Through the initiative of high school faculty member Scott Cowle, Mentor College embarked on an ambitious project in 2004. Mr. Cowle wanted to give our senior students (Grades 8 to 12) the opportunity to hear lectures from newsmakers on “Canada’s Place in the World Today”. That year, in the first instalment of the Speaker Series, the school welcomed Gwynne Dyer, Major-General Lewis Mackenzie, & Craig Kielburger.
Since then, the school has been proud to welcome the men and women who have helped shape Canadian identity both at home and abroad. Through the years, our students have learned valuable lessons about life from listening to first-hand stories of success and adversity from Canada's greatest thinkers, scientists. athletes, and more.
Astronaut Chris Hadfield took the audience on a journey through his past as he explained what it took to go from being a 9-year old boy dreaming of going into space to being in charge of the International Space Station. Throughout the inspirational presentation, Mr. Hadfield told the students to try to “figure out what it is you love to do, and do it.” He gave examples of some of the steps he has taken in his life to reach the goals he set out for himself. Judging from the number of people lined up to meet Chris Hadfield after his presentation, there was little doubt that this guest speaker left a strong impression on the students. He even made sure to stay long enough so that he could meet every one in line!
In October, the Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean spoke to our students about the importance of jean-weblooking around close to home to find ways we can help our fellow Canadians. In addition to serving as Canada’s Governor General from 2005 to 2010, the Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean has also worked extensively as a broadcaster. Her charity work includes championing victims of domestic violence. Currently, she is working at her appointed position of Special Envoy for Haiti.
The popular host of The Nature Of Things visited our school to speak to our Grades 8-12 students. Dr. Suzuki has written books about nature and the environment and is a long-time activist for reversing global climate change.
Olympic bobsledding gold medalist Heather Moyse visited the Main Campus for the 2017 edition of the Mentor/TEAM Speaker Series! Ms. Moyse shared the story of her unlikely road to success. Why was she unlikely to experience success at bobsledding? Heather Moyse only started bobsledding at the age of 27. Heather also represents Canada as a rugby player and track cyclist and has climbed the highest mountain in Antarctica.
Craig Kielburger, founder of Free the Children and Me to We, spoke to a captivated assembly of Grades 8-12 students and guests. He had previously presented to our students 14 years earlier as one of the first in our Speaker Series, and returned with the same passion that had this audience engaged and alert. Mr. Kielburger shared stories about what Free The Children has been doing since his first visit to the school in 2004 and about the evolution of the WE movement in South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
Canada’s first female astronaut Dr. Roberta Bondar encouraged students to constantly challenge their minds and to continue to place an emphasis on lifelong learning. Bondar continues to hold the record for the “most-degreed” person to be an astronaut and talked about her struggles as a woman in the then male-dominated field of engineering.
Canadian Paralympian and philanthropist Rick Hansen brought his positive message of perseverance to the Mentor College Main Campus. Mentor/TEAM Grades 8-12 students were in attendance as Mr. Hansen shared his powerful life story of losing his ability to walk and gaining so much more in the years following his accident. Rick Hansen’s motivational speech was eloquent and moving as he described his journey from a childhood accident that left him paralyzed, to raising $26 million in 26 months by taking his wheelchair marathon around the world.
Speaking about “Canada’s Place in the World Today” was retired General Romeo Dallaire - who told the students of his experiences as the UN commander of the peacekeeping forces in Rwanda. He shared both the good feelings he had when helping others and the helplessness he felt when he was unable to stop the genocide. Dallaire’s visit coincided with his book tour for bestseller “Shake Hands With the Devil” and followed the movie “Hotel Rwanda” in which his character played a major role.
2018/2019 – Craig Kielburger
2017/2018 – Heather Moyse
2016/2017 – George Kourounis
2015/2016 – Emmanuel Jal
2014/2015 – Chris Hadfield
2013/2014 – Rick Hansen
2012/2013 – David Suzuki
2011/2012 – Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean
2010/2011 – General Rick Hillier & Robin Wizsowaty
2009/2010 – Kim Phuc
2008/2009 – Peter Mansbridge
2006/2007 – Dr. Richard Heinzl & Dr. Samantha Nutt
2005/2006 – Stephen Lewis, Romeo Dallaire, & Roberta Bondar
2004/2005 – Gwynne Dyer, Major-General Lewis Mackenzie, & Craig Kielburger