Wake Up Lisgar

By Rusaba Alam:

Ever had those days when you can’t seem to force yourself out of bed in the morning? Just the thought of another typical school morning can make even the best of us seriously consider pulling a Ferris Bueller. But on these kinds of days, do you ever ask yourself what’s pulling you down? In between schoolwork, clubs, sports, unavoidable high school drama, and all the rest of it, do you think you might be losing sight of some of the things you should really be paying attention to? Let’s rewind back to this very morning here at Lisgar, and see if you can spot a few of these little things. Bleary-eyed, you come trudging in off the downtown streets. You come bearing musical instruments or oversized gym bags, and sometimes both. You come armed with cups full of caffeine. You come alone or in groups, silent or chatting away with friends. You come into these halls, each one of you totally unique, but passing by the same grey stone walls. You are, all of you, Lisgar in the flesh and blood.

If you wait long enough, you’ll hear the first bell ring and see the sudden rush of students in the hallways. You’ll have to be careful around this time of day so that you don’t accidentally run into a music student carrying a double bass through the halls after orchestra, or a disgruntled language student with an armful of books, or perhaps a straggler hurrying to get to class before the second bell. This clamour, too, will die down as classes begin and the hallways empty out. Now is your chance: have a walk down Lisgar’s Memorial Hall, and listen very, very closely. In the quiet, you may be able to hear the names on the walls whispering their stories…

Stepping into one of the classrooms, however, will bring you straight back to 2011 and into the unforgiving present. Here, see the overhead projector switched on, the room darkened, and the student strategically catching up on missed sleep in the back row? The scene is nothing new. But you, Lisgarites, even as you struggle to stay awake through math class (English class, law class, chemistry class—you fill in the blank), even then, you’re just steps away from a city that is very much awake and very much alive.

Perhaps you’ll notice that brick upon brick of Ottawa history starts right here at our own wooden doors. Perhaps you’ll walk down Elgin on your lunch break to hear the downtown traffic and the bells ringing on bakery doors. Perhaps you’ll go down to the canal and see the vivid autumn leaves drifting down, lighting the pathways, the sky, and the water itself on fire. The season might be burning to a close, but it’s as good a time as any to open your eyes to the new perspectives, the possibilities, and the beauty that surround even your everyday life.

Now, fast-forward back to the present. When the alarm goes off tomorrow morning, what will go through your head? Wake up, Lisgar; it’s going to be a beautiful day.