As part of the program at Kilcoo, we went into the town of Minden to help with the beautification of Gull River. Our task was to plant bulbs and dig holes for trees along the banks of the river. You approached the job with great enthusiasm. However, there were 45 students and not enough equipment to keep everyone sufficiently engaged. So, one of the park workers drove two groups over to the town fairgrounds (I have this vague recollection of Ms. Connelly also driving one of the trucks, but that’s a whole other story.) Once there, you tore about the grounds, taking down metres of snow fencing and gathering up dozens of tires. Afterwards, as often happens when you head out of camp, everyone celebrated with an ice cream cone at Kawartha Dairy. It was evident to me then, as it is today, that your class is unfazed by a bit of hard work; that you take great satisfaction in getting the job done; and that you enjoy working together.
In Grade 9, your cohort doubled in size when we admitted 45 new students. The arrival of new students added to the existing energy. This was most apparent during your Grade 11 dogsledding trip. Weather conditions in the winter of 2015 were as challenging as any that a Greenwood group had ever encountered on this trip. So much so, that on one day of the outing your trip leaders and teachers decided to stay at camp and not head out on the trails. Not surprisingly, you used the time wisely and headed out to gather firewood. The image of a group of you hoisting a tree is a great example of how you continued to work together enthusiastically to overcome obstacles and achieve big goals.
Your commitment to leading this year’s Senior Boys’ Volleyball team to its best finish ever—5th at OFSAA—was outstanding. Throughout your time at Greenwood, you have been champions of our performing arts program. It is hard to imagine a school play without James, Emily, Ben or Eileen; a musical performance without Max, Tom, Sarah, Innes or Daniel; or an assembly video without Scott, Ben or Lucie.
Your academic achievements this year are equally impressive. Twenty-five of you achieved a best-six average of 90% and your class had the highest proportion of Ontario Scholars thus far in the history of the school. Though we educators often worry about the dreaded “senior slide,” I must commend you on how diligently you have worked throughout the year. Not surprisingly, you have earned entrance to a wide array of impressive postsecondary programs.
I am proud of how you worked together to look out for the needs of other people. The Diversity Committee organized a meaningful PRIDE week, by bringing a greater understanding of the needs of the LGBTQ community to Greenwood. You continued the seasonal tradition of supplying and serving a meal at an Out of the Cold shelter and volunteering during your time in Costa Rica and in local programs, and several of you were part of the school’s first service learning trip at Global Pathways School in India, which you have continued to support with this year’s Leaving Class gift.
These are just a few of the many things you have accomplished during your time here. Collectively, you have exemplified the dimensions of intellectual, civic, moral and performance character that we strive for at Greenwood. In doing so, you have served as a wonderful example for our younger students, and readied the path for your own bright futures. On behalf of the staff, I would like to thank you for all you have done for the school and wish you the very best on the journey ahead.