A Great Weekend With A Great Bunch Of Students

Over the weekend, I had the privilege to take the Grade 9 girls’ volleyball team (and HS attendance secretary Ms. Showler) back to my hometown of Goderich for a tournament. This group of girls is a really fun bunch and by fun, I mean that they did anything but blend in as we stopped to take photos in front of the high schools of their two heroes (Justin Bieber, Stratford Northwestern Secondary School and Ms. Fuhr, Mitchell District High School). They couldn’t believe that students were driving home from school on a snowmobile and they even pretended to enjoy my guided tour of the town of Goderich! Their mathematics teachers will be proud to hear that they did not believe it was geometrically possible to drive in circles around an octagon that is called “The Square”. The weekend was about having some fun together and not about winning games (but they did anyway!). Everywhere we went, the girls were energetic (and perhaps a wee bit loud at times but that is par for the course with 14-year-old girls) and I was proud of the way they represented the school from the moment we left until we returned.

I was disappointed in myself for one incident, though. We were at a McDonalds and the girls were tired after playing 8 games and probably as quiet and lifeless as they were all weekend. They had all ordered and were waiting in line at the side while I got ready to place my order. Before I got to the till, two folks got into line behind me and said “Oh, great…there’s a bunch of stupid kids here”.

My first impulse was to turn around and go on a Rick Mercer-esque rant and say “Actually, they are not a bunch of stupid kids. They are bunch of wonderful, intelligent young women. Some of them have known each other for years and others for only months but they truly enjoy each other’s company. They can laugh with each other and at themselves. They cheer for each other when times are good and console each other when things get rough. They have been taught by their school and by their parents to be respectful of adults, even when adults like you unfairly do not give them any respect. For example, they would never walk into a restaurant and say ‘Oh great, there’s a bunch of old people here’. Please forgive me if you think I am being defensive; I am just extremely proud of my students and my school wherever we go!”

In the end, I ended up doing nothing (and probably best-represented the school by doing so!) but it was a good reminder for me that we have a very special school. The people at the McDonald’s will never understand why anyone would want to spend the weekend in a small town with a bunch of “stupid kids” but I know that Ms. Showler and I would trade neither the weekend nor that “bunch” for another.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College/TEAM School

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