Giving year round

This week, all of our Senior School students and teachers, and many staff members, have been involved with our annual Week Without Walls initiative. In this, the 10th anniversary of this incredible service initiative, there are approximately 500 students and nearly 100 adults out of the typical classroom, actively volunteering in the greater community.

As many of you are aware, in the spirit of our school’s mission, Week Without Walls takes TCS community members to local, regional and international sites where we can give back and hopefully make a real difference in the lives of others. This year we have partnered with 65 organizations including retirement homes, animal shelters, schools, food banks and home builds, to name a few. But this one week, alone, is not the extent of our school’s responsibility and contribution towards others. Over the past decade, our commitment to service learning experiences for our students, as a necessary part of the development of character and kindness, and as a tangible demonstration of our collective gratitude for our good fortune, has grown too. In any given week at TCS, our students are volunteering at community organizations and/or participating in TCS clubs and local or international initiatives aimed at making the world a better place.

A year ago, we moved our service learning office to an area of prominence in the School, where it would benefit from more student foot traffic. It is now a hub of activity on any given day! Thanks to the Class of 2013, and their generous donation and interests, this fall we unveiled a service learning corridor which now features a modern, colourful and inspirational space that has been widely praised by students, staff and alumni alike. And earlier this week, we officially recognized, said thanks and Father Don blessed this new space.

In addition to this, the Class of 1980 has worked closely with the School to elevate the profile of our top service learning award, the Clinton T. Sayers ’80 Community Service Award. Clinton Sayers was a much admired and loved member of the Class of 1980, who died in 1993 as a result of a train accident, while doing service work in Africa. Clinton, as a student at TCS and as an alumnus, epitomized the qualities that best exemplify what it is to be a caring, kind, giving individual.

In 2020, 40 years after Clinton’s graduation from TCS, the recipients of the annual Clinton Sayers award will have their names rightfully etched into the walls of Osler Hall along with other medal recipients including, but not limited to, the Governor-General’s Medal (the graduating student with the highest academic standing), the Jim McMullen Memorial Trophy (our highest character recognition award) and the Bronze Medal (awarded for integrity, example and leadership). In addition, the Class of 1980 is currently working with the School to create a new trophy as well as an award display in the service learning corridor. Suitably, the service learning office has now been named in Clinton’s memory.

The 2020 Clinton T. Sayers ’80 Community Service Award recipient will be presented the trophy by a member of the Class of 1980 and will also receive a monetary award which will be gifted to the charity of his or her choice.

In light of my two most recent blog posts, in which I recognized the efforts of parents, faculty and staff in helping our children and students become good people, it is important, too, to recognize the efforts the school collective has made to create a culture which prioritizes helping others.

It is also exceptionally important for me to recognize the leadership effort of a few people, in particular, who have been keenly responsible for the elevation in importance of service learning at TCS. Former Head of the Senior School, Ian Watt, spearheaded the formal position of director of service learning. Former Dean of Faculty & Curriculum, Paul Elsley, hired Kim Vojnov who would become the School’s first service learning director.

Ms. Vojnov and her team have been the most positive and effective force to have led our service learning efforts. She has a tireless work ethic, a perpetually positive spirit and a kind heart. She is smart, motivated and an educator par excellence. Thank you, Ms. Vojnov. We are lucky to have you at TCS.

So, as we enter the month of “giving,” we should all feel exceptionally proud of the efforts made by the people who call TCS their second home.

Be sure to visit our website or social media sites to view photos from this year’s Week Without Walls.

Comments

well said, Mr. Grainger!

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