2013 Loving to Learn Day: "Postcard Learning" Contest

Loving to Learn logo.
Loving to Learn Day is an annual event that encourages everyone to celebrate their love of learning. First established at the University of Waterloo in 2006, Loving to Learn Day has subsequently spread to other universities in Canada and even to Australia. This year Loving to Learn Day falls on Wednesday, February 20.

Winners in the 2013 Loving to Learn Day contest have been announced! See details below.

The premise of this year's contest was simple:

If you were to write onto a postcard something that you are proud to have learned in the past few months, what would it be, and to whom would you send it and why?

A postcard.
A fabulous book prize will be mailed to a winner in each of three categories:

  1. Students in kindergarten to grade 6
  2. Students in grades 7 to 12
  3. Everyone else

If you have any questions, please contact Mark Morton. And incidentally, here's an article from The Record (PDF), Kitchener-Waterloo's regional newspaper, about the winners in last year's contest.

We received so many interesting and thoughtful entries to this year's Loving to Learn Day contest that it was incredibly difficult to pick just one winner in each of the three categories! Even after going through them all and selecting the best ones, we still had a big table covered with potential winners. And in addition to those paper-based entries that were mailed to us, there were all the entries that were submitted online! So, even if you're not one of the winners this year, you can still be very proud of what you wrote. And since you've already written it, why not actually send it to the special person for whom you wrote it?

Co-Winners in the kindergarten to grade 6 category

Alistair Barfoot (Grade 4, Laurelwood Public School)

Alistair Barfoot's winning postcard.

Kate Bradley (Grade 6, Northlake Woods Public School)

Kate Bradley's winning postcard.

Winner in the grades 7 to 12 Category:

Maddy Schneider (Grade 8, MacGregor Public School)

Winner sticker.
The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear future self, Not very long ago, three months past, I learned how to find my inner peace. A retired teacher of mine came back to our school so that she could work with us, leading us through calming exercises. (You know, Mrs. Delaine?) At first I was skeptical, but I looked up to her very much -- as you may remember -- and so I followed along. She made us close our eyes and focus on our breathing, slowly keeping time. It was surprising just how Zen I felt, like I had no worries or fears. Just taking one breath after another; living in the moment. All the lights were out as we sat on the floor, focusing yet completely unfocused. Soon I wasn’t even tense anymore and everything felt natural, all I had to do was listen. Her voice guided us into the next exercise, and the next. By the end, when the lights finally turned on, people stood and groaned and yawned and talking filled the room. I sat idly by, drinking all this in. The silence and harmony was shattered, and I felt rather disturbed by the sudden chaos. Why can’t the whole world be quiet and peaceful? Why can’t humans live in perfect silence, guided by a deep, calm voice? Why can’t I move seamlessly from action to action, relaxed in every way possible? I sat like and pondered for a few minutes until I slowly stood up. I walked over to my chair and looked around myself at all this noise, this movement, this chaos. And all I could do was smile. I just spent a whole hour learning to not only be at peace with myself but with the world around me, and here I was thinking that perfection would be the answer to the world’s problems. Talk about ironic! I guess I just had to realize that in a way, perfection can only exist if chaos does, which means that a perfect world must be full of chaos and life! I know that lesson will always stay somewhere in my mind because I didn’t just learn a skill that day, I learned something much more important. I learned to look at the bigger picture, as well as find my inner peace. So future self I hope you take this to heart, because I had to have a miniature epiphany to realize it in the first place. In all humility, Your past self        

Who I would send my postcard to: I decided to write my message to my future self for many reasons, not the least among them the fact that I fear forgetting what I learned. I do in fact dread this, for I am the most forgetful person I know (and that’s saying a lot). Now my message can stay as a reminder of the peace in imperfection and when that peace seems lost, how to find it again. I want to send it instead of keeping it in the first place because I love receiving mail and I’m sure the excitement of it will be good for my future self! I mean, who actually sends personalized letters to people these days? Imagine the feeling of rushing to the mailbox to find that glorious stack of letters, choosing one that looks promising, then tearing at the envelope as fast as possible without destroying the contents only to find”¦ A bank note. I get that feeling every six months, and I know I will get that feeling many more times. So now I can make sure that my future self can experience receiving something personalized in the mail, something I know I’m going to miss once the whole world goes practically digital. Soon enough I'm going into high school and I know I'll be freaking out with all the new things and new people. So maybe getting this letter will be a nice reminder and I can calm down a bit. I get stressed easily, which is why the first part of what I learned helped me a lot. But slipping back into bad habits is easy. I just hope that I won't, and so that is why I must send this to myself.

Winner in the "Everyone Else" category

Zara Rafferty

Winner sticker.
The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Less than a year ago, I left a full-time job with a comfortable salary for a part-time job and big plans to be a writer. As my nearest and dearest will know, I'm a pretty careful planner. My typical idea of adventure is letting my gas tank get below half full, so this probably seemed like an uncharacteristically spontaneous move for me. Given my hefty student debt load and recent car purchase, it wasn’t the best laid plan, from the outside looking in. I had been told a few times that I “should be grateful” to have a full-time job when so many new graduates didn’t. And, don’t mistake me, I was grateful. My full-time job was with great people in a wonderful organization…but I didn’t love it. Perhaps it’s the willful Gen-Y’er in me, but I refuse to accept the idea that a job is just a job. Why are we labeled as self-indulgent for aspiring to love the work that we do? It’s madness! In true planner fashion I sat down and slashed my budget. I prepared to live with less (goodbye, wine club) while putting in more hours at work. I researched the writing industry and started making connections through my blog and writing organizations. I hunted around for a part-time job that would keep me from landing directly in the poorhouse when writing opportunities were slim. Happily, I was lucky enough to find a job that not only fit the bill, but that I’m pretty crazy about. Recently, I’ve started to get paid to write. Not a lot of money, and not a lot of jobs, but it’s a start. My flexible schedule allows me to coordinate community reading programs on a volunteer basis, and I’ve been able to do some work with a children’s theatre that I love. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sparkles and rainbows. I am paying off my loans and saving up money more slowly. I have much less freedom to travel or spend money on other luxuries. I get more writing rejections than acceptances. But, when I take stock of it all, my life is much richer. Barring some loophole that I’m not aware of, we only live once. I am not willing to spend nearly half of this precious life in a job that I don't love. I know I won't love writing every day (I already don’t), but I love it most days, and that’s a gift. Doing what you love is always a risk worth taking. And that is the lesson that I am proud to have learned this year.

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send it to myself, ten years ago, because I wish I had learned this lesson sooner. It's strange to think that, had I learned it then, I might not have ended up chasing this writing dream. At eighteen, my passions may have led me down another path (theatre school? Moving to Italy?), but that would have been okay, too. I don't think you can ever really go astray when you are motivated by love.

More entries

Want to read more? We've included more entries below, all of them worth reading.

Hannah Carr

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Daddy, In November you let me audition for Annie I was so excited the day that you said I could audition. You know that I have always wanted to audition for show because I love to act, sing, and dance but the real reason was I wanted to be like you. You have been in many school productions. Grandma and me practiced really hard for the audition we did vocals and lots of different songs to help me. My friend's mom, Jackie helped me out with the dances. Having Grandma and Jackie help me practice was a lot better than having someone else. I really loved practicing I would always sing along to any song on the radio that I knew (that probably annoyed you and mom but I loved to sing). Mom drove me to the audition, it was located at a preschool. When we got there we waited in the hall and went over the songs and dances in my head. When they finally called all the girls in I was very nervous my hands were sweating so badly. As soon as I got in I found a seat right beside my friend Hadley she made me feel a bit better. First we went through the songs together and then they called us up in groups of four and made us sing the first chunk of "Hard Knock Life". I thought I did a great job. Then they showed us the dance and made us perform in small groups, I wasn't as good at the dance, but I didn't care. Then we performed the songs to the parents. They told us that they would send are parents an email if we made or if we didn't. Mom drove me home and I was so glad that was over. When I slept that night I thought that I would make it. After school one day (a couple weeks after the audition) I walked inside and Mom came downstairs and said "hello my little Kate. " I had no clue what she was talking about, but then I remembered that Kate was one of the main orphans in Annie, which meant that I got the part. I did like a super happy dance and gave her a big hug. She said auditions would start soon. At auditions we got into our groups. Mine was a group of nice girls and my best friend. Then we went through the songs a couple times. Then are dance choreographer went through the dances with us. They were very different than the ones we did for the audition. They were very hard but finally I got it. After lots of rehearsals shows finally started mine group got to perform on opening night I was so excited you drive me there. I thought the show went well after there was a huge party. We had many more successful shows. It was a great experience.

Who I would send my postcard to: I chose to write to my dad because he has been a big influence on me. He had a big acting career (in school) but it sounded like he was great. He is the best dad ever and can be very funny. He helped me in Annie too by giving me tips and helping me get rid of my stage fright. Even though in some of my shows I made mistakes but he didn't care at all, I think that he was super proud of me. On opening night he got me flowers and a new sweater, I was very happy. I am very thankful that he is my dad. I will always go to my dad for acting tips he can always help. Thanks dad.

Riley Bauman

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Shy, quiet, independent, sweet, polite, serious. That is how many people would have described me three months ago. But that was just because they didn't know me well enough. I always came across like this and I didn't like it, but I had decided to accept it as unchangeable, a fact, a statement. I never thought that I could learn to be myself in public. I was creative, funny and I knew how to laugh, but what I didn't know was how to show it. I would hide inside so no one could see me, only the stone faced clone pretending to be me. In these past few months I have learned that it's okay to make mistakes and share my opinion as long as I'm doing what I would do. This sounds so cliché and you probably hear it from so many inspirational speakers, school counselors and parents making it sound like it can be done in a snap or overnight. It can't. Chances are you are not the exact same inside than people see you as outside. It was tough turning my guts out for everyone to see, but I have learned. Being surrounded by such open minded, compassionate friends in my enrichment class has pried open my eyes to see that I have a safe haven to grow as not only a learner, but as a person too. I am so grateful for that opportunity to thrive in the real person I am and expand my horizon to the stars beyond my measly little box. Friends are people who truly know you and now I feel like I actually have some. Now everyone knows I can be a little devious and wacky. I am ecstatic to say that I am proud of learning how to share me with you.        

Who I would send my postcard to: There are so many people I want to send this postcard to, so many people I want to hear my message, who will I pick? I want my teacher, friends and all the shy people in the world to read this letter. Perhaps I could just publish it in the newspaper so everyone can see it because I am positive anyone could relate to it. Most of all, though, I want my grandpa to read this. He is not with us anymore so it might be difficult to find an address, but I think he would really enjoy it. He had never gotten the chance to see me the way I am now: independent, but outgoing. I believe he would have been proud of whatever I did with my life, but I think he would have been happy, only if I was happy. The only way I could accomplish that was by being me. My grandfather was actually a very quiet man himself, but he used it well and spoke with wisdom and peace. I hope to work towards becoming a person like him a friendly conversationalist who possesses confidence and an admirable attitude even though he was introverted by nature. I do not need to hide behind my wall of shy faces or use it as an excuse for my solitude because my grandfather models the best way, in my opinion, on how to approach this problem and gain respect.

Miss Dahmer

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Hi, Kids! This fall I learned how to rock-climb at Grand River Rocks. I went with my friend Ryder who is also a teacher. She "belayed" for me, which means she held the safety rope, so I could climb the wall and see if I liked rock climbing. I did! I love feeling strong, solving a route, and being up high. The best part is coming down -- it feels like riding on an elevator. You just lean back and your partner belays you down. I just took my belay test and pased it! Now I can belay for Ryder too. My next challenge wil be to try bouldering -- it's a bit scarier -- there's no rope! See you at school, Miss Dahmer

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this postcard to my students so they could see that you are never to old to learn something new or try a new challenge. And, maybe, they'll say it's cool to have a teacher who rock climbs!

Rohan Shetty

Rohan Shetty's postcard.

Krista Quinn

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I’m a people pleaser. To put it simply, that’s one of the goals of my life. It also happens to be one part of what I've learned. I've learned about my personality. Step-by-step I’m coming closer to knowing who I am--whether I like it or not. Even if I’m not proud of a specific characteristic, I am proud that I have learned about it. It shows that I know myself, and then it’s possible that I can become a better person. It may sound cheesy, but that’s exactly how I feel. One personality trait that I’ve discovered is that I am a full on people pleaser. I’ve learned that this has both positive and negative aspects. In my classes at school I’m known as the “peacemaker” and the “nice girl” but you know what? I love being that person. However, sometimes I try so hard to be nice and caring and sensitive, I don’t take care of myself, so I become stressed out. I’ve gotten that message very clearly in the past year. Another distinctive quality that I have uncovered is my need for words of affirmation. I often like to hear people tell me positive things. Whether it’s about my clothing, my hair, my writing, my intelligence, my physical abilities, or just how much they like being around me, it brightens my day. Sometimes (okay very often) I feel self-conscious without these kind words. I’m glad that I have learned this now, so I may hopefully control this in the future. My last distinguishing feature that I’ve determined recently is how much I hide in my head. Not that I’m lying or anything, it’s just that I’m a private person. To say the least, I’ve faced a lot of sadness and trouble, but I have trouble talking about it. My family isn’t exactly known for sharing our feelings or appearing vulnerable. Personally, I wish we were all a little more open with each other, and now that I’ve learned this, maybe it’s possible to change it. (Now that will be something scary to try.) So although I didn’t take a lesson or join a club, I’ve learned a lot. Yes, it was about myself and yes, this does feel a little daunting, sharing all this with everyone. But I’m proud of what I’ve learned about myself, even if it’s negative or embarrassing.

Who I would send my postcard to: This may sound somewhat strange, but I would chose to write this postcard to my mom. Now, for most people, their mom lives with them and is at the supper table asking “And how was your day?” every single day. Not for me though. My mom now lives in heaven. 4 and a half years ago my mom, Kathy, passed away from 3 types of cancer. I miss her so much, and I would give a lot now to have her sitting at the supper table asking me how my day was just once more, if not every day. I don’t know if she’s watching me from somewhere above, or if God tells her, or if she doesn’t know anything at all about my life right now. Family and friends always say, “Oh, she would be so proud of you.” But how am I (or the person saying this) supposed to know? If only some incredible miracle occurred, and I was able to send an actual postcard to her, then I would pray that she was able to send one back. Because then I would know for sure how she felt about me, my passions, my goals, my life. I would never take or granted another day with her or the question “And how was your day?" This postcard would only give her a short update, and not the whole story, but hey. At least it’s something.

Helen Wang

Helen Wang's postcard.

Martin Eret

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Sarah, This year, I learned something that I've wanted to learn for a long time. I learned how to write in a language that uses symbols as letters that are very unlike our own! You told me that you always speak in Korean with your mother at home. I find that an interesting, and humorous way of saying something without letting your father or brother (who never quite learned how to speak in Korean) know. One day, you wrote what looked like small squiggles and shapes on my eraser. When I first noticed them, I found them fascinating! There were squares and circles, but also parts of shapes as well. I asked what they meant, and your reply was another group of symbols- 안녕하세요! You told me that they meant "Hello" in Korean. For a few weeks after that, you spent your nutrition breaks teaching me about all the various symbols and sounds they use in Korea, and how their lifestyle is different from ours. I didn't know that in Korea, they sit on the floor, with an extremely short table! Now, I've realized how each place and culture, each tradition, is special in its own way. They developed from something little, and grew into something that thousands of people celebrate. This might have started decades, centuries, or even thousands of years ago, but they never left the memories of these generations until now! Lots of Love, Martin

Who I would send my postcard to: I chose to write this letter to my friend, Sarah, because I truly thank her for everything she has taught me, and continues to teach me. I didn't know that the world was so diverse in culture and language, and how so many people in a country can celebrate the same traditions! I found it wondrous how the Korean symbols were formed, and then passed along through so many generations. Sometimes, if we can all work together, co-operate, and just smile, the human race can be amazing.

Rebecca Cameron    

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I straighten my arm and pull the bow across the string, the silence is filled with the echo of a crisp, pure note. This is what I love to do, play my viola. Though I only started playing a year ago, every day I learn something new about it. We had to pick a strings instrument so I picked the instrument I knew least about, the viola, but it looked so complicated and I knew I would never be able to play it. We started off with the basics, like learning the parts of the instrument and the notes. I still had no hope of being able to learn it, but here I am a year later and I've learned so much, how to use the bow, how to tie notes and I'm still learning. I guess since I play piano I picked some stuff up pretty quickly. I have an amazing strings teacher that helps me learn new things every day, like playing new songs and learning new scales. If you asked me when I learned how to play the viola I'd say that I've learned it for the past year and I'm still learning it. I think there will always be something new to learn about this unique instrument. Another thing this instrument has lead me to is joining the school orchestra which is yet another opportunity to learn. I love music and how you can express yourself and your emotions, so this is why I love to play instruments. I am very proud to play the viola because most people say they might play the violin or the piano but not many people say they play the viola. It is unique and different. So when I play the next note of the song, and I can feel the music in me I know that this is a special instrument and I love it.               

