Journal entry from HWC Faciliator Kaitlee Simonson:
The last few weeks have been a flurry of busyness at Britannia as we once again say goodbye to a spectacular group of graduates. Each year without fail, we look back, remembering how rambunctious they were in Grade 8 and thinking ‘goodness how are we going to get through five years with them’ to June of their senior year questioning how we will ever let them go. It’s a tremendous grieving process that often goes unnoticed or is easily dismissed amongst the chaos of graduation season, and yet the loss of these young people who we have witnessed and worked through trials, triumphs, and tribulations with is significant. A part of our hearts belongs to them, and I’m told saying farewell and letting them grow beyond the confines of our little school never gets easier.
I was lucky enough to be on the stage again this year while the graduates walked across and received their diplomas, smiling ear to ear with pride and admiration at our Homework Club students, all of whom won scholarships and bursaries, some honoured with school and district awards and even witnessing one proud attendee read the valedictory speech to her class – what a moment to behold.
It is because of Homework Club alone that I get to forge these bonds with the graduates every year. One such student that stood out for me was Grace Caruso. A die-hard attendee since Grade 8, our Grace is a fierce social justice warrior, keen editor of our school paper, academic phenom and all around wonderfully creative young person. For her, like so many others, the very best part of our club are all the little moments that happen in between getting work done; the friendships you forge while sharing a meal, the connections built with tutors and the conversations that grow into meaningful discussion and dialogue. Always eager to learn and create opportunity, Grace’s best advice is to find within yourself a strong and consistent work ethic and make your passions a reality. Get involved in the school in new and interesting ways and mentor younger grades in how to apply their skills to community endeavours. Growing up in East Van, Grace knows there is opportunity abound, but you must make it happen for yourself. Next year, she plans to go to UBC for journalism and perhaps study law in years to come, always with a plan to continue supporting Britannia and Homework Club, the place she called home for five incredible years.
To all the graduates at Britannia this year, we praise you and this momentous occasion and look forward to all the amazing ways you will change the world anew.