Let the fun begin – In-Depth #1

I can affirmatively say that In-Depth last year was the highlight of my year. I spent five months learning how to mountain bike, something that I’d always wanted to do. My time spent working on my project felt very different from other schooling, I found that I was always in the mood to go mountain biking and never did it seem like something I “had” to do. I believe this was because of my choice of topic, mountain biking truly was something I had always wanted to do, long before I knew about the In-Depth project.


This year, I set myself a few goals when choosing a topic so that I could have as much success with my In-Depth project as I did last year. The first was, to make a choice without thinking of the end goal. I believe if I choose the topic based on the product, the experience won’t be the same. In-Depth night is far away; I’ll decide how I’m going to present my project when it draws closer. Secondly, to make a choice based on what I find interesting and fun, not on what others think, not on what I think will get me the best grade, but purely on what I think I will enjoy the most. I find that if I choose something that I find interesting, I will spend more time on it and in the end, get more out of the project.


After following my previously mentioned guidelines, I chose sports cinematography as my topic. As I said above, I chose mountain biking as my topic last year and decided to document it through video. I really enjoyed recording shots of myself and creating short “films” with the clips. This year, I’d like to expand on what I very briefly started to do last year and by the end of my project, be able to create short action videos of others mountain biking. I’d like to learn how to use different video effects such as slow motion, as well as basic cinematography effects such as different uses of lighting and angles. To see an example of a professionally made mountain biking film, click here.


The least successful part of my In-Depth project last year was my relationship with my mentor. I was not quick enough in finding a mentor and when I did, I didn’t meet up with him enough. After that, other circumstances seemed to get in the way of our frequent meetings. This year, I hope to improve that and have already reached out to three possible mentors. As of this moment, one has said he is unable to be a mentor due to the fact that he is moving to New Zealand and the other two have not emailed me back yet. One of my possible mentors is named Matt Dennison and runs a Vancouver-based YouTube channel specializing in mountain biking films as well as vlogs. If you’d like to visit his channel, click here (Please be aware some videos do contain coarse language). My other possible mentor is a Vancouver-based mountain bike photographer, Sterling Lorence has produced some amazing and well-known shots in the last ten years. I realize that photography and cinematography are quite different but I’m sure that many of the techniques overlap. (You can see Mr. Lorence’s website here) I would be very grateful to have either of these amazing producers as my mentor.


I have very high hopes for my In-Depth project this year, due to the fact that last years was such a huge success. However cheesy it may sound, my main goal for this year’s project is to have fun and not limit myself in any way. I believe that if I’m having fun, I will stay engaged and interested, and if I can stay engaged and interested, the project will be a success. I’m very excited to embark on this journey and I can bring you along with me. I’ll be posting bi-weekly on this blog, and you’ll be able to see any videos I create on my YouTube channel. Feel free to also check out some of my videos from last year.

Eminent 2016: Over and Out

“I’m really scared” “It’s ok man, you’re gonna kill it out there, once you’re on the stage… it just melts away”

“Ok, I trust you” *Does not trust at all and is still super scared*


“Dude that was awesome!! You were so good! Wasn’t I right about the feeling on stage?”



I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous leading up to my performance on stage. I stressed about it every night for a week leading up to the night. And I’m not going to lie, that was one of the best experiences of my life. It was all worth it for that minute on stage and the feeling of satisfaction and enormous pride after I came off having given it my all and presented a great speech.

The speech will definitely be the most memorable moment of my eminent project if not the year. I put a ton of work into that speech and I think I came out with a pretty solid result. One of my goals for my speech was to make a speech that was chock full of emotion, power, and meaning. It was something I struggled with last year and is something that I believe really makes or breaks a speech. I think that was my main success of my project.


Sadly, because I was so focused on making my speech as good as it possibly could be, my learning centre was a little neglected. I don’t think it was bad, I’d just say it paled compared to the other amazing learning centres.

