-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!

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."