I have heard glowing reports of the basketball tour to Hawaii, squash tournaments in Canada and the US, and hockey tournaments both on and off campus. I would like to thank the staff responsible for planning and delivering these opportunities for our students over the holiday break.
During the holidays, I spent some time going through the paperwork on my desk and came across something I want to share with you as we step into this term.
Nate from Lonsdale’s gave an address – alongside some other prefects to the Grade 10s – one Thursday last term. One sentence really struck home:
"As we go through this year, we all know that we want to make the Shawnigan experience as enjoyable and valuable as possible for everyone around us, as well as ourselves."
Nate identifies our mutual commitment and respect of what makes our community so unique here at Shawnigan. Our combined aim is for the Shawnigan experience to be ‘enjoyable and valuable’ for every member of our community.
Time and again, I have returned in Chapel to the wisdom of Nelson Mandela as a touchstone. I found myself reading a picture book on the history of Canada last week and discovered that Steve Nash, one of basketball’s greatest point guards of all time, had followed Mandela by saying:
"I am a huge believer in giving back … I believe the measure of a person’s life is the effect they have on others."
Part of the education here at Shawnigan is to recognize our responsibility to contribute not only to our School community but also to our local community.
I also found on my desk a copy of a touching letter sent from Sunridge Place – a residential care centre in Duncan – to some of our students thanking them for their kindness. The letter reads:
"We would like to give our heart felt thanks for you coming faithfully every week … It has enriched my life. Having you to chat with has made me feel happy while coping with the loneliness of not being at home. I am delighted to have spent this time with you; it helps me to remember what it was like to be your age. So I hope when I’m old and weak and can’t hear anything, I will remember fondly your visits. Thank you so much. Keep up the good work."
Here is a clear example of Shawnigan students making a positive and supportive difference in the world of others, beyond our gates.
My message for the term ahead is: work hard, connect, be thoughtful and mindful of others, be humble, share a sense of place and belonging – and let us strive always to be the best version of ourselves.
I find myself being increasingly drawn into the world of BC basketball. Steve Nash’s wisdom stretches to self-recognition as to what took him from Vancouver Island schoolboy to the NBA’s most valuable player in spite of playing a game dominated by much taller players:
"I was an underdog … I scrapped and clawed my way into college and did the same again in the NBA. And I just never stopped and I kept working my way up."
"My approach has been that a player with determination and a willingness to work harder than anyone else can accomplish anything. It’s a simple formula. I’ve found it works."
It is indeed a simple formula for success for all of us.
Nash’s great skill was his ability to distribute the ball to his teammates. He is, in fact, third in career assists on the NBA’s all-time list.
One of his team-mates described him as ‘painfully humble’ and explained that "It was never about him … I think if he could have it his way, he’d never shoot. It was always about his teammates."
I like that: the combination of dedication, humility, and commitment to one’s team.
New experiences and challenges await you – please take full advantage of the opportunities presented to you over the course of the term. Enjoy yourselves and, at the same, time – as Nate suggests – support the enjoyment of others.
It’s a hop, skip and a jump to ski week in early February.
Kathini and I received a Christmas card with a lovely message inside:
"The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written."
A message for us all.
Good luck with the term ahead.
Headmaster8th January 2018