My main focus for my learning centre was to recreate the setting of a hospital, to fit with my perspective. I did this by having two tables covered in a white sheet. On the tablesdsc_0133, I placed a vase with flowers, jello, a mock hospital bill, some cookies, a picture of Tommy Douglas’ “parents’ (it was actually my mom’s great grandparents) one of Tommy Douglas’ famous quotes, and a mock newspaper. I also had two old medical insurance ads taped on the lockers beside the tables.



I was a bit worried when I saw how elaborate and amazing everybody else’s learning centres were, but honestly, I think my lackluster learning centre may have paid off in the end. When people came to my station, they didn’t really look at my station, they talked to me. I had some great conversations with many different people and in the end, and I believe this was in large part because I was the main attraction of my learning centre, not some inanimate object. Most people generally left my station educated and interested in Tommy Douglas which was the main goal.


Overall, I think the night went fabulously. It couldn’t have gone any better. I’d like to thank all my fellow Talons for being so supportive, nice, and awesome people and congratulate all the grade 10’s on their superb speeches, we all did amazing. Thank you to the grade 9’s and the teachers for organizing such an amazing night. Good luck to all you next year, I know you’re gonna do amazing!



Praire Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story

This was a movie made by the CBC on the achievements and struggles of Tommy Douglas. This was my most used sources, it helped provide me with basic info on both Tommy Douglas and Canada in the 1920’s-70s. This movie was also critical to both my speech and my in-character learning centre as it helped me understand Tommy Douglas as a person, not just a list of achievements and facts. One of my main goals for my speech was to put emotion into my character and this documentary/movie helped me understand Tommy Douglas’ viewpoint on many issues which helped me choose an angle for my speech. I used a similar documentary/movie last year for my eminent project. I believe they were both made by the CBC.


Tommy Douglas By: Vincent Lam

This book helped me prepare for my learning centre by painting a detailed picture of the life of Tommy Douglas. I was definitely thankful for it when I was in-character and people were asking me questions I never would’ve been able to answer without reading this book.


History Idol: Tommy Douglas

This was one of the first things I read on Tommy Douglas after I had decided to research him for my project, it provided a brief summary of his life which was helpful for initial information.


Tommy Douglas – Historica Canada

This article helped me learn a bit more about Tommy Douglas’ political life. Specifically, I learned about the CCF  (something I didn’t even know existed before this project) and the early NDP (which Tommy Douglas helped form).


Tommy – Economy and Society

When I first skimmed over this article, I actually didn’t find it that impressive. However, after reading it in-depth while searching for a speech perspective, I found out that Tommy Douglas had been hospitalized as a child for a bone infection. This was why Tommy Douglas fought so hard for universal healthcare. I had finally found my perspective for my speech!


Tommy Douglas – CBC

Another short(ish) summary of Tommy Douglas’ life. It didn’t provide me with any new information, just helped me check all the rest as I knew that CBC was a reliable source.



Tommy Douglas’ most famous speech. This was the first thing I heard about Tommy Douglas, and the reason I decided to start studying him.


There you have it, everything that helped me with my eminent project. I found that the most helpful by far was the documentary. At the beginning of the project, I struggled making connections with Tommy Douglas but that movie did an amazing job of showcasing him as a human, which helped me a ton. I found that there were not that many useful webpages, just a lot of the same boring, historical summaries which weren’t that helpful.

Final Speech – Doc of Learning #2

Here is my final speech, the way I spoke it on stage.


Dear Mom and Dad,

My reality has descended into a trance. The world is always spinning and the fire inside my leg rages constantly. There are few things that I am certain of these days, but one thing I know for sure is that no one should have to experience what I have this last week. My bed is my prison and my only escape comes from talking with the doctors. [pause] My amputation is set for next Thursday. I wish you could be here. Not much can bring me happiness these days. The surrounding patients are much the same as me, and some days their screams are so loud I feel like I am in an asylum. I’ve always thought that hospitals were a happy place, one where you were the priority and doctors were forces of good, working not for money, but because they want to help. [sigh] I can tell you, in this place, that could not be further from the truth. In this place, money is a drug, and the wrong people are addicted. If, no, when I get out of here, I will dedicate my life to fighting for the helpless. Fighting for people who never had a voice. People who lost everything to the system. When I get out of here, change won’t be just a dream.  


