By Nathan Shin ‘20 and Jiayi Li ‘20, Service Council Prefects
At the beginning of the year, the prefects created our "pledge": five statements embodying our vision for an enhanced WPGA community. We took upon ourselves to bring these values to our school and our student councils. Called the Five Es, they shaped our actions with intention.
The first E was to empower all students to contribute by fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment. From day one, our council was outgoing, openminded and committed, and for that we are deeply grateful. We were not only brought together by service initiatives but also as “a group of friends with similar goals” (Vincent Gao '22). Of course, the welcoming environment would not have been quite the same without the dino costumes at our promotional mornings or a certain grade 8’s enthusiastic brandishing of our posters!
The second E was to enhance the WPGA community by collaborating with other councils to create a unique experience. From running concession stands for Hogar de Gina with Athletics Council and Motivational Mornings with Wellness Council to decorating colourful house boxes with the House Captains and making hand sanitizer with Spirit Council, we strove to extend our impact beyond solely service-oriented initiatives. We thank the other councils for their hard work this year.
The third E was to encourage connections between students and staff by facilitating positive interactions. In organizing service events as well as collaborating with other councils, we worked alongside our amazing sponsor teachers Ms. Poole and Ms. Breslin to ensure the initiatives ran as smoothly as possible. Despite a couple of broken toes (among other mishaps!), they remained as wise and dedicated leaders as ever.
The fourth E was to establish inter- and intragrade bonding by forming intentional connections. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with students of all grades. By meeting “so many kind people this year who want to make our community and our school a better place” (Naomi Marko '23), we created “friendships that we know will last the duration of our time at WPGA” (Julia Bohnen '24). Beyond being a branch of student government, councils are truly a place to connect with one another.
Perhaps the hardest to promote, the fifth E was to embody a positive sense of vulnerability to allow others to do the same. The prefects found this value imperative to include because while we always aim to create positive impacts, we also recognize that we are not perfect; in fact, far from it. Recognizing when we have made a mistake or approaching unfavourable situations with humility is a valuable skill to have discovered.
From the incredible success of WPGA Scares Hunger, when we collected over 600 pounds of food, to the new 12 Days of Service initiative in December, clothing donations for Raycam Community Centre, and our 13th collaboration with Project Backpack, Jeremy Fang ‘21 has come to believe that you only “truly understand the impact you can have when you see it first hand” and “highly recommends getting involved.” A huge thank-you to all of you, the incredible WPGA community, for empowering the success of many of these initiatives and supporting these important causes.
Service takes on different forms, depending on who you ask. To Miranda Butler ‘21, “service means looking beyond yourself and doing something to help another person or organization.” For Emma Miao ‘22, it’s also about “recognizing our privilege and sharing our resources with others.” From local initiatives to service on an international scale, we each have our own experiences with community service. However, from our first meeting in September, Service Council is proud to have pursued a collective goal: to create positive change within our school and community.
We want to express how impressed we have been with the drive and initiative we have seen among the student body and especially among members of Service Council. As service leaders, we appreciate the time and effort you have put into our council, and we could not have asked for a better team. Your enthusiasm, creativity and maturity astound us.
Change is a term we have become well acquainted with in these trying times. As school comes to a close, we hope that the WPGA community continues to embrace change and approaches it with the same resilience and fortitude we have seen so strongly from the Wolfpack.
Thank you for a great year in service.