Piffer & Mr. Serge Lajeunesse
them the best in all the years to come!
Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2014!
the speech Mrs. Ann Tellier gave at the ceremony on Thursday,
It is really fun to be
at Dorset this evening-thank you for welcoming me back. I want
to start by first giving my apologies for seeing everything from
a kindergarten perspective.
Twenty years here at Dorset in room K will do that.
Sorry too…(aside to grade 6’s)-apparently just like me you
Dorset…but I will explain.
All of you were in kindergarten for the school year
2007-2008-a.k.a. the year of the BIG snow! Some of you were here
and some of you started your academic careers in another school.
are all here together now, at this place and at this time.
took your first school steps into a
kindergarten classroom. Your
parents brought you to the bus stop or to the school doors that
first day and they- let- you-
Now, they have to let you go again into the world of “high
It will not be easy for them. Be gentle.
It will not always be easy for you. Be strong.
Here at Dorset we do know you.
We know that you will be gentle and you will be strong.
We have seen it in all of you, whether you know it or believe
Sometimes it may have felt as if our expectations were too
high-that was to make you reach.
Sometimes it may have felt as if we were unfair-that was to
make you think and, even occasionally
challenge you to challenge us.
Sometimes it may have felt as if we didn’t
understand-that was to make you explain.
Sometimes, even now, it may feel as if the world is too big
and you are small. Believe me you will grow in many ways! You
will come back to Dorset one day and wonder why it seems so
We can say to you then, “See, you did grow!”
Believe it or not for those of you who were in my
kindergarten class I can remember each and everyone of
you-frozen in time-at age five! For those of you who weren’t in my kindergarten class, believe it, out there
a teacher or two who do indeed remember you. It may be one
‘snapshot’-when you had a ‘Eureka’
moment or zipped your jacket all by yourself, painted a
beautiful picture, built a fantastic tower of blocks or wrote a
are all part of the Dorset community now and you “think” you
will be leaving Dorset.
There are pictures of some of you on the kindergarten room
door (which apparently cannot be replaced) and you are all
displayed on the school wall in your grade 6 grad-photo montage.
So now you see and understand why I said-you can never, ever
quite leave Dorset.
Memories also keep you here. We teachers will remember
you-although you will probably
a lot in the next few years and when you return on a Ped. day or
we meet you some day while you are serving us “at the Apple
store” you may need to remind us who-you-“were”.
For those parents who are sitting in the audience thinking
“Phew. We are out of elementary school! We’ve got them to the doors of the high school-our work is done!
soooo - out - of - luck!
If you blink too fast you may end up thinking-‘Was that high
school that just zipped by? Who is this adult standing in front
of me asking for the car keys? Didn’t I just buckle him into a
carseat? Or, who is this woman suggesting she move downtown with
friends to be closer to Dawson College? Didn’t I just kill a
spider in her room?’
But whoa-we’re-not-there-quite yet!
Do you see though?
Do you get it?
You have lots more parenting work to do.
Note from experience…You have no idea how fast your own life
will flash before your eyes when you sit as a passenger with
your child learning to “drive”, on an actual road, with other
There is a great word I really like. The word is
serendipity-it means the occurrence and development of events by
chance in a happy or beneficial way. When the Dorset students,
who are now in grade 4, were in my kindergarten class
I experienced a serendipity moment. I happened to hear someone
use the words iPod and educational apps in the same
The rest is history and it became part of your history.
Those students in grade 4 will be participating
in the 1:1 Cycle 3 iPad Program that you started! They are
following in your successful footprints or ‘tap and swipe
prints’! Together teachers, parents and, most
importantly, you-the students- started on a journey
in this school and embraced a new technology, which
serendip-itously expanded our teaching and extended
all of our
It really has been a journey of discovery and collaboration
for us all.
It isn’t all about the technology though. As Mrs. Szollosy
says, “There has to be a balance.” At Dorset, teachers and
students all have their passions. Throughout your years here
many teachers have had a hand in this
interests with you.
care for our world through the Environment Club, care for others
the PeacePal Program, Free the Children and Foster Child.
sportsmanship through Intramurals and tournaments.
share our school life through your reporting in the D2D, share
artistic talents on the school walls and on stage in
We are teachers and it gives us great pride to see so many of
you demonstrating your mentoring skills in the iTutor program
and other areas of school and ‘world’ life.
