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.

June 2018 – a Month of Celebration!

The graphic above says it all! (Credit to Brian Lee of the Harbour Spiel).

Carly completed her Bachelor of Business Administration- Marketing degree through Mount Royal University in Calgary, with a double minor in Social Innovation and Non Profit AND Innovation and Entrepreneurship in December 2017 and her convocation was June 1.

Kim graduated from Pender Harbour Secondary, receiving several bursaries from the community for post-Secondary. Kim was accepted at several universities and decided to pursue a degree in Education at the University of Victoria.

Michelle successfully completed the Carpentry Train in Trades Program, receiving first year university credits and credits for high school. The Train in Trades Programs are a partnership between School District 46 and Vancouver Island University. The Carpentry program has an additional partner with Habitat for Humanity- Sunshine Coast. Michelle still has one year of high school left, as she completed this program during her second half of her grade eleven year.

Thank you to all of Carly, Kim and Michelle’s family, friends, teachers and community that have helped them to achieve these goals – from housing to driving to tutoring to helping keep their mama sane, your support has been very appreciated. Thank you.

We’re very proud of these young women. Please wish them congratulations the next time you see them.

Grad 2016 Speech for Pender Harbour

I had the great honour of addressing the 2016 graduating class of Pender Harbour Secondary School on June 28, 2016.   This class is one the smallest in recent years; TEN young adults received their certificates today.

Here is the transcript of my speech.

On behalf of the Board of Education, School District 46, Sunshine Coast, I am proud to bring greetings and congratulations to the Pender Harbour Grad Class of 2016.

When the school district launched our new strategic plan last year, it was titled “Excellence in All We Do”.

We focus on three main goal areas:

Our Staff Inspires – as a district, we are proud and grateful to have personnel throughout our that are dedicated to each student that walks through our doors.

We Embrace our Community – Public Education could not exist without the partnerships support and dedication to youth our community provides.   Thank you for your generosity in donating not only funds, but other resources and of yourselves.

But our most important goal:

Our Students Excel.  You are the reasons why we celebrate today, why we have schools, why we strive to continually do better.

The mission of our School District is to enable and inspire our students to realize their full potentials as knowledgable, confident and contributing citizens in the global community.  Being a parent of students at Pender allows me to learn more of each of you, your families, and me a glimpse in to the citizens you already are, and will continue to be.  As a class, from when you first started school, you have had an effect on my family.   You have been leaders, offered mentorship, friendship and challenges in academics and athletics to each one of my children.

The camaraderie and leadership shown to the younger students at Pender Harbour, including and encouraging them to do their best is a great legacy for your class.    Your grade 12 year has been an interesting one with the complete change in class structure.   The change in structure has allowed for X Blocks, enabling students broader choice for electives, finding and following their passions.

Thank you for welcoming this new structure and being leaders for your peers not only at this school and district but across BC.  This model is being watched, adopted and adapted across the province.

From your first day at school

To this day, this minute, this second

Knowledge and skills have been learned, you’ve used many a tool

Your courage has grown, you are a force to be reckoned

You have learned to take a chance

Tried gold, welding, hiking

Spent time with seniors in Latin Dance

Gained confidence to try any subject of your liking

iPad users from way back

Technology helped you your grade nine math

(selfies, Instagram and the release of Snapchat)

Have all been part of your educational path.

Beyond your classrooms,

Many a teacher’s lecture

Your mind blooms

The ideas that conjecture.

Your journey to this point

Has been full of grades, teachers, friends

the accolades today will hereby anoint

the significance of where your K to 12 ends.

You’ve been heroes here at PHSS

Leaders with capes unfurled

We celebrate you and your future success

Now go on, put your mark on the world.

Congratulations!

The Pieceful Coast

Earlier this week, I was traversing the waters of Howe Sound in the metallic bosom of a BC Ferry.  From my car’s vantage point, I had a stellar view as the vessel cut through the stillness of the fjord.   And then it struck me how the calm waters of the Sound were a considerable contrast from the raging typhoons howling in the political arenas of the Sunshine Coast.

Neighbours, I am concerned. The gales that have occurred on our Coast the past few weeks are twisting opinions, pitting us against each other. Citizens are being disrespectful of other points of view, simply because it is not what they feel.  Rather than debating the issue, personal attacks are whipping around, stinging sand in to our community’s heart.

