PHSS Class of 2018 – Kimmy has Graduated!

June was a very exciting month in our family (more on that here).

June 27 marked a special day as Kimberly completed her secondary education and graduated from Pender Harbour Elementary-Secondary School.

It was my honour to deliver a message from the school board, I’ve posted it below.

This photo was taken by Carly Fielding, I’ve scooped it from her Instagram. I was standing in the receiving line, so it a bit difficult to snap a shot.

I’m very proud of Kim for completing this portion of her education. As she spent her grade eleven year in the Netherlands, Kim compressed three years of high school into two. It was a challenging journey and not always easy but, with the help of the Pender Harbour staff and hard work, she made it happen. Congratulations, Kim.

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Here’s my address:

On behalf of the Board of Education of School District 46, Sunshine Coast, I bring greetings and congratulations to the 2018 graduating class of Pender Harbour Elementary-Secondary School.

The board and staff love this time of year.   We celebrate your achievements and educational journey to this moment and, along with your community, wish you well for your next steps.   Pender Harbour and Egmont are very special places and you have made it better by your dedication to this community.

The Pender Harbour and Egmont Community has been incredibly generous to this class – cheering on at soccer, basketball and rugby, attending concerts and performances, donating their time, energy, bottles and money to help these students not only make it to the stage, but follow their dreams after.   Thank you all for all you do to support PHSS youth.

To the staff at PHSS, and all the way back to Serendipity with Gwen and Patricia, MPES days with Mrs. Stinson and Mrs. Kammerle, thank you for all you have done for these young adults.  Your efforts have been so appreciated.

To switch gears slightly, I’ll tilt my trustee hat back and be a mom.   This class has a special place in my  heart.   Having known many of you since baby drop-in and preschool days, one of you a bit longer, you’ve become part of our family and your parents have all become friends, or rather “comrades-in-arms” as we have navigated these past years.   These are our Y2K babies – the children that arrived after the apocalypse that was going to end civilization as we know it.   And to paraphrase Ian’s speech from last night, this group has been .. interesting? difficult? challenging?

The best anecdote to describe this class happened earlier today.   I called Kim at 11:40am to find out where she was, as time was running out to leave home to be at the high school for 12:30pm.   Her answer?  “I’m in Roberts Creek.”   That’s a forty-five minute drive away from the school, plus time to stop at home and get dressed and ready.

While thinking about what to say today, there were two themes that popped up for me.

The first is this – the beautiful welcome that was installed earlier this month has a wolf carved at its base.   Our Master Carver Arnold Jones chose the wolf with the graduating class as their symbol.

The wolf itself is a symbol of loyalty, intuition, intelligence, independence, compassion and communication, all qualities exemplified in this group.   The wolf may have a reputation as being a solitary creature as in “the lone wolf” due to its independent nature, but is actually a very social and communicative creature.     And as Tami describes the wolf on the welcome pole “it was difficult to emerge from the wood”.   It needed to come out in its own time.   This is so true of this group.

The second thing is this.   It is a tradition at Pender that grade 7 students write a letter to their future graduating self.  These letters were delivered last night at banquet.  In kim’s was her letter, a 2007 penny, a photo of herself, a coupe of other items and a fortune from a fortune cookie that read, “You will earn success at whatever you attempt”.   This is so true.   Show up and work hard for what you want and you will achieve your goals.   So often fear, self-doubt or external voices creep in and shut you down before you begin.  If you attempt something, work at it and you will be able to accomplish great things.    Whether it be veterinary, teaching, driving truck, logging, fishing, anything you choose to do.    This is growth mindset.

You’ve already accomplished amazing things – some of you have spent a year away, learning other languages and cultures; a couple of you have helped build a school in Ecuador.  We have volunteer firefighters, peer mentors, and just enjoyable human beings here, pushing the envelope, challenging the status quo, questioning things that do not make sense.   Please continue to do this as you venture into your steps.

Thank you for being unapologetically and unabashedly yourselves.

Go continue to be amazing.

Congratulations.

E-NOUGH

So here we are.

The last week of school marks the second week of a full out strike by the BC Teachers Federation.

Lock out dates by the employer for secondary teachers start on June 25, and for elementary teachers later this week.

Exams for senior secondary students have gone through but due to the complexities of marking, the essay portions were dropped.

Graduation ceremonies have been moved to alternate locations due to picket lines.

The finger pointing continues.

The impasse more entrenched than ever.

Rhetoric bouncing back and back between the government and teachers’ union through social media channels, the mainstream media and duelling press conferences is wearing thin on us all. This has become a full out political assault on either side as they seek to discredit each other and gain the public’s support.

One of the most disappointing things that has happened in recent days is the politicization of the BCEd Plan. The government is using this formally non-partisan site to circulate paid messages such as the following tweet : @bcedplan: Teachers deserve a fair wage increase but it needs to be affordable. http://t.co/IDeo6dA6vO http://t.co/lO6eIkHChH #bced

Regardless of your personal opinions on salaries and wage increases, this is uncalled for. The BCEdPlan site was meant to be non-political and welcoming for all. The PAID advertisements to discredit a group of professionals that are stakeholders within this plan is unconscionable.

The BCTF is a union and an advocacy organization for their membership. The leadership within their structure is expected to lobby hard for their teachers. But they are going too far with the negative messaging as well.

Stop the public bashing of one another. No more bargaining in the media. Do you want a facilitator? I have children that are trained in anti-bullying through the WITS program.

Both sides need to get back to the table and find the common ground to get a freely negotiated deal; a deal that is fair and gives stability to education in this province for whatever term the parties can mutually agree upon.