We’ve come such a long way this year, and learned so much, and families who came to campus for last week’s Closing ceremonies might have noticed two things that help symbolize our year together. First, the flags that surrounded us in Maclaren Hall represent not only the nationalities of our students this year – over 60 flags – but also the challenges and opportunities each of our nations face. This year we have continued to interact with each other, emphasizing our international orientation as a school and embracing the notion of pluralism at Ashbury. I am pleased with the level of respectful dialogue we had this year as the news of global and local events entered our classrooms and homes as we remain committed to developing inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

Second was the canoe on display that our students and staff built over the past six months with Anishinaabe canoe builder Pinock Smith. In the recently published book the Politics of the Canoe, Chuck Commanda, Larry Mcdermott and Sarah Nelson explored the meaning behind the The Birchbark Canoe in the Algonquin Community noting that “building a birchbark canoe is a creative act requiring skill, knowledge, and empathy, and draws on seven sacred teachings of love, honesty, humility, respect, bravery, wisdom and truth. […] How we build a canoe reflects how we treat each other.” As with any canoe journey downstream, you will face choices about which way to steer. In much the same way, the flow of life that we have come to expect can change quickly. How you re-route your plans will help shape who you are and how you can best take time to contribute to our beautiful yet complex world. Migwech to our canoe builders – as we all take time to navigate the future meaningfully together. 


Mr. Norman Southward
Head of School | Directeur

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