At St. Margaret’s School, we are focused entirely on the education, development, and well-being of girls. We provide a personalized learning experience in an environment where girls can gain confidence and discover their passions. It is also a place where girls are given the opportunity to develop roots, branch out to discover new passions and grow a network of like-minded individuals that will last a lifetime.

At the Foundation Years end of year ceremony, Deputy Head Girl, Eve Taylor, gave a moving speech that is a fantastic metaphor for what SMS truly represents to our students.

My name is Eve Taylor and I am a Grade 12 student and Deputy Head Girl here at SMS. I am extremely honored to be able to speak to you today, on your special day.

This year, I had the amazing opportunity to spend a lot of time within the Foundation Years, helping in classrooms and leading activities. Doing activities such as scavenger hunts, mask making, reading buddies and service projects has allowed both you and I to grow. I hope that I was able to provide mentorship and big sistership in a valuable way. Something that you may not know, is that I also benefited from the time I spent with you. You gave me strength, courage, and happiness, and for that I am thankful.

So, as you all move on from one grade to the next, I thought perhaps I could pass on a message that may help you think about how you are growing as a person.

I want you to take a moment to imagine your favourite tree. It may be an oak tree, maybe a cedar tree, or even the tree that fell on the grounds of SMS this winter.

Have you thought of your tree?

Each part of your tree represents a part of your growth and story. Well we are all trees in a way.

Now, I have a question for all of you. What is underground that supports a tree to help it stand? … Roots! As we grow and progress through the grades, we grow our own roots. These roots are our core values like perseverance, courage, integrity and excellence. Our values keep us grounded and hold us true to ourselves through life’s ups and downs. I know personally, that SMS has helped me define what I stand for and therefore strengthened my roots.

Now, what is the part of the tree that grows from the roots and holds the branches?… the trunk, yes! That is the stuff inside of you. SMS teaches us that it’s what is inside of you that matters. What is inside of you makes up most of who you are. Whether you’re kind, curious, or hard working, these are the characteristics that make you who you are. Just like the sap that runs out from inside a tree, these things flow through you in all your actions.

Moving onto the next part of the tree— what surrounds the trunk of the tree and protects it?… the bark! The bark of the tree protects it from harm such as insects, weather and diseases. Just like the bark protects the tree, those around us protect us each day. Whether it is your teacher, your parents or a friend, they protect, help and encourage us, and remind us of who we are.

Finally, what grows off the trunk of the tree?… the branches. Just like trees we have many branches. These branches represent new growth. Growth that comes in hundreds of shapes, sizes, and directions. Occasionally, branches will break but others will replace them soon enough. These broken branches show that sometimes we may be faced with disappointment, but this is only a small part of who we truly are, and the disappointment will only last for so long. These branches are stronger than the last ones and are what encourage the flowers to blossom.

Through the metaphor of the tree, I hope to have shown you what I believe and how I see the world. We are not all the same, and we all have imperfections, but that is what makes us beautiful and unique. Everyone can bloom, change, and grow over time and that is an amazing thing. Believe in who you are and hold strong but also be open to change. And when you need help, you can always know the SMS family around you is here to support you.

As I graduate and leave SMS tomorrow, I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to “grow as a tree” within the SMS family. Now, as you move on to Kindergarten, Grade 1, 2, 3, 4 and oh my …yes the middle years, I know that you will grow as individual trees, and create a beautiful SMS forest.