Throughout my high school experience, I was fortunate enough to not only excel in my studies with the endless academic support offered by Crofton House School, but I also had the opportunity to discover my values and who I am within the greater community through the Ivy Compass Program.
The Ivy Compass Program is designed to enrich learning opportunities and to broaden horizons by encouraging students to ask meaningful questions and take purposeful action towards understanding the world and their role within it. The program is divided into four quadrants, each with a different focus: North (New Horizons), East (Environmental Learning), South (Service Learning), and West (World Citizenship).
North allowed me to discover my values by reflecting on my past and identifying the events that shaped me into who I am today. As a result of growing up in a relatively rule-free environment, I set high expectations for myself and felt an internal pressure to do well. I mastered self-governance early in my childhood as I had to take on more responsibilities than typical children because my mother was often traveling for work. Without instruction, I learned to prioritize my activities, finish my homework, and get to class on time. When I came home from school, I joined my grandmother in making dinner and completing household chores. As I grew older, my responsibilities increased and I not only had to manage a challenging course load, but I also juggled school leadership, a job, volunteering, and taking full-time care of my grandmother. Therefore, I recognized that I not only cared for those around me, but I am also someone who takes responsibility for my actions and takes control of my future.
East urged me to push my limits and step outside of my comfort zone. By choosing activities that challenged my physical and mental stamina, I embraced an open mindset and a daring attitude on annual outdoor education trips. One year, I signed up for canoeing at the highest skill level during a rainstorm. Looking from ashore, the distance did not seem far; however, the eight-hour journey to the campsite caused excruciating pain in my arms, which led to a sleepless night and an agonizing trek back to the island. There were definitely moments on that trip when I thought about giving up, but I managed to cross the finish line with strong morale, high spirits, and a burning desire to venture out on another journey.
South made me realize the effect I can have on others. Through volunteer opportunities, I interacted with individuals from diverse backgrounds and, ultimately, I developed empathy. During one of my volunteer experiences, I met a seven-year-old boy who was recently put into foster care and was separated from his sister. While many staff members gave him space when he was having a breakdown, I sat next to him quietly waiting for him to calm down. He shyly expressed his feelings when he was ready and I listened attentively. Being raised in a single parent household, I related to his feelings of isolation and frustration so I shared my experience with him. I told him it was normal to feel confused and upset, but, more importantly, that he was supported in his journey.
West gave me a sense of pride when showing world citizenship. To reach my goal of fostering a sense of belonging and building a supportive community, I was a reliable, sympathetic, and understanding support system for students in my high school. Furthermore, I emphasized the importance of self-image as I urged students to place less importance on how others perceived them and more importance on how they viewed themselves. This year I was given the opportunity to influence a wider audience as I facilitated Ivy workshops for grade eights and nines on prevalent social issues such as peer pressure and self-esteem.
After traveling in all four directions, I realized the importance of individuality and setting my own standards as opposed to reaching for the unattainable constructs set by others. Having traveled both longitude and latitude, I find myself gravitating back to the origin because I am pulled by North, East, South, and West. When I began my journey at Crofton House School in 2014, I understood the privilege I had in attending an outstanding high school that has an empowering community; I wanted to contribute to my community by becoming involved in extracurricular activities that supported the arts, athletics, personal development, health and wellness, and leadership. I am proud to have been elected as the first Prefect of the Ivy Compass Program at Crofton House School and it has been an honour to be an ambassador of a program that accompanied me on my journey of personal growth. I look forward to graduating this year and I will carry the lessons I have learned at Crofton House School through the Ivy Compass Program by continuing to search for my identity and ways to better my community.