To the Striker Dads, have a happy Father's Day!
Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2019. The photo above is from the end of the Valedictory Ceremony at the Chan Centre this past Sunday.
Vincent Lee - Class Valedictorian 2019
The Class Valedictorian is selected by the students and staff at our school. The Valedictorian is recognized as a person who demonstrates themself to be a student who has excelled in all aspects of school (Curricular, Extracurricular and Service). This student is also seen as someone who best represents the students of the graduating class. This year's Valedictorian is VIncent Lee. Below is a copy of the speech he presented at the Chan Centre.
When I am inside, writing, all I can think about is how I should be outside, living. When I am outside, living, all I can do is notice all there is to write about. When I read about love, I think, “I should be out loving.” When I love, I think, “I need to read more.” I spend most of my time wondering if I should be somewhere else. So instead, I have learned to shape the words, “Thank you,” with my first breath each morning, my last breath each night. That way, when the very last breath comes, at least I will know I was grateful for all the places I was so sure I was not supposed to be, all the places I made it to, all the loves I held, all the words I wrote. And even if it is just for one moment, I know I will be exactly where I am supposed to be.
Good afternoon everybody, good afternoon parents and families, faculty and staff, friends and guests, my sister who flew in all the way from New York, I love you, and of course, the graduates of the Class of 2019. My name is Vincent Lee and I am so honoured to be the Valedictorian of this graduating class. Thank you for being here today to witness our amazing accomplishment. And by accomplishment, I’m of course referring to the people who managed to make it here in 5-inch heels. What a beautiful place to be, what a beautiful day to celebrate.
Thank you, McRoberts, for providing us with something that so many in the world cannot afford, are not allowed to have. Isn’t it amazing the way a place can inform and shape who we are and how we grow?
I, along with many of you, grew up in Richmond. My earliest memories are of learning to look both ways for cars to pass. I was street sign literate long before I could read a book. I rode the 403 alone at age 11. I fell in love with a boy at the Orpheum Theatre and had my heart broken outside a coffee shop. I watched the strip mall by Richmond Centre become a “For Sale” sign, become an empty lot, become a construction site, and will soon become high rise buildings and apartments. Our city sheds its skin and reinvents itself again and again. And within it, we are always in a continuous process of becoming. What we understand as now, what we know as true, in an instant becomes abruptly incomplete and requires us to begin again. To adapt and change. Once, a city like Richmond or Vancouver was a wild imagining. A science fiction dream. A vision so far from possible. But hearts and hands and eyes and glass and bricks and years and years of work have created a pulsing, breathing beast. And now it stands and stumbles, lurching forward, squinting into the bright and possible future.
And isn’t that how it always feels? Just when you start to get used to something, it begins to change. A new grocery store appears in Broadmoor. New gas prices. New trees. New faces. The faculty here has only just gotten used to us running about, leaving our mark on things, and now, we are gone. A high school is a place of constant change. Of continuous becoming. Of building and rebuilding.
There is a fable I love that tells of a young girl who visits a construction site. She approaches the first workman she sees and says, “Excuse me, what are you doing?” He says, “Can’t you see? I’m laying bricks.” She approaches the second workman, who is doing the same work as the first and asks, “Excuse me, what are you doing?” He says, “Can’t you see? I’m building a wall.” She approaches the third workman, who is doing the same work as the previous two and asks, “Excuse me, what are you doing?” He says, “Can’t you see? I’m building a temple.”
When I hear this story I ask myself, “What kind of person am I? Do I focus on the task at hand? Laying brick. Do I connect myself to a job, a project? Building walls. Do I dedicate myself to a movement, a cause larger than myself, larger than my lifetime, even? Some temple to pray to?” In our graduating class, there are many different workmen. Some people are working on one specific goal. They are writing papers and doing research. Others work on forming a necessary part of a team to build the connections and projects we need. Still others are dedicated to a purpose. They are envisioning a new future. It may be hard to believe that we can be working on the same thing. The way you build may be different from the way someone else does. In spite of this seeming divide, we are all working towards the same vision, to build a world we are excited to see, to live in, a world of humming aretha franklin to the street corner, of hugging the homeless man, a Utopia we can move towards.
Today we are graduating from high school. We are off on wild adventures. Sometimes we will be searching for a cause to believe in and fight for, and we will worry that there is something wrong with us if we can’t find it. There isn’t. Sometimes we are busy dealing with the task at hand, falling in love or taking care of ourselves or writing papers, and we do not have time to build a temple. We are allowed this time. We want to solve world hunger or fix global warming. We want to build the temple all by ourselves, but we feel like our hands are too small. They are not. Lay some bricks. There will be time for all these things. Lay the bricks until the walls are constructed, until the temple is built. Allow your perspective to shift, and shift again. We are in a continuous process of becoming.
Use this process of becoming as a guide for how we might try to build. When there are assaults at our very own high school parties, when Aboriginal women are being kidnapped and murdered in the streets of Vancouver, it is our job to encourage those who consider themselves blissfully unaffected to engage, acknowledge, learn, witness, and act. To challenge spaces that need to be challenged. Even if you do not know how to lay the bricks that build a city, perhaps you have poems and words and care to create communities, shared experiences, opportunities for empathy. Maybe you can help rebuild the people who have been left to fight another day. The heart and mind deserve becoming and rebuilding too.