Who I would send my postcard to: There are so many people I could send this to but I think I will send this postcard to my grandparents. I will send it to them because they always love to listen to me playing my viola. It always brightens their day and even if I mess up they don't care. My grandma is sick and she just loves it when I play a song for her, on my viola or on the piano. I think it would mean a lot to them if I sent this postcard to them. I love my grandparents so much and I hope that my grandma gets better. Though I don't know that many songs on the viola, even the simplest song makes them happy. I know they love me very much and I just love playing for them. That is why I would send my postcard to my loving grandparents.

Nadia Dingelstad      

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: There are many things to be proud of in our lives, including what we learn every day! I have learned how to speak basic Dutch within the past few months. I have a Dutch background, so this achievement has made me proud knowing that I now have a stronger connection to my past. Over the past few months, I have been working on a project at school on Dutch Heritage. One day I decided that learning the basics of this unique language would help me become stronger in other area’s of my large project. I started with very basic words such as “hello” and “goodbye”, and eventually worked my way up to months of the year and numbers. Each day I can start to understand harder words and phrases in the language and each day I feel closer to connecting with my family’s history. I feel as if I have a stronger bond with my relatives who speak Dutch, now, and a sense of pride for what I have learned. I am still learning more difficult words in the Dutch language, my knowledge for this special language growing gradually every day!      

Who I would send my postcard to: I would address my postcard to my Oma (that is what the Dutch call their grandmother’s). She can speak fluent Dutch, being as she grew up in Holland. I would send her this postcard to inform her of one of my accomplishments that she could relate to. This would not only make a stronger bond with my past, but also a stronger bond with my Oma! My Oma could also help me improve and widen my Dutch knowledge. She is always looking for ways to help her grandchildren, and this topic would be one she is very familiar with and able to help me with. Growing up, she did not have all this technology that we have access to now. If she wanted to learn a new language she would not turn to an electronic device to do so. My Oma, and others in her generation would turn to books or teachers for this help. This means that I could also teach her something in the process, since I used technology to learn most of what I have learned from this language. I could help her improve her knowledge on electronic devices and she could help me improve my knowledge on the Dutch language!

Hannah Kavanagh     

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Ms. Berg, It was the scorching summer of 2012. I was sitting in front of my wobbly wooden desk, blankly staring at the plain wall in front of me. Bored. Out of my mind. Fanning myself with my hand, I had turned my attention to the purple-cased iPod laying next to a stack of finished books and papers. How useful that iPod had been, whether I was playing a mindless game of Temple Run or catching up on sorely missed schoolwork. School work. School work! As you very well know, I’m a bit of a work-a-holic. And an equal combination of a procrastinator, funnily enough. It’s not a pretty state of mind, but it works. Back to school work. I had figured that if I taught myself something, anything to keep my mind working, I’d be content, and maybe classes would be fractionally easier. I decided to focus on the aspect that despite my easy As in math, I had absolutely no idea what a square root was. Or a ratio. By then, I had picked up my iPod and was typing up a storm on Google (another useful learning tool, if you didn’t already know). I found some instructive websites on the topic of square roots and ratios, then spent the rest of the day teaching myself. It took me a couple of tries to grasp the actual concept, but I persevered, and found out that this stuff wasn’t really difficult. I believe, like you, that if you put your mind to something, you can accomplish anything. I learned something useful that day, and I guess prior knowledge really does help, seeing as I just aced the square roots test. Ultimately, it was very satisfying to expand my knowledge. So, I wanted to day thank you for everything you’ve done for me, for inspiring me to challenge myself. I hope I get bored again. Who knows what I’ll learn! Sincerely, Hannah K, Gr. 7               

Who I would send my postcard to: This postcard is to my grade six/seven year math teacher, Ms. Berg. I decided to send it to her because she is always encouraging her students to be successful and independent learners. She’s been a great instructor and role model throughout my math experience with her.

Rebecca Grootendorst

Rebecca Grootendorst's postcard.


The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Dad, In July after I turned 10, I went to Mississauga to take a Scuba diving course. The course was a weekend long. Half the course was really boring we had to watch so many videos and had to do a quiz after each one. Most of the time I wasn’t paying any attention until I found out we were getting a big exam at the end. We did all of the videos and tests in the morning. In the afternoon we got to the fun part. We got to go to an indoor pool to get a chance to use the scuba gear and experience being deep under without having to go up for air. At first I was very scared and uncomfortable with the scuba gear but as long as I was with you I felt safe. We went through a couple drills with our two instructors like: Scuba diving without our masks, we also paired up with scuba buddies so we could practice the emergency drills, and we practiced equalization so we never experience too much pressure in our ears. The hardest thing for me was to do the emergency drills. Another experience that helped me learn was when I went to Mexico near the end of August. When I was in Mexico I went on my four underwater dives the first one I was so excited for my first and second dive, the third one I was tired but I still enjoyed it, but when we were going down for the fourth dive I got scared. I don’t know why I was scared, but I was. I now love to scuba dive. Love, Michelle

Who I would send my postcard to: The reason why I wrote this postcard to my dad is because I want to thank him for taking me to the course. If it weren’t for my dad I wouldn’t be a certified scuba diver. When my sister completed her course she kept on telling me all the things that could go wrong, I was terrified. My dad told me that the possibility of something going wrong would be very improbable. He comforted me and convinced me to take the course.

Daniel Tian

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Chess is one of my favourite hobbies of my life. I love the amusement that chess gives me, it is a very satisfying and pleasurable. All the time, I have loved and was really proud to be student at KW Kids Chess Academy, a chess school for all chess players, from beginners to masters. There, I have learned what I’m good at, what I did right, what I did wrong, and best of all, new techniques, strategies, and secrets. It all started a few months ago, when my parents and I learned about a chess master who teaches chess for all ages and levels. A few days later, I was in the classroom, learning more about the impressive world of chess. I started in level 2 out of twelve, and then quickly skipped to level 4 of 12. We learned a lot about the openings (beginnings) of a chess game, and we’re moving on to the end games of a chess game. A week or two ago, I had my first tournament with other students. I thought that I was going to lose in the first round because the other players were way more advanced then me, but I didn’t, it was a miracle! After all 4 rounds, I ended with an impressive 2 out of 4 points, beating a person in level 9, and another in 12, but I lost to another person in level 9 (1st), and 1 who finished all 12 levels (2nd), and is in level 14. After the rounds were over, I had a 3-way tie for third, and due to the fact that I’ve encountered (and lost) to the people in 1st and 2nd, I have gained my first chess medal of excellence, and left for home.

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this postcard to my dad because I want to show him how good I am at chess. I want him to know about how I got my first chess medal.

Emma Vandebelt

Emma Vandebelt's postcard.

Micah Kipfer               

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I bid you good day, if you should receive this letter on a day; and if you do not, I ask that you contact your local authorities with the news that days have run out, though I doubt they shall make much of an effort to restore this beloved unit of measurement. So much has changed since we last spoke. A kindly man named John has taken me under his wing to teach me to tie a tie, though I have since finished my apprenticeship, and he seems to have moved on with his life, as I wish I could as well; for his guidance was so fine, I would nearly like to unlearn everything, to have him teach me again. I know that I could never go back, though, for to ask him to take another four minutes out of his life would be unfair to him. I shall attempt to recall the tale for you, though my thoughts were clouded from excitement at the time. He saw me with a crudely looped tie, and asked me if I knew how to put it on properly, a question to which I had to say no; and he chuckled to himself, with no malice in his voice nor scorn in his eyes. Removing the cloth from my collar, he put it onto his own, and talking me through the steps, did it up, undoing his work once he was finished, that I might try my hand at the art he had perfected. Try I did, though my efforts were not met with success, so again he showed me, this time explaining in greater depth where my work had gone ill. Once he had finished, he left me to my own devices, and after several minutes of recollecting his actions, I was able to mimic his work satisfactorily, and have since improved further on my abilities. This letter must come to a close, and so I say farewell, and hope to receive a response ere the month’s end, though in this day and age, I ought not expect one. Nonetheless, I hope this letter shall reach your hand, and that you shall see many more years. Sincerely, Micah          

Who I would send my postcard to: I wrote this letter to people named Olaf, as we have not met in quite a while, and I thought it a good idea to keep contact.

Naushin Hooda               

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I learned that life doesn't wait for anyone. I am still young, and in my book of. life, I am only beginning my life. The part that has been written is merely 2 pages in a 500 page book. I learned that I write my own story, and I can't blame those around me for the book to not turn out right. Around me are opportunities- opportunities for self-growth and learning. I learned that if I'm too busy focusing on those 2 pages that I have written, I'll never be able to focus on the next page yet to be written.        

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this postcard to everyone entering into high school. It took me such a long time to realize that the past isn't worth lingering on. I believe this life lesson that high school students could learn from me. I know, from experience, that when you've reached rock-bottom, there is only one way to go from there. I intend to make individuals of that vulnerable age group, who believe that every action they do at that age defines them, isn't the case. They are young, as am I, and their books have not even reached the climax.

Lucas Klaver

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: A short while back, I learned something that I feel has changed my outlook on life. It was as I walked, once again, alone through the schoolyard on a dreary day, one of those days when you know the rain should fall, but never seems to. It was on this day, as I walked across the stone hard ground when I began to think. I pondered about what I often do: confusion, sorrow, disbelief, unfairness, and other things that I've encountered in my life that have thrown me into rage or dejection. I thought of my worries, of my personal troubles, and eventually my mind wandered to the world as a whole. How there is poverty, terror, war, insanity and fear. I was on the verge of tears when a younger student, probably about age seven or eight, walks by. He looks at me and gives me a warm, big, and beaming smile. It was as if all of my emotions of sadness and asperity were washed away by this two second encounter. The child then continued to romp along and went on with his day. But in that moment, I learned something. I learned that although there is sorrow, unfairness, and absurdity in this world, there is always happiness, love, and compassion. We just have to find it.       

Who I would send my postcard to: I'm addressing this postcard to everyone. And although this is a very broad answer, I have legitimate reasoning. This goes to everyone because there's not a point in our lives that we haven't felt sadness or injustice, and because we're human we try to combat this with more anger, or more depression. But really, you can't fight misery with misery, it can only be defeated by one thing. Happiness.

Matt Cober           

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Giavanni Ruffin is a college football player in the states. He is a role model for success as he started his own clothing company for workout clothes, alongside playing football and going to school. His motto: TNDO or Take No Days Off. He takes his workout seriously and wants to succeed just as bad as he wants to breathe. After coming across this idea, it inspired me to go harder in the gym. Being a football player myself and trying to make it to the next level, his videos and motto are what pushed me to go harder than what I was doing before. Howeve, one day I got thinking about this concept and said to myself why should I use this only in the weight room or the football field. What if I took no days off in every aspect of my life? Not just athletics but also with God, school, work, friends, family even with strangers I meet on the street. What if I took this motto seriously in every single thing I do. And that is what I tried to do. I took the effort I put into my passion; playing football and coordinated it into who I am. No don’t get me wrong, it is still important to have a break, in fact it is very important. But every moment I was doing something I tried to accomplish something. Ray Lewis, a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, speaking to a basketball camp said, “If you want to be better than go be better. If you want to be a better basketball player than become a better basketball player and if you want to have a better relationship with God than create yourself a better relationship with God.” I’d like to point out that after announcing his retirement at the end of the season of a 17 season NFL career, Ray Lewis is now two weeks away from playing in the Superbowl in his last game ever. So I realize that anything I want to be relies on me and only me. How bad do I really want it? How bad do I want to succeed? That’s what separates us from each other. How bad we want something separates the top athletes from the mediocre ones. If you want it bad enough then nothing will be able to stop you. Life is 10% what happens and 90% how we handle it. This is why I tell myself do not worry about tomorrow. Work hard for right now. Take no days off and in everything you do give your full effort. Don’t be surprised by what you can accomplish if you do and don’t be surprised when the Ravens win the Superbowl. It took me 18 years to figure this out. I mean I sort of already knew this because people preach this all the time, but to actually realize this in your heart and put the effort in is something totally different. Like I said it took me 18 years to realize this, if I knew this earlier I could of accomplished a lot more than what I did. I mean yes I am a top athlete at my school but I could have been so much better than this natural ability. So as I continue to live this motto out I would want my future son to have a head start than I did.

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this piece of advice to my kids if I have any. I would want them to be the best they could be and not sell themselves short. I would want them to set goals but no limits on what they could accomplish and I would hope that this would help them realize what I realized this year.

Ryan Ellis       

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear uncle ***** (this is for privacy purposes), I’m writing this to you to tell you that I learned how to name trees by their bark and tell what bird makes a call. Of course why would I tell you this? Just because it’s something cool to know how to do. Although this has no practical uses, it would be fun to go camping and be able to tell what types of trees are in the area and what birds are around. You could use this as a hobby even on a bike ride. Start a collection of bark and feathers. It’s really just something to do when you’re bored outside.        

Who I would send my postcard to: I’m writing this to uncle ***** because he is the outdoorsy type and even though he’s retired, he is really active outside and still goes hunting and ATVing. He’s a bit of a redneck but not too much of one. Just from his face you can tell his personality. I’m writing this to him to brag that I can do something that he can’t. And believe me, that’s not very often. For someone like me, I’m going to be very proud of this skill.

Andrew Locke     

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I am proud to have learned how to play guitar in the last few months. I feel as though I have surpassed all negative criticism and have created a new standard of guitar playing. I have gathered much knowledge from guitar legends and have combined their power to unleash music that will make your ears cry. It was a difficult journey but sitting down every day and just playing has really helped me bond with my spirit. I have been very expressive through my playing and plan to allow my energy to infect those cold souls back to the warmth of the world. The guitar is just the perfect key that can unlock a person’s true heart and with this key I will stay responsible and release people from the sadness they feel. I am very proud of myself because learning this instrument in such a quick amount of time has allowed me to be grateful for the talent god has blessed me with. Like what Uncle Ben said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” I will continue to pursue education through guitar because it allows for me to speak through sound. I allow these strings to my voice and capture emotion. I will let these strings resonate and allow you to feel the vibrations of music. The feelings of playing are not possible to explain, it is something you must experience and then you will understand. Now I will you with this: Go. Find the music within yourself and let your inner guitar hero shine.               

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this to Jimi Hendrix because he has been given the title of the greatest guitar player of all time. He was also quite a gifted poet and created many creative lyrics that, along with his guitar, made his songs so unique. I feel as though a conversation with him would open my eyes to what it takes to be the best. He was an artist and a walking form of art. He was a gift to the world and a present to guitar players everywhere. He innovated constantly and if were to play with him, we would create music that people here are not ready for. He would take a young poet and collaborate and give his knowledge to that person and allow for that young poet to take the baton of great guitar playing. He would be very understanding of a teenager confused with the future and his love for the instrument would infect me and together we would carve a path to a beautiful future.

Rachel Keller         

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I am proud that I learned how to properly write a paragraph because I like to write, and it would suck if I kept on writing and none of my paragraphs were written properly. So I'm proud that I learned how to properly write a paragraph!

Who I would send my postcard to: I would write it to my English teacher Miss England because she is a fantastic teacher and is the one who taught me how to properly write a paragraph! SO thank you Miss England!! :)

Cameron Bauldry     

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Something I am proud to have learned in the past few months, is how to swing dance! I am a tall, gangly person, and I keep growing, a lot. So I never really get used to my height, so I have awful co-ordination. And, I just suck at dancing. So when we did swing dancing, I was proud to realize that I am actually very good at it. I learnt how to do the floor spin, and how to do the fan! I can't wait until next year to do it again! I am really excited right now because it is almost the end of the day yay!

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send that to my nana, because swing dancing was popular in the 40's, and she was born in the 1930's. So by sending the postcard to her, that could be something that we have in common that we both love, and something we could just sit and talk about.


The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I’m proud about learning more stuff about Music. Music is fun and it lets you exsplore diffrent genres, and try new kinds of mucic. It’s fun to learn about different music and what people like what kind of music

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this to my music teacher, so he could know what I like about music and why I try hard.

Emily Reidl

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I am proud to have learned about how to research for my project that is due next week. I am all done. I have to get up in front of the class and talk about my Naturel Disaster. My naturel disaster is a tornado. I have learned a lot about a tornado. I wish I would have picked something else like a wildfire. I didn't think about it at the time and I said tornado.

Who I would send my postcard to: If I were to send this to somebody I would send it to my best friend. I would send it to my best friend because she is all ways interested in what I am learning about in school and in my class. We are not in the same class but we hang out at break and after school. We have been friends since the third grade.


The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I am proud of myself because I have done a lot of hard work in the past months. I have studied for all the tests and quizzes and got very good marks!  

Who I would send my postcard to: I would write to the government !!!!

Riley Macphee         

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: the thing I was most proud to have learned has to be fractions even if were still learning them I have lots of trouble with them but now I’m doing a lot better with my work in math.   

Who I would send my postcard to: dear nick the thing I was most proud of has to be factions even if we are still learning them I always had trouble with them and now that I’m here I can understand them a lot better than I did before from riley.

Karina S.    

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I'm proud that I learned so much in music. I can play all the songs we need to on my instrument, and more! It’s so much fun in music and I can't wait for next term!           

