"I came to Shawnigan in Grade 9 to play hockey. I thought hockey was going to be my entire life at the School, but it turned out to be one of the smallest things. I very quickly realized how much was available to me at the School, and I found multiple interests here including the fine arts and even other sports.
My first year at Shawnigan was really shaped by a few people in Ripley’s House. The main person was definitely Justin, my big brother in the House. He was the most amazing person who was always there to help me with everything and anything. Mr. Doyle was not only my House Director, but also helped me find a passion for rugby. Mr. Pollock not only helped me in the House, but was also my hockey coach. The way that all these people opened their arms and made me feel like I was a part of the House right away really made Shawnigan feel like home.
The community here at the School, and the love we develop for one another, is like nothing I have experienced before except with my own family back at home. We spend so much time together, and no matter our differences, we always tend to work it out. We have each other's backs, and if there’s a problem outside of the House, when you come back into the House there is always someone there to lean on, no matter how often, or how awkward. There’s always someone to help you.
There are many small things here that I first thought I would hate, but are actually the things that make this place so special. One of those things is Chapel. I quickly learned that it's the coolest time where everyone comes together, and it doesn't matter what is being spoken about, the effect that it has on you is contagious. In a similar way, the feeling in Marion Hall, feeling hundreds of people surrounding you and working together, lifts my spirits and energy. It’s crazy the change that these things can have on your whole day once you experience them.
My main hope for Shawnigan is that we can get back to 100% normal again. However, there are lots of things that are outside of the School’s and our control. Getting it to start feeling as normal as possible, and to help create that magical Shawnigan feeling, is definitely a priority for me – and for us to not use COVID as an excuse for everything.
Despite the pandemic, I never once thought I wouldn’t come back this year. One of the main reasons was because of the trust my family had in the amazing staff at Shawnigan, and how caring they are. It shows how well thought out the plan was for our safe return to school. It takes everybody to run this school, and they have done a phenomenal job in helping us to overcome such a huge challenge.
What excites me the most about working together with this year's prefect group is how different and diverse the group is. Every single person brings something different to the table, and can help generate ideas that can actually work! The way that everyone thinks is what excites me the most. It's always fun looking over at some of the staff that sit in our prefect meetings and see their eyebrows raise at some of our great ideas. We are definitely approaching this year differently, and the pandemic has definitely made us think differently.
Shawnigan empowers us in a lot of ways to use our voice. The School does a really good job at letting people voice their thoughts and opinions, and no matter what your grade or age, someone will always listen. We try to make sure that every person's voice is heard, and that many different ideas are brought to the table to help make this year that much better.
I can’t express enough how important it is to jump at opportunities, even if you feel uncomfortable. Whether it's joining a new sport or an activity where you don’t know a single person, I promise you that you will be welcomed, and at the end of the day you might find a deep passion. In Grade 9 I would shy away from doing things, and I spent a lot of time in the House. But I was definitely pushed to put myself out there, and now my friend group and experiences have grown and my experience at the School has become so much more enriched.
I am very grateful to my parents for this experience. I am so grateful for all the people here at the School, from my House Director, to my Advisor, to my teachers, to my friends, who have always been there every step of the way to help me with anything, no matter how small or often.
I am grateful for all the lessons I am learning along the way."
- Craig M. (Co-Head of School, 4 years in Ripley's)
Shawnigan Lake School is a co-educational boarding school on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The school is home to nationally-ranked academics, arts and athletics, with 100 per cent of graduates accepted to university.