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October 15, 2015

To Whom it May Concern:

Re: Mackenzie Ross

I am writing in support of Mackenzies application to take part in Students on Ice. I taught


Mackenzie in both grade ten and grade twelve, in semester long environmental leadership
programs. These are multi-credit interdisciplinary experiential programs in which a class of
twenty-four students spends a semester together in an off campus setting. This allowed me to
observe Mackenzie a wide range of situations and circumstances.
The purpose of these programs is to educate students about environmental concerns,
encouraging them to explore their own values and capacities in order to become active
citizens in their various communities. Developing wisdom about community building,
including skill in effective communication and conflict resolution is an important aspect. As
well, students are given the opportunity to take on significant responsibility within the
program.
As I think of what I can say to try to convey some of what I see in Mackenzie, deep respect
for others and for the earth comes to mind. Also, and perhaps growing out of this, she has a
capacity to perceive and make space for complexity in her relationships with others and in her
developing understanding the world.
Mackenzie has a strong sense of responsibility and work ethic, a vision of the potential for
excellence, and outstanding organizational skills. Each of these was clearly demonstrated
when, during her grade 12 semester she was also preparing to compete in an International
Baton Competition held in Europe. In the weeks leading up to this, she balanced her baton
commitments, including a very demanding practice schedule ending with a two week absence
for the competition, with the rigors of her school program, including some major assignments
and a seven day winter wilderness trip. Mackenzie came on the wilderness trip and
completed all the work that would become due while she was overseas with excellence. In
this she demonstrated impressive self discipline and independence.
Selecting activism as a special interest group, Mackenzie, along with two other students,
chose to promote the Suzuki Foundations Blue Dot program in Guelph. Mackenzie brought
to this project the strengths of deep respect, dedication and a capacity to organize, acting as a
strong and inclusive leader. A crowning moment in my memory was on the evening that the
group presented their proposal that the city of Guelph adopt the Blue Dot principles to a
meeting of councillors at Guelph City Hall. When a challenging question was posed to them
Mackenzie took the initiative to answer. Her answer had quiet authority and power. It was
very articulate, and well developed, and met the complexity of the issue with clarity. This was
evidence of the depth of her understanding, her courage and her capacity to maintain poise
under duress. When she finished speaking, the feeling of respect for her capacity was
palpable in the room.

In my fifteen years of teaching in this program, Mackenzie stands out as a student of unusual
strength of integrity, capacity for leadership and imaginative concern about the well being of
our planet. I highly recommend her as a worthy participant in Students on Ice. During the
program, she will enrich the community around her, and I have no doubt that she will return
the investment made in her many times over in the form of offerings of various kinds to the
world.
Yours sincerely,
Janet Dalziel
Teacher
Celp/Headwaters Environmental Leadership Program
janet.dalziel@ugdsb.on.ca