Exploring the outdoors and spending time in nature has been a passion of mine my entire life. With two parents who are avid birders and nature enthusiasts, I learned at an early age the joy and adventure of being immersed in the woods. When I first started teaching at Crescent, I was thrilled to discover that our school property includes a section of the Toronto ravine system – a beautiful, healthy and diverse ecosystem. It fueled my passion to impart my love and knowledge of the natural world with my students.
[This speech was given at Crescent's Opening Assembly on September 5, 2019.]
It was seven years ago – almost to the day – that I first sat in this very gym, listening to the first of what would be many speeches from a variety of Head Boys. I struggled to make sense of the words that the man in the blue blazer was saying. Besides, Grade 5 me had much more pressing issues, like what lunch was going to be like at this strange new place, or whether or not I packed my soccer cleats that morning. (I didn’t.)
Every September, I am re-energized with the same sense of excitement and anticipation I felt as a student returning to school after summer break. September represents a clean slate and an opportunity to start fresh.
Over the past two summers, I had the opportunity to work at Crescent Camps. As an instructor in the Robotics Camp program, I worked alongside Crescent teachers and other instructors to teach girls and boys ages X-Y a robotics curriculum very similar to the one we learn at Crescent.
On September 15, my Dad and I returned from our week-long trip to New Providence Island in the Bahamas to help with hurricane relief efforts. This was a life-changing and very powerful personal experience for me. With the incredible generosity of so many friends, family and even strangers, we collectively raised over $51,000 to assist the victims of Hurricane Dorian.
Another year is now in the books and I have the opportunity to give you the Board Chair’s assessment of how Crescent is doing. As you know, the Board of Governors at Crescent School does not focus on day-to-day operations of the school. Rather, we focus on strategy, the financial well-being of the school, reputation, risk management and Headmaster oversight. My perspective is in many respects highly personal, for as many of you know I have a deep attachment to Crescent and what I like to think of as the broader Crescent family.
June is my least favourite time of the year, because it is time to say goodbye to our boys. Summer brings an eerie silence in Crescent's Middle School that doesn’t seem to belong. The energy of our boys, the hustle and bustle in the halls and classrooms, are missing. (Yes, September is my favourite time of year for the exact opposite reasons.)
I was blown away by my Grade 11 American History class projects this year. The students researched the life and times of different American presidents, and then presented what they discovered to the class. That doesn’t sound very revolutionary, but the project included an interactive class activity and a 21st century learning product, and that’s where the magic happened.
As a Middle School French teacher, one of my favourite parts of spring is seeing students in Grades 8 to 12 prepare for the DELF (Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française). When I run into them in the hallway, we talk about verb tenses and the “bon mot” for a specific context. We discuss being polite in French as well as how to use different expressions to share your opinion. It reminds me that language learning is very much alive and well at Crescent School!