39 Reasons: Reason#6 Fierce


Chairs upside down on tables and the vacuum steadily humming in the background, it’s hard to believe but there’s a noticeable silence after the heat shuts off at 4:00pm

She came in a frumpy mess, head down, glasses squished into the bridge of her button nose

With her mouth pushed up against her coat, she mumbles  

“She told me I would never go to UBC”

Grade 9, devastated with the news, the news that felt so matter-of-fact and definite

Her goals to work with children became quieter

She stopped answering questions about “what do you want to do after you graduate?” with excitement and certainty

But those who knew her, knew that her goal was brewing and even more fierce than before

She honed her values, her commitment to learn, her love of challenging topics, and by choosing a pathway less-direct, she got in

She made a choice to carve her own path – and in this path she was determined and excited

She took control of what she could, and when I offered volunteer and leadership opportunities, she took every single one and confirmed her love for working with children

Toppling her again and proving the statement she heard in Grade 9, she failed Grade 10 Math

She shared the news long after she had received it, discouraged and defeated, her face was even lower and her bright-eyes were lost inside her sad face

“She was right, I am more suited to an easier employment track”

The person that she is, thoughtful, reflective and determined, she couldn’t accept this as a fact and the more she said it, the less she believed it  

She decided to start at Langara, where she fulfilled her craving for knowledge and post-secondary rigour and before she knew it she transitioned to UBC  

She had arrived and earned every moment of this experience, but never forgetting the power of those 8 words that derailed her process and value that hard work could pay off

She understood the power of words

Today, she walks with her head held high

She sits across from me with her palms wrapped around her tea cup as if she were holding the world in her embrace

She talks to me about how the kids rush in after school help take the chairs off the tables, make a circle and prepare to be led by her

She reminds them what is possible and she models the power of voice, presence, and persistence

She is now an adult role model who knows her power as the keeper of success as she sets expectations and possibility for young people in her life

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