I write this final blog entry a week after this year’s BVP winners and chaperones said their final « so-longs » in Paris. In that week the participants have filled their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts with pictures and memories of their experiences. They have shared their thoughts and opinions and musings with family and friends. They have messaged each other regularly, not willing to say goodbye to each other (or summer!) just yet. They have formed life-long friendships born from sharing a unique experience that has to be lived in order to be truly understood.
I think they have done a brilliant job sharing their experiences through this blog, and I am so happy they were willing to do so – it’s not an easy task to share your innermost thoughts and feelings with the world, yet they all felt they needed to try to let others know what they were experiencing. They were a remarkable group of young people, and the kids were not the only ones shedding a few tears as we said good-bye.
I speak on behalf of the entire chaperone team – Gabriela, Gavin, Mike and myself – when I say we were truly blessed to get to work with this group this year. We learned as much from these young adults as they learned from us, and their commitment, passion, dedication, humour, kindness and selflessness have inspired all of us. The four of us are all teachers, and while we all love our students and our careers, we do sometimes lose sight of why we entered the teaching profession. This group of unbelievably gifted teens brought that back into focus for us, and they restored our faith in what we do and why we do it. I know the four of us will return to our regular classrooms and our own students with a renewed sense of determination and optimism. Thank you Alice, Aspen, Caitie, Carson, Derrin, Evan, Gabriel, Isabelle, Jessie, Josanna, Luca, Mollie, Nicholas, Palma, Rachel and Thomas for all that you did, all that you do, and all that you are. I know our respective countries are going to be in great hands, and I know your communities are going to reap the rewards of having you in them.
On behalf of the 2015 Vimy Scholars and their chaperone team, I would like to offer our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who helped make this incredible experience possible, namely the Beaverbrook Foundation and the Vimy Foundation. Not only did we learn and grow and laugh and cry, but we have come away with a deeper understanding of, and an appreciation for, all that we have and why we have it, and a commitment to share that with others. Lest we forget.