Jackson P. '24 (Duxbury)
"Shawnigan has really helped bring out the best in me.
I was on board right away when my family started talking about Shawnigan. I knew that it would be an incredible experience that I definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on.
A big reason why I was hooked on coming to Shawnigan was the rugby program. I have played rugby my entire life, and I knew of Shawnigan and its rugby program that was quite strong. Also, boarding school has always been something that has interested me, and I always sort of felt that it was an environment I would excel in.
My first day at Shawnigan was definitely a blur because I was so nervous. This was the first time I was going to be away from home and my parents for any great length of time, so I was pretty nervous about what I had gotten myself into. But that worry and nervousness quickly disappeared as I was introduced to new people and brought into the Duxbury pack.
Right away, I felt an immediate connection to the House and the boys. The older boys took me under their wings, and what really stood out to me was that my encounters were never awkward. Right away they really made me feel like I fit in.
I do not regret for a minute that I came in Grade 8. It was definitely the right decision and I am super grateful for being able to come. Grade 8 was one of the best years of my life. There’s something really special about being the youngest one. You get so close to your grade, and those relationships will continue to grow and get stronger. I know that the friendships I have from that first year are friendships I will have for life. We connected at a deeper level as we leaned on each other and grew together..
What surprised me about coming in Grade 8 is that people don’t only hang out with just the people in their grade. That is definitely due to the fact that almost everyone here at Shawnigan lives here 24/7 so you have the opportunity to connect with so many more people.
I love rugby at Shawnigan. Having the fields right beside my House, and being able to practice where I live, how great is that? Even when I am not at rugby practice, lots of us go up there to toss the ball around or play some touch rugby to unwind after a busy day.
I started playing rugby when I was five years old. I played a lot of different sports growing up, but rugby was definitely my favorite and a sport I felt really passionate about. When I came to Shawnigan, I was so excited to find so many people equally as passionate about the sport as I am. It really seems that everyone wants to be here, and wants to learn, and wants to get better, and it's definitely a very positive environment to develop as a rugby player and a person.
The coaching at Shawnigan is levels above what I have had. They are so supportive, and no matter what they are always there for you. Mr. Jeff Williams, who is the 1st XV coach for the boys, is also my Advisor. I can always talk to him, and I am always talking to him about rugby and getting advice. But I also talk to him about school, and more importantly just about life and how I am doing.
When I first came to Shawnigan, my focus was just rugby, rugby, rugby… and I honestly thought that it was all just going to be about that. But I am realizing that rugby is actually secondary next to my overall experience here at Shawnigan. I was surprised that a lot of my focus really went to the development of my friendships and creating new experiences for myself.
Shawnigan’s academics are a lot more intense than what I was used to from my old school — but in a good way. It sounds a little cheesy, but my classes definitely bring out the best in me. When you have more to do, you find that you can do more. Before, I wasn’t really achieving my full potential, and was often just coasting through, but here I really feel like it's forcing me to work hard, but in turn, I really want to work hard because I am passionate about what I am learning.
The fact that we have tutorials at Shawnigan shows me how much our teachers care about our learning and supporting us. If you want to learn more or are struggling, they are there to help you. They are also there beyond the classroom, and I feel like I can talk to lots of my teachers, just like I would to Mr. Lupton and Mr. Williams, my House Directors, beyond things that are just academics.
I love how close everyone is in this community. Even teachers that I have never had, or people from other Houses who I have never really talked to, I still feel like I know them already. I can go anywhere on campus and I never feel like an outsider or that I am not welcome. I am never nervous to walk into a room full of people I have never met before. It shows me how accepting this community is.
I can honestly say that I am a happier person being at Shawnigan. And if things are not going well, I have terrific roommates, awesome friends, and supportive adults to rely on.
You should come to Shawnigan because of the relationships you will build, the friendships you will make, and the connections you will develop with your teachers and the adults on this campus. That’s something pretty special about Shawnigan — how close you get with the people around you.
I am grateful that I am able to be here, and that I am able to learn and play sports here. I am grateful for my roommates and my housemates who have supported me and have made this place feel like another home."
- From an interview with Jackson P. '24 (Duxbury)