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send my postcard to Mr.Deacon, my music teacher. I would thank him for teaching me, and ask to learn more about my instrument and how I can improve.

Araav Gupta

Araav Gupta's postcard.

Sahib Grewal            

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I have learned about friendship as how friendship is important because if you have friends you will be happy in life. I was reading this book and that’s when I learned how friendship is important to everyone.               

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send it to a kid in India who I know because I used to study there and he had no friends at all. This would help him a lot.


The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I am very proud to learn about Tornadoes! I love tornadoes, I’ve seen one when I was younger when I lived in waterloo. When i saw a tornado I was outside playing with my brother and my mom ( I was about 4 or 3 years old ), the tornado went right through a house and came right to my house. Right when I saw the tornado my mom, brother and I ran inside, me and my brother ran to the basement and my mom went to go get some snacks so we weren’t hungry. I was also in another tornado in Goderich, I was at my friend’s house from hockey. I was so happy I got to learn more about tornadoes.         

Who I would send my postcard to: I think I would send it to my mom because she knows I love tornadoes, and she knows that I love tell the story about the tornado I was in in Waterloo my my brother and my mom. My mom hates hearing that story over and over again so I would send it to her as a joke.

Ashley Dean    

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I am so proud to have learned that it's okay to cry. My mother passed away in October and for so long, I was afraid to let my emotions show for fear of being told I was being too much of a girl, or that I needed to stay strong, or that I had to help everyone get through it all. Well, through this whole process, I learned that it is a blessing to shed those tears I kept bottled up. The power of emotion is unparalleled. It allowed others to understand how I felt, and it let me open up - and when I did, I found myself becoming comfortable with being human. After all, I can't be the strong silent type all the time - and I am far from that in my everyday life, so why not just let the tears fall? It doesn't make you any less of a person. In fact, it makes you stronger.          

Who I would send my postcard to: I'd send this postcard to anyone who finds it hard to cry. Dads who don't want to appear vulnerable to their families, teen girls who want to keep up that tough exterior shell to get through the pressures of high school and growing up, the young man who just lost a grandparent. To anyone that is uncomfortable showing emotion, this one's for you.

Jesse B.

Jesse B.'s postcard.

Maria Giesbrecht     

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I am proud to have learned to expand my horizons and not think narrow mindedly. I used to never try anything new and if I hadn't tried it or experienced it before I assumed it was bad. After learning to open up my mind to different things I discovered some of my present favourite music, food, hobbies and books. I learned to take a risk and try something new because time is ticking and you don't have forever to experience different things. I realized that the worst thing that cold happen is you don't like it. Big deal, you try something new. Eventually you find something you have a unexplainable passion for. The way I see it is if you don't try new things you may miss something you will absolutely love. You only have one life so why no try as many things as possible while you're still living it!

Who I would send my postcard to: I would sent it to my French teacher, Mr. Maclean. We used to always have arguments because I had a very narrow opinion on music. I only liked pop. Nothing else. He was always trying to get me to listen to music from different genres. Finally I gave in and listened to some of his recommended songs (Pigeons by Cyndi Lauper, The Rose by Bette Miller etc.) I fell in love with this style of music almost immediately. Today this is one of my favourite genres. But this isn't the best part. The best part is that I learned to think broadly not only musically but for many other aspects of my life. I took this experience and applied to the rest of my life. And I can't thank him enough for it.

Zaina Rehan

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: About six months ago I learned the beautiful and calming art of pottery. My retired teacher had come in and taught my whole class different techniques on how to make pottery. At first I felt like this was beyond my artistic capabilities, which at the time were virtually non-existent. My teacher however, had much more hope for me than I did, she told me to take my artwork one step at a time. So she began the long process of teaching my class the basics of pottery. Surprisingly, my initial attempts at making a pot were not too horrifying to look at. Then came the time to choose our final projects to make, I spent a lot of time thinking it over but then I chose a simple yet appealing snake pot. To make a snake pot you start with a sturdy circular base and build rings up to your desired height. When I started making my pot I realized all the thought and precision that goes into a simple looking pot. Another thought occurred to me, people have been doing this for centuries and I felt privileged to learn it. Slowly but surely I made a sturdy and pretty snake pot with occasional guidance from my teacher. I realized that this was a fun and satisfying activity. I saw a piece of clay and transformed it into something I was proud to own, well not so much when I saw my classmates projects, but I was still happy and satisfied.           

Who I would send my postcard to: My postcard will be sent to my grandparents in India, I want to send this to them because they have always appreciated creativity and art. My grandfather was a professor in English but loves nature and art. He is always appreciative of other people’s works and loves to find creativity in everyday life, he would love learning about my experiences in Canada and the style of studying and teaching here. My grandmother is a more mathematician than artist but appreciates art as much as my grandfather. She would love the precision and thought that goes into making a pot. She also is quite a reserved person but making a pot requires feeling and emotions, also that connection that goes through you. I think she would like reading my postcard and connecting to me and the art of learning to make pottery.

Meredith Watson     

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Annika, These last few months have been extremely lonely without you and your family here; it’s unreal how much I miss you. It’s weird not seeing you every day. Not knowing what you’ve been doing. Not seeing how much you’ve grown. Of course, you’re probably taller than me now, even though you're only 11. I’m super excited for when you return. Just 6 more months until you’ll be back! I’m hoping I’ll be able to meet you at your driveway, and we can laugh and chat in the warm summer air, just like we used to. Then maybe we could go swimming in your Oma’s pool, and I could show you how good I am at diving. Yes, that’s right, diving. I can do it now! After days and days of practicing at my dad’s pool, days of going through the pain of accidentally doing a belly flop, and of water-clogged noses, I was finally able to do a dive without freezing up at the last minute, screaming, and falling into the clear, blue water. It was quite an accomplishment -- at least for me. Maybe now I can finally manage to beat you in a swimming race -- that is, unless you’ve gotten faster too. I remember always complaining about you being able to dive to half the pool, just to finish off the race in three measly strokes! Now maybe I’ll be able to do that too. I guess I’ll let you know just exactly how I managed this amazing feat. Although I wish this wasn’t true, my brother was a big part of me learning. You know how my brother Tommy was always doing those perfect/crazy/painful dives, where he jumped off the edge of the pool backwards, and landed perfectly? He is SO good. Tommy pushed me every single day and told me I wasn’t doing it right, that I wasn’t jumping, that I was too scared. Being his older sister, I just HAD to be better than him. So that became my goal. Eventually, I became almost as good as him, but the “master” decided not to teach me all his tricks. Oh, brothers”! Your friend, Meredith Watson

Who I would send my postcard to: I decided to send this postcard to my friend Annika who moved to Quebec for a year, because above all I miss her. I think that sending her a letter would be different that talking to her by text, or even on the phone .I also JUST remembered I haven’t told her about this yet, and I think she’d like to know. We go swimming together all the time at various pools and lakes, so she should be warned that I am catching up to her!

Jordyn F.        

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: The past few months have come and gone in the blink of an eye, no milestones to note of. Little accomplishments? Yes, but nothing drastic. One accomplishment of mine over the last month or two would be being brave enough to start something completely new. I started trampoline lessons. I have always had a trampoline in my backyard but never thought about starting lessons or doing it in a coached environment. I remember walking in the front doors of the building. I felt as out of place there as a penguin in Africa. Intimidated was my first gut feeling. I always trust my gut”¦ Across the long hallway there were kids bouncing and flipping of the trampolines, having a good time. I quickly calmed myself down and in fact, I got a little excited. Maybe, just maybe that will be me someday. I always wanted to be able to be good at trampoline and be able to do flips and tricks, but I knew that would only come with practice with a good attitude. Then, a good friend from school comes and greets me at the door with a hug and a smile. She led me down the hallway and into the warm-up area. After we finished the warm-up we headed up to the trampoline deck. There were 6 Olympic-style trampolines surrounded by soft blue mats. Unsure of what to do next, I wait for my friend to go and then I start jumping too. The feeling was incredible. Before, I was a bird with clipped wings. Now I felt free, a smile rushed to my face as I jumped into the air again. As I think back to those times, I am very proud of myself for being as brave as I was. On that first, timid day I ended up doing a lot more than expected, which of course made me happy and hopeful. I can humbly say that the instructors were very impressed with my abilities and having no fear to try something new, along with my parents. By my fourth lesson I completed a skill from level 17! In that context, an instructor who competes in trampoline and has been doing it for years can barely do a level 18 skill. Up to this date I learn many different skills at trampoline and there is always something to look forward to for the next time. I am proud that I took the risk to start something new, because if I didn’t, then I would be without this divine sport that I can always learn more about.  

Who I would send my postcard to: I would write this letter to my aunt. I would send it to her because she has told me so many times how she loves trampoline and how she went to a trampoline place one afternoon and told me about how fun it was and how good of exercise it was. Therefore, I feel she had a part in my decision to start taking trampoline lessons. I look up to her, so if she says that something could be fun or a good experience, I will take her word and try it out. I am indecisive and so if someone in my family that I trust gives an opinion, I am likely to listen and take it into account when making a decision. My aunt is always there for me. She loves hearing about my day, and my accomplishments as well as my downfalls. She has a creative and artistic mind and always had something interesting to say. I do not get to see her very often and a few months ago our means of communication back and forth were letters through the mail. We told each other about our lives and interesting facts or events in the news. Writing these letters were fun as well as improved my language skills. I would go on walks and see that there was an envelope in the mail for me!

Sagar Dighe

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: In December, it was cold in Hamilton, to say the least, but Air Cadets are supposed to be tough it out right? Br. 530, Havoc, that’s my squadron. We were out on an FTX (Field Training eXercise), and I couldn’t say the exact temperature, but I’d guess at least -15. We had just come back from the forest (and I mean the deep forest) after learning how to properly use a compass. Essentially, they gave us a compass and the correct heading, dumped us in the middle of the forest and told us to find our way back to the camp. After a strenuous activity such as this, you can imagine that we’d be a little tired, so of course it was a perfect opportunity to dump another activity on us. At first I was very opposed to the idea, until I learned exactly what the activity was; bow shooting. They had 3 bows lined up, each with arrows beside it, sticking out of the ground and displaying their colorful feathery end piece. They had placed sticks gathered from our forest expedition in such a way as to form three lanes, a bow and ten arrows assigned to each, with targets set up at the end. We were told to line up behind the three lanes, making sure that there was an even amount of people at each lane, and the first people commenced firing. For what felt like an hour, I sat behind my lane in intense anticipation, waiting for my turn excitedly, yet along with excitement was anxiousness, as I had never fired a bow, like many of the people now waiting at their lanes in similar situations. I went through the process in my head a million times over, load the arrow using the notch on the handle and the groove at the back, pull back with force until the string reaches my cheek, aim as best as I could, and release. Sooner than I anticipated, I was next in line, and I watched anticipation turn into anxiety as the previous shooter picked up his arrows for my turn. After sticking the arrows back into their spots in the ground, he looked up at me and said, “Good luck”, turned and then left. I watched him grow smaller into the massive array of tents 50 meters away, and then looked back at the range. Deciding that standing there looking confused would do nothing to help me; I picked up the bow and tentatively loaded an arrow. Before drawing the string, I looked out at the target, and gauged the distance, before finally lifting the bow up and pulling the string to my cheek. It was then that I noticed that the bow had no means of aiming, and had to wing it. After 8 shots of the arrows somehow managing to travel sideways, my final two shots hit the target. Perhaps with time, bow shooting is something I will master, but right now -- maybe not.         

Who I would send my postcard to: I want to send my postcard to my mother. This is because during the time that I was away in Hamilton for my Field Training Exercise, my mother was very worried about me going away, alone, for the weekend. She told me she was worried the very second I left the house, up until the very second that I came back in. After hearing this, I felt rather bad, as I was away having fun, while my mom was sitting at home worrying about me. For this reason, I think sending a postcard to her while on my trip would ease her mind enough to stop worrying, and perhaps if she knew that I was having such a great time, doing things I had never done before, she would not have had to worry about me as much.

Tom Paraschuk        

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Mom and Dad and Scamper Greetings, parents! This letter is in fact for Scamper, our cherished dog, therefore I would kindly ask you to read it to him. Unfortunately he does not have a mailing address, so it was necessary to send it to you... Hello Scamper! You must be rather offended by this letter not being directly delegated to yourself, and you have my sincerest apologies, though perhaps you will be able to forgive me after I impart upon you the important contents of this page. Two weeks ago the most dreadful news struck me. It was long-expected, like a trip to the dentist to get a five teeth removed, but as we all know that does not soften the blow nor make it any less gnaursteie (a word meaning extremely nasty). You are no doubt wondering what this horrible news could be, so I will tell you: music class was ending for the rest of my grade eight year, becoming art. Now I must explain that I have nothing against art; quite the contrary - I enjoy it very much! Nevertheless music is still finished. In a perfect world I would have it that art and music ran at the same time, but we both know that is impossible, just as impossible as you getting one hundred cups of food per day and going on four-hour walks. During music I learned very much. When I was beginning I was taught how to make sounds through my tenor saxophone which, as I feel obligated use the cliche, sounded like many long-tailed cats in a rocking chair factory. No doubt this prospect would make you immensely happy, being the cat’s mortal enemy, and you are at the moment in a paroxysm of delight, but I must break up that happy vision and return to the topic. After a while I became better at playing, and was able to competently perform a scale. Then, I was proficient enough to play decently complicated songs (kind of) and I began to really enjoy using the sax. At that time you evidently thought so as well, and I must say your howling accompaniment truly was beautiful. The Saxophone is a lot of fun to play, but takes a long time to learn. You may be able to relate to this by thinking of how difficult it is to guzzle down a cup and a half of food in under one minute. On that note, I must conclude this correspondence, since I have to practice the piano. Salutations, Tom               

Who I would send my postcard to: I chose to write this letter to my dog Scamper for a number of reasons. Firstly, I knew he could understand to my rather cheesy dog-related humour and metaphors, with which many humans would find difficulty. Also, him and I have a unique connection over the Saxophone, which no person could possibly begin to equal, since I have not yet encountered a human being who can howl realistically like a dog. Lastly, I enjoy talking to Scamper, and a letter is merely an extension of a conversation.

Jessica Ye     

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: How do you make someone smile? A simple question like this deserves a simple answer but alas our world is cruel and what applies to one does not always apply to the other. Humans often spend their whole lives trying to make someone smile. And they try to keep them smiling even through the bad days when waking up means crawling out of bed and just when you feel slightly awake the coffee container is empty. We spend a thousand forevers pleasing others as if we were born to do it. I don’t mean it as a bad thing, but it is odd. I can’t say I’m innocent of this fact either; I try to please my family like it’s my duty. In truth, it is in many ways my purpose. But at the same time I now realize just because someone smiles doesn’t mean they’re happy. It doesn’t mean they’re content or excited or sunny. People cannot be read as easily as that though it would make my life so much easier if things were that way. But it isn’t like that at all and most often people only smile to get you to smile. They become happy because they want you to be happy. It’s a fairly messed up concept but humanity is messed up from the beginning so might as well go full out and enjoy the ride. Except laying back and relaxing in such a fashion is what more or less got me into this mess, this confusing mess of infinite issues. I can’t pinpoint the exact time it happened but slowly instead of analyzing every moment and acting through it all I’ve begun to let go. I’ve slipped into this strange state of realization that really is more of a small surprise rather than an epiphany. I try to smile now is what I’m trying and failing to say. I smile when I’m happy, I smile when I’m sad, I smile when I’m angry, I smile when I’m bored. And it’s working. I mean not as it usually “works”. It isn’t like looking at someone and figuring out how to talk to them. It’s like pretending you already know how even if you don’t. I learned it’s better to fake knowing than actually knowing. Just trust that whomever is there is there and you are here and here and it really didn’t matter where as long as it’s somewhere.            

Who I would send my postcard to: I wrote this for my grandpa. He can’t read it of course since reading requires seeing. And he isn’t really my grandpa, not by blood anyways. But I believe he counts. He’s a funny man my grandpa. Like once he could have been in the paper but instead of his awesome masterpieces he put in my little drawing and I got in instead. I was the first four year old to get in our local paper but that fact wasn’t nearly as awesome as high fiving my grand-dad as he laughed like a young man. (It’s one of the few clear memories I have of him besides all his war medals.) At the time I really didn’t understand why he did it but he did it anyways. I certainly didn’t care about my doodle getting in the paper though he seemed to. I didn’t know why he smiled because of me. And I smiled and laughed because he smiled and laughed. But I’m not four years old anymore and I’m not as simple anymore (a tragedy really). Now I’m me and older and me-er. So now I think I get it. Why he was so happy. I wish I could tell him that.

Benjamin Raskin       

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: In the beginning of grade 7, I started learning a programming language C#. But before, my results were unsatisfying, my console was not as complex as a console that counts the users result, and converts it into different integers (translation : I pretty much sucked). But after a while, my father (to whom I’m writing) gave me a book about C#, and in that piece of literature, I found the potential, for creating a form application. And then it went on, I created form applications with complex mathematical equations, including the area converter, or the kilobyte counter, and the verb conjugation machine. After the experience with C#, I started getting an interest in Java Script, and NXT. And so my programming career started.

