The gift we share

We're all going somewhere. We just don't want to make the journey alone, and we never have.

By Dave Krocker, Head of School

Richard Wagamese is a favourite author of mine, as he is for many people. He wrote about loss, something he felt acutely in his lifetime. But he also wrote about respect and humility; about the courage we find within ourselves and the strength we take from others. That’s particularly true in his last book, One Drum: Stories and Ceremonies for a Planet. There he wrote:

“We’re all going somewhere. We can feel that. We just don’t want to make the journey alone — and we never have. In the primitive times that were our common beginning, we were wanderers. All of us. Every contemporary culture shares this origin. We followed game and other food. We foraged to survive. Every night, fires were lit and everyone gathered around them. …. They felt secure from the hard dark around them. They felt safe in the company of each other. They felt belonging and worth and acceptance.” 

Of course, Wagamese wasn’t writing about Rosseau Lake College, not literally at least. But I think that passage speaks perfectly to what the school is.

“We are all going somewhere.” 

The range of learning here is impressive, particularly for such an intentionally small campus community. Students spend hours a day committed to academics, focusing on math, biology, science; music, language, the fine arts. There is a wonderful spectrum of engagement, a balance of traditional learning and innovative learning, where experiential learning is infused into every aspect of the curriculum. The faculty are dedicated to ensuring that the students get to where they are going. They work to ensure that they are equipped with the skills and habits of mind needed to leave our campus, when the time comes, and head off to new, exciting journeys.

“We just don’t want to make the journey alone …” 

The heart and soul of our school has been, and will always be, our people. We see on a daily basis our team, backed by incredibly supportive and committed parents and alumni, reaching for new possibilities with the program. This leads to the elevated student experience we are known for, a transformative experience for all students that is based in an experience of belonging, worth, and acceptance. 

“ … and we never have.” 

RLC has a long history, with more than a half century of students coming and going. Most of them, thankfully, don’t stay away for long. This past spring we had a group of alumni from the 1960s and 1970s spend a weekend on campus. They spoke with each other as if they had never left. Almost every conversation with alumni navigates down memory lane and touches on significant, impactful relationships with teachers. There are stories of outtrips, co-curriculars, house events–even stern yet required conversations–that center around RLC’s shared values of community, gratitude, resilience, authenticity, and diversity. This fall we’ll be hosting a group of alumni from the 1980s, and I’m sure the stories will be equally significant, impactful and cherished. As we chart our future and next steps for RLC, people—alumni, students, friends, families—will always be at our core.

Wagamese finished the passage quoted above by saying that, “wonder is the gift we share — if we allow it.” He combines the capacity for wonder—something that we all, as humans, are innately given—with the need to “allow it,” to be open to it, and to do something with it. Wonder and action are sides of a coin. Indeed, we cherish what we have here at RLC—a very unique place, on arguably the most beautiful natural land—while knowing there is important work to do. In the years ahead we’ll continue building on our strong foundations. We’ll continue the journey toward a future of increased inclusivity, and an even greater connectedness with each other and with our land. Per our mission statement, we’ll continue in the work of educating the next generation to become “conscientious stewards of our ever-changing world.” 

Victoria Grant is a great friend of RLC, and one of the key architects of our Seven Generations initiative. In a conversation on campus last fall she spoke about the Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund, a national organization she helped create. She said of her work there that “our philosophy is that there is brilliance and ingenuity in our communities” and that, “when we talk to our donors, we say ‘come walk with us, and we’ll create a better world.’” I think that’s what Wagamese was talking about, too. We’re talented, and we’re supported; we share a capacity for wonder, and a desire for a better world. We are wanderers. We are all going somewhere. Come walk with us.