Balance and collaboration. It is part serendipity, but it
comes also as a result of hard work and (as Ms. Figsby says)
In preparation for this speaking engagement tonight I thought it
might be an idea to “google”
grad speeches and see if there were any tips I should know
about. One suggestion was to make sure that at some point you
told a story that was personal to your audience.
So I have a few of those ‘frozen in time’
memories of that kindergarten year and from
recent times as well…
I was not surprised when many of you embraced being iTutors
because in kindergarten many of you loved
Kayla especially liked to be the teacher and to be fair to the
others (because in kindergarten we share, we share…everything)
I explained to her that she was going to have to take a
'sabbatical' and due to circumstance beyond her control (namely,
moi) she could no longer be 'the only teacher'.
However, it wasn’t
long before I heard ‘her’
teacher voice again dictating some new curriculum, so I took her
aside and reminded her that she was on a leave of absence
I quickly realized she may be on track for the law profession,
because she explained to me that she wasn’t
technically the teacher-she
was in point of fact-the “student teacher”!
Point made and taken-but I retorted with “the operative word you
just used there was-teacher!”
my career in a nutshell-arguing with 5 year olds!
Another memory from that year was the politeness of so many of
the kids. It seemed
to come so naturally, but we
a lot of hard work and reminding from the adults in your life.
However, it is something that people remember and it makes a
lasting impression. The famous American poet Maya Angelou once
said-I've learned that people will forget what you said, people
will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you
made them feel. Politeness makes people feel valued.
That year Hunter and James asked each and everyday, toy by toy,
if they could play with them.
Day 1 “Excuse me Mrs. Tellier may we play with the pirate ship.”
Yes. “Excuse me Mrs. Tellier can James and I play with the
“Excuse me Mrs. Tellier can Hunter and I play with the people?”
After a few weeks I explained to them that really all the toys
were up for grabs for everyone to play with whenever it was
They nodded that they understood,
then added, “Please Mrs. Tellier, can we play with the castle?”
That was my career in a nutshell…
arguing with five year olds.
Another politeness virtue we tried, as a staff to initiate at a
junior end assembly, was the concept that when you saw someone
in the hallways it was the polite thing to say ‘hello’
and ‘how are you?’
and that the appropriate response would then hopefully be ‘fine
thanks and you?’
We practised and practiced and modelled.
Hunter, James and the whole gang really embraced those phrases
and on a good day it could take quite some time to walk up the
To this day you can walk and greet most of those kids and
they will respond-‘fine thanks and you?’
and best of all they genuinely mean it.
One thing more, at this point I would like to personally thank
Sam Houston for all the times I took his picture for school
Especially the one when I put you in the compost bin.
Our memories of these young people don’t end in kindergarten.
I have been so fortunate to consider the iTutors as new, young “colleagues”:-who
mentored not just younger students but myself and other adults-
certainly Kayla, Olivia B., Lucas L., Kalista, Jules, Kaitlyn
M., Tristan, Isabel, Jemma, Megan, Natasha, Liv,
Sam, Chloe and Connor.
Our PeacePals continue their
work and they won the Pat Lewis Peace Prize again this year-just
a few of these dedicated students are Isabel, Lara, Samantha,
Many students like Kyle, Megan, Cody, Isabel, Lucas, Gursagar,
Palmer and Connor worked on special Free the Children events.
Last year we had a hockey player spelling contest and Jared,
Sam, Tristan and other fans stepped up to centre ice and formed
a committee to help organize it- “Can you spell Galchenyuk?” We
also have our own polo pillow hockey superstars like Palmer and
sports stars-Oliver, Dylan
This year many of these same students were our math Olympians
along with Lara, Tyler, Hunter, Olivia and “Mr. Positive
We have heard the passion of
stories during Avey ‘l’art oratoire’ over the years from
Kassandra B., Manny, Jules, Liv, Chloe…and so many more.
We have read the D2D intrepid news reports from Ashley, Jasmine,
Luca D. and Kalista
I shared an awesome, unforgettable Snow Day experience at last
Club trip with Gursagar, James, Caitlin H.K., and Hunter-I am
sure they will always remember that challenge, their
accomplishment and a special time together…
We witnessed dedication and caring from the monitors who were
responsible for the kindergarten students at the end of each and
every day. Do you have any idea how important you are to them?
Monitors like Ben, Ricardo, Sheena, Jasmine, Connor and many
Dorset welcomed a new student,
I did hear he
is extremely 'polite' and helpful
and very quickly
a good friend
Matthew and Jordan and Remi and Daniel find themselves as good
as well and
will no doubt support each other in high school.
put together some great space projects this past month.
