The Four Pillars

There are many Pickering College traditions, and today I’d like to speak about perhaps one of the most prominent icons of the school; something that strikes each of us as we approach the school for the first time – the four  Pillars!

If you check out the history in the front hall, you will know that the building in which we now attend classes, Rogers House, started construction on July 3, 1908. The building was designed by John Lyle and it was his first major work. Lyle went on to become famous in Canada for his designs including the Royal Alexandra Theatre and Union Station, as well as the traditional emblems that are familiar on all Canadian coins. The school officially opened on Sept 9, 1909.

Over the years the Pillars have come to be known by two sets of names that, each in their own way, have come to symbolize the message in our Mission Statement. Today, the Pillars are known by the name given by Headmaster Harry Beer in 1975:  Faith, Freedom, Friendship and Fun. These words can be seen to represent our goals as a school:

Faith, the faith we must have in our students and our friends, the faith in the school, and the opportunity to develop a deeper, richer faith built through a compassionate approach, in the perfectibility of the human spirit.

Freedom, freedom to speak our minds, freedom to pursue the right path, and freedom to take risks to make each of us better citizens, all done in an atmosphere of respect.

Friendship, which is at the heart of establishing our beloved community, a goal for which we must always work, never taking for granted that friends are earned, not given.

And Fun, which we must always remember to encourage and seek out every day, never forgetting to do so in a responsible manner.

If one lets these be our guide to achieve our goals each day, we can make a profound contribution to our school and to our community.

Prior to 1975, the Pillars were known by different names: Wisdom, Loyalty, Kindness and Honesty. Perhaps even more than the new names, these words capture so much of the Guiding Principles and values in which we believe.

Everything we strive to be as a school – everything we hope for in our students – is expressed in the ideals of the Pillars. It is all right there, each time we walk in through the front doors.

And it is my hope, that all members of our community will reflect those words associated with the Pillars each time they walk out of the front door. It is my hope that our students learn to become great citizens of the world because they have relied on those qualities to guide their paths; and that our staff provide the model here in our community and beyond to encourage and support the growth of those values in our students and to use them in making the world a better place.

It is my hope that, at the end of the day, when one stops to take measure of their accomplishments; and the end of the year, when one stops to take stock of their growth; at the end of their career when one stops to take stock of the realization of their vision and aspirations, that those who have known this school, who have lived our values, who have sought our ideals, can say, “Yes, my life’s work and who I am reflects everything that was good about Pickering College. “

At the heart of what we do are our traditions – and the associated values – that truly allow us to grow as people and to accomplish our Mission. If we can do this our school will continue to thrive for another 172 years . . . and more, and you, our students, will become great citizens and truly learn to change the world.