I had the good fortune to attend Island Pacific School from grades 7-9 as well as the Odyssey Program for grade 10 in the only year it ran. To this day, I regard my experience as a student at IPS as a foundational experience; one that set me on the path to where I am today.
The school’s philosophy of active and curious learning, and the character foundation it helped lay (Courage, Wisdom, and Integrity!), have guided and informed me as I have approached every new experience. My time was marked from beginning to end by the excellence of the staff and faculty, whose infectious enthusiasm for learning made school into something I looked forward to (even if I never came around to enjoying early mornings); by the fellow students whose friendship I treasure even now; and by the incredible community in which it resides.
I was the recipient of a half-bursary for my entire time at the school, without which my family would not have been able to afford school tuition. This is far from the only example of the community having an impact on me at IPS. For example, my Grade 8 class had the chance to fly a Cessna aircraft through the generosity of Mr. Ian Henley; this sparked a love of aviation in me that led me first to Air Cadets, and eventually to becoming a member of the RCAF as a helicopter pilot.
For the past ten years now, I have flown in every province and territory in Canada, including a month in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT and another month at CFS Alert in the high Arctic, and had the opportunity to see just how vast and beautiful this country is from a unique aerial perspective. I have deployed overseas on multiple occasions, including to Iraq for tactical operations and to Mali as part of a MEDEVAC force for a United Nations mission. Currently, I am a Standards Instructor Pilot with 427 Squadron, sharing my knowledge and experience with new pilots.
I fully believe that none of these experiences and opportunities would have come to pass without my time at IPS. Far beyond simply opening my eyes to a career in aviation, IPS taught me a critical approach to seeking knowledge with the Practical Reasoning courses, and gave me broad perspective on approaching the world through programs like Community Faculty and the many
excursions. It even kindled a love of experiencing the outdoors, which has made me far less miserable than some of my more urban co-workers when we live in tents and train in a field
environment! Finally, the school’s motto: Courage, Wisdom, and Integrity – three words articulating a philosophy that has never served me wrong.
I will be forever grateful for my time at IPS, for the fellow students and staff who made it such a wonderful experience, and for my community for making it possible.