It has obviously been a challenging time in the world, and that has definitely had an effect on everyone. I think Shawnigan has done a very good job of working to support our mental health and breaking the stigma. We are quite open at Shawnigan now about discussing resources that are available at the School, talking about going to counselling, and being more open to chatting with others about how we are feeling.
Shawnigan is an international school. It is so diverse in every way and you meet so many great people from all different walks of life. I never thought I would become best friends with someone from Germany; it is pretty neat to build these connections all across the world. I have really appreciated the efforts that students and staff go to celebrate different cultures, religions and backgrounds.
I am really proud of what we did as a School for Truth and Reconciliation Day this year. That was a really important day for me personally. I was actually part of the committee that helped to organize it and I was fortunate to be able to speak during the day. It was so great to meet together as a committee and hear all the great ideas that people had. On the actual day, I really felt like people understood the significance of the day, and it meant a lot to me as I am part of the Stolo nation so it has a deep personal meaning for me. I feel like it's been a very impactful experience for me being able to help teach people the importance of days like this, and I am proud of the steps Shawnigan is taking to learn more.
I remember feeling pretty baffled on my tour of Shawnigan. I had heard how great Shawnigan was but actually experiencing it for myself and going through those gates for the first time, I actually got goosebumps. I couldn’t believe that this place was real.
It was so interesting to attend all the different classes during my tour and to see the various facilities; I had never been to a school like this before. That day, I also got to go to a rugby practice. Right away I was blown away by the quality of the rugby practice. Not only was it hard, but it was also so much fun. After practice, I got to go back to Lonsdale’s (now my own boarding house), and I met the House team and the rest of the boys, and that was just the icing on the cake. I was hooked.
My biggest passion is rugby. Before playing at Shawnigan, I had opportunities to play club, regional and provincial level rugby. When I came to Shawnigan, my opportunities in rugby exploded. I think I have really improved as a player since coming to Shawnigan. I started training the first day I got here. I have so many opportunities to have my hands on the ball; even when I am not at practice we are always tossing around the rugby ball. I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many other players here at the School that are so talented and have such a passion for the sport, and that has led to some great friendly internal competition.
We also have some amazing coaches that have helped me become the player that I have always wanted to be. Despite all the challenges last year, our coaches found creative ways to help us continue to train and build our rugby skills. I am extremely grateful for that because it has helped give us a great foundation for our season this year.
My coaches are my role models. Through the coaching, care and support that they give me every single day, they definitely make it clear that they believe in me. Off of the rugby pitch, they have also had a tremendous impact on how I carry myself at school. I try to instill the values that I have learned on the rugby pitch into my day-to-day life at Shawnigan. I never want to let them down on the rugby field, but even more so I don’t want to let them down at school.
Family is the most important thing to me. I definitely miss my family when I am here, but Lonsdale’s House and the rugby team really made the transition better and have allowed me to establish a whole other family unit that I can protect and be a part of. I feel like I have gained so much by coming to Shawnigan.
Lonsdale’s is the best House. Our House staff is tremendous; they make it fun, but most importantly, they make us feel taken care of and supported. Being away from home and living in the House have given me some incredible opportunities that have shaped me and helped me grow up. I am not a young kid anymore, and feel ready for life beyond these gates.
Prior to coming to Shawnigan, I wasn’t even certain whether or not I would go to university. Working with the Guidance Office has really opened my eyes and helped me realize that with rugby and my academics at Shawnigan, I could enter a great university program that would not only let me pursue rugby, but also get a great education.
I have definitely found myself enjoying school more since coming to Shawnigan. I have always had a love for the outdoors, so it was really cool taking Environmental Science last year. Learning more about salmon and the water has really grown my love of the outdoors and sparked another passion in me. I have always thought about the fish runs, but learning about how I could one day incorporate my passion for fish and the outdoors into a career has been awesome.
Working in our school hatchery is the coolest experience. Being able to see first hand the whole salmon life cycle is an incredible opportunity, and to be able to play a small role in that has been amazing.
Every staff member at Shawnigan cares; everyone is here to help you. It is night and day compared to my old school where I had minimal interaction with my teachers outside of the classroom. Here, you feel and see the staff supporting you, not only in the classroom, but on the rugby pitch, in the House, and in all different areas of your life. You feel the support everywhere you go and I think that's what makes Shawnigan, Shawnigan.
You should come to Shawnigan if you want to grow. When you come to Shawnigan you grow and learn so much as a person through all the diverse opportunities and experiences available to you, and through the interactions with the incredible people you get to meet. My mind has been opened to so many new things and this has helped me dream bigger than I ever did before."
- Darwin D. '22 (Lonsdale's) Chilliwack, BC