My final blog of the year, and the end of my first year as principal…what do I want to share?
One simple word. Thanks!
Everyone I talk to seem to pity me to some degree:
“Wow! This is an intense first year!”
“I bet you didn’t anticipate being a principal during COVID-19!”
“How are you holding up? I bet your glad summer vacation is almost here.” (aren’t we all? 😊)
The truth is most days I’m doing quite well. This is not because of me; it’s strength that only comes from our Heavenly Father. It’s staff and community members who hold me up in prayer on a consistent basis; it’s our broader community that partners with us. It’s the ACS Society’s commitment to each other (look at the Dream1Drive results!).
For all these things I am deeply grateful!
But I want to say some specific thanks to people/groups in our school that maybe flew below the radar. The end of this school year is in sight, but we did not get here alone. A lot of people helped us all get here together! As soon as you begin thanking people inevitably, you are going to forget someone…if I do, I am really sorry (add them below in the comments and help a rookie principal out)!
- Teachers—Thanks for caring for your students. And you have done excellent educational work! But the care you have for each of your students is what stands out most to me. You looked for creative ways to engage with your students and make learning meaningful.
- Educational Assistants—Thanks for adapting and adjusting in so many ways these past few months. Your heart for some of our most vulnerable students has not gone unnoticed.
- Learning Support Services Coordinators—Thank you for leading so well and finding creative ways to meet the needs of all our students.
- Student Life Centre—The SLC at the secondary campus worked diligently connecting with, and supporting the mental health, faith formation and university applications, scholarships for our students. They stepped up in big ways!
- Admin Assistants—A special shout out to Mel and Bobbi for supporting me this year! But I want to extend my thanks to all of our campus admin assistants who connect with our students and families on a daily basis. Your ability to listen and support our families is wonderful.
- Secondary Admin Team—Thank you for your tireless efforts, patience with me and others, and your unwavering commitment to ACS and our campus. Words can’t express my gratitude…
- International Student Department—These ladies have worked tirelessly and at all hours to support our international students both here and abroad during these last few months. They continue to find ways to engage with our international students and support them for their return in September. Thank you!
- Leadership Team—Thank you Julius, Tym, and Roy for supporting me this year and working so collaboratively as we discern what is best for ACS during this time. Your encouragement, listening ear, and wisdom mean a lot.
- Admin Office Staff—A shout out to Peter, Sherry, and Nicole—they keep the books in balance and take on so many additional roles and responsibilities due to the complexities of COVID and TSI. Thank you to Michelle who continues to liaise with our new families. Brian has also been instrumental in championing the Dream1Drive for tuition assistance. Also, a big thank you to Tanya and Jaime as they work so hard to communicate, share, and support us all as we connect digitally in new ways.
- Building Maintenance—Thanks to Jim, Warren, Ed, and others who worked so diligently to make our physical buildings a healthy and safe place for our staff and students.
- IT—We have become more reliant on technology than ever before. Thanks for keeping everything running smoothly, Rick! Also, a shout out to your quick response and ability to lend out computers for our families that needed them.
- Bus Drivers—Things changed very quickly for these guys. But they are back behind the wheel working through new protocols so that things are all ready to go for September!
- Board of Directors— Serving ACS is on the heart of all members of our board. They love ACS and they work tirelessly to set a course for the future. COVID-19 has made this hard for them as well. Thank you for your tireless efforts in supporting the ACS Society!
- Students—This has been hard for everyone, but especially so for some of our students. Thank you for the grace you showed us ACS staff, as we too, learned the ropes of Connected Learning. Many of you also supported friends, siblings, or took on more responsibilities at home. Not all your learning came from Connected Learning!
- Parents—Thank you to many of you who encouraged our staff. These encouragements have gone a long way. Thank you for the phone calls, and for partnering with us in new and real ways as we educate and support your children together.
- Fricia Construction—Thanks to the entire construction crew. They have made excellent progress but accommodated every request we made and gone above and beyond to limit the impact on our staff and students. Keep it up! Also a shout out to Steve Atsma who works tirelessly to liaise between our staff and Fricia and keeps everyone on the same page.
My first year, COVID-19 or not, could not have been done without all these people.
Please add your own shout outs or thank you’s in the comments below! I’m sure I’ve missed some groups. Let’s draw this year to a close expressing gratitude for each other.