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!

Share-There Launches on the Sunshine Coast

January 22, 2016, marked the official launch of Share-There, a ride-sharing social enterprise.  The concept comes from Sean and Michelle Morton (pictured in photo below).

Share-There was created to address some of the transportation woes on the Sunshine Coast, as well as add in the social benefits of the carpool in an electronic age.

Two great added features of the site are the event calendar and ticketing app.   You can add your event to the event calendar and sell tickets through the Share-There Website, similar to other event ticketing sites such as EventBrite.com.    Check out  Event and Ticket Information for the easy-to-use directions.

The mission statement of Share-There says it all:

“We aim to reduce single occupancy vehicle use and build a stronger local community and economy.”

It is estimated 80-90% of the vehicles travelling between Sechelt and Gibsons each day only have ONE occupant.   This is counterintuitive to the reputation we strive for : a more connected, environmentally conscious community.

Sunshine Coast – now’s it your turn.  Sign up for Share-There and stop driving by yourself!

share there

Congratulations again to Michelle and Sean!

 

 

“Learning Spaces” Facilities Consultations in SD46

School District 46 (Sunshine Coast) wants to hear from our community!

We are embarking on a series of community consolations over this week and next to hear about what YOU have to say about our facilities and how they can best support our students and larger community.

Here’s the Consultation schedule:

Gibsons Area                       Where: Gibsons Elementary School (Library)
                                                         783 School Road, Gibsons, BC
When:  Monday, January 25 from 4-6 pm

Sechelt Area                        Where: Chatelech Secondary School (Foyer)

                                                         5904 Cowrie Street, Sechelt, BC
When:  Tuesday, January 26 from 4-6 pm

Pender Harbour Area           Where: Pender Harbour Secondary (Library)

                                                          13639 Sunshine Coast Highway, Madeira Park, BC
When:  Monday, February 1 from 4-6 pm

Register at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SD46-Learning-Spaces

Hope to see you there!

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.

Open Letter to all #SunshineCoastCa Candidates

Open letter to all Sunshine Coast Candidates..

The past few weeks, Voice on the Coast has been heavily concentrated on encouraging members of the public to get involved in the Electoral process. We have held a forum, attended candidates meetings, circulated questionnaires to all candidates (acclaimed and those on the campaign trail)

One of the things that I personally have asked the public to do is to speak directly to those running for office. ASK them the questions that matter to YOU and your family and friends. And the public is doing that! I think that’s AWESOME.

Well, it was brought to my attention that someone has asked repeatedly for questions to be answered, specific to their family situation, and has waited WEEKS now for an answer. This voter has followed up numerous times. And been put off. This is a two-vote household, with both members under age 35.

CANDIDATES – please do not do this.
You are in the interview process right now. Don’t mess it up. November 15 is a few short days away. Are you REALLY interested in being hired?

This opportunity to speak directly to the public about what matters to them is incredible. Embrace it. Learn the stories that shape our coast. Answer the tough questions.

MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC – please keep asking questions. You’re the boss here.
Nervous about asking/not sure what to ask? Send me an email. I’ll help. loripratt75@gmail.com

From
Lori Pratt
CoChair
VOICE on the Coast

Where Have All the Playgrounds Gone?

I was driving around Sechelt last week and noticed that there seemed to be a lack of playground spaces for young children.

We have playgrounds at the elementary schools, soccer fields and ball diamonds, but when it comes to the newest subdivisions in the Sechelt area, there are no ‘real’ playgrounds, especially in quickly expanding West Sechelt.  There are a few ‘green areas’ in the West Sechelt area — Tyler Heights Park and Clayton Park, but as you can see from my photos below, the playground equipment is unimpressive.  Picadilly Park is much more family friendly, but is still located quite a distance from these other two areas.  And if you want to drive, you can certainly try Trail Bay Waterfront, Pier and Adventure Park or Porpoise Bay Provincial Park.