Best of all we have been amazed as this cohort of
Jordan, Damon, Matthew,
Lucas P-G, Isabel, Manny-all of the grade 6 students, your
parents and most especially your teachers. You took on the
challenge of being the first 1:1 iPad classes in this school
board and now the first graduating classes.
One of my favourite musings on kindergarten and school life is
by Robert Fulghum- apologies now to him with my adaptation:
Everything I Need to Know I Learned at Dorset School!
Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to
do, and how to be, I
These are the things I learned:
Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Choose kind.
Put things back where you found them.
Close down your apps and update to the latest iOS.
Clean up your own mess.
only a positive
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat. Flush.
Protect your passwords.
Back up your files-twice!
sales are great!
Little kids love a Peace Bear.
Performing in a school play
can be the best thing ever.
Live a balanced life. Family, school, sports, friends.
is important: pictures and videos, reporting on a school paper and public
speaking are the ways to reach people.
Explain Everything explains a lot!
Learn some and think some. Draw and paint and sing and dance and
play and work every day.
you will make music!
Take a nap or think about taking a nap every afternoon,
especially if you have a test the next day.
Power down! Push yourself away from the tech table. Take a walk.
When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands
and stick together. Be a good digital citizen.
Be aware of wonder.
And then remember the first books you ever read and the first
word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK. The new digital
phrase is LOOK—THE WORLD IS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS.
Think what a better world it would be if all the people, in
this whole world, had recess every day at 10:45 with Peace Pals
looking out for them and if everyone could experience Open Door!
And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go
out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together…
-especially if your job for 180 school days is to be a grade
six kindergarten bus monitor! Don’t let go!
Congratulations Dorset Grads and parents-You’re not really
leaving… because we never say good-bye at Dorset.
We say we really liked knowing you, we appreciate you and we
hope to see you again some time.
Take care of yourselves and…each other!
buttons are here
(point to head)
(Point to heart)
Dorset Peace Pals
(click the link above to
read the nomination letter)
is a copy of the presentation speech.
I am delighted and honoured to
have been asked by the Dorset Home and School to be here tonight
to present the prestigious Lewis Peace Prize.
My association with
Home and School goes back to the year the eldest of our four
sons entered Kindergarten. I joined Edgewater Home and School
and instantly became enamoured by, not only the work of our
local Home and School, but also by the significant contributions
that were being made by the Quebec Federation of Home and
Schools. It soon became apparent that, since I have a tendency
to doodle, make notes and,or, write poetry during any type of
meeting, my skills would be best served as secretary, a position
I held for many years. Home and School was in my blood.
Not only am I a wife
and mom, I was also a teacher. Throughout the course of my
career, which spanned forty one years, I gained the reputation
of doing things that were a little “outside the box”. While
taking a course, at McGill, to learn about mediation, a tiny
seed of an idea was born. If adults could learn to talk things
through with each other, why could the same concept not apply to
children? After all, who better to help out in difficult times
than a peer, for there are times that we adults just don’t seem
to understand. From this seed of an idea, the Edgewater Mediator
Team was formed.
I then transferred
to Dorset, where, with the encouragement of an incredible staff,
a supportive parent community, and twelve intrepid grade 6
girls, who agreed to help me with yet another of my wacky ideas,
the first Dorset Peace Pal Team was formed. The goal was
children helping children, through global, community and school
service. Before I knew it, the years had passed, the program had
grown, I had written both a leader’s handbook and a student
handbook, had trained and mentored countless grade 5 and 6
children and completed many global projects. I knew the program
had taken hold when one of our kindergarten teachers expressed
displeasure that she had had to go to Walmart and buy little red
vests. Her students wanted to play Peace Pals in the dress up
corner but could not do so without the requisite red vest.
My greatest regret,
when I decided to retire, was leaving the Peace Pal Program. I
did not need to worry. Thanks to the support of the Dorset
community and the five devoted teachers who have taken over the
reins, the program continues to flourish, with children
patrolling the playground, mediating at the Peace Table, taking
a leadership role in school activities, working tirelessly to
create an atmosphere where children feel secure and safe all the
while fulfilling projects that contribute to both community and
It is with enormous
pleasure that I present the Lewis Peace Prize to the Dorset
Peace Pals and thank them from the bottom of my heart for
recognizing my vision and allowing it to continue to have wings.
Mrs. Diana Jackson