On November 15th, the gym at Heritage Woods was filled with a sea of maroon. Every student, staff, and guest wore a “We are Kodiaks” t-shirt to celebrate the community and to show our school pride. To kick start the assembly, we had guest speaker Dave Jonsson come in to talk about his life-changing story.

His story started on August 18th, 2007, when Dave, and his good friend Guoni, who had his pilot’s license, decided to spend the day flying a Cessna 172 in BC. It was a beautiful day when they decided to fly through the valley of the Indian Arm on their way to Squamish. Once they came around a bend in the valley they saw a set of clouds. At this point, Guoni decided it would be best to turn around: they decided to go into a neighbouring valley to reach Squamish, but it soon became apparent that this was not a great decision. As they entered the valley it became very narrow and the mountains escalated quickly. They had two options: either turn around, which would be difficult in such a narrow valley, or they try and ascend fast enough to get above the mountains. They tried to climb to get high enough to clear the mountains, but they quickly realized that they were too heavy with the plane loaded at max capacity. In a second attempt, Guoni slowed the plane down to try and turn the plane around. As soon as he did, the plane stalled, the nose of the plane dipped, and the plane crashed into the trees.

Image of Dave Jonsson
Photo by Don Blake

This plane crash changed Dave Jonsson’s life forever. To his great dismay, his friend Guoni had died and his own leg was snapped in half, breaking his femur. What haunted him was not the fact that his best friend had just died or the fact of their uncertain rescue, but it was the deep regret that he had felt during the moment of peril. He reflected and recognized that he had been an angry, bitter and self-centered person. He became self-aware: he knew he had to change his attitude towards this second chance at life. As he shares his story, he shares the message that “simple acts of love can be incredibly impactful on people’s lives and therefore are supremely important.” His story had the ability to grip the attention of students and have fun with them in the process. His message is simple “Love one another, for in doing so, we find our life purpose as human beings.”

Photo by Don Blake

After Dave’s story, Heritage dance students showed off a routine with cardboard cutouts with the vice principals and principal’s faces on them. To people’s surprise, after the students danced, the teachers had a go at their own dance. This got the crowd going, with people cheering on their favourite teachers. Principal Todd Clerkson then brought out a new addition to the Spirit Assembly, a t-shirt cannon. Socks were shot out into the crowd and caught by excited students. Members of the student council were then introduced —them having organized the Spirit Assembly— to the crowd. This assembly showed off school spirit and will hopefully inspire more to come in the future.

We are Kodiaks!

Written by Abbie Collett

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