Student Life

Milena J. '20, Kaye's

"Shawnigan is beyond a regular high school experience.

Shawnigan was my dream school, as it had everything I could ever want, through its focus on academics, fine arts, athletics, and most importantly, the community aspect that I was so badly seeking. But I never thought of it as an option.
As soon as I met Mrs. Samuel and she started telling me everything about Shawnigan, I instantly started falling in love with the School, which was bad because I knew I would never be able to afford it. They told me I seemed like a good fit for Shawnigan and suggested I do a tour. Once I was in the House atmosphere, and went to sport practice and dinner, I could see that this was a place where I could fit in, and I knew that this was where I wanted to go more than anything.

When I was accepted to Shawnigan, the first thing I thought was “is this real?” To me, Shawnigan was a fantasy, so when they told me I could come and offered me a scholarship, I just couldn’t believe it.

After my grade 10 year, a Shawnigan family chose me as the first recipient of their new Scholarship. I feel like there isn’t a big enough word to describe how grateful I am to this family for their financial and emotional support. When you are in a position like me, if somebody offers you something like this, it's like they are handing you a future. Obviously, you need to put in the work to be eligible to receive it, and make sure you continue to put in the work. But without this family, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I might not be here today. It has totally changed my life and it has inspired me to want to do that for somebody else one day. It just gives me a new perspective on what giving truly means, and the impact it can have on someone's life

Service is very important to me. I am the youth representative on the Shawnigan Residents Association. I run the social media, and have fun and bring new ideas to the group. This opportunity has been a great experience and I have been able to take part in many different initiatives.

Shawnigan has taught me that service is not even a choice, it should just be a part of your life, like breathing! Shawnigan taught me that you don’t need to do big things to make a difference, but that any little amount of service that you can do during the day is what helps make that difference.

I can’t even really imagine who I was before Shawnigan, because Shawnigan just transformed my whole life.

I never have had the type of deep connections that I have now at Shawnigan. When I got to the School, and was put into a five person room, I learned that the most important people in your life don’t actually have to be similar to you. Some of my best friends are people who see the world completely differently than me.

Shawnigan transforms high school from something that you go through and get through into something that you live for. Shawnigan just becomes who you are, and there are all these people here doing what they can to support you, and in turn you are doing everything you can to support the School. It's a beautiful thing.

Going to Shawnigan gave me the tools and confidence to apply for university scholarships - to trust in myself and to know that I can achieve whatever I want if I put in the work. With the support of the guidance office, we started applying to universities and seeking scholarship opportunities. We came upon the Morehead-Cain Scholarship just before it was due, and I almost didn’t apply because I only had two days to apply. (Lesson learned: never pass up on an opportunity because you never know what could come of it!). This was for a four year, fully funded educational experience at my dream school, the University of Northern Carolina at Chapel Hill (and Michael Jordan’s Alma Mater). Just like Shawnigan, it offered everything that I could ever want and it would allow me not just to grow as a student, but also a leader and person.

I knew the date that they were going to let me know if I got the scholarship, and I was nervous all week. That day I was waiting nervously in Marion Hall when I checked my phone and found out that I got it. I collapsed, and couldn’t believe what was happening. I was so incredibly happy. It was a dream come true because it meant that everything is taken care of, financially, and also it is my dream school. I also saw it as a sort of thank you to the people that have supported me and spent countless hours getting me to where I am today. It felt so good to have something to show them that it was all worth it.

Shawnigan will always be my first home. It’s where I learned to trust myself and to trust other people, it's where everything good happened. It marked the shift in my life to a future that's better and brighter.

I hope to take with me everything that I learned from Shawnigan as I move forward. The goal is to live my life how I want it to be and not be scared about yesterday or tomorrow, but just put everything I can into whatever I am doing, and continue to learn.

To the people that have supported me along this journey, thank you for sticking by me. Nobody can do it alone - even if you want to think that you can, you need people in your corner. To those people in my corner, thank you for supporting me, being there for me, and believing in me. You have given me an experience of what it means to have people that I can count on and who love me for me."

- from an interview with Milena J. '20 (Kaye's)
We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples on whose traditional lands and waterways we live, learn and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia.