Education is a voyage. This is how we often describe the TFS Program. We are learners on a journey of discovery and each fall is a time when we renew our commitment. Even for adults who have long finished their formal studies, there is something transformative about September that takes us back to that timeless mix of school excitement, trepidation and possibility.
The autumn is also a reminder that my own life’s journey was heavily influenced by my educational opportunities and choices. I graduated from the Liberal Arts College at Concordia University. Up to that point, I had spent my entire life in my home province of Quebec. I was thinking about staying in Montreal when I was presented with an opportunity to do graduate work in history at the University of Western Ontario in London. To seal my fate, Western extended to me a scholarship and a teaching assistant position in my course of study - American history; it was an offer I could not refuse. As I think back to those days, my educational experience, in so many ways, determined the course of my life’s path. You can rest assured that education will one day do the same for your children.
If education is a voyage, then this year we have hit some tempestuous waters. The current pandemic crisis has physically restricted us in many ways, but at TFS, it has yet to dampen our desire to teach and learn and care for one another as a community. You would be absolutely amazed at how well our staff and students have adapted to this new reality. Both teacher and pupil have demonstrated a strong desire to teach and learn, a resilience in the face of challenge, and mindfulness of the need to protect one another by adhering to new safety protocols. Everyone is meeting their obligations as responsible citizens.
I won’t diminish in any way the difficulties we face as a community and society in dealing with this worldwide pandemic. The course ahead is yet unknown. That’s why it’s more important than ever to keep the TFS mission and our school values at the forefront as we navigate these tricky rapids. We will continue to provide our students with a first-class education and experience that will give them both the opportunities and ability to make informed and meaningful choices.
October is the month of Thanksgiving. This year’s holiday will surely be more low-key, as families gather in limited numbers, or can only see one another online. What does matter the most is the gratitude we have for each other. Such gratitude has been scientifically assessed to show that such a way of thinking changes our perspective and mental health for the better.
We are all grateful for family and friends, but one thing we can also add to our gratitude list is our TFS community. It is good to know that we can depend on and stand by each other. In the French novelist Marcel Proust’s own words, the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
Michael Burke Deputy Head, Citizenship and Community Engagement