Tag Archives: Doug Pawis

Director’s Letter Fall 2021

Director's Letter Fall 2021

Dear Parents,

Although it has certainly been a challenging and very busy start to our new school year, at the same time it has been a wonderfully happy and smooth transition.  It's been a very special time welcoming back all our classes to campus after the prolonged period our elementary students and staff spent learning from home.  To those on our team who spent months teaching remotely last year, and indeed to all of our staff… we're so appreciative of your resilience, creativity and commitment.  Your remarkable leadership and resolve.  Indeed, EVERYONE… including students and parents… you have all been truly amazing!

Although the challenges presented by the past 18 months have been exhausting for all of us, like a Dickensian paradox… it has seemed the best of times and the worst of times.  A tale not of two cities, but of two extremes… the polarity and pain of Covid's impact and the incredible energy and hope embodied by our collective determination to overcome adversity… our shared commitment to emerge from the struggle.  Despite the overwhelming nature of the pandemic, we have learned so much about the importance of cooperation, compassion, and the power of kindness.  We have discovered strengths we didn't know we possessed and cultivated new interests and skills that will serve us well as we emerge into a future we all have a chance to shape together.

One aspect of pivoting to adapt to Covid's realities has been embracing something we can all enjoy.  Spending time outdoors, immersed in nature and enjoying the subtle but powerful rhythms we had perhaps all but taken for granted.  The beautifully full and radiant harvest moon we've just enjoyed as we all prepare to welcome a new season, reminds us of the incredibly restorative power of our planet and the healing, timeless rhythms of nature.  The natural world we need to do everything we can to protect.  Throughout the pandemic, access to fresh air, natural spaces and the beauty of our surroundings has brought a level of comfort to all.

With the arrival of the Autumnal Equinox, as the leaves change colour and the delights of the crisp fall air usher in the promise of a new harvest, we can all be thankful for the blessings of a new season.  The blessings of living in a free and inclusive land… a globally respected and decent country… where we have choice and opportunity.

At Dearcroft we have always considered a primary responsibility of our work to be the creation of a kind and caring environment.  A place where we can gather and work together in a peaceful and supportive community.  A community of kindness.  As the fall semester continues to unfold, we have already enjoyed the return of some of our longest running traditions including last week's wonderful Terry Fox Run for cancer research.  Many thanks to Mrs. Picone and all our staff for carrying on this wonderful tradition on campus.  An event we have held for nearly 35 years.  To host Terry's Run is always a very special honour as we remember the courage and vision of one of Canada's greatest heroes.

Additionally, as we revisit our past and look forward to the future, one of our countrys greatest lessons and subsequent opportunities for growth, lies at the root of addressing the tragedy of Canada's Residential Schools.  It is a special time of reflection as we pursue a path to shared healing alongside the generations of First Nation families affected by this dark chapter in our shared history.  For many years, Dearcroft has been a leader at incorporating First Nations history and indigenous teachings within our curriculum.  As part of this ongoing commitment and as we further acknowledge the truth and reconciliation journey, we are very pleased to welcome our good friend Doug Pawis (an Anishnabe elder from Shawanaga First Nation) back to Dearcroft on September 30th, Canada's inaugural National Truth and Reconciliation Day.  We look forward to Doug's visit as he shares his story and the timeless wisdom of First Nations teachings.  As you know, we encourage all to wear orange on September 30th in solidarity and acknowledgement of those children lost… in honouring the importance of this dialogue and ongoing journey.

The most important aspect of our journey ahead lies in supporting each other and recognizing the path we're on together.  Global events, particularly over the period of our shared Covid journey have only magnified the importance of courage, cooperation, conviction, and faith in the future.  Changes are rapid and many of the progressive developments in science, technology and education are leading us to a brighter path.  As we begin our 54th year of operation at Dearcroft, there is much to celebrate and of course, countless exciting opportunities for learning and sharing.  We wish everyone a truly wonderful year ahead.  Be well, stay strong and enjoy the journey.

Gord Phippen