HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL HUMANS OF MONARCH PARK COLLEGIATE (MPC) PAGE WHERE WE CATALOGUE WHAT GOES ON HERE AT OUR SCHOOL. WE CAPTURE THINGS LIKE INSPIRATIONAL STORIES, FAVOURITE QUOTEs OR RANDOM THOUGHTs AND PAIR IT WITH A VISUAL. ALTOGETHER, YOU GET AN INSIDE SCOOP OF WHAT OUR SCHOOL COMMUNITY IS LIKE!
-The Humans of MPC Team :)
I am very scared of the future. And as a grade 12, it's even scarier. I don't like time moving forward, people moving forward and leaving me behind. I don't like the thought of me being separated or "unique" from the cohort. Although these are aspects of life i am scared of, i am lucky and grateful that i have the opportunity to be scared if that makes sense [haha]. Although i'm scared of the future, i'd still like to strive for it!
When I was a little boy, I was encouraged by my family to be either a doctor, or a lawyer, or an engineer. The older I became, the more I did not resonate with those aspirations. Something inside of me said that there was something else more important to me. I decided that I was not going to follow the money, I was going to follow my passion. The rewards that I have experienced by following my passion have been utterly amazing to me. It is really simple. If you want your life to change, you have to change. If you want your life to get better, you have to get better. Expecting different results by doing the same thing over and over again does not make sense to me. If you are constantly improving on who you are and what you give, game over! How does a person become happy and stay happy? I have learned that progress equals happiness. Even if you are nowhere where you want to be, improving yourself each and every day and making progress will bring you tremendous satisfaction and happiness. When setting a goal, you must set up a commitment to fulfilling that goal. You need to follow through. Align your life with what is most important to you. Once you are aligned, you will have positioned yourself to take action. As you just go for it, nothing will pull you away. Progress comes when you tell yourself the truth and you are able to feel the uncertainty and take action anyway. What stops some people is fear. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of the unknown. This fear can translate to uncertainty. When I look at a person who is incredibly successful, a person who is truly a leader in their line or in their field, the one thing that they have in common is that they exclude this sense of certainty. Where does that come from? Is it innate? Are they lucky? Are things just going their way? I believe great leaders know how to bring certainty to any situation. Life does not control us. We control our life. Whatever we focus on tremendously effects how we feel whether we are thriving or surviving. If we focus on things that we cannot control, if we focus on yesterday, if we focus on what is missing in our lives, this habit can eventually make anybody feel frustrated, unmotivated and uninspired. What we must do is focus on what we can control. Focus on the difference you can make. Ultimately, I believe life happens for us, not to us. Life gives us all that we can handle. Greatness is our brithright.
At the beginning of grade nine, I was looking to become involved in the school community; however, it was important to me that my work be meaningful and impactful where I could have a positive influence on others. One day, I heard on the announcements that whoever wanted to participate in various initiatives in the school while earning volunteer hours should go to room 114 at lunch. Having known nothing about this organization (the Independent Living Program), I went to the room at lunch to see what it was all about. That’s where I met Jenn Martone, one of the teachers in the Independent Living Program. Jenn suggested a few activities that might interest me. A couple of these activities being playing board games with the students and assisting Johnny, one of the students in the program, in the café. From then on, I have consistently been involved in the program and have met so many lovely teachers and students. I no longer go for the hours. Even if I didn’t get hours, I still would be contributing and helping as I feel that my work with them is appreciated and valued. It appears to me that the students always look forward to seeing me, as I do them. The weeks that I am unable to go, I get the impression that they have missed me and are happy to see me again. In a way, I feel that this group has become a second family, where they seem to care for me as I do for them and they inspire me. I will continue to be involved in this program this year and will be running my own club there, so anyone who is interested in becoming involved in this great program should come by room 114. See you there!
