Message from Scott Cowie, head, Senior Division
Friday, Nov. 7 – Monday, Nov. 10: no classes; November long weekend
Tuesday, Nov. 11: Remembrance Day assembly – first dress required – Laidlaw Hall, 10:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 12: IB2 student grade level meeting – lecture theatre, 8:30 a.m.
If I told you we had an 88-year old senior in to talk with the boys in assembly, you might question whether or not we truly understand the needs of an audience of 700 teenage boys. Further, you might argue that such a pairing wouldn’t be fair to either the speaker or those listening. However, while Holocaust survivor Bill Glied was sharing the tragic story of his family’s displacement and ensuing ordeal at Auschwitz, you could hear a pin drop in assembly. After his address, the boys gave Glied a lengthy standing ovation, complete with their affectionate pew banging – an indication of their deep respect and admiration for one who had endured so much hardship, but delivered a message of hope and courage.
Glied’s talk, and more specifically, the boys’ reaction to it reminded me of a news story I read recently about the shootings in Ottawa, written by CBC and the National Post journalist Rex Murphy. In speaking of the death of fallen soldier Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and the bravery of those who came to his aid and tried to save his life while not fully knowing if it was safe to do so, and of the heroic sergeant-at-arms, Kevin Vickers, who eventually shot and killed the gunman who managed to breach Parliament security a few week’s ago, Murphy wrote this:
“To the most enduring question of ours — what does it mean to be Canadian? — the passersby who tended the soldier, the Sergeant-at-Arms, the young solider at the tomb, and WO Vincent, the career military man going about his business in the uniform he earned the right to wear, gives us the answer we need … We are, in part, very much the people we choose to admire, and our national character can, in some measure, be limned by the actions we choose to esteem.”
(National Post, Oct. 25, 2014)
Through hearing Glied’s story, I suspect that your son has a better understanding of hardship, sacrifice, courage and hope. He may also have gained some insight into the type of people, and the type of actions, that are worthy of our admiration.
Monday’s assembly was another example of the learning that takes place in Laidlaw Hall. And while the information that the boys hear there won’t appear on the SATs or their final examinations, what is shared there is often far more important than the content covered in classes, and will go a long way to understanding one’s moral compass and developing strength of character.
Wishing everyone a relaxing and enjoyable long weekend.
Thanks for reading,