What Makes Crescent So Special?

by Charlie McLean, Grade 6 Valedictorian
Charlie shared this speech at the Lower School Prize Day ceremony on June 13, 2019.
Hello, my name is Charlie McLean. I have the honour of being the 2019 Lower School Valedictorian, and have the unenviable task of following Owen Ford’s fantastic speech at last week’s graduation breakfast.
I moved to Toronto from the U.K., and it has given me the opportunity to experience this amazing country and city – cottaging in Muskoka, skiing in sub 30-degree temperatures in Banff, living by the beach here in Toronto and becoming a huge Raptors fan are some of my best memories. However, the best experience by far has been the opportunity to attend this wonderful school with my fellow Grade 6 brothers.
I love this school and will miss it dearly when I move to New York in the summer, so as I prepared for speaking today I asked myself and some of my classmates, what is it that makes Crescent such a special place?
The facilities and grounds are second to none. Whether it be the libraries, turf field, gyms, classrooms and of course the Field House, which undergoes an amazing transformation on occasions like this – we are fortunate to have it all.
The diversity of experience afforded to us at Crescent is another factor in what makes this school so special. I was surprised last year when we received our pendants when graduating Grade 5, to see quite how much we had all achieved and how varied our activities are. Whether it is sport, drama, music, science – the list goes on – we all get a chance to try new things and discover what it is we are passionate about.
Trips form an important part of our experience here, helping us to bond and develop our characters. Of course, no speech at Crescent is complete without mentioning the legendary BEAR week! It was initially a daunting experience for me, happening only a few days after I had joined the school, but it was an important part of integrating into the Crescent family! The highlight for me though, as I am sure it was for our teachers, was this year when our bus caught a puncture. It was dramatic but... we returned safely on the Grade 11 bus.

Teachers are, of course, one of the most important factors in what makes Crescent so special. Crescent is my third school and I have never experienced an environment like this. The teachers motivate and inspire us to achieve academically, but more importantly help us develop our character. More than academic talent it is character that will make us successful and happy in the future. It is at this point where I must thank all of the staff at Crescent for the tireless enthusiasm that they show for nurturing a group of unruly 11- and 12-year-old boys. Dr. Boyes, Mr. Bell and all our Grade 6 teachers – Mr. Gadd Thompson, Mr. Barton, Mr. Wotherspoon, Mr. Chau, Mr. MacDonald, Mme. Pilaprat, Ms. Johnson, Ms. Forbes, Mr. Timmermans and Ms. Evans. I apologise if I have missed anyone out, as the list is a long one!
I would also like to congratulate Mr Bell and Mr Fisher on their new positions – Mr. Bell, you and your moustache for Movember will be missed in the Lower School but my brothers are lucky enough to graduate to Middle School with you. Having been a part of Mr. Fisher’s home room last year, I know you will do a great job as you move into your new role. Congratulations.
Even though all of these things contribute to making Crescent an amazing place, what makes it so special are the values that the school stands for: Respect, Responsibility, Honesty and Compassion. These values are more than just words, they represent how we live our lives here and will be the legacy that the Lower School here leaves with each of us as we say farewell to go on to our adventures in Middle School, either here or elsewhere.
Of course, we would not have had access to this amazing experience without our long-suffering parents. I would like to give my personal thanks to my mum and dad. I believe my mum has spent most of her time here in Toronto stuck in traffic between Crescent and BSS! So, a MASSIVE thank you to all of the Crescent parents.
As a final farewell I would like to read a short poem by Dale Wimbrow, called “The Man in the Glass.” It means something to me personally, and I think it says a great deal about what our school’s values and having character mean.
When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.
For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.
He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear to the end,
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.
Congratulations to the Crescent Grade 6 graduates of 2019!

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