“It takes a village to raise a child” is one of those very common sayings that somehow manages to avoid being trite. I suspect that is because it is picturesque and it appeals to our most generous selves.

I began to write an appreciation and thank you to everyone involved in the STEM Conference, using the village saying as a parallel to illustrate “it takes a community to put on a conference.” I believe there were over 315 young people here on Friday (including 144 of our own) from all over Victoria, from Duncan, the Mainland – and even a group from Montreal. They were treated to a day that went flawlessly. Even the weather co-operated!

The speakers were wonderful: more importantly, they were timely; they were relevant; they had important messages, and they did not speak down to their audience. The students were challenged from beginning to end, not aggressively, but with optimism that this generation has the ability and the willingness to tackle problems that can seem overwhelming.

Sage Food, our caterers, did an outstanding job of feeding the masses, in three separate stations around the campus. Not only that, they made and generously donated the delicious hors d’oeuvres that graced the inspiring Trashion Show on Thursday night.

There were volunteers everywhere: staff, parents, students worked both during, and before and after, the event. The Maintenance, IT and External Relations departments were all there, making sure nothing fell between the cracks, as they are always there for our public events. A core group worked tirelessly on the organizing committee for months before the event. And Lauren Hudson led the committee – and the charge – with enthusiasm, diligence and effectiveness.

As anyone with experience in such events will tell you, the more smoothly the occasion goes, the more work and care went into its organization beforehand. Friday’s conference was a huge success for that very reason – and its greatest success was perhaps that it was a joyful day, free of tension: the mechanics were so smooth, they never intruded, but rather allowed the participants to be at their best.

To all involved, congratulations – and a huge thank you!

And now, I want to get back to my village image. I said above “I began to write an appreciation”. I did that because, when I wrote the opening, I had an aha moment and the article morphed into something more. For some time now, I have grappled with the unique identity that is the basis of the SMS magic. I think I have found it.

St. Margaret’s IS a village – in so many ways, and that is not something you can say about many schools. But that is for another day.