It was a good year

Wine connoisseurs (of which I am not) frequently judge the quality of wine by the year. In other words, the year on the label does not just act as the harvest year of the grapes in the bottle, it provides additional information to assess if the wine, for example, is considered superior or pales in comparison to wine of other years. On the www.beaujolais.com website, for example, 2011 is regarded as a particularly good year for Beaujolais: “…excellent quality wine, a rich, opulent and silky vintage.” (As an aside, I am consistently entertained by the descriptors for wine, and, for that matter, paint colours!)

We all have a tendency to rank things. In education, university rankings are popular for high school graduates and their parents. The results of international curriculum programs, such as the Advanced Placement program that we offer at TCS, provide us with relative comparisons of how we match-up with other regions and countries. Some international schools provide student rankings by subject discipline. In other words, in each subject a student’s cumulative mark would be ranked compared with other students in that same class.

Again, humans seem to have a natural tendency to compare and rank just about anything. “That was the best family holiday we ever had.” “That spaghetti was good, but not as good as Mom’s.” “The 1967 Toronto Maple Leafs were better than any other Leafs team before or after.” “I felt better today than yesterday.” Just about the only thing we don’t rank, as parents anyway, is our kids!

And, what about graduating classes? It is tempting to rank graduating classes as being better or worse than others. Of course there is friendly banter and debate between graduates about what year had the best football team, strongest student leadership, smartest or most talented kids, most successful dramatic productions and musical talent. Some alumni compare the strength of their class by the degree to which they still are in touch with one another. A large class turnout on Reunion Weekend could be considered as a sign of strength. As you can imagine, there are a number of factors that contribute to a class’s affection for one another and the School.

So what about the Class of 2020?

It is my very strong opinion that this class will be regarded as a “great year” for a number of reasons, starting with the warm welcome provided by our Grade 12 students to their younger peers – including our new students – during opening week, through the many athletic, artistic and academic successes, the dedication to service seen during Week Without Walls, the respect garnered by our student leaders, and the camaraderie and school spirit witnessed not only during major events, but also during everyday interactions.

But just as important as all of these memories is the sense of cohesion and unity our graduates have been able to maintain in recent weeks. Worldwide events have prevented the graduating class from completing their year on-campus and this has obviously been very disappointing to the students, their families, the faculty and the staff. But that challenge has been handled by the class with an admirable sense of positivity, open-mindedness, perspective, planning and good humour.

The combination of what is going on in the world in 2020 and their response to it, will make this year and this Class of 2020 one of the most memorable in the history of TCS.

Congratulations, graduates!

Comments

Well said, Mr. Grainger. 2020 will be known as the class of adaptability and resilience. But, there were so many more highlights as the year unfolded before March: house competitions, social events, academic achievements, and our grads led so much of it for their peers. Our Grade 12's showed character and determination over the whole year, which will serve them well and add to our strong recollections.

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