by Craig Coutts, Head of School
Wow, what a year it has been. In the past calendar year we have had 86 days on campus, 65 days working from home and 30 days in a combination of the two. This time last year we were planning our winter break, totally oblivious to what was ahead as we freely made our choices to where we wanted to spend our three week holiday. What a difference a year can make.
There are many calls for 2020 to be packed in a box, wrapped in brown paper, a lovely bow to be tied around it and then chained up with the biggest padlock you can find and then tucked away and forgotten about. And this is more than understandable, as it has been a year that has tested us all. However I want to do what we should always do as a school and place the focus squarely on the students. For all the challenges the past year has presented for our students, there are many things that we should celebrate.
When I think about our students during the past 12 months the word resilience quickly comes to mind. Not many will say it was an easy year being a student, but our students proved to us over and over that they are strong, courageous and understanding as they adapted to new systems and came together to support those around them as they were learning more about themselves. I feel strongly that our students have a better awareness of who they are as people and who they are as learners through the changed environment they found themselves in. They grew in themselves and they are now bringing their skills and understandings into the classrooms and building on their learning. We are finding students taking more responsibility for their learning, managing their time better and advocating for themselves better; all skills that will serve them well for school and beyond.
Our graduating class of 2020 went through the most stressful time of uncertainty that any Grade 12 class at YIS has ever experienced. Yet they did get through and not only did they finish well, they came out of it being able to say they were successful as every student was accepted into one of their chosen universities; every single one of them. We also have eight students who are taking a gap year to pursue their passions and follow their sense of curiosity. Due to the impact of the COVID pandemic on universities around the world, some of those students decided to delay their entrance to university by taking a gap year after being accepted to the university of their choice.
So here is a shout out to our students as they still work and live within a world of uncertainty, but they come to school with hope and positivity that makes our school the place it is. As we open the door of 2021 just a crack, and peek through with that hope and positivity the students bring, we can all look forward to making the most of what we have got and look forward to a year of further growth.
To all of you, on behalf of the faculty and staff of YIS, I wish you all the best for the festive season and I hope that it is a holiday that brings some joy and peace for yourself and all around you. I also know that this past year has been challenging for all of you as parents as well. You should be proud of what your children and what you as a family have achieved. We hope the time at home has given you the opportunity to learn more about your children as people and as students. The holidays will give you time to celebrate all of that discovery and achievement.