My wife and I are full-time professionals who work and live in the Vancouver area. We wanted our children to go to an independent/private elementary school. Having attended both independent and public schools during my youth, I developed a preference for independent schools because of the structure, discipline and teaching. Plus the uniforms are nice.
All parents want the best for their children. But I admit that what’s ‘best’ is a very subjective matter. Is it better to place pre-adolescent children in a highly academic and competitive environment thinking that a rigorous academic curriculum will help them better prepare for the inevitable rat-race of life? Or is it better for children of elementary school age to revel in the simple joy and innocence of early childhood, progressing comfortably and naturally in mind, body and spirit?
When our oldest boy was coming of Kindergarten age, we contemplated several Vancouver independent and private schools. However, we ultimately decided to eschew the ‘obvious’ choices – the large, West-side schools with the big reputation. Instead, we decided to put him at ICS.
You see, I went to ICS when I was a kid. It was the Fall of ‘77 when I entered Grade 1 at ICS, having just immigrated to Canada. I was a very introverted child, full of insecurities and anxieties. But life is a journey, and fortunately, I was able to overcome those fears. Looking back upon those years, I credit ICS for playing an invaluable role in shaping my adolescence and helping me to conquer my feelings of inadequacy.
Mutual respect. Responsibility. Accountability. Empathy. Community. Those were the key values that were instilled in me when I was a student at ICS. At ICS, we were encouraged to love and respect one another and to always strive to be better human beings. As a Catholic, I appreciated having those fundamental values instilled in me through the prism of my Christian faith. My favourite teacher was Mr. Jang, who inspired my creative instincts. He was a great role model – a humble, generous and brilliant man. I will always cherish my years at ICS.
I am happy to see that ICS today is still what it was back when I was a student. It is still the same little blue school with a big heart and great teachers. The underdog of the West-side that punches above its weight, ICS still manages to promote discipline and academic excellence within the framework of the school’s core values and mantra – “growth in knowledge, love of God and service to others”.
And the school is still fun! Halloween, the Christmas Fair and Sports Day, to name a few of the many yearly events. Each December, we look forward to the annual Christimas Paraliturgy where parents, students and teachers all come together to pray, sing and witness the Nativity pageant so adorably re-enacted by the Grade Ones. We also appreciate that ICS has a strong Speech Arts Program, which children can choose to recite prose and poetry as early as Grade One. It encourages the kids to be comfortable with their own voice and to speak confidently in public – a very important life skill.
Another reason why we decided on ICS is the school’s principal. We were very impressed with Ms. Colette Foran, who also happens to be an ICS alumnus. She is smart, tireless, dedicated and genuinely concerned about the welfare of every student. I know of no other school principal who would send an individual hand-written postcard to each and every student during her summer vacation. But that is exactly what Ms. Foran did!
ICS is a big part of our family life. We are truly thankful and blessed to be a part of the ICS Community.