Natasha Bathgate

Finishing Strong

As we end another school year impacted by COVID-19, many educators and students are glad to see the back of it and quietly slip away into summer. How do we THRIVE and finish PURPOSEFULLY? In this blog post we hear from our school community on what finishing strong means to them.

I considered not writing a June blog post; it crossed my mind that no-one would notice if I didn’t write one. Laughing at the irony of the theme finishing strong, I soon realised this was not an option. Seeking motivation and inspiration, I reached out to the WIC community to discover what finishing strong means to them. I was touched by the number of people who clearly felt strongly about this!

How does an Olympic athlete finish strong?

In 2020, through WIC's Wolves Den speaker series, we had the privilege of hearing about the experiences of Canadian Olympic athlete, Sarah Wells.

When asked her thoughts on finishing strong, Sarah recalled what her hurdles coach said, "Stay tall and focus on execution in order to finish strong". Of this year, Sarah added, "No matter how the year went, good or bad, keep your head up and focus on what's in your control to execute the traits that can lead you to success."

 

 

How do WIC students finish strong?

WIC 2021 graduate, Sachi-Imani Udeh epitomising Sarah Wells' advice

"This whole year has been about working towards the potential to come together and create music as a community. It is only at the finishing line that we have finally been able to achieve it. We’ve made it and it was worth it!", says Jay Michalak, Band Director. Click on the link below to watch our incredible Spring virtual concert!

WIC Spring Virtual Concert

 

WIC Graduates, like many around the world, experienced a graduating year like no other. Unable to celebrate on the same scale as a typical year, these grads were not short of joy, energy, and positivity despite the COVID-19 restrictions.

Here's what some of our students felt about finishing strong:

"Taking the fact that we’ve been through so much and using that as motivation. What’s the point in quitting if we’ve made it this far? It would all have been for nothing which would be a shame." Annika Humble, Grad '21

"To be able to come together, unite, and collectively understand that for next year, there is hope where there is humanity." Agam Arora, 2021 – 2022 Prefect

"Putting my everything, just as I have all the other years. This is my last chance and I want to be proud of it." Arielle Cheuk, Grad '21

"I’ve found great value in stepping back and taking a look at some of the big picture steps that we’ve made in the past year. There’s always value that one can derive from an experience, and looking at things from a wider lens can be helpful in seeking out that value.” Thomas Graham, 2021 – 2022 Head Prefect

The Value of Reflection

Looking back helps us to look forward and consider what we might start, stop, or continue. COVID has been a catalyst for many people to re-think their lives, re-think their values, and re-think how they do things.  Working with the http://www.futuredesignschool.com/ in June, teachers and the senior leadership team identified some key reflective pieces within the four pillars of our 2020 – 2025 Strategic Plan: RIGOUR, RELEVANCE, RELATIONSHIPS, and RESILIENCE. Collectively, we’re now seeing ourselves as more entrepreneurial and more innovative.

Top 5 Opportunities

  1. Administering less standardised and traditional forms of assessments has helped to increase the relevance to students as they demonstrate what they know and can do in personal and innovative ways.
  2. Find more ways for students to see their personal identity, cultural and / or religious background expressed in the curriculum and day to day experience at school.
  3. Mental health support and awareness has become a priority for staff, students, and families. How might we build on our foundation of strong relationships to increase mental health support for all?
  4. Creative problem solving and collaboration was strengthened during the pandemic; we have an opportunity to infuse this more intentionally moving forward.
  5. Students have learned that they can be resilient and can overcome adversity. This is the fuel for innovation – anything is possible!

To wrap up this final blog post of the 2020 – 2021 school year, I’d like to share this beautiful response from Sam Wu, grade 9.

Hours spent, seconds gone.  The sands of time flow, too long. The year passes, effort used.

Classes went, morning to noon.  Oh, I wonder what the point was.

Finished my work, finished my classes, the feeling of tiredness abating.

One question asked, I replied "simply pride and a dream"


About the Author

Natasha Bathgate 

Director of Learning and Innovation