Reflections on Strathcona

Over the past week, students have been reflecting on their experiences at Strathcona.  Here are some poems created by Grade 12 Mini School students in English 12…

Canoes wait patiently…

White Water Canoe, Quatrains by Kelsa (Grade 12)

Glistening blades kiss the rolling water surface
Muscles tensing with every stroke
To control the canoe is our sole purpose
To call this simple would be a joke

The wetsuits cling to hold in the heat
As we took a plunge into the white watered depths
Blood becomes icicles tingling our feet
And into the underlying currents we are swept

Another spectacular view at SPL

The adrenaline shadows our every move
Our minds focused on each task at play
As we learn, our tactics improve
The terrorizing rapids were conquered that day

An Ending in Paradise, Free Verse by Justin (Grade 12)

The end is near but we continue to laugh,
Sharing experiences with the people we love,
We embark on our last unforgettable adventure,
Riding in chariots of rapids, down the river we go
In our cramped kayaks
We arrive at our vacant  camp, drenched from head to toe
Amidst the most serene wilderness
Messy and unkempt from a hard days work,
We claim our land,
As blue transforms to red,
And red transforms to black,
The sun disappears into the horizon
Until the stars are the only thing we see,
Illuminating the night sky
Like the sparkle of diamonds
The birds continue their cawing,
While we sing along the campfire,
With candy sweet voices serenading the air,
As heavenly morsels of smores dance gleefully in our mouths
There is no other place I would rather be
This is my paradise
Cherishing the time spent in each others’ company,
Thankful to share this journey with friends
We begin to celebrate, dancing together in rambunctious joy,
Until the tune of the music slows,
We link arms, hand-in-hand
Swaying around a circle, to the beat of the music
Together united in this familiar place for a final time,
A bittersweet feeling imposed in my mind,
As I say goodbye to something I love,
I remind myself of the experiences I can never forget,
And as we depart from this paradise,
My lips crease into a smile,
Satisfied that although everything must come to an end,
This ending was truly perfect.

Haiku, by Khalid (Grade 12)

No trail is too long
If it is paved with good friends
I cherish them all

The sky is woven
With a plethora of stars
It is time to sleep

On out trips, students cooked meals on the campfire


White Water Kayak,
Quatrains by Joanne (Grade 12)

White Water Kayak
the ultimate year,
Ten kids, two instructors,
Remembering brings tears.

Scared of the challenge
Though excited to start,
Going fast down the river
Sped the beat of our hearts.

Yet the trip was much more
Than just going through water
Our class started bonding
Crowding round the campfire

Singing and laughing
All through the night,
The music stayed with our
While the sun shone on bright.

Those two nights, that campsite
Flew by far too fast,
Suddenly it hit us
These were the first of our lasts.

Soon the last song was played
“I don’t wanna miss a thing,”
With tears in our eyes
Us grads started hugging

It wasn’t goodbye
But the best was not passed.
I’m still sad when I think
Grad 13, my favourite class

From this trip I have learned
To live in the moment,
Face challenges head on
Love the hours we’ve spent

So cherish these moments
They don’t last forever
Remember the good times
Those five years together.

Tarp Tents

The First of the Lasts, A Sonnet by Tasha (Grade 12)

Our friendship is one single soul dwelling in thirty-one bodies
Each luminescent piece equated during the final Strathcona
Cradled by mother-nature’s arms with comforting ease
Early, we rise to inhale scents of last night’s campfire aroma

Tug of war begins in the river between our kayaks and the vigorous winds
We continue strenuous paddle-by-paddle until our arms fully disintegrate
The clouds closed in on us with mischievous looking grins
While the eye of heaven closed momentarily to meditate

Our voices and the strummed guitars connected in pure harmony under the tarp
We sang our heats out together in indestructible unity
Tangled in the midst of the music, we sounded neither flat nor sharp
Annoyed by the noise, the ranger threatened us and we plead to immunity

And so comes the beginning of the first of the lasts
Memories will fade, but not the love for my mini school class

Bus Ride Sunset

Renga by English 12 Mini School Class

“Renga” is a form of collaborative poetry that originated in Japan.  Each student must create a verse of 6 words and is only allowed to see the verse directly above.  Here is an excerpt of the Renga created grade 12 English students:

Amazing water, indescribably fearless, forever bittersweet

Harmonious music, epic, exciting, and methodical

Breaking it down on the dance floor!

Starlit spontaneous singing sounds splendidly Strath-esque

All our voices together as one…

Each voice connected in beautiful harmony

View from the Kayak

An Unforgettable Trip, A Reflection by Chanpreet (Grade 11)

Strathcona 2012 was my favourite and most unforgettable trip out of my four years thus far. Doing Ocean Canoe was an experience that I will never forget, and it changed my outlook on the outdoors, something that hadn’t happened to its full extent until this year. We stayed out at the Berman River for two nights, and travelled there by canoe. I will never forget the two humpback whales that surrounded us whilst canoeing! We sat for about half an hour floating leisurely towards the whales, watching the mama whale teach the baby whale to eat. That was an incredible experience, and a great start to an already memorable trip. A few remarkable things we did while camping on the life enriched plain of the Berman River was build an outdoor sauna and a bonfire with flames that eventually reached fifteen feet high! Those were definitely extraordinary experiences I doubt many get to experience. Our instructors were exuberant and happy to be in the outdoors which definitely made me appreciate the outdoors a little more than I normally do. This trip definitely made me appreciate Strathcona much more, and I can’t wait for next year!

Thriving Ocean Life!

The Best Trip Yet, A Reflection by Bryce (Grade 11)

This year, our mini school trip to Strathcona was one of my favorite mini school trips yet. Not only was it the best trip that I have yet to have at Strathcona, but it was also the most beautiful and peaceful time as well. One moment that I will never forget while I was canoeing with my group, was the time where we spotted a whale. Two whales actually. A baby and a mama whale swimming in the ocean and searching for food. We’d spotted the one whale from a far and decided to follow it. After it guided us in a few circles we had finally caught up towards them. On our right side, the baby whale had come up for air and noticed us. He stared at us for a few minutes while the mama whale, on our left side, continued catching fish and paying no attention to us. We were all silent for a few minutes, looking around at one another and looking back at the baby whale floating at the top of the water looking at us. It just made me realize how beautiful the world outside of a city could be. I’d never seen a humpback whale before, let alone two in the same area. And from the looks of it, it had looked like the baby whale had yet to ever see a human before. We’d both seen something new, and it was quite an experience. It was the most beautiful moment I’d ever had at Strathcona, and one of the greatest staring contests that I had ever had.

Mini School Teachers at Strathcona

Appreciate the Moment, A Reflection by Bobby (Grade 10)

This year at Strathcona I chose to do the canoe hike.  It was a hard but very fun and rewarding trip.  I learned many things that I will apply to my everyday life.  For example, one of my favourite lessons was to take time and enjoy the little things.  On the second day of our trip, we hiked a very steep trail and when we finally made it to the top, we took time to just lie on the grass and enjoy nature.  I really liked that feeling and it made me realize that simple things like listening to the sound of a waterfall, enjoying the cool environment inside an old growth forest, or taking in a sunning view can be an amazing moment.  These experiences were by far my favourite part of this year’s Strathcona trip.  They taught me not to move too fast and to sometimes just take a minute, relax, and appreciate all the amazing little things we have in our lives.

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