Imagine spending your 16th birthday, an event made by society to be a glamorous filled with laughter, friends, presents, and cake, prepping for a surgery with an unknown outcome. Approaching the two-year date since my diagnosis with an incurable illness, I find myself reflecting a lot on what I have learned and how I have grown as a person. Everyone has heard the saying “nothing comes easy in life”, but until this bump in the road, I really could never say I truly lived it. I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a household with a loving family who supports me in every way possible. We all go through life encountering unique challenges whereby we learn lessons in various ways. It just so happens that getting sick was my way of realizing a few things. I have grown to not stress about the small things in life such as getting a 99% on a test because in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. I’m sure everyone has heard this before, but I have grown up a perfectionist who would worry about stupid things such as this. However, while being sick, all my energy was put into living day by day since my body was in what I like to call “reserve mode”. My stress levels have dramatically dropped since being at my worst and although I do get riled up about tests, I find myself approaching them differently. I still have high expectations, but my way of fulfilling them is different. Everything has changed to be honest and I’m not saying that we all need to get sick in order to change how we live, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Two years later I see part of the picture and still have questions. I still remain frustrated as to why I am being forced to rebuild all my 15 years of lost dancer muscle mass and stamina, but I believe that one day I will understand why. Sure I’m a few steps behind compared to where I was before, but I don’t ever wish I had not gone through this. So many good things come from the most unexpected places.
He’s such a sweetheart, but he can be a little strict. He isn’t a big city kind of guy, so he lives in the countryside. My uncles, on the other hand, are city people. They have jobs and families, but they forget about him sometimes. I called him on his birthday and he said, “none of my children called but you did.” When we go back home, he moves to the city just for us. During all of my childhood years, I remember him being present. He taught me to cover my mouth when I yawn, or else it’s considered rude. He taught me to always be kind, even to those who aren’t. And he never stops talking about his war stories. I always listen with the biggest smile on my face. I mean, I only get so much time with him. Sometimes, though, I get occupied and I forget to call him. I’m so occupied with getting older, I forget he’s getting older too. But if I call him right now he’ll say he’s sitting in his garden and he can’t wait until I see all the flowers that he has planted. And I can’t wait!
Three months ago we moved to Toronto from Ottawa. I had always wanted to move, I’ve always asked “when are we going to move?” I think it’s fair to say that I didn’t understand how much work moving is. We’ve been working on this move since Christmas day last year when we started the process by going through the stuff we had hoarded for 15 years. Even though we have moved, I think the move won’t truly end until Christmas this year. I expect however that the cat will take a little longer to adjust; she has been the most frazzled by this move. Despite being one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, the move is extraordinarily positive. I love Toronto. There’s something comforting about living in a big city, waking up at 3am to some random person screaming in the back alley, you’re never alone. I also love the streetcars. Ever since I was little the best of day has involved a good streetcar ride, and now I get to take one to school everyday! When I sit on my couch I can feel the streetcars rumble by, and nothing really makes me happier. Moving halfway through high school, and starting IB in a completely different place is a challenge, but it is going well. Monarch is an extremely friendly school, and I don’t think the school change could have gone better. An interesting thought that has been trickling through my mind is how small of a move this was. I only moved 4 hours away. I now have far more respect for people who have moved halfway across the world, and for people who move every few years. Overall, I do miss Ottawa. I miss familiarity, I miss not having to introduce myself to everybody, I miss being sure of myself, but I definitely don’t miss Ottawa winters, and three hours of bus commuting everyday!
When my brother went off to university, the first weeks of September were hard for me. I would call him there and start to cry and say, 'Dante, I want you home right now.' Dante went to university in Waterloo. When my parents and I went to say hi to him and have lunch at the local restauarnt, I'll admit, I ate too much and had indigestion, because I missed my brother. On the way back I swear I slept for an hour and a half. Back in Toronto, my uncle had some good words of wisdom for me (although I'm pretty sure he was being sarcastic): 'It's not like he's going off to war. He's gonna come back pretty soon. And pretty soon after that you'll be sick of him again.
Now it's October and I feel much better. Dante has already come home for a visit once. And for Thanksgiving we went to Windsor together to have dinner with our relatives. When Dante went off to university, my mom didn't expect him to come home to visit. On the other hand, my dad expected him to come home every weekend. Ironically, it was the weekend my dad was away in Ottawa for a soccer tournament that my brother came home. I was so happy to see him. Even though he picked on me, I know he meant well. He's grown up so much in the first two months of university. Almost too much.
