As Christmas approaches we remain in awe of the remarkable things accomplished at Olympic Heights School. Students continue on incredible learning journeys, which we were fortunate enough to share with families during our November parent/teacher conferences. With the support of our School Council and Parent Association, we completed a very successful residency with our Indigenous artist in residence, Chantal Chagnon, who led students on an exploration of Indigenous story telling, finger weaving, drumming and singing, and much more. Now, as 2023 approaches, we look to host our first in-person concert in a few years with eager anticipation.
An ongoing theme at OHS this year has centered on “footprints.” Students have examined what it means to leave a footprint, to make an impact, and to have a lasting impression, whether that impact is on ourselves, on others, on our community, or on our planet. This theme ties in directly with our Three Pillars of Care; care for ourselves, care for others, and care for our place. During the Christmas season, care has been abundant, particularly in the many generous donations made by families to our food drive, and to our Christmas hamper initiative. The response by students, families, and the community demonstrates a clear indication that the OHS collective truly cares for others.
While we deeply appreciate material donations, another sign of caring takes the form of action. Over the past couple of months we have been stressing a rather simplistic, yet extremely powerful option; choose kindness. Classrooms have held class meetings to discuss and solve challenges while focusing on the opportunity to be kind. We see evidence of kind behaviours on a daily basis at Olympic Heights. Students holding doors for others, individuals helping others who need assistance, phrases such as “Welcome!” and “Thank you” shared without anything expected in return, students being inclusive, welcoming others to join in an activity or event, all exemplify this choice. Staff sacrificing personal time to assist with a situation or to support someone in need, volunteers offering their time during a deep freeze to assist with Kiss & Drop, and parents putting the safety of others ahead of their own personal convenience are also examples we see regularly.
The generosity of kindness can have a powerful and contagious effect. A kind response is free, and the “return on investment” can be profound. As one of the key focuses of our school development plan centres on well-being, kindness lies at the heart of many efforts at OHS, and evidence of student initiatives can be found throughout our halls. With welcoming 2023, we will continue our efforts of using kindness to solve challenges, and promoting the idea that when given a choice, choose kind.
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and much prosperity and kindness in 2023.
Trevor Barkley, Principal
Adam Eakins, Assistant Principal