As our graduates took their spots on stage at convocation, Mr. Parker introduced them, making special note of the class’ shared diversity and talent: “This year’s cohort,” he began, “represents the cultures of the world, but they too are budding politicians, accomplished opera singers, artists, hip hop dancers, musicians, philanthropists, actors, models, scientists and cadets…”
It’s true, and what should be dually celebrated is that our graduates are not just dancers or just philanthropists: any one of our 34 graduates is an ever-evolving combination of character and traits. We have dancing, philanthropic scientists. We have marching, singing mathematicians.
Richard Laurie ’17 is no exception. Upon first glance, you might describe him as an artistic, academic athlete; however, like his peers, there’s much more to him than that. Already, Richard has plans to delve into astronomy, study psychology, and see where else his passions take him as he heads off to university in the fall.
Richard, the athlete.
To meet someone who wants to train five times per week, coming home close to midnight some days… well, you’ve met someone who has found their passion. For Richard, that passion is water polo.
He got started in water polo when he young. “I was in a swimming club,” he jokes, “and I realized water polo would be a lot more active than just swimming back-and-forth, back-and-forth.” So, he made the switch and has been at it ever since.
Water polo has taken Richard around the world: he’s travelled across Canada, into the United States, and to continents away. This last summer he travelled to Serbia to train with Team Canada; and, in the fall, he’ll be back east to assume his position on the Varsity Water Polo team at the University of Toronto.
Water polo was actually the priority in his university search, and how he decided upon the University of Toronto for his undergraduate degree. After visiting the school, meeting with the coaches, and getting to know the area, he knew it was the right fit.
Richard, the artist.
The art program at Meadowridge isn’t a passive, get-it-over-with-and-move-along type of course: students are wholly involved. They paint, draw, mold, sculpt, design, and critique. At the end of the two-year course, students present a selection of their works at the Grad Art Exhibition.
“It was a challenge at first,” Richard admits of the exhibition, “but once I found something I enjoyed—a topic or medium—I went into it much easier.” The night of the Exhibition, Richard had curated six collections, with a total of 12 pieces; included in the selection was pottery, ceramics, pastels, digital print, as well as his favourite medium, photography.
“I enjoyed the showcase,” Richard explains. “I actually enjoyed talking to people, and answering their questions. It was fun.”
Richard, the academic.
On top of playing competitive water polo and designing works of art, Richard was also in the notoriously-tough final two years at Meadowridge. “It was challenging,” Richard agrees, “but it was also entertaining and fun—you’re all going through the same thing together.” And while the IB may have been challenging, it’s that challenge which Richard credits for preparing him for what’s next: university.
Following graduation, Richard has a lot to look forward to. For starters, some free time. “It’s been busy, and there hasn’t been a moment where I haven’t been doing something,” he says, “this will be the first time I won’t be doing something.” Of course, this free time is quickly filling up.
Richard finally has time to explore his interests and develop new passions. He has always wanted to play an instrument, so he’s planning on picking up the guitar or piano. As he gears up to start university he looks forward to settling into his classes, meeting new people, and gaining newfound independence, he is sure to find it. As Richard puts it, “who knows what’s next?”