Alisa Husain, Class of 2019, is the most recent recipient of the Book of Excellence which is a recognition given to any student at Woodstock with extraordinary achievements and contributions to the community. Husain’s name was added to the book during the end of the last academic year, among other capable students who have received this honor over the years.
The first thought that occurred to Husain when Dr. Jonathan Long, principal, announced that her name was nominated for the Book of Excellence was: “I absolutely cannot go up to the stage in my slippers.” Nonetheless, she did; proud yet overwhelmed.
Husain had designed the symbols for the Guiding Principles and helped to intensify their effectiveness.
The Guiding Principles and their symbols are:
Seeking well-being: Husain portrays this with a pomegranate, an adequate symbol as it represents both the one and the many, as Woodstock encourages students to be individuals with regards to the whole community’s well-being.
Treading lightly on the earth: Husain, with a simple yet humble fern, urges us to conserve and regenerate the natural environment we inhabit. The delicacy of the fern shows the significance of preserving the cosmos.
Valuing compassion: Husain chose the lotus to represent this principle as in the East, the lotus symbolizes compassion.
Eliciting greatness: The acorn that Husain chose to represent this principle has the potential to become a great oak tree. However, this greatness cannot emerge without the optimal conditions for growth. Woodstock provides students with that optimal condition for growth and development.
Pursuing Wholeness: Husain represents pursuing wholeness with a small part of a larger tree. In the Guiding Principles, one can see the journey of the seed to a tree, which is an interesting pattern that guides us through our own journeys and reminds us the importance of each step along the way.
The world happens to be a dull place without the colors of the lotus that signify the worth of compassion. That is just as important as the delicate fern that teaches people to tread lightly on the Earth that has done so much for us.
The person that Husain gives the most credit for her accomplishment is Ms. Amy Seefeldt, director of the Centre for Imagination. “She is that one teacher who would always, always look out for you. Throughout it all, she [gave] me worthwhile advice and constructive criticism. She also [gave] me that one very important push towards the right direction,” Husain said.
Her roommate said that their room was an utter mess throughout the week when Husain spent time designing the symbols. But that untidy room stands witness to many fun memories that Husain made during the process.
One of them was when Husain spent hours trying to figure out what pomegranates look like until one of her friends, Emma Karas, walked into the room, eating a pomegranate. Husain made her sit with the pomegranate in her hand, motionless, until she finished drawing it.
Husain’s journey at Woodstock has almost reached its end, as she will be graduating in less than a year. But as the students, teachers, and now even the Book of Excellence can testify, she has been successful in both eliciting and achieving greatness.
Photo by Knema Gardner
Edited by Janvi Poddar