How can I not love a student who so clearly knows and understands the allure of endurance athletics? As many of you already know, Sophie is a VERY talented athlete. This is a girl who has run marathons (actually I think she completed a race of over 50 km once. A marathon is "only" 42.2!). She has competed in Gran Fondo bike races (most recently from Vancouver to Squamish). She was recently on the BC Biathlon team. She runs, she swims, she bikes, she shoots guns!!
For people who don't know what it's like to run / bike long distances, they often say (dismissively): "Cool but I'm not interested in that". What they don't realize is the dedication and toughness it takes to even train for these events. Picture a rainy Tuesday evening when you are cozied up in your bed, watching Netflix. Chances are pretty good that Sophie is out running or spinning on her bike or getting in a few more lengths in the pool. It takes REAL discipline to look outside on a cold day, feeling kind of lethargic, and say to yourself: "I may not want to, but I SAID I'd go for a 15 km run today. So I AM GOING!". In my experience, people who are able to demonstrate this kind of integrity in their athletic / fitness lives are equally powerful in ALL (or at least MOST) areas of their lives. This is one (of many) reasons that I am confident that Sophie will be very successful in whatever goals she pursues in the future.
But there's much more to Sophie than just athletics. She is also a wonderful person. She may be tired sometimes, she may feel overwhelmed some days (what grade 12 student doesn't?) but I have never seen her being anything but enthusiastic, friendly, and thoughtful. And I don't think I can even picture Sophie without a big beaming smile on her face!
It has been very interesting to watch Sophie at the district Cross-Country meets. So many competitors from so many different schools know Sophie and they all look so excited to see her (it's not hard to figure out why). Sophie always makes time to talk to everyone... and this includes the younger members of our team. It is sweet to see Sophie supporting and cheering for our grade 8 and 9 members. And it's just as satisfying to see so many other people (from all over the VSB) cheering for Sophie when she races. She has that kind of magnetic personality.
Thank-you Sophie for coming to our school (and for staying for grade 12!). Thanks for all the yummy food you have shared with me over the past two years. Thank you for all your hard work (on the athletic field and in the classroom). Thanks for your positive attitude and charming personality. You are a special person and I consider myself very lucky to have had the chance to teach - and to spend time with - you. Stay healthy and chase after your dreams!