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April 27, 2018


Fostering Community

First there was Humboldt.  And when it seemed that the nation’s heart could bear no more grief, Toronto happened.  One a horrible accident, the other a hate-filled act.  Both left the country reeling in disbelief and sadness.  But even while shock still lingered, consecutive waves of support and love rose up and washed across our country.  We continue to be touched by the best that is Canada – a best that shows remarkable resilience, an enduring desire to comfort, and a refusal to give in to blame, fear or hate.  From small towns to big cities across our country, we saw Canada come together to model what it means to be a strong community.

We talk a lot at the Castle about community, about what it means to stand together, about what it means to care for one another.   As adults, we often wonder if the children around us hear our words.  When we speak, they nod to indicate comprehension and smile to demonstrate agreement.  But do they truly understand the essence of what we are trying to convey, or are they merely well trained and polite.

Yesterday, we held interviews for next year’s Prefects, the senior leadership positions assumed by Grade 12 students.  Each conversation provided insight into how each girl perceived and experienced and understood Trafalgar Castle – this school that we want her to call her own.  What resonated was a strong sense of belonging, of sisterhood, of responsibility for our collective wellbeing.   I heard about the commitment each girl felt to making our community even stronger, even more inclusive, even more supportive of those inside and outside the Castle walls.

Collective identity is often forged in moments of grief and moments of hope.  As the Trafalgar Castle community shared in the nation’s grief and hope this past month, we found our own identity strengthened, and we are forever grateful.

This poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905-2004) speaks beautifully to all that endures in spite of great loss.  I hope it provides comfort to those who continue to struggle.

Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there,
I do not sleep;
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on the snow;
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there.
I did not die.

[Click here for a beautiful choral rendition of this poem]

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