by Dariol Haydock, Director of the Middle School
Before our first Middle School service day, I must admit I wondered how it would work to have 208 students working outside in the community with their teachers all day? Will our students understand the importance of leading by serving? Will they work hard? Will they enjoy the day and feel that it was worthwhile? Will they come back to school after just one day and feel that their time was well spent?
Well, I certainly didn’t anticipate that the day would be as successful as it was. Students followed the lead of their teachers and jumped into the activities that we had organized with both feet. Whether it was building trails, interviewing seniors, packing up crates with goods for Haiti, or serving hot chocolate to locals down on their luck, our students met the service challenge head on.
We received many compliments about our students. Some of the most heartwarming were from organizations that didn’t leap initially to have “Middle Schoolers” in their midst! Congratulations students! You shed the very best light on the SMUS community through your strong work ethic, respectful and compassionate tone, and the positive energy that you brought to each location. Vivat!
Broadmead Lodge and Mount Tolmie
by Elise Marchessault, Grade 6
On Thursday, November 4th, all of the Middle School staff and students went out to do service for our community. I was very fortunate to be put in the group that got to go to the Broadmead Lodge and pull broom on Mt.Tolmie.
At the Broadmead Lodge my group and the residents played a memory game. The residents liked to have children visitors and they enjoyed playing the game. At the end of our time at the lodge all of the residents had a big smile on their face; seeing that made me happy to know that I helped make someone’s day even just a little bit better.
On Mt.Tolmie we had to help pull broom. Broom is a weed and it spreads like dandelions do on a windy day. There is a lot of broom on Mt.Tolmie and it is hard to pull (depending on the size). Giving up was not an option. I knew I would feel good when the job was done because I knew that I could make a difference to Mt.Tolmie and the people around it, even if we only helped clear a small amount off the mountain. That is a lot like service. Service helps no matter how big or small the job is; and what we did today helped, in a small way, the residents at the lodge and to Mt.Tolmie.
Service doesn’t just end there – keep it going. Recycle, help the little old lady next door bring in her mail. Donate to the SPCA next month. Service is everywhere. You just have to keep your mind open and let your heart reach out to others and the world.
Burnside Gorge Community Centre and the Railyards
by Kate Wallace Laumann, Grade 6
The day began at the Burnside Gorge Community Centre. We started with a small group of four students. Our first job was picking up garbage outside of a Community Centre. Then we went inside, sipped hot chocolate and made paper snowflakes for decorations for an upcoming community Christmas party. In the afternoon, we went to the Railyards, where we were joined by another group for the school and pulled out weeds to make the garden look pretty. All in all the day was really good and really fun because we got to help the community and miss school.
Galloping Goose Trail and Options Pregnacy
by Steven Piazza, Grade 8
I thought the service day was a great experience. I found it very fun. It was quite the adventure for my group. The garbage clean-up was very interesting. We found some objects that I would never expect to find on the Galloping Goose Trail, from dirty diapers to blender blades. Then we ventured over to Options Pregnacy. There we were greeted with soda and cookies. Then we started to clean kid toys and sort clothes. Overall, I had a fun time. I think if anyone gets the chance to help others you should do it.
by Roland Liao-Briere, Grade 8
I really enjoyed the service exploratory we had last Thursday. I picked up garbage beside the Galloping Goose, and washed toy at options pregnancy centre. I thought it was a great experience and hope to do it again next year
by Bob Newman, teacher
My group went to SALTS where the Grade 8 students cleaned dories and scrubbed decks during the winterization of the Pacific Grace and Pacific Swift. Our host at the boatyard was Matt Lemay ’01 and the initial setup was between Kevin Cook and Captain John Andrachuk ’99. While there, the cleanup crew was joined by Simon Witt ’10.
Point Elise House and James Bay Lodge
by Ariana Kelly, Grade 7
I was part of a group for the service day that went to Point Elise House and James Bay Lodge. Both of these places were amazing. For the first part of the day we went to Point Elise House and we did a lot of gardening to make home’s for lots of different animals. We removed over grown plants, logs, and branches. We also had a couple wheel barrow rides just to add some fun in. It was very tiring and messy. But I think we all survived.
Then for the second part of the day we went to James Bay Lodge. All the people there were so nice and friendly. I think everybody might have made a new friend. There were two groups of kids there. One group played games with them. Well my group took them out for a walk in their beautiful garden. I was pared up with a man named Alex. He was very talkative and sweet. When the bus came and picked us up at 2:15. I was almost sad to leave. I had a lot of fun that day, and I would even come back and volunteer to help with everybody there again.
by Jillian Taylor, Grade 6
Service day was lots of fun! I went to James Bay Lodge to see the elderly and then to Point Ellice House to pull invasive species.
First was James Bay Lodge. I was paired with a woman who had dementia and thought I was her granddaughter, but she was extremely kind. We went for a walk in the garden and she talked all about how she was born at the elderly home and how she had 14 trick-or-treaters for Halloween at her house. I knew that not many of the things she said were true because she had dementia, but I went with it anyway. She told me I made her so happy and I believe I made a big difference in her day.
Next was Point Ellice House. We ended up pulling out ivy, which is way harder than you would think. The roots kind of went horizontally underground. We had a contest of who could pull the most ivy in my group between the boys and the girls. The girls won by far. It was great.
By the end of the day, I was tired, but I had a blast!
The Mustard Seed
by Sage Friswell, Grade 8
Last Thursday, the Middle School took part in an eye opening opportunity. Everyone was assigned small groups and a charity or community service. A few of my friends and I were at the Mustard Seed. This was the first time I had ever been to the Mustard Seed. It was very fun and I learned so much. Even by doing a small act of sorting out food donations, folding clothes, making hot chocolate or sorting envelopes, I felt like I had done so much for the community. I got to experience a whole different life, just for a day. But I didn’t let the helping stop there, I carried everything I learnt from the mustard seed and took it to my everyday life. Who knew that simply holding a door, or making a box of food for a family could make their day, and their dreams come true.
The Galloping Goose and James Bay Nursing Home
by Liam Dyson, Grade 7
On service day, I was put in the Dalai Lama group made up of Grade 6 and 7 students. Our tasks were to clean up the Galloping Goose Trail and visit the seniors at the James Bay Nursing Home. At the trail clean-up, we found some weird things like a tire and a plastic table. It was sad to see how much garbage people leave in a public place like that, but when we were done the trail looked awesome. After we were done the trail clean up, we played bunny toss with the old people and went for a walk around the garden. Everyone had a good time. Overall, it was very cool to make a difference in our community and in the lives of the old folks.
by Oria James. Grade 6
In the morning, I went to Macaulay Elementary school. It is a rather large French immersion school in Esquimalt. I was assigned to help a French immersion Grade 2 class. My first job was to help kids correct some dictation. The kids came out into the hallway where I was seated at a little table with everyone’s dictation book. First, I would get the child to read the words that they misspelled, translate it into English, and then ask them to write the words three times. I was very pleased with how much vocabulary they knew. Most of the children did very well and had few corrections to make. After recess my job was to sort some cards. Sadly, around halfway through the job it was time to leave. As I was leaving the classroom, one of the little girls came up and hugged me. I knew that I would not forget the day for quite a while.