Reading Time: 3 minutes

“This is a moment for nostalgia, an opportunity to take stock of so many memories of the past year and to share our anticipation of what comes next. It is a bittersweet moment. We will never be together again in exactly the same way. Years may pass before some of us will see one another again, so hold tight to this memory.”

President and Head of College Désirée McGraw “officially” closed off the year with those words of support to all Years 44 and 45 at the emotional last Village Gathering of 2018-19 on the campus’ Community Lawn.

She added, “To Year 44, our ‘New Alumni,’ my congratulations! You have taken on responsibility for mentoring, guiding and encouraging Year 45-ers, assuming your leadership role, participating thoughtfully in discussions of important aspects of Pearson’s development, including those around the evolution of our policies and academic programs especially Educational Programming; the challenge of Climate Change action; and the introduction of our year-long Women’s Empowerment programmatic theme. All this while completing academic requirements, CAS activities, One World participation AND preparing for the ‘dreaded’ IB exams!

“Year 45, you have survived and thrived, quickly adapting to the ‘Pearson way’ and contributing enthusiastically to every aspect of life on and off our campus. As you prepare for your roles next year as senior students and leaders on campus, I know that Capstone Week will provide you with some memorable experiences and look forward to hearing all about them. I hope you will get some rest, and some time to consider with your peers how you will set the tone for the year ahead.”

But before a bit of summer downtime, many students took part in Year 44’s Alumni for Life program for new alumni and Year 45’s Capstone Week activities in late May and early June.

About 36 new alumni took part in a week’s worth of programmed activities at nearby Royal Roads University and in downtown Victoria. Programmed by Alumni Relations’ Benoit Charlebois and Luisa Vasquez, together with invited guest presenters, they led participants through five days and evenings of workshops ranging from Carrying Out the UWC Mission to Financial Literacy and Launching your Career.

While the workshops helped set them off on a positive post-Pearson trajectory, a downtown networking opportunity helped showcase Pearson student stories and the challenges they have faced and overcome for a number of prominent and influential Victoria changemakers. Held outdoors on a sunny rooftop, thanks to the generosity of the Alacrity Canada Foundation, a number of the Pearson participants from around the world shared their stories, ambitions, hopes and dreams in short, sharp presentations with guests. These were opportunities not only to share the impact of Pearson’s global education and the UWC movement as a whole, but also a chance to practice some of the skills about personal presentation and professional, impactful storytelling honed during the New Alumni workshops.

For Year 45s, the Capstone Week included “traditional” activities like completing the Kayak Instructor Course and volunteering at the annual Pacific Paddling Symposium hosted on the Pearson campus. Separately, students chose their preferred group activities ranging from the global Women Deliver conference to hiking the Juan de Fuca Wilderness Trail to working with the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre and local First Nations to active and critical participation in a design thinking lab in collaboration with Organize BC and the Royal British Columbia Museum.

“Year-end programming encourages students to reflect on their experience, to solve challenging problems and to further develop skills they can use to as they take on greater leadership and changemaker roles and responsibilities.” added Heather Gross, Deputy Head and Vice-President, Education and Programming.