Youths of today are the future of tomorrow. It is of utmost importance to inculcate good values in the youths of today to create responsible citizens or leaders of tomorrow. Education that imbibes good values in students and prepares them with sufficient talents, skills, abilities and resourcefulness to face the challenges of the future is most essential in the lives of youth today. It is absolutely necessary to have qualified and caring teachers that educate youths of today in the right direction. Mrs. Phoebe A. Wasfy is one such educational leader who as a Principal of Philopateer Christian College (PCC) is working with her team of qualified teachers to educate and empower young people, transforming them into individuals in whom spiritual, academic, and physical attributes complement each other.
PCC cares for its students spiritually, academically, physically and mentors them to serve their families, and the community. Cherishing family relationships, friends, and respect towards adults and each other, are part of its school values. At Philopateer Christian College, they prepare their students to become well-rounded leaders of tomorrow.
Being Empowered through Education
Philopateer Christian College is a Pre-K to grade 12 school that began in Mississauga by the Egyptian Coptic Community in 1999 with around 40 students in a basement of the Canadian Coptic Centre. Phoebe began her journey in the school in 2005 as a grade 3 teacher, followed by a position as a middle school teacher and in 2008, she was part of the team that began the high school division with three grade 9 students. Step by step, PCC moved into its current location in its tenth anniversary with 280 students. At that time, Phoebe was chosen by the principal to be the head teacher and leading a group of teachers who took on different leadership roles in the school.
Through every step of the way, learning was a big part of her journey. She firmly believes that in order for one to truly succeed and excel in what they are tasked with, one must be empowered through education.
From having additional qualification courses in the pedagogy of all age groups to a specialist in literacy and history, to two-part principal qualification courses, to a Master’s degree in Education and most recently a Certificate of Higher Education from Harvard; all these steps led Phoebe from teacher to head teacher to Assistant Administrator to Assistant Vice principal to Vice Principal and finally in 2014 when she took on the role of Principalship of Philopateer Christian College.
Learning from Family Members and Honorary People
Many things play a role in shaping and impacting one’s life. For Phoebe, there were key people who impacted her and continue to impact her. Her decision of getting into teaching was inspired by her grandmother who was a great educator in the 60’s and 70’s in Egypt. Her grandmother’s students, who are now grandparents themselves, have never forgotten the great lady who touched their lives as a teacher.
Phoebe’s leadership, many say, is inherited from her father, who is one of the senior priests of the Coptic (Egyptian) Orthodox Church in North America. The third person who has recently influenced Phoebe is the Egyptian Minister of Emigration and Expatiates, Minister Nabila Makram. She has had the honour of being part of numerous initiatives with her excellency and learned how to lead and reach her goals with her team.
Adapting to New Norms With Keen Responsibility
While the whole world shut down due to the pandemic, Phoebe and her team were seizing the opportunity to create a complete virtual high school program and recruiting students from all over the world. As an educational leader, she quickly realized that there are parts of education that have changed and changed forever. Students have sat behind a computer screen for a whole year and this, Phoebe believes, impacted their attention span as well as social interaction. PCC has moved away from paper and pen exams and has invested in virtual proctoring exams portals, and this is now the new norm.
Educating Students with Strong Educational Foundation
As students come in and go out of PCC, one common sentence is said: “Teachers here care!” Its foundation lies in its successful educational methods and prioritizing students above and beyond any other thing. It believes that knowing and respecting the learning styles of the students while encouraging and empowering them to reach their goals through their strong educational foundation will help them excel.
PCC has three key words that are central to the foundation of it. The three keys as they refer to them are: “Education, Spirituality and Discipline.” Phoebe always tell the students they can get education from any school, and it all depends on if they like the teacher or if their teacher is strong, but without God in the center of everything that they do, and without discipline, education has no roots.
Using Prestigious Profession to Impact the World
“Dream Big! Think Big! Believe Big” has become the best advice and motto for Phoebe as an educational leader. Over the years, Phoebe has learned that if one doesn’t dream, think and believe big, one will remain stagnant and won’t grow in or love what they do. Education is the foundation upon which every other profession is built. It has many challenges but it is a vocation of one’s heart. For any aspiring leader in education, Phoebe also says that educators must respect this prestigious profession and use it to impact the world in a positive way.
Reaching the World through Acts of Kindness
As a school, PCC is involved in many charitable acts both here in Canada and internationally. As it is written in the Bible: “In giving we receive.” This is something that the school instills in its students and staff in every chance they get. For example, for Christmas, PCC’s Christmas Tree is not decorated with ornaments, instead school uses this time to once collect mittens and scarves for the homeless, turkey dinners for those served by its local foodbanks or items that it takes on its school’s annual mission trips.
In every opportunity, PCC teaches its students that the world is very reachable through the acts of kindness they do.
Continuing to Make a Difference in the World of Education
In five years from now, PCC as a school envisions to reach many more students worldwide, through both its virtual platform and maybe even offshore campuses. Its vision is also to positively impact the world one student at a time through the professions they choose in their postsecondary education. Its vision is continuing to make a real difference in the world of education as a whole.