"I am so thankful for everything that has been offered to me during my time at Shawnigan, because those experiences are what shaped me into who I am today.
In my opinion, Shawnigan does something really well that a lot of other schools don’t do. Other schools will just take kids in, give them an education and give them the mandatory skills to go on with their life. Shawnigan takes in kids and not only gives them an education but also teaches them how to become a better person and become the best version of themselves. I learned the values and the responsibilities of being a good global citizen — someone who will honor responsibility, respect, selflessness and that willingness to help others and put others before yourself.
That is what really stood out to me in Grade 8. I saw those values that were taught at Shawnigan in the Grade 12s that helped me out through a lot of the tough times in my Grade 8 year. I was able to see that if I worked really hard and learned from how they treated me through the tough times, then maybe I could do that for others. They gave me a lot of inspiration and something to work towards.
Having that support when I needed it, and then taking what I learned from receiving that support and being able to support myself and become my own person, was an amazing gift that has made me into the person I am today.
I am very grateful for all the experiences I had with the guys in the House. I was pretty clueless during those early years at Shawnigan. I really had no idea what it meant to be social, and I had never experienced a brotherhood before. The guys in Lonsdale’s were exactly what I needed when I came into the School and what I have carried with me while I have gone through my time here. I was able to grow alongside them, learn with them, and share with them, and we supported each other and lifted each other up. That experience was unlike anything I ever could have imagined, and I don’t think I will ever experience anything like that again.
When I think about Lonsdale’s I also can’t help but think about all the staff who have been a part of that Lonsdale’s identity for me. Mr. Monroe, Mr. McDaniel… Many different people have been able to change and affect the House identity positively and continue to add to it. Each person has made Lonsdale’s stronger and has made our connections with each other more impactful and meaningful.
Outside of the House I had the support of so many other staff members. The McLeods, oh my goodness, they have been such stellar people in my life and have helped me to grow as a person and as a performer and even beyond that, just as someone hoping to learn from what they are going through. I can’t even begin to count the number of times that Mr. McLoed was basically my counsellor. No matter what had come up in my life, or what was going on in his, his office door was always open to me. He never stopped to question why I needed that, he was just there always.
I am most grateful for the opportunities Shawnigan has given me to overcome stereotypes, other peoples’ image of me, and what it means to be a typical guy. I have had the chance to challenge that while at Shawnigan. I took up dance! I had the support of others around me in order to do that. And even though I wasn’t an athlete, and wasn’t the most social person at the start, I became a School Prefect and a lead in the musical. I have been given many opportunities to have my voice heard.
Shawnigan gave me the support and the confidence to be authentic and to be myself. People accepted me for who I was, and to me that is what it really means to be part of the Shawnigan community -- that Shawnigan is accepting of everyone in the community. We are willing to support each other unconditionally.
The feeling I get from being at Shawnigan is as close to magic as possible. When I came to Shawnigan, I thought it was like Howgarts and I was surprised to find out that it wasn’t, and that there was no magic. But as I have gone through the best five years, I feel like I have come close to feeling what magic is really like. Where else can you see the transformations that are as outstanding as the ones that take place at Shawnigan? That seems like magic to me. The connections that you have with people that will stay with you for the rest of your life? That’s magic. Being so connected to the staff, and feeling that you have trust both ways? That’s magic. Everything that Shawnigan has offered me, I don’t know how it exists, but to me it just makes sense, and to me, it has just been so magical.
I am going to miss the people. Every graduate that I have talked to always says they miss the people the most after leaving Shawnigan. I will also miss the energy and atmosphere. It’s unlike anything else I will experience. Once you are part of a boarding school, you will never get an experience like that again.
To everyone who has ever been able to affect my life -- to those who thought I would fall, to those who taught me to prevail through it all, thank you. Thank you to everyone, because through everything I have been able to find my own way and to find who I am."
- Spencer N. (5 years in Lonsdale's)