Hi, my name is Lauren Brzezowski.
I had the privilege of attending Island Pacific School (IPS) from grade 6-9 and graduated in 2015. It was not, however, only a privilege, but a choice my family and I made each day as we drove from Squamish to Horseshoe Bay to catch the morning ferry; I am forever grateful to my parents for supporting me in this adventure as IPS forever changed my approach to education and life.
I completed high school at Brentwood College and I am now finishing my BSN at the University of Victoria. This past year I was awarded the President’s Scholarship and long listed for the Rhodes Scholarship. Now I am an RN preceptor on the Neuroscience unit at Vancouver General Hospital. In my future career endeavors I hope to improve equitable access to health and address social justice issues.
As I reflect back on my life I can attribute these goals and values to projects such as masterworks; to activities such as understanding the lived experience of Vancouver’s downtown eastside residents; and most importantly to the engaged teachers at IPS (and other institutions) who were respectful and attentive to the learning needs of each student.
I have fond memories of the adventurous experiences which are woven into the DNA of IPS. While these experiences are one of a kind and helped foster my self trust, my willingness to be courageous, and developed my fervor for outdoor activities, I do not believe they are what makes IPS such a special place. IPS taught me the importance of community and how to have authentic human connections. From the first time I sat on the concrete and ate lunch with people from all grades I felt welcomed; it was a safe space for me to show up as myself and explore who I was as a person.
Each teacher held space for me to learn who I was and explore what was important to me by framing each learning opportunity within the context of topics in which I was interested.
This sense of community is built into every aspect of IPS from taking the ferry every morning to being a part of morning check to being a mentee and later becoming a mentor. This sense of community is special; it creates a small family which demands you to show up, be honest, respectful, and ultimately lead with integrity because in return you are able to be curious and explore the world through project based and experiential learning.
Now in hindsight I am able to see how this principled yet curiosity based approach to education began to develop my own moral compass.
Thank you IPS!