As you walk the streets of your home, see the way it has changed, is changing. Next year, the new office and apartment buildings by Brighouse will open. Vancouver will find ways to become a greener city. We are always learning new street signs. We are already building the world around us, just as we are always building who we are. Once, the person you are here, today, was a wild imagining. A science fiction dream. A vision so far from possible. But hearts and hands and eyes and glass and bricks and years and years of work have created us, pulsing, breathing beasts. And together we are standing and stumbling, lurching forward, squinting into the bright and possible future.
To quote one of my favourite thinkers, Abraham Joshua Heschel: “To be or not to be is not the question. The vital question is how to be and how not to be.” Congratulations Class of 2019 and I can’t wait to see how you will do all the beautiful things you will do, how you will build all the beautiful things you will build. Thank you.
The Week of June 16th - Adjusted Bell Schedule
Just a reminder, the week of June 16th, the Bell Schedule has been adjusted.
Monday and Tuesday will be "regular" Day One and Day Two's. Wednesday will follow a Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday ("Regular") bell schedule with a 3pm end time. We have adjusted this time to allow us to complete our Locker Clean Up after lunch.
Thursday will be the last day of classes. The schedule for the day will include a special homeroom (during which, Yearbooks will be distributed to those who purchased them). This will be followed by a full rotation of all 8 blocks (each approximately 20 minutes).
Friday will be the start of our exam period. Students need only attend if they are writing a Provincial Assessment. This includes:
- Grade 12 English, Communications 12, and Francais Langue 12 Exams.
- Grade 10's and 11's will be writing the Numeracy Assessments.
STUCO Spirit Week
Last Spirit Week of the Year. STUCO encourages everyone to dig deep into their closets and show your Striker Pride. Flanked by our two future STUCO presidents (for the 2019-20 School Year), check out the sign for next weeks Spirit Days.
An Unforgettable Experience
Making the decision to go on an exchange is a big one. The thought of leaving family and friends for multiple months is its own challenge. Though in Canada, moving to a rural town whose primary language is not your own, living with a family you do not know, attending a school with students you have yet to met... all make this a difficult decision even more difficult. The promise of an adventure, of tremendous growth, of an amazing opportunity to refine language skills, meeting new people, learning more about our great country, and ultimately the thought about the personal challenge may make the decision a bit easier.
For Kirsten, the difficult decision paid off with an unforgetable experience. Below, Kirsten shares some of her story...
When I first heard of the Quebec exchange program, the idea didn’t appeal to me. Speaking French for 3 months straight and being away from all my family and friends? I couldn’t imagine what that would be like. I changed my mind and decided to apply after a nudge from my mom. A few months later I got an email saying I had been accepted and they had found a match for me, Josiane Morin, in a small village two hours north of Quebec City. Looking back now, I am grateful for having had this opportunity and I’m glad I didn’t let my initial negativity trump the positive potential that the exchange held.
The first few days upon Josiane’s arrival were as awkward as they could get. We knew nothing about each other other than on paper and we were expected to somehow get along- or else we would be stuck with each other for 6 months. Thankfully, within the second week we started getting comfortable with each other, making our own little inside jokes and enjoying our time together. We totally hit it off- she was like the sister I never had. We took her around Richmond, Downtown Vancouver, Whistler and introduced her to many different foods she had never tried before. To quote my mom, “Josiane has had more Asian food in the last three months than she’s had her entire life!”
Before we knew it, her stay in B.C. had flown by. There was so much more that we wanted to do and show her. The goodbyes were bittersweet, but I knew this wasn’t the end. Soon enough I was getting ready to go to Quebec. I was excited to pick up right where we had left off, to get to know all of Josiane’s friends and family, as well as experiencing life on the east coast in a french Canadian town.
Upon arriving, I was plunged into -18 degree weather. Her town; Les Escoumins, population of 1800, was nothing I’d ever been to before. The snow was piled up about five and a half feet high- I had never seen so much snow in my life. Within the first month, I had experienced Quebec winter at its finest and fullest: multiple snow storms, snow days (so many in a row that we didn’t have school for a week) and various winter sports including skiing and snowshoeing- even training in the snow for a 10k run.
The first week or so as the new kid, I got multiple weird glances on the bus, at school and around town. It might have been due to the fact that I was the only visible minority in the four towns that made up her school. It was difficult to adjust to at first as I barely understood what everyone was saying. During the first couple of weeks, I found myself saying “Pardon?” and “Qu’est-ce que tu as dit?” painfully often. Other times, I would awkwardly laugh and just hope whomever I was talking to wasn’t asking a question. Soon enough, I had become so immersed that I was able to follow conversations, and pitch in every now and then. Furthermore, I was able to understand the teachers’ lessons at school and I was picking up new vocabulary every day. I started to enjoy the small town life- it felt like a true community as everyone knew one another. Josiane’s family was very accommodating, welcoming, genuine and made me feel like I was a part of their family that I managed to not get too homesick.
Overall, this experience was a very memorable one. I discovered new things about myself and my abilities that I had never known. I learned how to deal with a completely different situation that most people don’t get to experience at my age and made some lifelong friends and memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
The Final Night of Music - For this Year
Congratulations to the Music program led by Mr. Carter (Band) and Mr. Wilson (Choral) for an amazing evening of music. Though it was a "little" warm, the music made up for the toasty conditions.
Genius Hour was Genius
Select and Inquiry Question. Seek the answer. Share the answer. Seems simple enough. Mme Mainville's students did make it seem simple. Their knowledge and background they have established in the proces was a testament to their learning. It was a facinating night. An array of topics with knowledgeable students at the ready to share thoughts and answer questions on demand (in both French - which the project was designed, as well as English).