Tyler Heights Park

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Clayton Park

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I will say that the views from both of these parks is amazing, but the terrain not especially friendly for young families. Tyler Heights is especially difficult, having been built up on a rock boasting in blackberry brambles. There is green grass at Clayton Park which I’m sure is lovely to roll around in after you’ve used the equipment there – a short slide. One positive thing is that both of these playgrounds are very close to the trail system that snakes through the West Sechelt area. And the view is stellar. But c’mon… the play structures are abysmal.

The Sunshine Coast community is trying to attract more families and young people, yet our neighbourhoods lack the subliminal message that children are present or even welcome. And yes, you could argue that these new subdivisions are not being marketed to families with young children. But those luxury homes can be sold to young professional couples that wish to make a lifestyle change to the coast or they can be sold to grandparents.  And don’t we already have enough luxury homes sitting empty on the coast?

The launch of the Vital Signs Report earlier this week (see full report here http://sccfoundation.com/vitalsigns/ ) shows the aging demographic of our population is continuing to grow as the population under age 45 continues to decrease. In 2010, 40.9% of the Sunshine Coast population was under 45. In 2013, that number was 38.6%. No, this is not the fault of subpar playgrounds. But I would place blame in how each aspect of our community markets and brands ourselves to the world.

You can throw money at iniatitivies, projects and programs but if the policy, political will and messaging are not there, you will not change the trajectory that we currently following. By 2022, only 15% of the Sunshine Coast is projected to be of working age. Compare that with the rest of BC at approximately 40%. ( Vital Signs, 2014 )

Take a look around your neighbourhood with new eyes. What attracts you to live there? Is there a place for your children to play? What keeps you here? Is it your job, quality of life, the environment? What would it take to bring your friends here from off-coast?

As we enter the 2014 Municipal Election arena, listen to the candidates carefully as they address the issues brought forth to them. And make sure that you ask your questions.

November 15th comes quickly; make sure you have your voice heard.

Great things happening at Madeira Park Elementary

Check out the Local this week – an article on Madeira Park Elementary, written by yours truly.

http://www.thelocalweekly.ca/madeira-park-elementary-school/

The original was about 500 words which was difficult enough- I was edited down to 300.

I’ve also pasted the published article below.

 

Located in the north section of our school district, Madeira Park Elementary, one of our smallest schools, provides education primarily for Egmont and Pender Harbour areas, one of the largest physical catchment areas in our district. The staff at MPES is “excited to dive in and start implementation” of new curriculum that is being rolled out in B.C. schools. The school has been immersed in experiential learning (learning through experiences) to support new learning outcomes. MPES students expect to go on whole-school field trips that take them to the Port of Vancouver to study ecology and economy; Grouse Mountain to study bears and ecology; or Porpoise Bay to see the fragile salomonid ecosystem.

Next spring will be the third annual “Week Without Walls”, dedicated to outdoor experiences and environmental studies in the Pender Harbour Community. It continues rain or shine! Fine Arts Week was started last year to balance the academics and athletics. The school played host to painters, sculptors, musicians and actors over a week to introduce students, staff and parents to different media in which artists can express themselves. The students had an opportunity to work with Jeraldo Avila and learn about acrobatics and perform in a school-wide circus.

A small school encourages the staff and students to work in teams. This year, there will be two grade 4, 5, 6 classrooms that will be learning in big picture themes, and then splitting into smaller groups for individual attention. Madeira Park Elementary ensures highly effective student learning takes place for all students by providing special support in literacy and numeracy. Principal Krangle is a true example of how one person can inspire a community. Described by outgoing PAC Chair Mandy West as “a supportive principal who helps to make it all happen”, Krangle has a gift for encouraging’ involvement of parents. Two years ago, I found myself playing the older version of my daughter’s character in the school’s musical adaption of “The Polar Express”. Quite the treat for me. There is hope to launch a musical this year, and with incredibly supportive parents and local community, it is sure to once again play to a packed house.

As a trustee, it is extremely exciting to watch the engagement of students, staff and community around education. As a parent of former students, I’m a bit jealous that my kids aren’t a few years younger.


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