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Richard Lindseth, Architect, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School Grad

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Q: How has independent school help shape you into the person you are today? What life skills did you learn at school?

A: My attendance at Strathcona (it later became Strathcona-Tweedsmuir), was life-changing, here’s why; Parents generally chose an independent school because they want a “better education” for their children, but put another way, they want greater motivation and inspiration, and that’s what my independent education gave me.

Before attending Strathcona, my scholastic interests were reasonable, but Strathcona expected much more, on many levels, starting with everyone’s full participation in all aspects of school life; Debate, outdoor programs, academics, charitable/social service, extracurricular activities, and consequently, the parallel expectation of full interaction between all members of the “school family”; parents students, teachers, siblings, and staff.

As a result, teachers have become lifelong trusted friends, the 80 minutes of rigorous daily sports activities—which were all open-air as the school then had no indoor facilities—became for many a habit of getting out and doing things beyond work, and we share an enduring loyalty to the close-knit community the school fostered.

The school’s expectations of complete participation reared a life-pattern in students; do something completely, be fully involved, be appreciative, pursue many interests.

Q: What opportunities have opened up for you as a result of going to an independent school?

A: I surmise Strathcona-Tweedsmuir’s setting, in a relatively new and growing area of Western Canada, remove it from some of the traditionally-perceived benefits associated with independent schooling. Although far-reaching, my views of the opportunities arising from this independent education are more general than specific; A great education broadens your horizons, and therefore the choices available to you, it widens the scope of your interests, and therefore the variety in your daily life, and it nurtures and develops your character, enabling you to confidently pursue your future.

More directly, in my architectural practice we have recently enjoyed the participation of two interns, both of whom, as STS graduates, came to know of our firm through our mutual links to the school. In these young people, as in other graduates of the school, I see the benefits their education has fostered in their development and, presumably, in their future.

Q: What is your fondest memory at independent school?

A: The camaraderie, the optimism, and the inclusion of all. Although it had few resources when I attended—the school was literally in a house on the Prairie along the Elbow River—the parents and staff were committed to both the idea and the ideals of the independent school. The small student body banded together in common cause to “make the best of it”.

No impairment, or excuse, excluded any student from participation, and the students themselves were expected to find ways to ensure everyone’s involvement in all activities. It was a wholesome and positive experience, you shared in the efforts and you shared in the rewards.

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