Who I would send my postcard to: This text is dedicated to my father, the one who taught me the basics of C#, and giving me an idea for different programs. I am now going to be trying to find a trustworthy Python learning website. I have created 23 programs for C#, a certain amount of codes for JS, and about 30 programs for a visual programming language called Logo. Thank you Igor Staneslavovic Raskin!             This text is dedicated to my father, the one who taught me the basics of C#, and giving me an idea for different programs. I am now going to be trying to find a trustworthy Python learning website. I have created 23 programs for C#, a certain amount of codes for JS, and about 30 programs for a visual programming language called Logo. Thank you Igor Staneslavovic Raskin!

Jordan O.

Jordan O.s' postcard.

Keval Tripathi

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Vinay Tripathi, I am proud of learning how to play soccer and being very good at it. When I first started I was just in grade 1. I just saw it on T. V. and I wanted to try it out. I also wanted to try it out because my older brother knew how to play. Then my brother wanted to teach me how to play. So I played with my brother and sister but we just passed the ball. Later that year I was signed up for my first year of soccer but I was not very good at it. My brother always encouraged me and practiced with me. The next year I was signed up for soccer again. This time I was a bit better at it. The next year I was very good at it but I still needed to practice. I practiced with my older brother, my sister and my younger brother that was now capable of playing soccer. But when we practiced I practiced all my skill. The next year I played I was very good at it I was one of the best players on my team. I played soccer from 2008 – now.

Who I would send my postcard to: I want to send this postcard to my older brother Vinay because he taught me how to play soccer and he encouraged me throughout the whole time I played soccer. I appreciate him for doing that. My brother taught me a lot of skill and strategy in soccer and he is still teaching me. It is very fun practicing with my brother because I practice shooting on him and I practice saving shots. My brother taught me a lot so I teach my younger brother how to play soccer. That is why I appreciate my brother for playing and teaching soccer to me and why I want to send my brother this postcard.


The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Dad,

Always, ALWAYS, keep your head up high. I learned this during our team bowling tournament in Elmira. Sure, it was hard, but I was focused on how fun it was, rather than our score! You were our team's coach, and I had three great people on my team with me. We had to bowl five games, which I knew was going to be tough, because normally, every Saturday morning, we would bowl only three. The minute I walked in, I was ready. We started practice before the real game, but our lane had a broken 'reset' button, so we spent most of our time trying to get those last two pins down! Luckily, when the game started, the pins would always set up automatically, so we were relieved that we would never have that problem again. When the game started, we knew this would be tough, when we noticed that all the other teams were getting strikes, spares, and even turkeys (three strikes in a row)! But, you kept encouraging us to keep going, so we tried our best, and tried not to get frustrated. By the second game, our scores were starting to drop, but that often happened back at our home lanes, so we paid no attention to it. Third game, we were starting to get tired and hungry, but we stayed persistent, and we kept with it. We could hear the cheering and yelling of the coaches from across the room, and I could tell they were beating us, but I avoided the feeling of jealousy. I knew winning wasn't everything, but I really wanted our team to do well. I cheered, and I encouraged my team, because I wanted us to do great, and be a good member of our team. By the fourth game we were tired and craving water, but we kept going on, because we were determined to keep going. I was starting to get frustrated, but I remembered what you always told me. It's just bowling. I'm not going to love you any less if you don't do well. You ordered me a drink, because you know I don't do well if I'm dehydrated, and I drank it 'lickety-split'! By the fifth game, we were burned down and hot. You got a snack, and we shared it with my team, because we were starving, and it was past lunchtime! I stayed strong from encouragement from my team and of course from you, and a second drink, because I was actually pretty thirsty! By the time we were finished, I was relieved to sit down! We were anxious for the scores to come. Finally, the sheet was put up on the wall, and we stared at the results. We were so happy when we found out we were in third! I looked on the bright side the whole time, with a little help from you. Overall, it was a great experience, and I had tons of fun! Love, Megan

Who I would send my postcard to: I chose to send this to my dad, because he was the one who made me want to do well. I wanted to do great for him. He encouraged me, and would help me when I get frustrated, or run down. He was the greatest coach ever, because he never wanted us to give up, and we never did. He would keep us going strong, and we placed, which is amazing! The competition was very tough, but he would keep us going, and not feel bad if we don't do as well. He was generous, and was so nice, he would even celebrate if the other teams got a strike or spare, because he was celebrating for good bowling. He stayed positive through the whole game, and he kept us looking on the bright side too.

Advait Maybhate     

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear dad, I am very excited as I have just created an awesome simple game using Python! I can remember how it all started”-- You taught me the basics of the language and guided me through the online course carefully and patiently answered my questions. You helped me understand some confusing concepts and ideas. All of this helped me create this fun program which centers words and adds dots on each side, the number of dots is based on the number that is given to the program. The number given in the input by the user will decide the characters in the output e.g. 8 is given and the words are tree and ball that would become **tree** & **ball** In some cases the number of the dots is not equal (One side might have one more dot) This is a really awesome program and having lots of fun with it! Still learining about Python but hope to move onto another programming language soon! Thanks for teaching me all of this! Hope to see you soon!

Who I would send my postcard to: I learned how to use Python, the programming language, in 2012. I had been informed of this by my dad who is a software tester in McAfee. I learned how to use Python from a free internet course (http://cscircles.cemc.uwaterloo.ca/). I had been inspired by my dad as he could do all sorts of cool things with computers. Also I had used Scratch (Programming language for children) and thought learning a proper programming language like Python wold be the next step. My dad had discovered this course from the U of W (University of Waterloo) website. I thought this would also help my dreams of becoming a great scientist, mathematician or programmer come true. Most of the world is technology oriented nowadays so I thought it would help if I learnt Python too. Learning Python from the course has been a fun experience as with my account it saved and tracked my progress. I learnt what it is, how to use it and its special features. I know that other programming languages like VB6 (which I learnt in a summer camp) are very similar to Python. My math and logic skills also improved as I needed to figure out the problem in each of the exercises first, and then put it into a code which the computer can understand and perform. I also downloaded Python for my computer and tried to create my own fun programs. At first they were simple but gradually grew to become more and more complex and perform better tasks. This made me feel like I had really accomplished something and felt proud of myself. These are all the reasons why I am addressing my postcard to my dad.

Daniel Woolwich

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Dad, In my life span I have learned how to do many things, play all different types of sports, use technology, and cook. One of the many things I have learned how to cook is crème brule. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was having trouble thinking of what to cook I went through multiple cookbooks with no luck at all. I then remembered the dessert you had ordered at the restaurant the night before, crème brule. That's what I was going to cook, so I Googled a recipe and found one called the perfect crème brule. I got out all the ingredients and started to make the creamy base. I came across some problems because I didn't know how to cook the cream or what sugars to use. But your always there to help me with my problems. After I finally had the cream cooked I used the special sugars you showed me, sprinkled them on the top, and caramelized them with the blow torch. It was amazing, it tasted so good, I'm very glad that I took the time to learn how to make crème brule. Sincerely, Daniel         

Who I would send my postcard to: I choose to write to my dad because he is a very important person in my life and just like me loves to cook. I love learning stuff that he likes to do too, because then we can do those things together.

Michael Wong        

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear (my theory teacher), Thank you for teaching me about music. I have learned a lot of things from you over the last year or so. I enjoy learning about music a lot and am writing to you to show my appreciation for your efforts. In Harmony, (Basic and Intermediate) I have learned a lot about how music functions and about 4 part writing. Although I was quite disappointed with my mark on the Basic Harmony exam, I still think that all the information has benefited me greatly in my compositions. I find it extremely interesting how people can know how to make music sound consonant. Thank you for teaching me about Harmony. In History, (1 and 2) you have taught me a lot about music. In the Medieval period, I found it extremely interesting how odd but good the music sounded. It is sort of like eggplant. It tastes odd and bitter but yummy at the same time. I have learned a lot about Renaissance music as well. Although the music sounds very creepy (mostly because of the very odd harmonies and polyphony) I think that I learned a lot of good information from you. I appreciate all that you have taught me about the other music eras as well. I want to let you know that my most favourite subject in music is history and you have helped me to find my musical passion. Thanks a lot! Through all this, you have helped me to learn to compose! The harmony helps me to understand what notes should be next in the piece and the history has helped me for inspiration on what to compose. Thank you very much as my previous music before coming to you has sounded very bad.

Who I would send my postcard to: Overall, thank you very much for teaching me how to compose, about history, and about harmony. I have learned lots of beneficial information. Thank you for being my theory teacher! Sincerely, Michael Wong P.S. I am hoping to start counterpoint soon. Hopefully you will be my teacher for that as well.       I chose to send my postcard to my theory teacher because she has helped me to learn a lot about my passion, music. She has also taught me to compose through the teaching of Grade 9 and 10 theory. I decided to send it to her to show my appreciation of all the learning I have received from her.

Rachel Xu   

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Everyone has an ambition. Whether they know it or not. Whether it be of the arts, athletic ability, or some other far out thought. Everyone has some motivation. It’s to want to do something important, to be recognized, and something in each and every one of us. In some way or another, but it also leaves us. With time and self-pity, people lose self-importance, hope, and their dreams and goals. I love drawing. It can be my vent, hobby, or something to marvel at. Music, drama, dance, cooking, or writing too.. It is part of the very culture of mankind and something beautiful and of creation. I am one of thousands. Sometimes my drawing skill feels so limited, something so little in comparison to the world. But I keep going, because I know everyone started this way. Everyone, just as a kid, or older, aspiring to role models and inspirations. It is something I enjoy and feel no envy at. It’s something that feels like it cannot be put into words, but just to marvel at and think of. That’s something I’m proud of, and I will continue to do.      

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this postcard to my friend, who knows who she is. Do not wallow in self-pity or jealousy. Picasso, Da Vinci, they all started like this. Before people have skill and self-confidence they have to follow through with creative ambition and skill. To be a great artist is to span the gap. Before they build your talent and skill. There’s that phase, for the first couple of years, nothing is right. There is the time, when you cannot seem to do anything good. There’s no satisfaction in what you’re doing and it doesn’t look right. Use tutorials and do what you believe in. Your talent will only be matched by ambition and motivation.

Miranda Gill

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Molly, How’s your tiny guitar doing? I’m learning to play the acoustic guitar. I’m using my brothers because he hasn't used it in a long time. Right now I can play the G,C and D, chords but I need to practice switching. Some songs need you to switch cords fast so do you know any beginner songs for me to do? I’m playing one I found on the internet and it’s really hard but it’s fun. It’s a song grappa used to love. Have fun in Vancouver!       

Who I would send my postcard to: I’m writing this to my cousin Molly who got me interested in my guitar. She is very musical so I taught her the piano and basic theory and she taught me the beat of the guitar and how to strum with the beat on the banjo she brought and we played together because we had a guitar. She was really happy I was interested in the guitar so I think she’ll be happy to know that I’m learning how to play.

Alina Kehl

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear, Grandma Something I learned in the past few months was how to sew on my great grandmother’s sewing machine. My family and I were camping out in my great aunt Bettys backyard. It was the summer of 2012 and we were in Delaware. Aunt Betty was showing us some things that used to be my grandmother and great grandmother’s then she pointed to this old heavy sewing machine. With the help of my Dad she and him moved some things around and brought it out so we good look at it. She told us that the sewing machine was my great grandmothers and that my grandma learned how to sew on it too. She asked if we wanted to learn how to sew on it just like my great grandmother and my grandma. So she got some fabric and after about 15 minutes of trying to thread the needle we did it. She stitched on the material to show us how it was done. Then she told us how to use the foot petal which was not easy to do and before we knew it we had the rhythm of the foot petal. There you have it that’s how I learned how to sew on my great grandmother’s sewing machine.             

Who I would send my postcard to: I chose to write my postcard to my Grandma because she is very important to me and I really appreciate what she does for me. My Grandma always tells me stories about how she wore feed sack dresses that her Mom made her on their old sewing machine. By telling my grandmother this story might bring back memories when she was a child and learned to sew on that machine. My Grandma and her sisters would sew clothing for their dolls and she would tell me that at first she wasn’t so good in tell she got the hang of it. I learned from this sewing experience and from my grandma that you should never give up and keep trying.

Joey Friedel

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Grandfather, I learned how to kayak this year. It was very hard because my dad would always take me out when the waves were really big. This was bad because I flipped the kayak in the waves and got smashed into some rocks which scared me from going out in the water in a kayak. After a while I overcame my fear of the waves and went out again this time with a feeling of renewed vigor and I flipped again. This time it hurt a lot more. It took me a lot longer to get back into the kayak this time afraid it would tip and hurt again; however, I did get back in because my dad kept bothering me about it. This time I went out when it was not windy. this way I built up my courage for when it was wavy. That is how I learned to kayak, by failure.      

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this to my grandfather because it was his property that I learned to kayak at. Also he cares about my athletic accomplishments.

Carleigh Brubacher

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Pauline, I think I did pretty good in my exam. What do you think? Are you proud? Or do you think I failed? Probably not. I worked SO hard and I think it paid off. So, are you going to skip me through grade 3?(piano grades of course!)I would be nervous if I skipped grade 3 piano just because grade 2 is already quite challenging! So, grades 3&4 would be hard, but I'm up for the challenge! Hope to see you soon, Carleigh Brubacher

Who I would send my postcard to: I would write to my piano teacher because we've done so much work on my piano stuff (technical work, sight & ear training, etc. ) for my piano exam and I want to say thanks to her for all the time she's invested in me. (practices, lessons, and texts to my mom. )I really do think I will do well in this exam, even though I have stuff I could practise more on and get better at. (My teacher's name is Pauline,by the way. )


The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Oana,

In January, I learned how to make Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. It looked hard at first but, wasn’t that hard in reality. My mom taught me how to make them but it was my aunt’s recipe. It took a while for me to memorize the ingredients and amounts but after a week or two, I could memorize them perfectly. Since I don’t eat eggs we used an egg replacer. The egg replacer was named Chia Seeds. It was a type of powder. We had to soak it in water so it would become like jelly then, we could mix it in with the brown sugar and granulated sugar (Regular White Sugar). The Brown Sugar smelled really bad, but tasted extremely sweet. It was sweeter than the granulated sugar. We also had to put a cup full of butter in the sugar and chia seed mix. It was a messy task and I had to clean up the mess but, it was worth it. We also added oats, cinnamon, Vanilla Extract, and salt in it. My favourite part was making the cookie balls. I loved taking the cookie dough, placing it on my hand, and forming it into a ball. The dough tasted really good. I wondered how the real cookies would taste. Just the dough tasted like sweet cinnamon and paradise. After we put the cookies in the oven, we had to pick up my sister from somewhere nearby, and when we came home the whole house smelled like cookies, cinnamon, and sweet, sweet glory. I wished you could have come and ate some with your buddy but it was too late in the night to invite anyone over. From Your Buddy, Hima

Who I would send my postcard to: I want to send this letter to my friend Oana because she loves cookies would love to learn how to make cookies on her own someday. In fact, she’s sitting right next to me this very moment but I haven’t let her read my letter yet. She is a very close friend of mine and even comes to enrichment with me. I have known Oana since Grade 3 and have no bad memories of her. She especially likes Chocolate Chip Cookies. I thought she would enjoy knowing that I have had Cookie success. I love sharing memories with her and will look forward to knowing her memories.

Bradley Hale

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I learned how to do an iBook author when Dan and I were starting our IS we heard about someone doing an iBook for their IS and we thought that it would be cool to do one for ours. At the start we just played around with it trying to figure it out and figured out how to do a gallery and how to put on videos. We struggled at first putting the video on but figured out that you need to drag it into the background not into the media box and it will automatically put a media box around it. Then we went to a clinic and learned how to do an interactive image and that it would be very hard to do a 3D widget because you would need a 3D image and those are very hard to find free. It is a very cool program and I have learned a lot of cool things from it.           

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this post card to my Aunt D because she is into technology and I think that she would be interested to know that I know a new thing about technology and she would probably want me teach her after she heard about it.

Sarah Allen

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Yoma, A couple of weeks ago my mom and I were looking around a craft store, trying to find something to do that afternoon. I skipped the yarn section -- I had attempted knitting before, unsuccessfully -- but on the rack at the corner something caught my eye. Nearly submerged in colourful string, a sign read: “Make a scarf in only 2 minutes!” Relatively interested, I wondered if I could do it. My knitting experience had ended abruptly after 1 row and a needle accident. But (luckily) there was no knitting involved. I perked up and went over to my mom. Together, we then searched the store for the lady advertised to teach you how to do it. She was behind the counter and ardently unraveled a ball of yarn. Fast as lightening, her hands moved and moments later, a fluffy scarf was resting on the counter. She then began the tedious task of teaching me how to do it. Wrap your hand, now slip it through, that’s it, she patiently coached me. I’m grateful she didn’t realize how hopeless I was because, against all odds, I managed to create a sort-of-scarf-like-looking-thing. With practice, I’ve improved and I can now do it in less than 30 seconds. I’ve made several scarves, including the one I’m sending. Mine keeps me very warm, and I hope I can say the same for you. Your granddaughter, Sarah         

Who I would send my postcard to: I would write this postcard to my grandma, someone I look up to. She’s a very artsy person; someone who really appreciates art and trying new things. I think she would enjoy learning sometime, so maybe I’ll teach her next time I see her. (I actually did make her a scarf, which she tells me is, indeed, cozy.)

