Balfour Beacons - December 2015

In an effort to recognize the outstanding individuals that we have at Balfour Collegiate, we are going to embark upon recognition of these individuals.  The word ‘Beacon’ has long been associated with the bright light that stands out, that leads and guides, and is something to which many are drawn.  These are the exact characteristics we are attempting to showcase through the Balfour Beacons.

Past Beacons: November 2013 | January 2014 I March 2014 I June 2014 | October 2014 | January 2015 | April 2015

Ella Herzog - Grade 9

After the first few days of being at Balfour, I already felt very comfortable. Balfour students and staff are very kind and welcoming. It has been an excellent experience at the school so far and I am excited to learn and grow in these next four years. I was on the junior girls volleyball team and I am currently playing on the basketball team.

For all those who are currently in grade eight, you should definitely think about coming to Balfour Collegiate for high school. There are so many great opportunities that you do not want to miss out on. It is a small school so you get to know people very quickly. You will enjoy high school a lot more if you are outgoing and welcoming to everyone, that is what has made my experience so amazing.

Ms. Raeleen Fehr-Rose - teacher

There’s something about Balfour Collegiate that makes it thoroughly unique. People who walk in the doors often marvel at the history associated with the building, or the (delightfully?) confusing room numbers and hallways – it’s not an exaggeration to say that one can lose him/herself in this place. However, I truly think it’s something else.

It’s cliché to say that it’s the people that make a place special, but somehow, regardless of who it is that joins our population, regardless of how long that individual is part of our home-away-from-home, every person who joins Balfour feels it and becomes part of that something special. Balfour Collegiate is special and it is unique. Ask any teacher who has been part of another staff and s/he will remark on it: “There’s just something about Balfour.” Students who leave us and later come back, whether due to a move or because they have graduated, all comment on it. There’s something special about Balfour, and I am so very proud to say that I am a part of Balfour’s staff because it means that I have the privilege of experiencing that unique quality, too.

Ashton Sies - Grade 11

I began my years at Balfour in 2013. I was an awkward, lanky 13-year-old who really only knew the people with whom I attended elementary school. However, since that first day in grade nine, Balfour Collegiate has been warm, welcoming, and enjoyable. The halls are filled with teachers and staff who truly love their job and who will go the extra mile for their students, whether that be staying late to answer questions or driving a van full of smelly basketball players across the province. I love my school, and I know that I definitely made the right decision when choosing to attend Balfour.

Students are provided with a number of extra-curricular opportunities here at Balfour, and I have taken full advantage of that. I have played on the school’s football and basketball teams ever since grade nine; I was named a captain as well as an MVP of the basketball team in grade 10 and a captain of the football team this year, grade 11. Sadly, I dislocated my shoulder early in the football season this year, which kept me from participating in the rest of the season and will keep me from playing basketball until the New Year. I have kept busy though! I took on a role in the musical (and developed an accent that is quite believable), and have also been able to focus on my grades. In grade 9 I finished with the second highest overall average among my grade, and in grade 10 I finished first. Great teaching has led me to the success I’ve had, and I am truly thankful for the work our teachers do.

Balfour is a wonderful school that is full of opportunities for everyone! I am grateful to be nominated as a Beacon and will always be glad I chose Balfour as a place to call home.

David Hillsden - Grade 12

When I first stepped into Balfour, I didn’t think as fondly of it as I do now. I believed the rumors and stereotypes that I had been told. I expected to see things I would want to avoid. I was expecting to hear things that I didn’t want to. I was expecting an old dingy, dark school. I was wrong. From the moment I walked through the front doors I realized those stereotypes were all wrong. It was old looking, but it gave class and style. It was inviting, it wasn’t scary, and it was different in its own good way. The students were excited to see future Bears walk the halls and to talk about their school. The teachers were ecstatic; they were there to assist in any way you needed. They were so happy to talk about their school and the featured programs.  

In my opinion Balfour offers the best programs compared to any other school I had visited. The AP program was the best program for me. IB just didn’t feel right, once I heard about AP and talked with the teachers who taught each subject, then and there I made my choice. The staff was amazing. They wanted to build a relationship with me. I found these relationships make my classes easier and less stressful. (Although doing the homework helped as well) They were always there, ready to assist me with whatever I needed, whether it was school related or not. All the teachers and staff I have encountered have assisted me in some capacity and furthered me throughout my high school life.

