Wear it With Pride

As the administrator of the Mentor/TEAM alumni page on Facebook, I get to connect with former students who are anywhere in their life journey from 1st year university to parents with kids already old enough to be in high school. One post this week caught my eye.

The former student started by talking about the difference between university and working full-time and said “university is not a substitute for real-world working experience”. I was intrigued and started messaging with her. After university, marriage and her first child, she decided that she would find a job that would not tax her brain too much but still benefit from her psychology degree. Her job? She is a parking control officer in a major city! When I asked her how she deals with her “clients”, she says that she knows that even when she is not actively ticketing vehicles, she is a target because of her uniform. “Every move of a uniformed person is scrutinized because we are so visible.”

When I think about it, this quote applies to our school as well. The black watch tie lets everyone in the neighbourhood know the return location of our high school students when they go off-campus for lunch. The interpretive guide at Fort York and the Port Credit branch librarian know who we are from the crest on our blazers. This “brand-recognition” actually works to our detriment at times; our students stopped wearing their uniforms during judging at the Peel Region Science Fair many years ago because (reportedly) the judges had been told to “let other schools win some awards as well” after a few years of Mentor-dominated podiums.

Our school uniform brings with it a sense of responsibility but more importantly, it is a source of pride. So tuck in that shirt, do up that top button and show the world how you “lead by example” and “inspire excellence”!

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

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