Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division
Upcoming Senior Division dates:
Monday, June 4: Final assembly of year, Laidlaw Hall, 9:55 a.m.
Tuesday, June 5: Exam tutorial day; optional attendance
Wednesday, June 6 to Tuesday, June 12: Year 8 to Year 11 exams
In his very impressive address at the leaving class ceremony, Year 12 valedictorian Vlad Chindea spoke about the different ways through which every student experiences his time here at the College.
He spoke of the value of pluralism, of opportunity and of the importance of relationships with teachers, staff and students. What underpinned Vlad’s speech was a deep sense of gratitude. Indeed, he acknowledged many different ways through which his experience here had been enhanced by others, and ended that section of his address by thanking those closest to him.
“And finally, these parents and families who have already and will unconditionally continue to support us in our most challenging hours and brightest seconds.”
There’s something powerful in the simple act of saying thank you. Not only does the recipient of your gratitude receive pleasure, there’s something fulfilling for those who take the time to express their thanks. Yet, throughout the course of our busy lives, I think we often forget to recognize the people for whom we’re grateful.
A number of years ago I was forwarded an email message written by the late Dr. John Thomas, who taught in the history department here for many years. I have many fond memories of “Dr. T,” as the boys knew him. We spent a lot of time together as part of the coaching staff for our varsity football team. Dr. T succumbed to a hard-fought battle with cancer more than 10 years ago but, for those who knew him, his sense of humour, commitment to sportsmanship and dedication to character development in boys linger on in his memory.
In this particular correspondence from Dr. T, written when it was clear that he wasn’t going to win his fight, he expressed these thoughts:
“The faith, optimism, and goodness of young people. Can we believe they won’t conquer cancer and end global warming? I’m betting on the young people…bless them and all who sail with them!”
Some time after Dr. Thomas’ passing, I discovered that I, and others, who received this particular email from him shared a meaningful ritual. Each of us read his encouraging message over periodically as a way of remembering John, but also as a way of reminding ourselves about the virtues of perspective and gratitude. I’m certainly thankful that I shared a friendship with Dr. T, but I wish I had an opportunity to thank him for writing that message and for what it continues to teach me as I re-read it throughout every year.
A few weeks ago, as part of our spring “Mental Health Day,” Principal McKinney led a workshop on gratitude for students and staff. As part of it, he shared a very thought-provoking video about the importance of expressing gratitude to those who’ve had impact on our lives. The findings from the simple experiment conducted in the clip demonstrate the power of gratitude. Here’s the clip.
With the end of the school year in sight, in the spirit of this year’s valedictory address, I encourage you to speak with your son about being thankful and expressing his appreciation to his teachers, coaches, advisers and any others whom he feels has had a positive influence on his time here this year. Learning about gratitude and understanding its powerful impact on one’s self and others is an essential part of character development and ultimately plays a key role in leading a fulfilled life.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
Thanks for reading,