I know the principal’s room may not be your favourite room to spend time in, but Ms. Miller always has her door wide open, inviting everyone inside to talk. Balfour is the school to be at. Once you meet the teachers, the guidance counselors and even the principal the decision should be evident.

 

Emma Sturm - Grade 10

When I first walked up to the huge front doors of Balfour Collegiate, I felt quite intimidated; high school was going to be a hard transition and the building was already too much for me to handle. When I finally worked up my courage to step inside, I was enveloped in an environment of support, equality, and acceptance. I remember first meeting my advisory teacher, Ms. Fehr-Rose, and how she made me feel so at home within minutes of my first day. During the first week, I realized that Balfour had so many opportunities for success and achievement, which made me sure that this was the best place for me. Though it is only my second year attending this school, I already have numerous teachers by my side helping me reach all the goals and expectations I have set for myself. I have come to love and appreciate the Balfour community, and even though I don’t really believe that high school is the “best years of your life”, I do think that Balfour will be a fond memory to look back upon one day for all those who worked up the courage to walk through those massive doors.

As most people probably know, I am not usually athletically inclined to sports, but one of the great things about Balfour is that there are so many other ways to become involved that have an equally large impact on the school community. One of the first things I joined was band, and it has been an amazing experience! I started playing trumpet in grade 6 in the elementary band and have been loving it since then. Music has a way of enriching our lives; playing in a band only amplifies that feeling as you are actually part of creating the music. Being in band at Balfour has made me grow even fonder of these things. I have grown as a musician and as a person through the hard work, dedication, and teamwork that Mr. Wade-Cummings has instilled in us. The performances and trips we do as a group create an atmosphere of laughter, learning, and friendship, which are all things I will look back upon often when I am finished high school. There are two other activities I joined this year, and last, that have given me more life skills than I could ever have imagined: SRC and Project Balfour. When I first joined The Student Council, I was nervous that my ideas would not be good enough and that my contributions would not be big enough; but then I was chosen as a grade 9 rep and got to experience the importance of being a leader in the school. I came to realize that everyone deserves the right to voice their opinion and have it taken seriously. Throughout the year I became more and more involved in the planning and executing of school activities and fundraisers. My sense of responsibility and organizational abilities improved immensely and I was able to become the confident person I am today, leading me to becoming the Grade 10 Rep for 2015. I am busier and have even more responsibilities than ever this year, but that comes with the reward of knowing you were part of making it all happen. I have to make a one final shout out to Project B because despite being a small group, we had big ideas for change. Getting to share that passion with the school and seeing it in such a large number at We Day was a very enlightening experience that I can’t wait to be a part of again this year!  The best jobs are the ones that make a difference, and I am proud to say I was a part of the groups that did just that.

Most of my life consists of one schedule after another, inside school and out. Other than SRC, Project B, and Band, I dance almost every day of the week from a range of one and a half to 4 hours. It is a major part of who I am;  I would never have learned the commitment, perseverance, motivation, and determination I have now without it. Dance teaches you to have high expectations for yourself and how to actually reach them. My dance teacher has always had high standards for my entire dance group; getting us to pass 5 different exams a year and to have the cleanest routines possible for competition, along with teaching us how to work together and be role models for the younger girls at the studio. Competitive dancers not only rely on dance ability to finish in first, but also the right attitude and confidence that dancing requires. I have applied that belief to my academic life as well, studying and working as hard as I can in each subject, as well as keeping up a positive outlook on the work until I have accomplished it to the best of my abilities. There is something that I always tell myself when completing any task whether it is a dance exam or school test. It’s that the ending result doesn’t matter as long as you have gained knowledge and improved in the process. Life is too short to sit around and wait for the final grade or mark to determine how well you did. As long as you feel like you have achieved something through the time and effort  you put in then that is all you should focus on. I hope that throughout the rest of my high school years I can keep that mindset and continue to exceed in school, dance, SRC, Band, and in everyday life. I am truly thankful for being chosen as a Balfour Beacon. It is an honour and a privilege to be recognised in this way. I am excited to see where this opportunity leads, and how I can use it to make Balfour proud!

 

photography by: Nick Methot (grade 10)