Joe Merikle

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I recently learned how to solve a Rubik's cube. I was inspired to learn this when I visited grandma's house and found a book called "How to Solve a Rubik's Cube: The Simple Solution". After that, I was eager to get started. I was pretty sure that I had a Rubik's cube sitting around, so I did some digging around my house. I looked everywhere in my house, but I could not find one. I asked you to take me out to get one but he said that I had to be patient and I couldn't buy one. After a few weeks, Christmas arrived. I got up at 6 in the morning, and ran out of bed to look at presents. The first thing that caught my eye was a colorful cube - a Rubik's cube! I remember opening it quickly, and moving the colors round until it was all jumbled up. I tried to solve 1 side with difficulty. After that, you did it with ease and told me how. After that I grabbed the book from my shelf and started trying to solve it. After looking in the book and getting really confused, I consulted the Internet. I found an amazing guide with step by step instructions, and now I am working on memorizing them.              

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this post card to my dad because I know it was his book and it would be cool tell him how I learned something that he learned when he was my age. Without him I never would have seen that book and been inspired. He was also the one who calmed me down when I got frustrated with it and the one who was there to help when I was having trouble. 

Catrin Cameron         

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dance is my life. It has been my life forever, and will always be. Dance hasn't just been a way to waste time, for me it is a part of how I live. If I didn't have dance, I wouldn't be me. My life revolves around dance. Well, other than school, obviously! I don't know which words I could use to help you understand just how much I love dance. For the past couple of years now, I have been part of a competitive dance team. It has been much better than I could ever have imagined. The teachers and students have pushed me much farther than I would have thought and have taught me so much! Every day, I am constantly learning new moves, better techniques and learning new things about myself. Not only have I learned new things from lessons, but new things from new experiences. For example, performing on stage at competitions is an experience in itself. Not only is the performance an experience, but the atmosphere created by the dancers, teachers and parents is amazing to experience as well. Performing on stage is indescribable, the way the audience cheers you on and the adrenaline runs through your body. You have to experience it to explain it. Although in the past couple of months, one of the best things that dancing and performing has taught me and allowed me to have is self-esteem. Before performing and dancing, I wasn't always a very outgoing and talkative girl. I was a shy and personal girl. I never had the confidence to go in front of my class and do presentations all by myself. Now, I have the confidence and I believe in myself. I know that whatever I put my mind to, I can achieve, and that motto can be for anyone!

Who I would send my postcard to: I know that there are a lot of people I could send this postcard to, but the one person I would like to send this to is my distant great aunt. I don't get to see her very often since she lives far away but I know that she always wonders about me and how my dancing is going. Lately, I have been thinking about her and how much I don't really get to see her, so I thought it would be nice to send her this postcard to let her know how I am doing and how dance is going. I also know that even a small gesture such as a postcard can mean a lot to someone and it lets them know that you are thinking about them. That's why this postcard will be sent to my distant great aunt.

Charles Jia

Charles Jia's postcard.

Zimba Galloway         

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Over these few months, I can say I’ve learned a lot of things, but there is one thing that I’ve learned that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I was sitting at my kitchen table a few weeks ago, and was hoping to buy a new game for my Xbox 360, FIFA 13 to be exact. My problem was that this game just came out, and it cost around 60 dollars. Optimistic, I confronted my parents about this game I wanted, knowing that only they could buy it because I had no money nor was I given any allowance. I tried my best to lure them into buying it, but they just couldn’t get around the 60 bucks. In the end they said no, but my mom offered an okay solution to my problem at the time, because her solution soon turned out to be a great one. My mom said there is a Canadian company called World’s Finest, and they sell boxes of chocolate for around 40 dollars that you can then sell to gain a total profit of 90 bucks (each bar costs 3 dollars). Really, you’ll be kind of like fundraising your own self, or creating your own business. I said okay to my mom’s proposition, thinking, what do I have to lose, and if this works I’ll get a total of 90 dollars. In about a week, a box of 30 chocolate bars arrived at my house. Seeing the 3 different types of chocolate, which were, caramel, milk chocolate, and rice crisps, with the words World’s Finest written on them, I knew these would sell big time. With the little account bag given to me from the company where I would track all the sales I’ve made, I was ready to sell some chocolate. Monday came, and even though it was cold when I went to school I was on fire, and as soon as break came, I got down to business. I made my voice firm and clear, with that sense of joy and fun add to it, saying, chocolate for sale, 3 dollars only, World’s Finest. At first people thought it was a rip off, until I opened the box full of chocolates. I can say that I never saw or had in my possession, so much coins in my life. I was so happy, but not because of the money, but because it felt good making all this cash by myself. By Tuesday, all the chocolates were gone, and yes, Tuesday of the same week. It only took me two days to sell 30 chocolate bars, and I had well more than enough money to buy the game I wanted. I really felt proud of myself, and learned how to be self-reliant, something that my parents always wanted me to learn; to be able to depend on my own self for most things, but really, the best part was that, I got the game!            

Who I would send my postcard to: I would like to send this postcard to my grandfather. Since he lives in Jamaica, I rarely get to see him, but this story of mine of which I learned something that he finds very important, will make him pretty happy. My grandfather loves to be his own person, you can say he is kind of stubborn, and he hates to have to take orders from someone else. He loves to be his own boss, self-reliant, that’s also why he started his own carpeting business, and is also a reggae artist. This story shows him my small steps toward learning how to be more self-dependent, but not cocky nor boastful, but to have the confidence and surety in myself that I can do anything and be the boss of it.

Aaya Aboulnaga    

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I am proud to say that last week, I learned how to properly cook ground beef. Before, I never would have guessed I would be a successful chef, but now I am a master of the chopped steak. Okay not really. If we're being honest, I can't cook to save my life”“ calling it cooking is generous. The ground beef in question turned out watery, and kind of sticky. Even I don't understand how that happened. However, I must admit I am quite proud of myself”“ things could have turned out a lot worse! The beef turned out the way it did because my mother actually saved it”“ who knows what I would have done to it if she weren't there! But it did taste better than it looked, felt and smelled, so I think it counts as a success.     

Who I would send my postcard to: If I were to send this as a postcard, I would send it to my grandmother. She's the one who taught my mother how to cook, so she is the reason why the house wasn't burned down during my culinary endeavour. It would also be interesting for her to learn her granddaughter was learning to cook, even if said granddaughter's cooking looks like slop.

Ting Xiong    

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Yuan Yuan, Do you know how one can succeed in life? I am proud of myself for learning a life time lesson; which is, never leave ANYTHING till the last minute. It will end in horrible consequences, even if it doesn't happen the first time. Recently, in January, I had a piano exam, in fact the second most important piano exam of my life, for grade 10 piano. You should probably know that music is really important to me. It is essential for my life. But you're probably saying "oh it doesn't really matter if you fail, which you won't, you can always try again." But one is only a good person if they try their best and fail, which is not what I did. I basically left practicing until the last minute, and in this case, you cannot succeed. For other things, like homework you either do it or you don't do it. I always choose to do it because education is important to me. But I just couldn't manage my time. I always procrastinate, like that one project I stayed up until 4 am in the morning to finish it. I was tired the whole day and didn't listen much. That affects your education too. But for my piano exam, I am sure that I have to redo my exam. I am sure that I will pass the test but I am also sure that I will not be eligible to do my next. The exam to be able to become a performer or a teacher. And even though I can redo only part of the exam, it costs about half of the total exam. And for that I felt ashamed. So I decided I will not do that anymore. Actually I have decided to do that a long time ago. But this time, is when I taking action. Especially with my Canadian Music Competition coming up this May. I cannot leave it to the last minute this time around, that would be a waste of money too, which no one has a lot of. To succeed this time, I decided to set goals for myself on what I will accomplish in the next few months. I will also make a schedule for myself so I will do whatever is important first. I hope this is an important life lesson that you can share with the world.

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this post card to my friend Yuan Yuan. Since she lives in China, she has to work really hard in school. More challenging than what we do here in Canada. They have way more homework to do, and even so, she still has free time on her hands. And that's because she doesn't leave her work to do for the last minute, like I do. The reason I would send this post card to my friend is that now, I truly understand how hard school must be for her. Meanwhile in Canada, I'm sitting in front of a computer and surfing the web because I don't have a lot of homework to do. Homework can be done at the last minute, but that's not a good way to do it. You won't remember a lot of what you do and if you study at the last minute too, the same thing happens. This has happened to me before with a music history test and science test in school. It was stressful, I couldn't remember much. The same thing happened with the homework I handed in. I didn't learn much, when I should of, if I didn't leave it until the last minute to do. Now I know how it feels to be organized, with time. How awesome it feels to have accomplished such a hard task, in my opinion. I know that if I had more homework to do, I would not have it finished by the due date, if I left it to do for the last minute.

Kristine Devaul

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I'm going to think outside of the box and write about something that I and many other public sector workers in Ontario have learned recently; but would not likely be so proud about having come to this realization. We have learned that we no longer live in a democratic society. The Liberal government has decided to dictate to us what our working conditions will be. We have learned that the word negotiate does not exist in their vocabulary. We have also learned that the Liberal government, with these same powers, can bend the rules and create new laws to suit themselves when things aren't in their favour. And just when the going gets tough, they take a vacation and prorogue parliament. Like many others I am ashamed to have this group of individuals representing Ontarians. Let me ask this, if Dalton McGuinty wasn't ashamed of his actions, then why would he voluntarily step down? This is the sign of a guilty conscience. In light of all the recent activity by the Liberal Party I am not proud of what I have learned.              

Who I would send my postcard to: Take a wild guess! Of course I'd send a copy to Dalton McGuinty, Laurel Broten, John Milloy etc... But mostly I'd like to send it to each Ontarian, public sector, private sector, anyone and everyone...because they need to become better informed of who they have voted into office and how these elected politicians are systematically destroying any sort of unionized company in our province. Educational workers are first, Healthcare workers will be next and soon after that they will be after the rest of Ontario.

Elhana Dyck

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Just before school started this fall, my mom asked me if I wanted to learn how to play a new instrument. I had been taking piano lessons for about four years but felt like branching out to a more uncommon instrument. I decided to choose the French horn, an elegant but versatile instrument that would be useful to me whichever high school I chose to attend. My mom played the French horn throughout high school and she also thought that it would be a good instrument for me. We went to the music store to rent a French horn and as I held it in my hands I thought, how will I be able to make this lump of brass sound like a beautiful instrument? We went home and I attempted to make any kind of sound from the foreign device with little success. Over the next few days we arranged a lesson and I began to become more comfortable with my instrument. The day of my first lesson I was very nervous, would my teacher be happy with what I could do so far? It turned out that he was very nice and gave me some tips to help me make a nice sound with the instrument. Over the next couple weeks I became more comfortable with my French horn and began to work on short exercises to get my embouchure in shape. Embouchure is the muscles that you use to change the pitch while playing the French horn. I have been playing this instrument for over 5 months now and there is definitely an improvement, every week I am getting more comfortable with the notes and I am constantly extending the range of notes I can play. I’ve moved on from short exercises to actual horn solos! Now I am working on pieces to play in the Kiwanis festival. I think this shows how it is valuable to try new things, I wouldn’t have chosen the French horn if my mom hadn’t helped me to push myself to try something different so I thank her for that.      

Who I would send my postcard to: Hi Grandma and Pop Pop! I chose to send this postcard to you for a couple different reasons. I feel like I haven’t seen you in such a long time and I wish we could spend more time together, I know you are both healthy but I feel like we might as well make the most of as much time as we can. Also I want to show you how your daughter has grown to be an amazing person, my mom is very kind and considerate and helps people grow to their full potential. I hope you know that you did a great job of raising her in a loving family and she has passed that gift onto her children. Anyways, I just thought you might want to know how I was doing with French horn. I’m sorry for not performing for you last time, the next time we see you I hope I’ll be able to play a song for you. Lots of Love, Elhana

Emily Yu        

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Alison Rogers, Thank you for teaching me intermediate theory at the KW School of Music. You helped me develop the first few steps into more advanced music. I recently started taking advanced theory lessons for my high school credentials. I am now progressing well into grade two theory. It is not a bad as I thought it would be, thanks to the kick start you gave me. I enjoyed learning with you and now my new teacher, Pierre. It takes a lot of practice, but now I know how to do many different things, like read the 7 modes, transposition, cadences, rhythm, and others things that I forget the name of. It’s fun to write music, and this training will help me along that road. Overall, it’s a rewarding experience to learn music theory. Thank you.

Who I would send my postcard to: I am writing to Alison Rogers, because she was my intermediate theory teacher. She taught me a lot and helped me when I needed it. It was very important information that was covered, because it was for my grade one theory exam. She helped me understand music better, and now I can move into advanced theory because of that first step she provided. I am grateful to her for helping me in this way, which is why I want to address a letter to her stating my thanks and showing how her work paid off.

Tori Chen     

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: At the beginning of this school year my new grade 7 gym teacher announced that we will be learning the great game of field hockey. “Field hockey!” I exclaimed. What was I going to do, I’ve never played or watched it, never the less even seen a field hockey stick but I gathered up all my courage and decided to just try my best and play the game. My class lined up outside and our teacher briefly explained the rules of the game. We did get a few minutes to practice passing and shooting with our new foreign equipment but soon after that we started a game. The game begins. I wanted to just stand and watch but few seconds later the ball came flying at my stick, I immediately began moving forward until the high pitched whistle began to blow. Everyone turned their head and looked at my gym teacher. He spit the whistle out of his mouth. “OUT!” he shouted. I felt ashamed but I pulled myself together and began playing once again. A few more calls were made on my behalf but by the end of the day I was shooting, passing and dribbling with ease! I was proud, I learned how to play the great game of field hockey!

Who I would send my postcard to: I would like to send this to send this letter to children in poverty to show them that they should keep trying and things will get better, just like i kept trying and i got better at field hockey!

Donna Ellis   

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Just this week, I submitted my dissertation for examination. I have learned an enormous number of things along this very long journey: I've learned about university students and faculty members (my subjects) and the thinking behind their responses to innovative instructional methods, but I've also learned a lot about myself as a scholar. It's this last piece that I'm most proud of. I've learned how to explain and justify my thinking in clearer ways than before. I've learned that the qualitative research paradigm matches my ways of thinking best. But mostly I learned that I can persevere despite the obstacles that I and others have put in my way.    

Who I would send my postcard to: I'd send this to my PhD supervisor, Dr. Ken McKay, who displayed such patience with the development of my skills and my thinking as a scholar. He never pushed me harder than I pushed myself, and yet he made me want to do my best work. Thanks Ken!

Gordon Stubley

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Even though I am not officially a student, I still aim to act and learn like a student, especially when I have the opportunity to explore and grow in new directions. This past year, I have had two wonderful opportunities to grow as a facilitator through the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) process. I have learned the power of the ISW model in that when I step away and trust my group, they will flourish. Also this year, something I have struggled to understand and put in context, the Kolb learning model, finally started to make sense. It is always worthwhile to keep plugging away at new ideas. You never know when they will fall into place and become relevant and understandable.             

Who I would send my postcard to: Dear Diane Morrison; As I reflect on what I learned from and about the ISW process in the past year, I realize what a debt of gratitude all of us in higher education owe to you and your early ISW colleagues. Your vision for the model and perseverance to see it come into being has given us a wonderful resource. A resource which allows all instructors to find and reach for the best ways to share their love of and passion for their subjects through teaching. For helping keep the fire under "my love for learning" burning you have my eternal appreciation. THANKS! Warmest regards, Gordon

Natasha Powell

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: In the past few months I have learned what it is like to make an enormous impact by doing the simplest of things. The Gouzecky family that my class, a grade twelve class, and community helped, was one of the most deserving groups of people we could have thought of to help. In a matter of one year, Laura and Sean Gouzecky had their first child three months premature, causing many problems for the baby boy, Laura was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and Sean had to quit his job to help both his wife and new born son. After hearing about this family, our grade 11 marketing teacher Mrs. Weidinger, and many of her colleagues, organized and ran one of the biggest charity events in Huron Heights history. With the over two hundred items that were collected by students, our silent auction for the family was a huge success. In the end, after the auction, with generous and anonymous donations, help from Old Navy and Dutchies food market and many other businesses, we gave the family over $22 000 dollars. Along with the money was a bed, clothing, toys for the baby Michael and money for groceries and gas. Being a part of this experience, and after meeting the extremely optimistic family, I earned a new outlook on life. Laura Gouzecky showed me that even in the darkest of times, like while she is in Chemo therapy, one can still look on the bright side of life. This hands on auction benefitted everyone involved in a way no other experience could have.              

