On My Time With Island Pacific School
(With my apologies to Lin‐Manuel Miranda)
How does an idea, a design, a little school, become an institution,
On an island,
A rock dropped in the middle of a forgotten
Spot in Howe Sound near Vancouver.
I’m astonished, and I ask what is the causality
Of an intentional education that builds character of such quality.
For starters Ted Spear, our Founding Father turned author,
Took us farther than another might have bothered,
By working harder, by being smarter, by being a self‐starter.
He had to beg, borrow and barter
To get Island Pacific its charter.
And every day our kids are being taught we’re
Watching the way they’ve brought our sons and daughters
Making them see what they’ve got: a head on their shoulders,
Making all in this room see we’re each of us stakeholders,
And the middle years they are not just placeholders.
Jen Henrichsen, her claim to fame’s an award from the prime minister,
And Pam, if you’ve ever witnessed her, administer a lesson to these kids; or the good Sir, Adrian, Van Lidth de Jeude,
Both of them coulda, woulda, shoulda got an award too.
I could just kill for a rhyme for Jen Zdril who
Wrote the play last year. Thanks from all of us to Barb and Maureen too,
And the others who came before, and Amanda and Diana Ray;
and Carmen, Cheryl and Julia McCaig.
I won’t forget; what you’ve done for my family. And now we have Andrea, Megan, Jason, and Kari Marentette. With that teacher selection we could have took up a collection
and moved over to the mainland, but let’s not forget our main man:
He’s our Head, Scott Herrington.
Don’t you know, he’s our Head, Scott Herrington.
Twenty years in Dubai, and maybe touched by the sun;
There’s a million things he hasn’t done, here, yet,
But just you wait. Just you wait.
For me when each school year came, with the hiking, and the pain,
The blisters on their feet,
Some claim it’s even better than some computer game
The word games, makin’ up nicknames, and learnin’ each other’s first name,
Layin’ the foundation for the end game:
As they rise to the occasion and later we can say, “Look what this class became.”
Now for those of you who are new, in the fall you’ll learn about Morning Stretch,
Freaky Fridays and other days you never planned for
In the Skylight or the MBC—you gotta ask what that stands for;
A certain madness in the monsoon and unexpected demands for
And house lunches, grouped by constellation,
PE in the meadow for inspiration.
There used to be a Gala celebration, but after due consideration,
The strife and preparation in combination means it’s time
For a conversation about that.
Well, we’ll see.
Then by winter you find out there’s this heresy,
A rarity enough to put their parents in therapy:
A seminar organized by seniority that teaches them to argue and question
Serenity becomes a scarcity as logic and clarity turn the masses into a tyranny.
But then for Covenant House they dwell on the street,
And another sort of house where they’re drinking coffee and raising hell.
The boys are starting to smell; they all start to rebel;
And that’s when you realize this school has no bell. But it does have a play.
Star Crossed and As You Wish, Alice, Charlie, the Doppelgang, and that time
Where they sang about a Pastime Paradise and rewrote history,
Or solved the mystery of the Fullness of Time
And then collapsed into spring break.
When the students come back they take
Their Photoshop skills and make themselves a historical twain.
And get mud‐stained at the Toblerone Cup or Golden Disc or Spring Reign.
They raise the anchor and chain on a tall ship and no‐one complains,
or they walk on Abraham’s Plains. They sail and surf,
And kayak even in the rain. Scott, this schedule is insane, man.
But looking back, these years are where they overcame an
Obstacle or two, the biggest change in their lives, tell your kids:
And yes they can manage, Masterworks,
Because they get their confidence from the ground up.
These students are taught to round up.
Like the old adage, what they propound is compounded
And what they amounted to is all summed up at Rights of Passage.
Now looking back after my nine years with this community, I write for posterity
And with that certain clarity that comes from
The familiarity of hindsight, and in all sincerity.
And you know as alumni and parents, the members of Island Pacific School
And all of you here who volunteer regularly,
And the fine friends I’ve made on the board of this charity,
When you’re done you look back with a certain awe, and blink, and exclaim:
“What just happened?”
Well, I think we all found a little more wisdom, and courage, and integrity.