Failure is in Our DNA
Alan McInnes
Drew Stephens - Head of School

“27th Time Lucky for Southridge?” read the headline in the Peace Arch News on March 25, 1995. Most of our current Southridge families probably don’t realize that our school almost never got off the ground.

When our founding parents began to think about providing an educational option for families in South Surrey/White Rock back in 1993, the idea was not well received. Our team of committed parents went to Surrey city council with their proposal time and time again. Every time they presented their proposal for a new independent school starting in Grandview Heights area, council voted them down.

On the eve of going to council for the 27th time (!), one of our parents expressed the sentiment of the Southridge team, “We don’t see how we could go through this again. Every time we fail, we have to make a complete new start.” Every time a proposed development site was turned down an entirely new site needed to be identified, and a completely new proposal needed to be developed.

In a period of roughly 18 months, Southridge went to council 27 times, which means our founding parents relentlessly pursued their goal (it was a dream, really) at a pace in excess of one council meeting per month. They failed 26 times before finally gaining city approval, which was ultimately decided by a differential of just one vote.

I am very thankful, as I am sure you are as well, that our parents didn’t give up. I am grateful for their commitment, their resolve, their dedication and their perseverance, but I am most thankful for the example they set for our community of learners.

In an age filled with heightened anxiety around the notion of failing, I think it is absolutely wonderful that the founding of our school is steeped in a story that demonstrates how the realization of a dream truly plays out – not as a yellow brick road of achievement filled with success after success, but as an undulating passage of ascent met with obstacles, hazards and failures . . . and countless opportunities to learn and grow.

Indeed, failure is in our DNA, and I am truly proud it is a vital part of our humble heritage.

Have a wonderful week!

Drew Stephens
Head of School

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