You look outside and see the worst winter storm in Calgary’s recent history. Furthermore, you are a teacher and you are sitting at the Calgary International Airport and it is approaching 10 PM and you are there with with 38 students between the ages of 12-14. Your flights were scheduled to have left at noon and you have no indication as to when or if you will ever get into the air. Each time you speak to the airline counter staff, they tell you they are trying to find a flight for you and your students to Ottawa. Each inspection of the departures board brings nothing but disappointment, as it is strewn with ‘cancelled’ and ‘delayed’ notifications. It is obvious that the probability of a flight becoming available is very low.
Given these bleak circumstances, it would be easy and fair to become disenchanted and discouraged. However, this would not be the case for these teacher or students.
The story above describes the plight of the Academy Junior High travel club and their trip to Eastern Canada to study our history. In the end, after waiting over 30 hours, the group was able to get into the air and enjoy the final few days of their trip.
What makes this story remarkable is the students and their resilience in the face of adversity. According to the supervising teachers, there were no complaints; in fact, the students were unflappable in their positivity and support for one another. They were able to adapt to changes on the fly and, more than anything, exude kindness to each other and to all whom they encountered.
It is instances like these that make me so proud to be a part of our community; times when our kids and teachers face challenges head on and make the best of the adversity.
Countless times we see this same scene reenacted locally and around the globe. Between February and March, we will see students travel to Hawaii, El Salvador, Victoria, Thailand, Peru and Spain. With each trip will come new challenges and new opportunities for students to demonstrate resilience. In addition to these character developing moments, the students are giving back their time, talents and treasures.
Please join me in congratulating all our students and teachers on their incredibly successful journeys!