Who I would send my postcard to: If I was to send this letter to anybody it would be to my teachers. I would send them this to prove to them how much this experience has helped me and influenced me. Though I'm sure they know already, hands on experiences related to a class help people a lot, and in many different ways. This project helped both my classmates and I learn the importance of helping someone. And our experience also helped this family in more ways than we all could imagine.

Mitchell Hardy     

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: This semester in my business class taught by Ms. Weidinger we helped out the Gouzecky family by using the marketing skills we learned to comb the community for donations of items for out silent auction that we held at our school. Our efforts combined with the grade twelve marketing class raised the family $22,500. The check was presented to the family at our school Christmas assembly along with numerous other generous donations from people and companies in the area. I am proud to have been a part of such a moving and accomplished activity. To present a family with this after the times they had to bear through, and see their reactions was truly moving and I hope I have the opportunity to participate in something as virtuous as this in the future.   

Who I would send my postcard to: If I were to write this response on a post card and send it to someone I would have to send it to my Aunt and Uncle in Alberta. Why? Because me and my Uncle were extremely close before he left to work in Alberta. Also because I can tell anyone else in my family about my experience because I am in close contact with them, and my Uncle lives the farthest away.

Aaron Shantz  

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Fundraiser at Huron Heights One thing that I was proud to take part in this year that was part of my business course was a fundraiser I helped run that raised money for a family in need. The family that we raised money for was the Gouzecky family. The main issues in this family were that the parents had their son three months premature, so at birth their baby was very unhealthy. To make matters worse, less than a year after having their son, Laura the mother found out that she had a cancerous brain tumor. With all of their medical bills and expenses, the family was very suddenly in more debt than they could imagine. My school decided to do something to help the family, so myself and my fellow peers in my Business Marketing class decided to put on a silent auction to help raise money for the family. The thing that I liked best was being able to go out into my community, and talking to local business leaders while looking for donations for our auction. By doing this, I was able to learn everyday communication skills that will now help me in everyday life. For the auction, I was able to get several gift cards, items, and even a couple financial contributions. After the auction, my class ended up being able to raise more than $22,000 for the family. We no doubt made their lives easier and less stressful. In conclusion, this learning experience was hands down one of the more exciting things I have experienced in my Grade 11 year, and I will never forget it.              

Who I would send my postcard to: I would write this postcard and address it to the students of the future at my school, and put the postcard in a time-capsule. This way, hopefully I can inspire kids to do stuff like this and to enjoy and learn from it. Also, this would be good because it would teach kids about the history of my school, and the impact it has had on the community.

Stephanie Banks

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: See, this is something I am proud of, but it also disappoints me so much. Here is why, people of our age don’t realize that helping people isn’t something that should necessarily make it on the news because these are things we should do every day. Helping others isn’t something fun to do; it should be a thought in your head every day, right? I think so. Taking this marketing class I learned a lot of things in my grade 11 year. Every year the marketing and business leadership class of Huron Heights Secondary School chose a family that is in need to help. The marketing and business leadership class went out into the city and asked companies for stuff or money to be able to put in our auction. Our auction ended holding over 200 items. It was a great success we brought together over 22,000 dollars over the 2 and half months. This family had a terrible tragedy brought onto them, the mother of the family was pregnant and all was fine then, the baby had to be born early, born at 6 months. The family had to take the baby to numerous appointments to keep him healthy and alive. Transportation and hospital bills were beginning to become overwhelming for the family until another tragedy hit. The mother found out she has a tumor in her front lobe of her brain. After a month or so the family was in debt of approx. $20,000. Over close to 3 months we were able to buy the family a brand new bed, gas cards, grocery cards and a check for $22,000. It was a great experience helping out this family, understanding how helping other in the Christmas season can bring so much joy. But I don’t think helping others should be a class assignment, because then you have to help instead of wanting to help. Today helping others is something forced upon by school, church, youth groups and jobs. Helping others should be something you want to do in your own time, or consciously thinking you want to help others instead of doing it for a mark in a high school class. I believe helping others it’s a long term relationship not something you do quickly and forget about. I am proud of my class that the thought of helping others was something they liked but I don’t believe they will continue with helping others because “we are just too busy”. Well taking 5 minutes out of your day to go speak to sometime or volunteer for a couple hours won’t harm your social needs. It won’t harm your friendships and it won’t harm your marks. I just its so simple to help others, but we only see the opportunity when we are forced to do it and don’t feel the same afterwards. I know the feeling of helping is powerful but you have to try and understand the people you’re helping point of view first to really comprehend the severity of some problems.          

Who I would send my postcard to: I’d send it to the future to show the importance of helping others should live on even in the future. Helping others is already dying down in this day and age. People are too busy with their iPhones or Blackberry’s. People are masking over the enormous amount of help needed in this country and others. They’re pushing the thought to the bottom of their to do list because they don’t want to understand the reality of the problems going on in the world today. They are so caught up in life they don’t see that the smallest of contribution couple help so many others. They buy and buy and buy so many useless things that will do them no good in the future when that money could go towards a starving child in Kenya or India, they live off a dollar a day we live off much more and giving them more then that 1 dollar will benefit them more than buying some silly mug that you wanted. Many others don’t even realize the need in Canada, there is many organizations in Kitchener alone that helps homelessness and other major problems. The worst of all they only focus on the problems right in front of them. There are organizations for help for eating disorders and mental health, they don’t run off of government money, donating to those organizations could benefit so many. Sending it to the future would be good because I’d rather save the generation after me then the one that is here now.


The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Lindsay,

A few months ago I learned how hard work pays off. It was because of the biggest Irish dance competition in Ontario. The competition took months of preparation and a lot of hard work. My teachers pushed me really hard, but I knew it was just because they wanted me to do my best and that they believed in me. When competition day FINALLY arrived I walked on stage and I realised, this is the most important dance of my LIFE. I remember hearing the music start and then I went blank. My mind was only on dancing my best and impressing the judges. Just before I went up for my second round my teachers were talking me through my steps and corrections. Walking off stage out of breath and so anxious to hear what my teachers had to say. The day went on for what seemed like forever!! In the end I didn’t get as high marks as I had hoped for, but for my first competition at that level, I did really well. From, Ciara

Who I would send my postcard to: I would like to send this letter to my dance teacher Lindsay because she is a HUGE influence to me. When Lindsay told me that she came seventh in the world championships, I started to work even harder than I normally do to get that chance. Out of all my dance teachers she is the one that pushes me the hardest because she wants me to achieve my goal and make it to worlds. It would be amazing if she could she my letter and maybe push me harder so next year I could get a higher placement.

Katie Malcolm

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: What we did this semester in grade eleven marketing was probably one of the most memorable activities I've ever taken part of in school. We were given the opportunity to put the things we learned into good use and use our knowledge of marketing to help a local family. We worked very hard to raise money to help the Gouzecky’s pay off some of their debt caused by the many obstacles they faced in the past couple of years. Giving birth to a three month premature baby and then being diagnosed with a brain tumor, we thought this family deserved better. We worked hard, going out in the community to fundraise for them, and sold all of the things donated at a silent auction. Together, from the money raised at the auction and the money that had been donated to us, we were able to give the family approximately $22 500 as well as a brand new bed, a fireplace and some other presents. The best part of this experience was meeting an amazing family and seeing their reaction at the end, it really touched my heart.

Who I would send my postcard to: If I was to write this on a postcard, I would want to send it to my brother, because I want him to continue to help others the way he does. I hope he takes marketing in high school so he can also have this amazing experience as well. He has the kindest heart, and makes me so proud. I want him to know more about what our marketing class did to encourage him to get involved when he comes to high school.

Tanya Haygarth

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: In the past few months of Mrs. Weidinger’s marketing class I learned many valuable things that will help me throughout my life. The most important thing that I learned in her class would have to have been the hands on component, which was doing an auction for the Gouzecky family who had many life altering crises in the past few years. Which were the son, Michael being born pre mature and the mother, Laura having a brain tumour, due to all of that they went in debt because they had to pay for the medical bills. For this auction our class went out into the region to collect items and money for the silent auction that was held at Huron Heights on Thursday November 29, 2012 and Friday November 30, 2012. I think that going out into the community helped me learn valuable skills that I wouldn’t have learned if it wasn’t for doing this, I learned how to introduce myself to a business and how to get information out into the public. Through the silent auction and various groups in the region helping us we raised $22,500. Sun Life heard about what we were doing and they held a 50/50 draw and donated their money to us, all of the proceeds from My Art were also donated to this auction. The day we presented the check to the Gouzecky family their lives were changed for the better, they also taught us something though, which was how to help people in need and never give up hope even when you think that nothing will ever get better.     

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this to Mrs. Weidinger and students who are debating on taking marketing but aren’t sure. I would send this to Mrs. Weidinger because she is the reason that this auction happened and was such a great success. I would send this to people who are thinking about taking marketing because they can see how much this class can really help you in life and how it affects people so hopefully they would want to sign up for this course.

Jade Jones

Jade Jones' postcard.

Stephanie Samson

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: This semester I had a great journey though marketing. I learned new things, pushed myself to extremes and did many hands on tasks that will help me extremely in the work force. The one thing that stood out the most for me in this course was the silent auction Mrs. Weidinger organized. We helped out a family in need, and this personally will stay with me forever. The family we helped was Gouzecky family the dealt with traumatizing and life changing experiences these past two years , for example their son was born premature and they had to spend an extreme amount of money to pay for the expenses of gas money and special products a pre mature baby needs. Their lovely son Michael was not the end of their problems, Laura the mother found out she had a brain tumour. Mrs.Weidinger found this family and with the help of her, our class and her grade 12 leadership class we went out and raised money for this family. After going out to stores and experiencing real life marketing strategies for example how to introduce ourselves properly and how to explain our goal with maturity. We then later held a silent auction at our school which was a GREAT success. We invited Laura, Sean and Michael to our Christmas assembly to provide them with a check and other great products that benefited them immensely. In the end we presented them a check of $22,500 dollars. This auction and class not only taught me amazing skills that will help me in the work force greatly, but it also taught me to never give up and that everything gets better. The Gouzecky family taught us all a lesson in life and family, we changed their lives and they most defiantly changed mine. I truly felt that we made a difference in this families life and that kind of feeling stays with you forever.                  

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this response to the Gouzecky family and Mrs.Weidinger. The reason I would send this to the Gouzecky family is because I would want them to know how much this auction changed my views and outlook on life and that they are a true inspiration to me. Dealing the problems they faced not everyone could be able to handle it with the grace and strength that family did, I truly felt like everyone who participated in this auction made a difference in their life and that I will remember forever. I would send this to Mrs.Weidinger as well because I would want her to know that she helped me a lot with the skills I need for the work force and that her dedication to teaching us and getting us ready for life out in the real world pushed me and taught me things I would never know if I didn’t take this course. She not only taught me the ways of marketing but the taught me how to do and be better.


The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I am proud to have learned about Geometric Art. It depends on what design you want to make. You need a compass (not the navigation compass) a straight edge and a pencil. You start by drawing a line, vertical or horizontal. This is your main construction line. Use your compass and straight edge to construct your design. I am still learning and practicing this subject and am doing a project on it right now.

Who I would send my postcard to: Dear Mr. B. Thank you for teaching me this technique of art and math. It has taught me art without someone telling you what to do. Thank you for teaching me this art and I am grateful for you teaching me such skills.


The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Mr. Quinney, Social Studies was never my favourite subject before I started grade 5. I liked it, but I wasn’t crazy about it. Things got a bit more interesting when you started teaching it. First came government. It was a very long unit but I have to admit it was actually extremely fun considering that I wasn’t very interested in it before we started learning about it in September. Then, came ancient civilizations. Even though we just finished learning about ancient Greece, Social Studies has really caught my attention. I feel proud to know how people used to live such a long time ago. I wouldn’t have even been able to guess what was going on in the ancient times if it wasn’t for you. I really look forward to learning about ancient Egypt. We barely started the unit, but I already feel like I’m going to be an expert like some of my friends are. The only thing that could make it better was if I had a time machine. Social Studies isn’t my best subject, but I’m always eager to enter your classroom once a week. Every double period of Social Studies means learning something new, and I always enjoy learning about how the human race has changed so dramatically over time. Thank you for being such an amazing teacher, and I really appreciate being able to carry a piece of history with me everywhere I go.

Who I would send my postcard to: Mr. Quinney is my Social Studies teacher, and made Social Studies a lot more interesting for me than it used to be. I wrote this postcard to him to let him know that he has taught me many things that I am proud to have learned and that I appreciate every one of his lessons. This postcard is to thank Mr. Quinney for his hard work teaching Social Studies.

Sean Mitchell

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: This past semester my grade 11 marketing class held a silent auction for a family in need. We individually went out into the community to raise money and get donations for our auction. By the end of the auction we presented the family with a cheque for $22,500 and a brand new bed. The family has had some tough times in the past with their son Michael being born 6 month premature and coming out a mere 1 pound 7 ounces. Adding to that the mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and her husband was laid off so they no way of paying for medicine for Michael and the treatments for her tumor. By the time we stepped in they were around $25,000 in debt. I’m proud of the work myself and my class did because we helped a family in need and made a difference. The money we raise basically brought them right out of debt by helping them with all of their payments.     

Who I would send my postcard to: If I could send my response to someone I would probably send it to my cousins in Newfoundland just to show them the good work we are doing and show them how I made a difference for a family in need. This maybe would have an influence on them and force them to make a difference in their community and maybe start a chain of good deeds.

Matilda Oja

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: In the past few months I am proud to have taken part in a Silent Auction. My grade 11 marketing class at Huron Heights held an auction to raise money for a local family in need. All the money we earned from the auction was given to help support the Gouzecky family resulting with a final check of $22, 000. I am proud to have taken part in this auction because it taught us to get out to the local public, approach local companies and present ourselves professionally (not like a regular teen). In the end this gained us more confidence and courage to go do things by ourselves. Then when we actually held the auction at our school, it was a hands on experience with set up, take down, and interaction with the bidders. The reason I am most proud of taking part in the auction is because in the end when our class was standing at the front of the gym, and we were presenting the family with all their presents then the final check, it was an amazing feeling to know I had taken part of something so incredible.          

Who I would send my postcard to: If I could send my response to someone on a postcard, I would probably send it to the head of the waterloo region district school board. I think that person should know about what we do just to see what some students in a school are doing part to help out in the community.

Anita Bakos

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Hello, my name is Anita Bakos and I currently go to Huron Heights Secondary school in Kitchener. This semester in my grade 11 marketing class we had decided that we wanted to make an impact in the community in a very large way. So, to create a hands-on approach to learning in that course, we decided we were going to find a family that is desperately in need of support, and we were going to help them. The Gouzecky family is a family that we had come across after searching for quite a while. Laura Gouzecky, the mother of the family, was pregnant with her son Michael, and at her six month checkup found out that her life as well as her unborn baby’s life were in danger and she had to have the baby then and there. Michael Gouzecky was born three months premature, and with that had a bounty of health costs to be paid because of all his special care. A few months later Laura had begun to get seizures and later found out that she had a brain tumor. Due to these two major crises, the family had to pay thousands of dollars for medical bills, and had to sell their house to pay for everything. In the end they were over $25 000 in debt. Since they clearly needed as much help as possible we decided to help them. Our class teamed up with the grade 12 business leadership class to go out from business to business asking for donations of products or financial donations. All the products we collected went into a silent auction held in the Huron Heights Library at the end of November and all proceeds went to the family. After the auction we had bought them many assorted gifts including a new bed and a fire place, on top of our grand total of about $22 500. Thanks to this course I got to be a part of something bigger than the course itself. I got the chance to not only go out into the community and spread awareness of the issue while gaining confidence with approaching new people, but I also got to help a family who otherwise would have never been helped. During the silent auction alone I had volunteered over 18 hours, plus an entire day of collecting donations in the community. It gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment when the family came in for an assembly to give them everything we raised, and when the cheque rolled out and the family started crying I knew that I really had made a huge impact in someone’s life. That feeling will stay with me throughout the rest of my life and I learned that a couple people truly can change someone’s forever.         

Who I would send my postcard to: Though it would be an extremely long postcard I would send it to my kindergarten teacher. I vividly remember her always saying that if we could make a difference in just one person’s life, that that feeling would stay with us through the rest of our lives. As it turns out she was completely right. That one moment where the family had finally seen how much we had done for them, and how grateful they were will always stay in my mind. I just wish that I could re-live that moment every day for the rest of my life, it was absolutely incredible.

Melissa Frim

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I participated in the Gouzecky Family Charity Silent Auction at Huron Heights Secondary School, Kitchener. Led by my grade eleven marketing teacher Ms.Weidinger, our class raised twenty-two thousand five hundred dollars for this family in need. A family stricken with hardship such as their son Michael being born three months premature and the mother Laura developing a brain tumor not long after, they have faced many struggles. As a class we went out into the community asking for donations for our silent auction. This portion of our project helped me gain confidence when speaking to people, a skill I did not have prior to this. I found this experience of helping the family personally fulfilling. From this experience I learned that helping people is important and should not be overlooked. It was a new and amazing feeling knowing that I made a difference in someone's life. Throughout the whole experience I gained confidence in myself, knowledge of our community, and experience with communicating my ideas to others. I hope to be involved in this type of activity again next year, as this is a yearly tradition at my school, that would be the best feeling helping someone again. I cannot even put into words how wonderful this experience made me feel.