Healthy discourse and disagreement is part of the democratic process.  Running rampant with rumours,  fear mongering and throwing mud may advance your cause in the short term but in the long term, it will only further distance you from it. Negativity disenfranchises voters, especially newer voters, whom are simply trying to disseminate through the information to find the FACTS to make the best, or most palatable, decision for their future.

Coastally, we have some very real challenges facing us over the next few years: aging infrastructure, lack of services for our elderly populace, a deficit in young people and families, the need for affordable, safe housing and economic development to name a few.

We will still be neighbours after November 15, whether it be directly next door, in the same jurisdiction or as Port Mellon and Egmont. This Coast is our home.

Today is the 25th Anniversary of the Demolition of the Berlin Wall.   The significance of this day in our global history should not escape us.   Politics divided families, friends and citizens for decades.  Let us not divide our own community in to separate pieces along opinion and posturing.

I truly believe in the following, and even though it was written in the context of contract negotiation, it fits for election time.

Whether you look from left or right
Your politics do not matter
It’s for our kids we must fight
But not leave each other in tatter

The balance of the modern world is found
in the harmony of success
even arguments can be a sweet sound
In their tangled, ugly mess

At the end of this… we rebuild
relationships, community, schools, our self
We try and forget of animosity that filled
But wait for the next contract to come off shelf

(excerpt from “Poem from a Negotiation Observer”)

In one week from today, we will know the make-up of our municipal governments for the next four years.    And for those four years,  we will continue to be neighbours.

We don’t have to be friends.

But let’s bring some peace to the Coast by treating each other with a bit more respect.

Grad Speech for SCAS June 23, 2014

I had the incredible honour of representing my Board at the Sunshine Coast Alternative School Gradation celebrations earlier today at the SC Golf & Country Club. The students and staff of SCAS are incredible. Their dedication is amazing to get students through school which is why the school motto is “Whatever it Takes”.

I think that would be a great motto for BCEd.

Here’s my speech.

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Parents and family, staff, community members.
Graduates

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

I have to be honest, this is the first time that I have attended the SCAS graduation since I became a trustee. What a great venue and how wonderful to be surrounded by all of your family, friends, community members and teachers.

The Motto of the Sunshine Coast Alternative School is “Whatever it takes”. As trustees at the board level, we do not witness your day to day struggles, triumphs and successes to get you through your coursework and homework.
We do not know of your personal stories – why you chose SCAS, how it works for you and why it kept you in school.
But the teachers and support staff around you do. They have witnessed and coached and struggled with you to get you to this point: graduation.
Your families and friends have been there for you as well and with them you have made it here.

Through the generous donations from our community, you will be awarded bursaries and scholarships. Thank you to the generous support of the entire Sunshine Coast Community for all of our graduates.

Between the staff at SCAS and your families and support system, you have this wonderful network that has brought you to this point and will assist to give you the wings for your next steps.

As trustees, it is our job o create the environment for this to continue through our advocacy and policy directions. We are extremely proud of all of our graduates and for me, especially of our SCAS grads as your path has not always been the straightest line to this finishing point. For me, school was easy – I was the peg that fit in the hole, but many of my friends were not, and they ended up dropping out and not finishing. They did not have the staff and structure of a school like SCAS to do “whatever it takes” to get them to graduation. You have an incredibly dedicated teaching staff that helped you to get you here to this day.

Your success and engagement drives us at the Board table to do better for you all.

We wish you all the best in the next step of your life’s journey.

Congratulations.

SD 46 Operations Committee : Dec 19,2014

SD 46 Board of Education holds its monthly Operations Committee meeting tomorrow, December 19, 2013, at the School Board Office in Gibsons. The meeting goes from 12:30 pm to 2 pm.
As always, the members of the public are welcome to attend.

The full agenda and notes from the previous meeting can be found at the link below. The two hot topics at this meeting will be Facilities Plan in regards to West Sechelt Catchment Area, and Wi-Fi.
http://www.sd46.bc.ca/index.php/2013-14-board-meetings#ops

Hope to see you there!

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.

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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!