As the start of another Arrowsmith year looms large I thought I should share with you the words of one of Simon’s fellow students which illustrate very clearly the life-changing nature of the programme. These were read by Jill, the Principal of the Peterborough Arrowsmith school, but they were written by Payton, who left at the end of Simon’s first year, having been there for two years. Payton, unfortunately, could not be present at the Graduation Ceremony to read them himself. He gave me permission to share them for which I thank him.
Before Arrowsmith my school experience was horrible. I felt like I was fighting a losing battle. It didn’t matter how hard I worked or how much I strained myself to focus on the teacher’s words. I could never get the grades that I wanted, or that my family expected of me. I felt like a failure, and thoughts of the future filled me with dread.
It was only after starting Arrowsmith that I began to feel like maybe I could accomplish my goals, that the future wasn’t so bleak after all. Being in an Arrowsmith classroom was the best class experience I have ever had. In school I always felt like an outcast, but I really felt like I belonged at Arrowsmith. I could tell that the instructors I worked with seriously cared about helping us and making a difference in our lives.
I think the program helped me a lot because this year has been my most successful at school. Last semester I ended up getting the highest mark in my horticulture class and now I’m thinking I might want to work with plants. This semester I have a co-op at the Royal Botanical Gardens and after an interview they gave me a job there for the summer, even though many college and university students applied for the same job. In September I’m going to Fanshawe College for Horticulture. It feels good to have a sense of direction now, when before I had no idea what I’d be doing once I left high school. I don’t think I would have been able to achieve the things I have this year if it wasn’t for Arrowsmith. I’m so thankful for the opportunity I had to benefit from the program and I know I’ll never forget my time there.
And so we head back with high hopes for another successful year for Simon and all his fellow students, ready to welcome the new students and parents and looking forward to see our friends again and hear about their summer adventures.
Simon’s bags are packed, Rusty’s tail is between his legs and his big, brown eyes look up at us filled with sadness. Meantime, my bedroom looks like a bomb has hit it, and as for my desk, I can’t even begin to describe! How to pack for 11 weeks away, to cover every season and every occasion, as well as books required for my writing course?
Our time in Sydney has gone by all too quickly – so many fun times, beautiful long walks, dinners with friends, more golf, tennis and yoga for Simon, as well as a fleeting visit to the ever beautiful Pearl Beach, our sanctuary. Last night we went to see Matilda, the musical – it was fabulous! Great tunes (thanks Tim Minchin!), great acting and great dialogue, courtesy of the wonderful, witty Roald Dahl. We all loved it! Tonight, a 50th birthday party. Tomorrow dinner with my long suffering husband who I am abandoning once again. Off to Canada on Saturday morning, hopefully without leaving too much chaos in my wake!