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send my response to my cousin Emily up at the University of Nipissing. I would send it to Emily because she has done charity work before. Emily participated in a missionary trip to Africa while she was in highschool and she had an amazing experience. I would send it to Emily because we could share in the gratifying feeling of helping people.

Stephanie Samson

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: This semester I had a great journey though marketing. I learned new things, pushed myself to extremes and did many hands on tasks that will help me extremely in the work force. The one thing that stood out the most for me in this course was the silent auction Mrs. Weidinger organized. We helped out a family in need, and this personally will stay with me forever. The family we helped was Gouzecky family the dealt with traumatizing and life changing experiences these past two years , for example their son was born pre mature and they had to spend an extreme amount of money to pay for the expenses of gas money and special products a pre mature baby needs. Their lovely son Michael was not the end of their problems, Laura the mother found out she had a brain tumour. Mrs.Weidinger found this family and with the help of her, our class and her grade 12 leadership class we went out and raised money for this family. After going out to stores and experiencing real life marketing strategies for example how to introduce ourselves properly and how to explain our goal with maturity. We then later held a silent auction at our school which was a GREAT success. We invited Laura, Sean and Michael to our Christmas assembly to provide them with a check and other great products that benefited them immensely. In the end we presented them a check of $22,500 dollars. This auction and class not only taught me amazing skills that will help me in the work force greatly, but it also taught me to never give up and that everything gets better. The Gouzecky family taught us all a lesson in life and family, we changed their lives and they most defiantly changed mine. I truly felt that we made a difference in this families life and that kind of feeling stays with you forever.                  

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send this response to the Gouzecky family and Mrs.Weidinger. The reason I would send this to the Gouzecky family is because I would want them to know how much this auction changed my views and outlook on life and that they are a true inspiration to me. Dealing the problems they faced not everyone could be able to handle it with the grace and strength that family did, I truly felt like everyone who participated in this auction made a difference in their life and that I will remember forever. I would send this to Mrs.Weidinger as well because I would want her to know that she helped me a lot with the skills I need for the work force and that her dedication to teaching us and getting us ready for life out in the real world pushed me and taught me things I would never know if I didn’t take this course. She not only taught me the ways of marketing but the taught me how to do and be better.


The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: One of the things I have learned is what a wonderful thing it is to help someone that is in need. I found that after the auction people recognized our efforts to change the life of the Gouzecky family and they greatly respected myself along with my class and teacher for doing so. Also, I learned that the satisfaction of doing something great for a family in need is that of no other. I will now take any opportunity to help someone in need in a big or small way. 

Who I would send my postcard to: If I were to send a postcard to someone I would send it to the Gouzecky family. I would send it to them so they understand how much I personally respect them for remaining so humble and positive through everything that they are experiencing. When they accepted the cheque you could see by the look on their faces that they truly needed the money and it had completely transformed their lives, and I’ll never forget that moment. I want to be in touch with the family to see how they're holding up and their progress so far with their sons and the mother’s sickness.

Zaid Shahabuddin

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: As part of the grade 12 business leadership class at Huron Heights our class got the wonderful opportunity to learn about social responsibility. We learned this through aiding the Gouzechy family with their tough struggle with their everyday life. I learned that when living in a community we must help one another. I also came to realize how great it feels when you see all your efforts appreciated. It was an amazing experience, and I truly loved learning about social responsibility. After the auction I felt good, the family felt good, we all felt good!

Who I would send my postcard to: I would send the response to the local newspaper. This is because it may have the possibility of being published. If it were to be published then I could hopefully inspire other students to help families in their communities. If other students help people in thier communities then they will feel good. But when and if I hear about other students helping families I'd feel extreamly good because I'll know I sparked that fire in the students to help. Therefore positivity will spread around, and who doesn't like positivity? I for one am a huge fan of positivity, because negativity is not cool. Overall I feel it would be most effective for me to send my response to the local newspaper in the hope to spread positivity.


The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Jerry, Recently I learned something new! I learned how to draw pictures, not by hand, but by a programming language called "JavaScript" on the computer. I learned it from a website called Khan academy. It was actually not that hard to just create pictures, because all you need to do is write a few sentences like "ellipse (100,100,100,100); fill (0,0,0);" and it would make a white circle at coordinates 100,100, it was still very interesting and fun to tamper with. Now I am trying to learn about animations, and other things like a draw loop. I am also looking forward to maybe programming a simple game. Some troubles that I went through were getting the right shape and size, because I only know how to make lines, rectangles, and ellipses. I am also considering learning python, because you do that don't you?

Who I would send my postcard to: I wrote this postcard to Jerry because he is my brother and he is learning a different language, Python. He doesn't draw pictures on it, though, he only does programming. I was thinking that we could work together on a project with me doing the art and him doing the programming. He also played a big part of inspiring me to program.

Marina Simonovic

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Miss Crystal; This year, I have learned so many things from being in your class. All the new steps, learning to really feel the music, and I have learned to LOVE dance in a total different way. I love all the new steps this year, and with the syllabus changed, I was even gladder to hear that some of the stuff that we do are what the level 5s used to do! That makes me feel like pointe is coming even sooner. My godfather told me told me to stand on demi – pointe, lower, than rise to almost pointe, but not quite, to practice. He took ballet for a long time and his partner told him that. Being able to really FEEL the music really helped me to look nicer, and enjoy myself while doing it, too. But I’m mostly thankful that you helped me realize that I should love dance, ballet, in a whole new way. Thank you.

Who I would send my postcard to: I would write this postcard to my dear dance teacher and the one who pushed me most to my perfection, Miss Crystal. She has pushed me to reach my abilities the three years that she has been my dance teacher. She encouraged me when I was Micheal to really do what I am capable of achieving.

Brody Schnarr

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: In the past few months I am proud to have learned about giving back to the community. In my grade 12 business leadership class we, as a class came together to fundraise and help the Gouzecky family who have gone through financial and health struggles in the past year. Through many activities including a silent auction and private fundraisers we were able to donate $22,654 to the family. As an individual I felt fantastic donating and doing my best to help the family in need and give back to the community. The lessons I have learned from this family have impacted me outside of school as well. During the class I had my own health issues that held me back, my appendix burst and I had to spend a week in the hospital. Although this was frustrating and deterred me a lot whenever I felt a negative thought in the hospital I started to think of the Gouzecky family and realized my troubles are really not that bad compared to the struggles others have to go through. Throughout the process of being in the hospital and recovering after I continued to feel compassion towards the family and I think I learned this trait in business leadership through helping the Gouzecky family. The lessons and qualities instilled in me through this class I will continue to show as a develop into the next stage of my life.    

Who I would send my postcard to: If I could have sent that response to anyone I know then I would send it up to my uncle beaver in heaven. My uncle died 10 years ago and although I did not get to know him that well as I was only a kid I still have many memories as a kid of him. I would like to show him how much I have grown up and I think he would have enjoyed reading it and seeing how I have developed and over the past 10 years. I believe that he would be proud of me and what I have learned and gone through.

Anna Maria Kenney

Anna Maria Kenney's postcard.

Rachel Wilkinson

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Over the past few months I have been involved in a grade 12 business class at Huron Heights Secondary School. A main project in this class was fundraising for a family in our community that needed help. The Gouzecky family was the family we chose to help after our teacher informed us of an article she had read about them in the newspaper. The mother gave birth to her son very early and then later found out that she had a brain tumour. Her husband was unable to take time off of work, which made it very hard for the her to look after their newborn son while coping with the fact that she has a brain tumour. With many hospital visits for the mother and specialty things for their son who was born so early, the family was in need of many things including financial help. Our class of about 30 students plus a grade eleven marketing class went out into the community and asked for donations from local businesses. We managed to get over 350 donations for our silent auction. The silent auction ran for about two day and we had many people come into our school library to place bids on items. After the silent auction we made over $22 000 for the Gouzecky family and were able to present this to them in front of our entire school. This whole project taught me the importance of community and how working together with your class, neighborhood, and city can make a huge difference in people’s lives. It felt good to do something in school that made a difference in the community. This fundraiser did not just solely affect our class, or our school but also all of the businesses and people who donated, and people who bid on items at the silent auction. A lot of people contributed to what the family received. Overall, I think that projects like this bring people closer and give people a better sense of community. I think that in today’s society people are so busy with their own problems and getting things done for themselves that it is important to build a stronger sense of community and to get involved. It is a great feeling to know that you are helping people who need it while reminding yourself that there are other people in your community who are willing to help.

Who I would send my postcard to: If I was to write my response from the previous question on a post card I would want to send it to my grandfather who has passed away. I know it would be impossible for him to read it since he is not alive anymore, but I would want him to read this to show him that teenagers in today’s society can do great things and pull communities together. I would want my grandpa to read it because he was always someone who would help other people. He would be proud to see that kids my age can make such a big difference in the lives of people who need. I also think that it would be reassuring to know that younger people are not all self-absorbed and that when we are older we will be good role models for our children and our children’s children.

Paige Pomeroy

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: In the past few months something that I’ve learned and has made me proud was how helping someone made such an impact on their life and mine. My class held a silent auction for the Gouzecky family. The mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and the son was born at 6 months pre mature. The family went through one thing after another having no money no food and no gas to get to the hospitals for the son and mother. The mother had to quit work since she can get unexpected seizures. The only income coming in was the husband and that’s when he could work. Sometimes he couldn’t go into work because someone needed to go to the doctors. When the mother goes for radiation for her tumor she goes home to an old bed that has been with her for years. Our goal was to get them a brand new bed donated. My class went out around Kitchener, waterloo and Cambridge to get donations from company’s either financially or having them donate something from their store. After about 2 and half months of receiving money and gifts for the auction we brought in over 200 items. We had TV’s gift cards everything and anything. People all over the city were calling our teacher and wanting to donate. We had the family come in and they were in tears to see how much stuff filled our school library. They didn’t think it would be this big but we were all hoping it was. We held a Christmas assembly for the family and presented them with a cheque of over 20,000 dollars a brand new king sized bed and on top of that a $200 gas card to get to and from placed and not having to worry. The looks on their faces when we told them what we have raised was something no one could possibly forget. There was not a dry eye in the room. I’m so proud to say my teacher taught me how one thing and make such a big difference in someone’s life. Just showing you care can come a long way for someone in a difficult situation.               

Who I would send my postcard to: I would give this to the family we had help so that they can see we still care even after the auction. I would make sure they get the first copy, I would also give it to book stores to post on a bulletin board so everyone can see what an amazing job my class and I have done and how this family is recovering from a difficult year.


The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Jordan, Not everything is fair. Life isn’t fair! Of course, I’ve always been told this, but I’ve never really gotten true meaning from it because I try to pretend that I can change it. But I can’t.  No matter how hard we try to change things so that they’re equal for everyone, sometimes it just doesn’t work. And this year I’ve finally grasped that concept. My grade five class is in Mrs. Allen’s class, and we switch classes half way through the day with Mme Shantz’s grade six class, so that both classes can have their French immersion somewhere throughout the day. Every year EVERY CLASS gets to go skating twice, but for some reason, this year about a third of the classes didn’t get to go. Ours was one of them. But the grade sixes didn’t get to go either, so that was fair. So, I went home, disappointed, but somewhat consoled by the fact that their class was school bound too. The next day, I got to school, having almost forgotten the disappointment of the previous day. But not quite. So, we all sat down and Mrs. Allen started: “ you have to stop comparing yourselves to the grade sixes. All you’ll ever get from comparing yourself to others is disappointment. ”And then: “the grade six class is going skating. ” And we weren’t.  I was so disappointed, even though we were promised a “winter fun” day. But a “winter fun” day was no skating field trip. And above all, OUR homeroom teacher was taking THEM with HER. NOT US. It wasn’t fair. At all. And the part that bugged me the most was that other classes were going TWICE! We didn’t even get to go but they were going twice! When everyone could’ve gone once, and it would’ve been fair, ALL of the other junior classes were going TWICE. But there was nothing I could do about it. Why Mrs. Allen couldn’t have taken US, HER CLASS, I really don’t know. And the winter fun day would’ve been better if we could’ve just had a regular school day. But if I held on to that unfair grudge, I wouldn’t be happy. And in the end, being happy is more important that going skating. And I couldn’t do anything, so I had to just let it go. Remember what’s important, and pick your battles. Love, Jocey

Who I would send my postcard to: I chose to write this letter to my brother, Jordan because picking your battles and realizing that not everything is fair was an important life lesson for me to learn, even though sometimes it’s hard to know what battles to choose.

Rachel Kim

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Dear Mom, Since September this year, I learnt that learning many subjects and being a very busy person is obviously tiring, but also fun. Actually, in my opinion, it is better than just doing whatever you want every day. I am a very busy person these days, ever since Grade 5 started but from piano to Math Circles, everything is equally amazing and informative, from actually learning the subjects to learning a live-long lesson of time managing. I would never be able to experience a pleasure of learning if there wasn’t this year of business, of proud stress. I am very proud of myself this year, for improving on time managing and all the other subjects I am learning directly, and for discovering the good out of the tiring. Thank you, Mom, for encouraging me to not give up on anything, and that it will pay off in the future. That I won’t regret it. That it will be fun.  Love, Rachel

Who I would send my postcard to: I would write this postcard to my mom because she is the person who has encouraged me most to continue on my way and that it WILL be tiring but that it would pay off. She is the one that tells me that measure 27 needs to be softer during piano practise, that my B flat needs to be lower in violin. During my time at school, she plans strategies for my practise after school. She takes me to orchestra practises and all other classes. Very rarely do I get to think how much work she has done. I want to thank her. This postcard is my expression of thanks.


The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: I would like to write about how I learned how to cook bread – bannock to be exact – two weeks ago at cub camp. It was the very first time I baked anything without help. I feel that it would help a lot later in the future when I’m camping with kids of my own and nobody else has any experience. (If when grow up, the forests of the world are not completely obliterated, and there is such thing as camping in the wild. ) I did exactly this: 1. Fill a Ziploc bag with flour, water, sugar, and other toppings / ingredients of your choice (I used cinnamon). 2. Knead it to a goopy (but not runny) consistency. 3. Find a long, dry, and strong stick, and then wrap the bannock around the stick. (Make sure the bannock is long but thinly distributed on the end). 4. Hold it over (not in) the fire, and keep on turning the stick. Do this until the whole thing is baked. A whole lot of people made their bannock either too runny or too powdery, so they just abandoned it in the fire and started fooling around with the burning sticks. Others let them burn and peeled off the outside. Most got impatient and left. There were only two people (including me!) in our group who actually baked it properly. (The other group was more successful. ) I found that very flattering, but I didn’t let it get the better of me.

Who I would send my postcard to: Dear parents, I’m having a great time here at camp! (Although the outhouses stink, literally) Today I learned how to bake bannock, which is a type of bread. We baked it on the campfire, but that might not have been the most successful thing our cub pack has done, for many people just threw their bannock in the fire, and started waving their burning sticks around threateningly. (I might be wrong about “threatening” part, but that’s what you think in the presence of potential danger!) The other half of the pack did much better. (There were only two people in my half that were successful!) Just to assure that I’m perfectly safe over here at camp!

Matt Carmichael

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: During the past semester we have done multiple things in our grade 12 business leadership class, but the thing that stands out most was doing a silent auction for a family in need. The family was the Gouzecky family. They have been struggling financially after having a pre-mature born son who was born 1.6 ounces. A few months later they also found out that the mother Laura had a brain tumor. Now through our efforts of going to local business and doing extra fundraising at school we raised over $22,654. Now I personally really enjoyed going to the company’s and seeing the reaction to the family’s problems and seeing how sympathetic the companies were by what they were giving. Some of the big items we got were things like Taylor Swift tickets, autographed NHL jerseys, a golf club and some Olympic memorabilia. Also from the efforts we did in class we raised over $1,000 for a new king sized mattress for the family to sleep on. To raise the $1,000 we were split into groups and given a task to do any fundraiser we wanted and all proceeds would go to buying a bed and sheets. The group I was in had the idea to do a bottle drive. Now at first we did not think that this idea would not be very successful but in the end our group raised almost $300. The first thing our group noticed about doing this bottle drive was how kind and caring people were giving us every bottle they had in their possession. But the thing that made all our hard work worth it was when was the final check was handed to the family and seeing their reactions to amount they received. Their reactions is what all the fundraising worth it all.

Who I would send my postcard to: If I was to send this to anyone I would send it to my grandma. I would send it to my grandma because I always like the feeling of making her proud. She has been through a lot of injuries lately in the past few months and it would be nice to make her day better. She lives in Owen Sound so it’s hard to see her a lot so when the opportunity comes to see her I like to have stories that she can tell her friends. I also would want to send my Grandma this piece because she is a very caring and giving so it would be nice for her to also know that I notice her hard work and follow in her footsteps.