Tommy Douglas

Eminent – Document of Learning – Speech Draft #1

This is my very first speech draft. My idea for my speech was to embody Tommy Douglas’s early life when he first had the idea for universal health care. He was 10 and in the hospital for a bone infection and sadly his parents couldn’t afford a surgeon so he thought he was going to have to have his leg amputated. Thankfully, a generous surgeon ended up operating on him for free if his students could watch. During this speech, Tommy still believes that he will have to get his leg amputated. I tried to not only embody Tommy Douglas but the situation that many people in that age found themselves in. Tommy Douglas fought for these people not in small part because he knew what they were going through. In this speech idea, he is writing a letter to his parents from the hospital.


First Draft – Idea 1 – Helpless

Dear Mom and Dad,

My reality has descended into a trance. The world is constantly spinning and the fire inside my leg rages almost constantly. There are few things that I am certain on these days, but one thing I know for sure is that no one should have to experience what I have this last week. My bed is my current confinement and my only relief is the one small, blue pill that one of the nice doctors gives me every morning. My amputation is set for next Thursday. I wish you could be here, not much can bring me happiness these days. The surrounding patients are much the same as me and some days the screams are so loud I feel like I am in an asylum. I’ve always thought that hospitals were a happy place, one where you were the priority and doctors were forces of good, working not for money, but because they have a need to help. I can tell you, in this place, that is definitely not the case. In this place, money is a drug, and the wrong people are addicted. I can’t lie to you, I’m scared for my life here.


Tommy Douglas

Fin Donnelly Interview – Tommy Douglas


For my interview this year, I had two goals. I wanted to get it done early enough so that it could play a significant role in the writing of my speech. I also wanted to interview someone who was directly affected by my eminent person rather than last year where I talked to someone who had studied him. I figured that if I could talk to someone directly in his field then they could create more connections and have a stronger passion behind their feelings of my eminent person. I found that this was entirely true and with this added emotion behind the interview it could help me paint a more profound picture of my eminent person.


I decided to interview Fin Donnelly who is a Federal MP and is part of the NDP, the party that Tommy Douglas helped create. At the time of the interview, Fin was in Ottawa fighting for a wide range of issues such as environmental sustainability, refugees, and electoral reform. He obviously looked up highly to Tommy Douglas and felt that he was one of the most influential Canadian politicians ever. We talked briefly over phone and I had the chance to ask him some questions on the effect of Douglas on Canadian politics, why Douglas won the best Canadian award (CBC, 2004) and what he means to Canadians, and finally I talked to him about one of Douglas’ most famous speeches “Mouseland” and the effect it had at the time and currently has in modern politics.


I found that my interview was immensely helpful, especially in the writing of my speech. By talking to someone who had emotions and opinions on Tommy Douglas, rather than just factual research was beneficial because it helped me paint a more detailed picture of Tommy Douglas as a person, not just a set of facts and achievements. I learned a lot about how Tommy Douglas cared about the quality of life of everyday people and how his primary motivation as a politician was just that. He had very humble beginnings and growing up in a fairly poor farm town, Tommy witnessed extreme poverty and the inequity between the rich and the poor. This pushed him to run for office and fight for his friends, family, and neighbors.



I am very thankful to Fin Donnelly for making time in his busy schedule to let me interview him. This interview was immensely helpful and I will use the information I gathered from it to hopefully increase the authenticity of my speech and my character during the Night of the Notables.


