in education in BC right now. Our districts across the province have been blazing trails for years as they have developed programs to fit our students, to keep them engaged in their education and to help them realize their potential as citizens in our global community.
With the introduction of the BCEd Plan last year we were able to give our provincial trail a name and a map to move forward. This new map centered on students and how we can best support them through personalized learning, quality teaching and learning, flexibility and choice, high standards and learning empowered by technology. Our districts are supporting and engaging students and with the BCSTA connecting us all, we can find out what is happening across the province, using those ideas and “marked trails” to help us to develop strategic plans and priorities within our own districts.
While Peace River North’s Energetic learning Campus, also known as the “school in a hockey rink” may
not be transferrable to the Gulf Islands, I bet they can share their thought and lessons learned on community consultation.
Haida Gwaii’s book “B is for Basketball” is a great resource for all districts when looking at their Aboriginal Education programs.
And how can I nor share my own district’s Early Learning Programs such as SPARK! and our newest additions ‘Tiny Town’ and our mobile Strong Start Centre, Wonder Wheels.

The ideas and programs we share make us stronger as Boards and as an organization.
As a candidate for your BCSTA Board, I hope to continue the great work that is already being accomplished an build on the relationships with the Ministry, our sister organization BCPSEA, our parents through BCCPAC, our teachers and our support staff.
I look forward to help continue to build our already excellent reputation as a world educational leader and nurture our relationships with our partners as we work together to support our youngest learners and citizens.
After all, kids matter – we all care.

Thank you.