I remember vividly the first interaction I had with Nikolina. She was in grade 8 and I did not know her at all (did not teach her and had never talked to her). I arrived on my bike early one morning and pushed the button for the elevator. As I was waiting, I turned and saw, sitting about 20 feet away, a student who I thought I taught (I can't remember who I thought it was). "Hey there!" I said, and then immediately realized that this was NOT someone I taught (or knew). It was actually Nikolina. My first thought was: "Oh gosh. So awkward. Hurry up elevator!". But Nikolina looked up (I think she was studying or something), flashed a beautiful smile, and very naturally called out: "Good morning. How are you this morning?".
I am sure that Nikolina does not remember this, but I have never forgotten how warm and composed Nikolina was in that moment... and with someone that she didn't even know! They say that first impressions tell you a lot about someone and I believe that this one with Nikolina said a lot about the sort of person she is. Since I've gotten to know her (I taught her in grades 10, 11, and 12) Nikolina has never been anything but personable and kind and considerate with me... just like in that first interaction.
More memories of Nikolina:
- Nikolina came on the France trip with Ms. E and myself. Needless to say, that led to more memories than I can possibly relate here. It was so much fun hanging out with Nikolina for a whole week. She was always so enthusiastic and positive about EVERYTHING we did and saw. Truly a great travelling companion!
- I DO have to share one memory from the trip however: we were travelling from Nice to Frankfurt and had just boarded the plane, preparing for take-off, when Nikolina decided that she had lost her passport. She kind of panicked a little bit. I tried to reassure her that she had just shown it while boarding- it must be on her person SOMEWHERE... but she was having none of it. She was unbelting herself, pulling bags down, ranting and raving (a little). Then the flight attendant had to instruct her to sit down a couple of times. It was all rather amusing (but not for poor Nikolina). Of course, once we got in the air and she took another look she found the passport but I think those were the worst 10 minutes of Nikolina's trip.
- Last summer I was driving through Yaletown and came to a red light. I saw this guy walking across the crosswalk do a total double-take at someone going the other way. I took a look (SORRY! I was curious!!) and it was Nikolina!! hahaha!! Never told you that story, Nikolina. So funny! You looked like you were on the way to the gym or something.
- Nikolina regales me with stories of her families Slava. As many of you know this is the day when Serbs celebrate their family's patron saint. And it sounds like this involves A LOT of food. Nikolina always informs me of the incredible amount of work her mother puts into preparing this yearly feast. It sounds pretty darn amazing!
- Speaking of her family, Nikolina is obviously a real family-centred girl. Whether it's the fondness with which she speaks of her parents (her imitations of her dad and his track suits is equal parts sweet and hilarious), the many (MANY!!) Skype sessions home while in France, or the protective way she speaks of her sister, Nikolina displays great affection for her family. People who aren't afraid to show their love for their family!!! YEAH!!! I'm a BIG fan of that!!
- Nikolina is incredibly motivated and hard-working. At times, she has found Math hard (who doesn't?) but her work-ethic has never wavered. She does the work, she sees me for help, she studies hard (and when necessary, she aces the retests). What a great student! Follow her model to success, grade 8's!!