Even before my tour, I was sold. I was in awe of how magnificent the place was. We drove in, and I saw the gardens, and Kaye’s pond, and the main building, and I just couldn’t believe that this was a highschool. I immediately fell in love with this place. Shawnigan is magnificent – and not just to look at. It’s a magical school, just like Hogwarts, that really changes you for the better.
My first day was a blur, and a bit stressful as I said goodbye to my parents. I don’t remember much about that first day, but I do remember seeing all these boys wearing the same thing, and then figuring out that they were my new roommates, who very quickly became my friends.
Living with 50 people is insane, but the good type of insane. You can’t really put the experience of living in a boarding house into words. You wake up with them, you get ready with them, you go to school with them, you eat with them, you do everything with them. It’s a special bond, and I am realizing that it’s a bond we will have for life. We are all so tight and it's been pretty special for me to be able to call the boys in Lake’s my brothers.
Shawnigan opened my eyes to see that there’s a whole other world outside of the gates. Prior to Shawnigan, I was living in my own little bubble, and when I got here, that expanded as I met people from all over the world, and started to experience so many new things alongside them. I heard their stories, and I learned about their language and their culture and their different lives. It's very interesting and eye opening. People come from all over the world, from all different walks of life. Learning about what they have been through, the bad stuff and the good stuff, has really made me see the world differently.
When I was a junior at Shawnigan, my role model was the Head of House. I would always think to myself, “I want to do what he’s doing.” I didn’t want to be the Head of House for ego purposes. I truly just wanted to make the House better. I want to be the best person I can be every single day for the boys in the House.
It’s pretty cool to run a House, but also quite stressful. I never really noticed how much the Heads of Houses actually do behind the scenes – it’s a lot.
I feel what connects us best in Lake’s is our communication. The vibe in Lake’s House is relaxed, but at the same time, there’s always the responsibility to look out for other people, and to be a good person. I love the brotherhood, the connections between everyone. Everyone knows one another, and everyone is always together, watching movies, playing pool, hanging out in each other's rooms… The boys are what makes Lake’s the best House on campus.
When I was in Grade 11, my father was diagnosed with cancer. That was a very big turning point in my life. I went to all of his chemo sessions. He still has cancer, but he’s doing a lot better. It’s been tough times.
I wouldn’t have made it through those times without my roommates. Owen has been my roommate since Grade 9. He has been there since day one, the one I have talked to about anything and everything. Ryan and Caden I also talk to about everything. I feel very lucky to have them in my life. I don’t know what I would do without them.
When my dad was going through his cancer treatments, being at Shawnigan saved me. I had lots of support from the School, from my friends, from the House staff and from the counselling department. They were always there for me, when I couldn’t always be there for my dad.
I love rugby here at Shawnigan. I had never played rugby before coming, but my dad had been a player on Team Canada so that pushed me to give it a go. I didn’t really enjoy it in Grade 9, but then something clicked and I really started to enjoy it. The reason I love the sport is because it's always moving. The fast pace of the game makes it so fun and engaging, and it’s really cool that every player has a specific role on the team. The Shawnigan rugby team is something special. The people that play the sport have a deep passion for it, and for the team. People give everything they got to the team, and that’s true for a lot of things here at Shawnigan. People are always looking out for one another, and are always striving to do their best not only for themselves, but for those around them.
What shocked me the most about the people at Shawnigan is their commitment and work ethic. The teachers are always available. They offer tutorials, they come in early, they come in on Saturdays, they answer your emails, they meet with you one-on-one… The extra time that they give really stands out to me. They really go above and beyond to help, and they are here for you – and not just to help you with your school work.
Having an Advisor is another special thing about Shawnigan. I have the best Advisor, who has always been there for me. We check in with each other every single day. She has been so supportive of me and everything that I have done, and I truly couldn’t have asked for a better Advisor. She has had a profound impact on who I am today.
I will always remember Shawnigan as the turning point in my life. I don’t think I would be “me” if I had stayed at my old school. I think I might have gone down a path I wouldn’t have been exactly proud of, but going to Shawnigan grounded me. Shawnigan saved me in a lot of ways. My life has been a bit of a roller coaster, but because of Shawnigan I have made it through all the twists and turns. Through all my struggles, I have always been supported and guided. I do not walk alone here at the School.
Years from now, I will remember the sense of belonging and acceptance I have felt at this place. I will remember being surrounded by people that actually care about me, and in turn, I really care deeply about Shawnigan and the people in it. I will also remember the sense of true joy I have felt at Shawnigan. Even though I have had good days and bad days, I can honestly say that my experience at Shawnigan has been one of true happiness because of the people, the place and the experiences."
- From an interview with Rowan Z. '21 (Lake's)