If you’d like to listen to my entire interview with Fin Donnelly, you can find it here

Tommy Douglas – Eminent Intro Post

For eminent this year, I chose to study Tommy Douglas, a Canadian politician from the 40’s. “The father of Medicare” began his life of politics after witnessing the effects of the great depression on the Saskatchewan farm town he lived in. He found it unfair that healthcare, a seemingly basic and essential need was being withdrawn from a portion of the population due to the economical turmoil this country resided in around those times. He then took it upon himself to change things for the better and first became an MP in 1935 as part of the Canadian Commonwealth Federation.


One of Tommy Douglas’ Famous Speeches


Douglas was a minority in a mainly Liberal or Conservative parliament and faced fierce opposition from both these parties. But he was a fighter, and dove right into many heated debates. Douglas rose through the ranks of the newly founded CCF quickly and returned in 1942 to lead the party to victory in the Saskatchewan provincial election. He was elected for five terms in which he brought upon many badly needed services such as the expansion of electricity and healthcare province-wide. This was a large shift for North American politics as he was the first social democratic government in Canada and the US and a pioneer for left wing politics as we now know them.


In 1959 Douglas set a bomb off across Canada with his idea of pre-paid, public healthcare. All over the country he was widely accused of being a communist by the upper class, especially in the medical sector. It wasn’t until 1962 when Saskatchewan adapted his revolutionary healthcare proposal but when they did, it was widely praised. This was the basis for modern healthcare as know it today.


Near the end of his terms as premier of Saskatchewan, the CCF was falling apart. Douglas decided to end the party and from its ashes, the New Democratic Party was formed with Douglas at its head. He served as an MP until 1979 when he retired from politics.


I look up to Tommy Douglas, not only does he have some amazing accolades and truly changed Canadian politics for the better, but he also rose through the political ranks from nothing. I admire and marvel at Douglas’ bravery, courage and determination to have an issue and fight for what he believed in at the highest level. He demonstrated exemplary leadership skills and I idolize him for this.


I was also attracted to Douglas because of his chosen field. Lately, I’ve been increasingly following politics both Canadian and American (sigh*) and find them very interesting. I’d like to learn more about this field as in the future, I’ll have to make increasing decisions on who I would like representing my voice in government and making all the important decisions concerning my country.


As for some barriers, Tommy Douglas was a very strong religious man and based a lot of his governmental decisions based on what he had seen as a priest. I would not define myself as religious so I may have some trouble connecting with him on a religious level. I don’t think I will find this to be a major barrier as I want to focus on his political life and not so much his religious one.


I’m looking forward to my eminent study and hope that I can learn a lot about the political life of Tommy Douglas. If, after the study, I can act only a small bit like Tommy Douglas I will have succeeded.

Flight – English Descriptive/Narrative Piece



I remember my dad always told me he’d love to fly, just float freely in the sky with not a care in the world. My dad and I were always close and because of this, his desire to fly was passed on to me. I spent my childhood yearning to soar. Every day, at breakfast, my dad and I would share our thoughts and dreams of a new flying device, something that might somehow lift us up to the clouds.

The other kids never approved of my childhood dreams to fly. “Maybe if you ever figure out how to fly, the sun would burn you up so we’d never have to look at your face again!” they said. I wish I could say it didn’t hurt, but it did. Every day, they’d wait for me. At the sight of them, a chill descended through my bones; I started to shiver. I distinctly remember this cold, and how much I dreaded it. The sun never seemed close enough or warm enough. If only I could get closer…

After graduating high school, I committed myself to the world wide search for a means of human air transportation. Over the years of my study, there had been many attempts at flight, many instances where my dream could’ve come true. Yet, sadly, none successful. Our funding started to drop, and dreamers like me lost hope. The fire I once saw burning in their eyes started to wither away, only to leave husks of the people they used to be. They had no passion, no goal in life anymore. But not me; every day when I woke up I had new ideas, possibilities, and the fire that left their eyes burned even stronger in mine. I felt excited about the future, I was going to make my dad proud.

Then the idea came. I don’t remember exactly where I was or what I was thinking but when it came, I knew it was right. In my mind I saw myself again as a small child, dreaming about flying to the sun. I feverishly ran into work, quickly sketched out some blueprints and ordered it to be produced.  I watched over every detail of production and made sure everything was perfect. Every weld had to be exact, every measurement precise. I knew that this was going to be the one.

