On Saturday, April 30 the School hosted the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation's Champagne Dinner & Auction Gala, one of the Cowichan Valley's premier fundraising events. We have been proud to welcome the hospital community and its supporters to campus over the years. I was delighted to address those in attendance and I have shared my welcome message here.
It gives me great pleasure, as Head of Shawnigan Lake School, to welcome members of our local Cowichan community to this event.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish people.
The last time we gathered here was in April 2019! The pandemic has thwarted ever since….
I love that Shawnigan supports this Hospital Foundation Dinner in this way.
Hospitals are in my blood.
My mother is a midwife and my father a surgeon. Much of my childhood was spent reading books outside hospital wards – and my brother and I remember weekends, Easters and Christmas Days spent in hospitals whilst my father was there for emergencies.
We are hugely fortunate to have an outstanding local hospital here in the Cowichan Valley. A hospital is made of many people - patients, families, doctors, nurses, administrators, receptionists, porters, ambulance crews, the kitchen and cleaning teams and many others - all contributing to the community.
The pandemic has been an extraordinary disruptor of our world but we have drawn great strength from the adaptability, expertise, and compassion emanating from our local hospital.
I like to think that society has a new found respect for health care workers and teachers - certainly, parents have a greater understanding and empathy as to our work as educators after an enforced term of homeschooling for all in 2020!
I can only begin to imagine the challenges you have faced in the hospital over the past two years.
During the months that the pandemic raged the hardest, a volunteer team of staff rang the chapel bell at 7pm each night in recognition of the courage of health care workers, local, national and global.
Tonight we welcome you back to our campus and our students rang the chapel bell for you as you arrived both as a welcome and as recognition of their appreciation not only for what you have delivered during the pandemic but for what you continue to do to support our school.
Broken arms, dislocated shoulders, mental health challenges, middle-of-the-night emergencies....our community here at Shawnigan knows it can rely on you.
It, therefore, feels very special to welcome the Duncan hospital community and its supporters to our campus this evening.
I am also very pleased that so many of our Shawnigan students have stepped forward to volunteer and support our wonderful events team and kitchen team. I know our chefs are super excited to cook a special menu. They are all doing this for you.
It is the expectation, here at the school, that we all make a positive and supportive contribution and make a difference to our local community – both within our school gates and also in the wider community.
Increased engagement with our local community and the development of partnerships are very much part of the strategic vision for the school.
This strikes very much at the heart of the school as I see us as helping to guide and train the current generation of students to be the community-builders of tomorrow in whatever community - personal and professional, here on the island and further afield - that they find themselves in during later life.
My wife, Kathini, and I welcome you to this Cowichan Hospital Foundation Dinner on behalf of the Shawnigan community.
Enough from me….
Enjoy a wonderful evening together this evening and some delicious food and let’s raise some money for the Foundation.
Richard D A Lamont
Head of School
Shawnigan Lake School