Natasha Caldwell       

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: One thing I am proud to have learned in the last few months has occurred in my grade 12 business leadership class. In order to put our skills to the test and apply the lessons we were learning in the classroom, our teacher, Mrs. Weidinger challenged us to take on a very large and difficult task based on the circumstances we were facing politically. Our challenge was to find a family that we felt needed our help, and put together a silent auction in order to raise money for them. After some discussion, we ended up finding a local family that lived in Cambridge named the Gouzeckys, and decided that they were deserving of our help. Their son was born at 28 weeks, and faced multiple medical difficulties after having to be born so early due to his mom, Laura’s, medical condition. It was later found that she actually had a brain tumour, and needed to have it removed. After many medical appointments and surgeries, the family found themselves in a lot of financial trouble. Once our class heard of this, we decided put on a silent auction for them. Through efforts of the grade 11 marketing class, grade 12 business leadership class, and of course the wisdom and experience of our teacher, we were able to raise over $23,000 in cash, merchandise, and various donations which we were able to present to them at the Christmas assembly. I am aware that we helped the family out tremendously, but I believe that the value that these classes got out of this experience is more valuable than any lesson we could have learned in the classroom. Through this experience we were challenged by difficult situations, but most importantly we were taught to never give up. Both of the classes jumped through many more loop holes then expected including weather and awful timing, but together we continued to make the auction a huge success. All in all, this was the biggest auction our teacher had ever held, but taught us much more than how to plan events. Of course valuable lessons are taught inside the classroom, but the most valuable ones are the ones taught by experience. I believe this quote sums up what we learned exactly: “Every day you have the opportunity to learn and experience some-thing and some-one new. Seize the opportunity. Learn and experience everything you can, and use it to change the world.” Although we have not changed the WHOLE world, I believe because of this auction, each and every person involved helped change SOMEONE’S world, and that is enough to inspire a person forever. We were able to experience something and someone new, and use it to not only learn about leadership but also learn about ourselves. In conclusion, I believe the most valuable thing I have learned in the past few months was not a new theory or an extraordinary way to solve a math problem, but instead I learned something much more valuable. I learned how to change a little bit of the world, and that will stay with my much longer than any theory.               

Who I would send my postcard to: If I was to write my response on a post card, in all honesty, I am not sure who I would send it to. I believe that there is no specific one person that would gain from hearing of this experience, but instead there are many. I think teachers all over the county should hear of this teaching style because, coming from a student, it is the most valuable lesson I have probably ever learned. I learned how to accomplish something I have never done before, and in a leadership class especially, I don’t think that there is anything you could learn that would hold more value. I also believe that I would send this letter to students so that they too realize that they can make a difference in people’s lives. It is hard to tell what people are going through at times, and chances are most high school students are probably having a pretty difficult time. By reading a letter like that, they may realize that maybe their problems aren’t as tragic as they thought, or maybe they will find a purpose for their life. Overall, I believe that this letter could be for virtually anyone as still hold value. Whether someone is struggling, or just had the best day of their life I truly feel that anyone can take this story and use it to put their life into perspective. Taking in how tragic their experiences have been, while still seeing how they can maintain such a positive attitude can be touching for everyone. I work at Red Lobster, and after presenting the cheque to the family, we were in the paper. That Saturday I walked into work and my boss told me he has read the paper, and was going to hang it up because of how truly touched he was by this story. I know he is experiencing a difficult time in his life, and it was incredible to see the message spread to people like him. However, this story is not about the recognition for us, for the class, or for the teacher, but instead, it is meant to inspire and touch others and shows them how one step at a time, we can change the world.

Connor Frey

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: This semester our grade twelve Business leadership class set out to help the Gouzecky Family, a local family in our community with a very despairing story. This was not the first charity event our teacher Mrs. Weidinger in fact she has held many over her years of teaching. This wasn’t my first charity event with Mrs. Weidinger either but it was the most successful. Our school has held a few charity auctions similar to the one we held this year. The charity Auction we decided to do year this was no small task. After looking through the local news to find a family to hold the auction for a while we were heartbroken when we read the Gouzecky family’s story so we jumped into action. We decided a charity auction would be the best way to raise money because we had done it successfully in the past. Our class went out into the community to ask local businesses for item donations so we could put them up in our auction. I learned a lot from this experience because asking people for item donations really helps build up your confidence and communication skills. I also learned from this experience how to take a no and turn it into a yes this is a very important skill in the world of business and will definitely help out in my future endeavours. All in all this was a great experience that helped me realize how important helping out your community is.            

Who I would send my postcard to: If I was going to send this to someone it would probably be My future dog Clarence because he’s gone be so sick.

Ryan Burchett

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: One thing I am proud to have learned this year in my grade 12 business leadership class is the ability to take personal and social skills and bring them into my school place and incorporate them into my school work. Our business class was given an extraordinary task of using our everyday skills in order to help a family in need. Our class pursued the task with great anticipation and gave it 100% in order to see a family’s Christmas wish come true. The Gouzecky family was not an ordinary family. In a span of two years, their families’ life was turned upside down with the worst possible conditions. Laura Gouzecky had major problems well pregnant with Michael and as a result, Michael was born at 28 weeks at a mere 1 pound, 6 ounces. This resulted in major expenses for hospital bills, formula, and gas expenses. Laura’s husband, Shawn was unable to qualify for unemployment insurance and therefore it was extremely difficult to take care of his wife and son. Over Michael’s first year, he recovered quickly and to almost full health. Things finally started to look up for their family, when another devastating, life changing event occurred. Laura was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This put the family in even more financial trouble along with more stress on the family every day. Laura is continuously fighting through chemotherapy, loss of hair and weight, and the toll on her family. Our class read their story in the paper and decided to take on the initiative of helping this family out. We decided to hold a silent auction in November and donate all proceeds to the family. Our class, along with a grade 11 marketing class split into groups of 4 and went out into the community to ask for item donations or cash donations from private, public, local and thriving companies. We originally gathered around 100 items for the auction, but received overwhelming support from the communities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. Our class received more and more items sent in daily along with anonymous cheques. We held the auction on November 29th and 30th to coincide with a school production. We had over 400 parents, adults, students and friends of the family attend. After everything was collected and counted, a grand total of over $23,000 was given to the family along with a new queen size bed, a fireplace, clothes from Old Navy and toys for Michael. Overall it was a very uplifting and revitalizing task set upon our class. Everyone was pleased with the result and felt they did something for a family that through it all, fought so strong. Overall it was a very unique school project and it is something that I personally know will never leave the minds, or hearts of me or any of my classmates.   

Who I would send my postcard to: If I were to send my response to someone it would be my Great Grandma. My Great Grandma died last year from old age. I believe she was 92, but a very active 92 year old in the community. She had a massive garden in her backyard where she grew peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, blueberries, gooseberries and other fruits and vegetables. Every month she would take a bucket full of each and take it down to local homeless shelters for fresh meals. Even at the age of 92, she was still helping out her community in any way possible. I had not seen her in nearly 8 years but still communicated with her every so often and for the 3 years before she passed away I had been saving money to go visit her in Frasor Lake, British Columbia. I wish she would have been able to see me due this for this family and need, and I now know the reason she always tried to help as many people as possible. She would always tell me about who she helped that day and I now know the feeling she would get every single day.

Steven Tachauer

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Being in the Business Management class at Huron Heights Secondary School, I have had the opportunity to make a difference. I have reached out into the community by approaching businesses in downtown Cambridge to ask for donations for the family. I am proud of my efforts, as well as my class’s efforts regarding this fundraiser and I believe that we have learned many things about good citizenship and community involvement. I for one was nervous at the beginning of this project because I was unsure about the reactions that I would face when approaching local business for donations. I was worried that I would be turned down most of the time, or the business owners and managers would not want to spend time helping a family. As soon as I went into detail about the family and their circumstances, the people in the communicated began to comply and pour donations out to the family. I was very touched and surprised by the amount of generous businesses and people in the community. I have grown as a person through this auction I have realized the true effort and hard work that is involved in a large sized auction like the one we held. During the actual auction, we had an immense amount of items that were donated from various businesses around the region. The turnout for the auction was due to the combination of advertising, and MYART which was a school-run event for the music department here at Huron. In the end, we rose over $22,000 for the Gouzecky family, and I believe that if any student is presented with the opportunity to help a person, or family in need, they should take that opportunity, and learn from it, as well as give back to the community.   

Who I would send my postcard to: If I were to send this post card to anyone, I would send it to my employer, or to a college or university that I have applied to. I believe that it is important to show a business or institution my involvement in the community that is above and beyond regular school. It is important to show that I care about people, and that I have dealt with people regarding charity. It is important to these schools, as well as my employer because it signifies that I know how to work well in groups, to create a common goal amongst everyone for a greater good. Making a difference in this family’s life is the best thing I have done all semester.

Taylor Collins

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: During the last few months I have learned many things; although one of the main things this semester has taught me is the passion and empathy that students’ in high school can have for people they do not know. Throughout the year my grade 12 Business Leadership class contacted a family we read about in the Cambridge Times, to see if we could help them in organizing an auction and raising money to help with their financial crisis. Laura and Sean Gouzecky were very willing to accept our help and were so grateful for everything we did. Their son Michael was born at 28 weeks and weighed in at 1 pound 6 ounces; he has had to undergo many different tests to make sure he was developing which resulted in Laura quitting her job to take care of him full-time. Things started to look up for the family; Michael was progressing well but they were all of a sudden hit with a new obstacle. Laura was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to go through surgery and treatment. Overall, they suffered a great financial deficit and were in great need. Our class, along with the Grade 11 Marketing class reached out to businesses and people for donations and items to be auctioned off at the school. It was a great experience getting out in the community and talking to so many different people about their story and what we were doing to help. After the auction and everything finished up we managed to raise over 22 thousand dollars. It didn’t matter to me from the beginning how much we raised although seeing their faces when we revealed in front of the school the amount we raised was unbelievable. Afterwards speaking with the family and seeing how thankful they were for what we did, it made me realize what a bunch of high school students could accomplish. It felt great to see what we what we had done since people usually have the perception of teenagers as ungrateful or not caring. In the end, it helped me learn what it was like for a group of people to reach out and show how much we could care for a struggling family.  

Who I would send my postcard to: If I were to put this on a postcard and send it to someone, I would want to send it to the Gouzecky family as a reminder to them of us. Also, to show that it not only changed their lives but made a huge impact in mine as well, since it will be an event I will never forget. I would want them to know I did not just do this as another “school project” but something that grew a part of me through the semester. To make sure a big difference in the lives of others was such a great feeling and showed me so much about the society around me that I will be forever changed from this experience. Too be able to do something like this as just a school assignment makes me believe I could continue to achieve things like this when I graduate and move on with my life.

Braden Faulkner

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: In the past few months, I had the opportunity to donate my time and effort to a local family in need. It started in my business leadership class, when our teacher was looking for a group or family for our class to lend a hand to. At first, we were starting to think that there wasn’t a cause to work with, but one of the other teachers placed a newspaper article in her mailbox about a family who was dealt some unfortunate cards; the Gouzecky family. The article went on to explain how they had almost lost their son from complications, and then when he began to get better, the mother Laura was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With that understood, we, as a class, decided this was the cause we wished to support. Thus, we began planning a silent auction with all proceeds going towards the family. First, we went out in the community and canvased businesses for any donations they could muster. Personally, that was truly rewarding, since it left me no choice but to separate myself from the shyness that I was most often immersed in. It was undoubtedly difficult at first, but what I was getting for my effort and the simple fact that I was helping others drove me to further develop my confidence as the day proceeded. That alone was an opportunity I have yet to find anywhere in the classroom. Moreover, once the fundraising was through, we focused on planning the auction. However, that was not an easy feat, given the ongoing teacher action around us. It got even more complicated when we found out the school function we were going to latch on to had been cancelled. At the time, it was rather disheartening, but our teacher was able to find us another event, which ended up drawing many more people than the original event would have even hoped to. Meanwhile, our teacher talked to the very humble family and pleaded with them to tell us what they needed. When they did, our class worked hard to fundraise throughout the school and the surrounding community. I organized and ran a bottle drive with a few other classmates, and it went quite well; we raised over $200! Clearly, such success did not come without hard work, but at the end of the task, when I was tired and my feet hurt, I knew the Gouzecky family was hurting much more, and the prospect of making their time any easier made the experience well worth it. When the first night of the auction came, I was nervous, but I was excited and proud as well. I knew that what was happening around me, and what I was lucky enough to be a part of was something totally different than what I had done before. More importantly, however, it was something that made a difference. After the auction, we rose over $22000, and while the family benefited immensely, I benefitted so much more; I learned a lesson taught exclusively by time and experience, and one sadly learned by few.               

Who I would send my postcard to: If I were to send this to someone, I wouldn’t give it to anyone in particular. No, the people around me already know about my experience, and I would want to share it with somebody totally unexposed to it. I would want to insight a little bit of hope into someone who could use it. I’d wander around a busy street and I would look for someone who is clearly down on themselves. When I hand it to them, I wouldn’t say anything, I wouldn’t need to. I would smile, look them in the eye and walk away. To me, what the post card presents, and what my actions represent are much more powerful than anything I could say. I’d expect I’d feel comfortable with the feelings I passed on.

Holly Cooke

The postcard version of what I’m proud to have learned: Within the past few months, one thing has truly stood out giving me the satisfying fulfillment feeling that we all strive for. After being given the opportunity to completely flip over the cards in someone’s life, $23 000 later, the goal was reached. The ability to learn professional business skills, exciting motivation, organized teambuilding and the satisfaction of a lifelong transformation impacting someone that will later pass the happiness on, truthfully had a positive impact on my grade twelve year. It all started in Mrs. Weidinger’s business leadership class when a gloomy newspaper article caught our eyes. A severely struggling family kept occurring life-threatening obstacles that most of us would let destroy our lives. Due to the family’s overly optimistic mindset, our class decided to lend out a helping hand by creating an independent completely student-run school auction. Students in my business leadership class had the privilege of spreading out to businesses across the tri-cities in order to perfect our business skills by publicly asking for contributions to the auction. What most people didn’t understand was that by helping a local family in need, our professional experience helped us individually succeed. At first the auction started out as something small that was on the back of my mind, but as the days slowly passed, the fundraiser moved up on my priority list. Soon after realizing that some simple extra efforts in my life could make the pleasing difference in someone else’s life, I realized the importance of working as hard as possible on the auction. After understanding the amount raised for a similar family case last year within Huron Heights Secondary School, us being the competitive students that we are, raced the clock despite the difficult sanction rules, felt not yet pressured to win, but excitedly encouraged to defeat last years efforts. As we all know, nothing in life is better off individually. With the companionship from a team, inspiration, enthusiasm, competition, support, and bonds are noticed showing that teamwork is a very essential part of all aspects of life. During the learning process, without the help of our intense business team, the auction would have unhappily failed. How would the items have got picked up? How would we have even gathered items? Who would have run the auction? Who would have supervised the auction? Life is simply not a journey that should be attempted alone. All in all, passion, determination, and courage, helped make the actually a successful function that made multiple newspapers, television news and radio stations. It boggles my mind how in school they teach you how to complete a math equation, master the hierarchy of needs and the periodic table, and stress five page essays on some fictional book you would likely choose to read at the age of eighty-seven, rather than focusing on lifelong strategies and approaches on the more heartfelt things in life. Hopefully one day the Gouzecky’s will be able to pass on the good deed, maybe not with $23 000, but through a simple friendship with someone lonely.   

Who I would send my postcard to: If I had to send my postcard to absolutely anyone, anywhere, I know exactly where it would go. For several reasons, I would send my postcards to kids. Specifically, primary kids. It wouldn’t matter what area these kids lived in, because all kids need to learn the same necessities. I would choose to send this postcard to kids because they are more vulnerable, they don’t have their minds taken over and because I believe that children have the biggest hearts and the most potential. The importance of the postcards going to primary kids would be due to the fact that they are most vulnerable. If a kid was to get this postcard, even if they couldn’t yet read it, they are still able to listen. I believe that if a kid hears something, they are going to believe it. Kids for the most part don’t have the courage to argue about a story somebody is telling. Kids have the courage to argue if they are being forced to eat broccoli. Kids would likely take the postcard the most seriously, which is essential in the sending of this postcard. Next, kids do not have their minds taken over by engraved opinions and stubbornness obtained through the years of their lives. Although as mentioned before kids would be most unlikely to argue, they would likely be accepting to the message of the importance of learning and therefore best to receive the message. I feel that a kid, who has far less knowledge or obstinate views on every little thing, would be more open to receiving the message as opposed to an adult who would be less focused. Lastly, I would deliver my postcards to kids because in reality, kids truly due have the biggest change on bringing my messages along with them later on in life. As a kid, you are still growing, moving on in life and going to continue through many more years. In my opinions, kids are the people that have the most say about this message, are most likely to share this message, and have the largest opportunity to spread awareness about this message. Kids are the most likely to tell someone about this letter, rather than just forgetting it within a second. Kids have big hearts and like to share things with others. All in all, the aspect of sending this postcard would include the most suitable recipient being young kids. Due to the hearts, potential and open-mindedness of primary kids, the highest potential of impact would be met.


Charlotte's postcard.

Watch for next year's Loving to Learn Day contest! It'll be announced in January of 2014.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

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