Mikayla B. '20 (Kaye's)

"When I arrived in September of my grade 8 year, I was so happy to be here. I was nervous, but the excitement overpowered the nerves quickly. Even though I quickly became very busy at Shawnigan, and was pulled in many different directions, I never felt too overwhelmed because I felt like I was given the tools to succeed and had an amazing support network surrounding me that helped to make everything possible. That has continued all the way to today.

Being a five year student means a lot to me. In the five years I have been at the School, so much has changed. New buildings, a new Headmaster, a new House Director. A lot of the changes made me feel uncertain at times, but seeing how they turned out and seeing the positive effect those changes had, was really neat to be a part of. I saw how things can change and how they can still be good. I think a lot of people are afraid of the risk of change, but I was able to see the positives that can come from change, and now I definitely don’t fear change as much as I used to because I see it as a new opportunity.

I grew up with brothers, so moving into Kaye’s House in grade 8 was definitely a big change for me. For three years, I was in a five person room, with girls from all different walks of life, and it was loud, and it was crazy, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Living in the House definitely taught me a lot of things. Patience, for one, and to be a better listener and to always be open-minded. But most importantly, the bonds that I formed made me realize the importance of love and support, and those are things that I have felt unconditionally since the first day I came to Shawnigan.

Kaye’s has been my rock at Shawnigan. In my early days here, Mrs. Hamilton and Mrs. Conroy were in charge and they were the ones who helped build the foundation of the person I am today. They taught me the importance of believing in myself. When I came to Shawnigan, I was unsure of myself. But they always had my back, helped me hold my head up high, and told me I could be anything I wanted, if I just put my mind to it. I would not be where I am today without all the support they gave me in my early days at Shawnigan.

The family you make at Shawnigan is so special. Having all the connections from across the globe, and being with people I never would have met unless I came to Shawnigan, has just been so powerful. Being exposed to different cultures and different types of communities has been so eye opening and impactful, and has shaped the way I see the world.

Every year I have always looked up to our grade 12 leaders. There have been a handful of people who made a big difference in the life of the School, and who I therefore aspired to be like when I was a senior student. I wanted to be a leader who students felt comfortable approaching, and to be someone who could help connect the students and the staff. Sometimes I can be quite an introvert, so I really wanted to connect with people who were similar to me, and to help people have the confidence to come forward with their ideas.

Trying to lead during a pandemic has not been easy with everyone all over the world. Being able to connect with the Prefects, and talk about ideas, and still have hope, has definitely helped me get through the uncertainty of this time.

When people look back at the Class of 2020 I don’t want them to remember us as the class that went through a pandemic. I hope people will remember us as resilient people who pushed through all the things we were exposed to and continued to hold our heads up high, and made Shawnigan proud along the way.

I am going to miss everything about being a student at Shawnigan. Five years is definitely a long time to be anywhere, and having to leave behind my time at Shawnigan is hard. I totally get why teachers don’t leave here and why some of them have spent their entire careers at Shawnigan. It’s an indescribable feeling when you are on campus, with your friends and teachers. Everyone cares for one another. Not only do you feel support from one person, but you always know that when it counts, the whole School will be there to support you. I don’t think it's like that everywhere you go. That undeniable support from a whole community of teachers, students, and staff is definitely something I will miss a lot, because I think it’s hard to come by.

I know that the last few months have been challenging for everyone. I know that this is not what we were wishing for as we thought about graduation -- to be away from one another, and the School, and the traditions that come with the end of the year. But this experience is making us all into stronger people, and we are going to get through this because we have the whole Shawnigan community behind us, supporting us.

I wish I could thank and hug every single person that has been with me, supported me, and shaped me over the last five years. Thank you to everyone for helping me grow into the person I am today. My whole Shawnigan career has been such a journey, with so many different paths along the way, and every path that I have been on has helped build me into the person I am today."

From an interview with Mikayla B. current Co-Head of School and Kaye's House 5-year student
Follow us on social media
Shawnigan Lake School is an independent boarding school for Grades 8-12 on Canada's West Coast. Our modern, diverse and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.