Scott Thomson, an avid Homework Club participant for many years, was voted Valedictorian by his peers for the Graduating Class of 2020!
Scott has shared some beautiful words about what the Homework Club has meant to him since he started in Grade 8. Thank you, Scott! We are so proud of you for this great achievement.
As the 2020 school year comes to a close, we want to congratulate ALL of our students – we are proud of each and every one of you, and look forward to hearing of the great things that lie ahead for you all.
Homework club has been a major part of my 5 year journey at Britannia Secondary School. I have attended the program weekly since my first week of high school in grade 8. I have been involved with the program every week since and am very grateful for it. Having somewhere to go after school multiple days a week to receive guidance and tutoring was very beneficial for my studies. It was a very welcoming environment for me and my friends to study while being nourished with snacks and hot meals that some of us did not have elsewhere. We also had access to computers and printers at the program which helped us to complete some projects that could not be done at home.
For me, the guidance and tutoring was the most valuable part of the program. I always felt comfortable to talk with the staff who ran the program including Robyn, who was at the program for 4 of my 5 years at Britannia. My friends and I knew we could always approach Robyn about anything that was going on in our lives, especially including help with homework. The tutors that I worked with in the program were always friendly and very helpful. I enjoyed being able to work so closely with university students and be able to talk to them about what I should expect from high school and post-secondary.
I am very fortunate to have had the ability to learn from people who had gone through the same experiences that I was going through. I do not believe that I would have been as comfortable or successful in high school if it were not for the Homework Club at Britannia.
Describing this time in our lives has become such a difficult task. There are moments where I consider it nothing short of surreal; even months in I can’t quite wrap my head around it. There are other times I find it calming, the expectations softened, the world enjoying a slower pace of life. I struggle between feeling guilty about what I should and should not be doing with all of this free space and then again I remember to have grace for myself and others as we navigate the unknown; now is not a time to be shameful or judgmental. I can experience these things within the stretch of day and it can be overwhelming to recognize all of these little significant pieces of myself and know how to respond to them. I say this because any time I feel that the chaos is about to wash over me and I fear being pulled under I am always able to find my peace again, that safe place that is good and grounding. But then I am also reminded that I am an adult, and a counsellor who is somewhat adept at responding to these needs and I think about our students. I worry that they are also going through the tidal wave of emotions and not knowing how to cope, not being able to find their safe place. A student said to me not long ago in a phone conversation that Homework Club is where he goes and what he does. He never had to question that because it was just part of his routine and there was comfort in the consistency. I think all of us are feeling the loss of little moments that used to make up our days and weeks like this. Things that were steadfast, trustworthy and good. I like to imagine that most of us during this time have taken at least a second to consider being more present in the future and enjoying what is happening right in front of us. I had such an experience not long ago when I stopped in at Britannia and visited the Homework Club workspace. It was rather eerie to be in this silent and empty room that is usually filled with so much laughter and goodness. I could imagine where each little group sits, backpacks slung over the backs of chairs while their heads are huddled together collectively working on an assignment. Snacks being divvied up between friends and the eager anticipation of what will be served for dinner and which table will be chosen to eat first. There is always a new, shy student at the entrance being coaxed by a friend to join the festivities and a slew of tutors eager to invite them in. The space is never anything short of jubilant. I am so hopeful that we can go back to experiencing those times together, to share in that comfort, for our lives to find that familiar rhythm again, but I am also wanting to believe we will do it with a little more presence and gratitude to these little moments we hold so dear.
~ Kaitlee Simonson