Two weeks later, it was done. When I first set eyes on it I was speechless. Everything I had imagined was there, the gleaming domes, the hardened glass, even the paint job was exactly to my specification. But of course, it was. Without me, the human flight program was worthless, I was the real genius here.

There was only an hour until test flight now and I was suited up and ready to blast. As I triple checked every one of the blood red knobs and dials I thought of my father. I remembered our early morning conversations over breakfast, I remembered the fire in his eyes every time I mentioned flying. I thought of when I first told him I wanted to dedicate my life to the passion we both shared. I remembered at that moment how his mouth slowly grew into a smile, the tips of his eyes twisted slightly upward, and it seemed like he was floating, almost like both of us had always dreamed of.

In the distance I could see the flashes of cameras and the stoic faces of my remaining colleagues, praying that I’d succeed. This was our last chance, if this went downhill, we all knew we’d be out of jobs.

I heard a crackling through my headset. “This is it, 20 seconds until launch.” A tingling sensation started at my toes, slowly moving up the ladder. “5…4…3…” I heard a loud rush as the engines turned on below me “2…” it was deafening now, I could barely hear myself think “1…” and I was in the air. Everything seemed to slow to a crawl and below me, I saw millions of eyes open as wide as the stars I was going to touch, mouths dropped open as I hit fifty feet.

Sadly, everything didn’t stay quite so positive. Immediately after launch, I felt a jolt rattle through the cabin. I looked behind me in alarm and saw one of the four engines that were keeping me up had burst and fuel was leaking onto everything. Slowly, the rear of the cabin began to burst into flames as the vicious mix of highly combustible fuel and the high oxygen level made its way towards where I was seated. In my heart, I knew what I had to do but I couldn’t bring my fingers to hit the ejection switch. This couldn’t have happened! Everything had been so perfect! The flames were licking my heels now, hungry for the taste of my flesh. With the little strength I had left, I pressed down on the ejection button which sent me rocketing out into space.

I clearly remember falling and watching my hopes and dreams burn away into nothing. The flames had almost fully engulfed my craft when I hit the ground and blacked out.

All I remember after the incident was waking up in a hospital bed. I was alone, and surrounded by white linen sheets, “get well soon” notes, and the drawl of a TV news host in the background. Suddenly it all came rushing back to me, the launch, my elation, then the fire. Weirdly, I wasn’t sad, or mad, or even in pain. In my mind, the last image of my craft alight was seared into my brain. It was seared so strongly that I felt that fire inside my gut. It was pushing me, urging me, forcing me, to get out of that bed and get back to work to do better. To this day, I feel that fire inside me and every morning it drives me to get up and get to work. New ideas are constantly popping into my head because of that fire inside of me, without it, I would be nothing. That fire is pushing me to achieve my goal and one day, I will.


Science 9 Final – Ted Talk

Speech Notes


Citations for pictures used:

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(n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2016, from http://gbtimes.com/life/donate-blood-save-life-simple
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The Passing of a True Legend

Through the course of my In-Depth project I have not only come to love the sport of mountain biking but also the wonderful culture that surrounds it. The exuberance and passion of mountain bikers is matched by no one, we are enthusiastic and loud and we’re not afraid to say what we think. Most of all, all of us display a true love for the sport and everything that surrounds it.

That being said, today we lost one of the true legends of the sport. Stevie Smith, the greatest Canadian mountain biker ever, died in a tragic dirt biking accident this weekend. Stevie truly embodied all the great qualities of a mountain biker and had many idolizing fans, myself one of them. He will be remembered as carefree and happy, someone who truly lived life to have fun. From his days shuttling up his hometown mountains on Vancouver Island, BC, to his 2013 world cup downhill win Stevie spent his life doing what he loved, riding his bike. I will always look up to you Stevie. Ride in Peace. #LongLiveChainsaw