"When I was struggling with my own sexuality, I felt like I didn’t have anyone to talk about it with and I had to turn to the internet and social media like Tumblr, which felt very detached because everyone was behind a screen and I couldn’t connect names to faces. Once I had figured out who I was, I needed a project for school, so I figured doing something like QSA to potentially help others using a more human connection to help people discover their identity and build a more prevalent community [at MPCI] would be great! "
Q: "So why don’t you tell us a bit about what QSA’s objectives are here at Monarch?"
A: "Basically we’re just a safe-space for anyone within the LGBTQIA+ community, we just want a place where students feel free to express themselves and just come and hangout with people of similar interests and ideas. We want to start planning initiatives to do some work so that our community is more prevalent within our school. We want to start letting other students know that we’re here and we exist and we’re proud of who we are."
Art has always been a huge part of my life. When I was younger, I’d often go to the AGO (mainly for the café and gift shop) and look up at the paintings, totally awestruck. I would think to myself, “Gosh, are you sure this was done by an actual person?” I mean, I was so dead set on the idea that nothing I could ever conjure up would compare to, say, The Group of Seven, that I went out of my way to hate everything I created. It wasn’t until around the summer of sixth grade that I figured out the real catalyst of a good piece: emotion. My life is full of ups and downs (I mean, isn’t everybody’s?), but my paintings make them far easier to cope with. When I’m painting, if feels as if the whole world has come to a stop, as if my problems and anxieties are weightless and drift away with every stroke. And really, my favourite part of it all is that I’m creating something beautiful out of my own inspiration and struggles, and that I can look back on how far I’ve come, not only as an artist, but as a person too.
When my friends find out that I work at MPC and that it takes me pretty much one hour to get to work in the morning and one hour to get home in the evening, they say things like: "Wow, that drive must be gruesome, you must hate it!". Of course then I also get, "Why don't you move to a school closer to home?"...Well, why don't I? Do I hate the drive? You want the truth? I don't hate the drive and I don't want to work closer to home. I want to work at MPC.
Instead of stressing out about all of the traffic I encounter, I enjoy listening to the radio. I concentrate on the beautiful things I encounter on my drive, such as a great view of Lake Ontario. Some mornings the sun is shimmering on the water, while sometimes there is steam rising off of it. In the winter time I enjoy looking at the snow on roof tops and trees.
I have started to view my time driving as "me" time. I haven't always felt this way about my drive and I don't know when my focus shifted from feeling stressed about traffic to enjoying the experiences along the way...I'm just glad that it did!
We started this club with the intention of spreading stories and inspirational wisdom to the students of Monarch Park. Here is what this club meant to some of us and some other final words of wisdom before the end of this school year.
Becoming a member of this group made me think that my job would be one sided. I thought my responsibility would be to help produce other peoples' posts. But boy was I wrong. Being a member of this group has allowed me to share a story that has shaped my life in so many ways. I hope that my positive experience in sharing a story is how other members of Monarch feel and will continue to feel as this club continues on after I graduate.
The moments you share, the things you see, the stories you tell, give us your key.
We are unified not as just races but as human beings, sharing stories from all different walks of like and from all different kinds of people is what strengthens our bonds to the people around us. A way to share, be free, empower and stay connected , that is what Humans of Monarch Park is.
Humans of Monarch Park is a fantastic way to get to know your peers and teachers and friends in a unique intimate and artistic way.
Work in silence, let success be your noise.
This club is a unique and creative way to allow the voices of the students to be heard.
I had a great time being part of this club this year. It makes me feel happy that I get to be part of something, contributing to the community and making a difference. "Have Courage, and be kind"- Disney Cinderella
It’s not what your school can do for you, but what you can do for the school.
I have very much enjoyed being a part of Humans of Monarch Park this year and I look forward to leading next year!
As far as I’m concerned, this club exists to unify MPC, to show the diversity and community in the school. It’s not just about sharing people’s struggles and life stories; it’s about finding their humanity, what makes them unique, what makes them tick. Also, I do hope you stay classy MPC because we need more interesting people to share their interesting stories in the future!