The Grade 12s began their orientation programming before any other students set foot on campus with a four-day adventure in Algonquin Park. For over 30 years, this trip has been a part of the student outdoor adventure experience at LCS. Today, it provides the ultimate leadership experience for our graduating students. It encourages participants to make new friends, collaborate in team work, and experience, together, the beauty of Canada’s natural landscape while travelling by canoe and camping outdoors in a magnificent provincial park. Many alumni will tell you their Algonquin experience was the highlight of their final year at LCS.
Before boarding the buses to Algonquin, the Grade 12s had a chance to get their feet wet in the cool water of Lake Katchewanooka to review canoe-over-canoe rescue and participate in a swim test, and then it was off to Algonquin Park!
Divided into groups of 7, some paddlers were fortunate to follow a route that kept a tailwind at their backs, which allowed for tarps to be used as sails allowing the canoes to sail down the river with minimal effort—a sight that made non-LCS paddlers, heading in the other direction, quite jealous. Our groups worked together during the long portages to carry the heavy food barrels and canoes across the rough terrain. One student said the highlight of his trip was “watching the guys cycle back on a long portage to pick up more gear just to help out the rest of the group.”
The days were long, but spirits prevailed with many positive stories of triumph and fun. Key wildlife moments included witnessing a colony of beavers, a convocation of eagles, and a majestic moose making its way through camp at dusk. The Grade 12 students shared countless highlights from their time in Algonquin, Betsy McDonnell ’18 gave a shout out to her trip mates, “My highlight was watching girls push themselves out of their comfort zones…and loving it!”
The experience our Grade 12 students had during the Algonquin Expedition will be something to draw on throughout the year. Although it was tough, everyone made it through, everyone pushed on when they thought they had nothing left, and everyone knew they could count on their group members for support, both physical and emotional.
Once back on campus, our seniors embarked on another adventure - the Grade 12 Leadership Conference. As a group, they worked through a schedule combining fun activities and workshops focussed on topics such as empathy, the art of listening, relationships, and more. Grads were very busy discussing and learning more about each other and the role they play in supporting the growth and wellbeing of the students in our community.
At the same time, through various exercises, the Grads were challenged to think about their own personal values and how they relate to the LCS Mission and Values that help establish a safe and nurturing environment for our diverse community. The grad class is moving forward to develop a set of "guiding principles" that they will use as metrics to measure their growth this year.
Our grads have been attentive, curious and sincere - it is obvious they are very excited, and ready, to take the lead in having a great year at LCS.
David Darby, Assistant Head: Enrolment
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