#FF Silicon Halton

One of the best networks I’ve connected with since moving to Hamilton is Silicon Halton. I found them through another meetup that I attend regularly and have been very happy with not only their meetings, but with the community itself.

This is a grass roots organization founded by Chris Herbert and Rick Stomphorst in 2009 dedicated to creating “a thriving community of people in technology that live and/or work in Halton region”. (Silicon Halton website) Couldn’t have stated it better myself.

Though they have a pretty sturdy rule about having their members live and work in Halton, they are extremely welcoming and do not let their friendly fence get in the way of making connections. In addition to their Peer-to-Peer groups, such as SEO, Big Data and CEO, they also have an open meetup every month which anyone can attend. The format is simple yet effective: One or two presentations, meet your member which are shorter presentations done by the members of Silicon Halton to let people know what they do, and then an open floor for anyone to tell the group about anything, including events or initiatives.

Last night, they had their inaugural Demo Night, so I’m sure we’ll see a post very soon to wrap that up. Their next monthly meeting is on September 11, 2012 and they are having a panel on “SMB Business Disaster Planning – What’s Realistic?” and I highly recommend attending.  Silicon Halton has been very good to me and I know that there are more good things coming. You can find them on Twitter @SiliconHalton so follow along!

Silicon Halton

Silicon Halton

Finally!

I saw a most pleasant sight a few mornings ago: a little girl walking to school in a salwar. For those who don’t konw, a salwar (also sometimes called a punjabi dress) is a pant suit with harem-style pants and a long tunic with a sash called a dupata.

Me at my friend's wedding

Me at my friend’s wedding

In grade 6, when I moved to Toronto, I wore a salwar to school occasionally, much like the other girls would wear a dress, just for a change. And I was teased. Even when I stopped wearing them, into grade 7 and 8, I was called a “Paki”. I’d never experienced this in Burlington. What was that? I remember making conversation with my father one day and told him that someone had called me this name. He looked mortified. I know that he faced racism when he came to Canada, but perhaps not as overt as that and I think he hoped that it would skip me because I was born here, had a white mother and that times had changed. Apparently not. He said that I should go right to the principal the next day. So I did.

The principal was just as furious. He asked for the name of the offending student and explained the procedure. The student would be called down to the office, reprimanded and then I would be called down at which time he would have to apologize. He would also be warned that if he did it again, he would face a two day suspension which of course would be noted in his file. This is exactly how it played out and he never said it again. But others did. Seven of them. None ever did it twice. I didn’t publicize these events, but my close friends knew about it and they kept it quiet. Why would I want to speak up about this? This wasn’t something I was proud of. It was embarrassing. But it all came out one day when it was a guy in my own class. I came back from the principal’s office and there was a call to the teacher asking for him to report to the office. The rest of the class started putting two and two together.

I was berated for making a mountain out of a mole hill, excuses were given that it was just a name and he didn’t mean it. My favourite: “You’re not even Pakistani!”. In legal terms the term “mens rea” is used to describe “The intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that constitutes part of a crime, as opposed to the action or conduct of the accused.”. Whether or not it was true was irrelevant. They all had intent to do harm. I am happy to say that I defended myself and my friends backed me up. I was not the one to do harm. They were. I hope they never did it again and that they have changed. But watching that little girl walk to school in a salwar with a smile on her face and a bounce in her step makes me think that the world has improved. At least I hope so.

Write about your least favorite school teacher

This post is based on a PostADay2011 topic: Write about your least favorite school teacher I actually want to write about my most favourite school teacher. I may come back to this later, but I have to give props to Mrs. Bonnie Tufford, my grade 4 and 5 teacher at Wellington Square in Burlington, Ontario.

The biggest thing that sticks in my mind is the “city” that she set up within the classroom that taught us about responsibility, democracy, business and still made it fun.

Every student in the class was a citizen of “Tufford Town”. There were elected positions, such as the mayor, councillors, janitors and treasurers. Then there were businesses such as erasers, pencils and notebooks.

The elected officials earned a salary at the end of the week and the businesses would purchase items from Mrs. Tufford and then sell it at a reasonable markup.

Even if you didn’t hold one of the above positions, you could earn “Tufford Town Class Cash” by keeping your desk clean and other non-academic related activities. You could use your cash to purchase notebooks, etc. or you might get fined for having a messy desk!

Half way through the year, she would switch up the roles so that more people would have an opportunity. Elections were held, posters, speeches and all. It was voluntary, but we all had the opportunity.

At the end of the year, people brought in things for a silent auction, everything from candy to something that you got for Christmas that you don’t need anymore.

The beauty about this set up was that no one actually used their own real world money. No one was ever excluded, and I don’t know of anyone who didn’t enjoy it.

Thank you Mrs. Tufford. You really made an impression on me. You were my favourite and always will be. I’ll try to find my class picture so you can see her. I wonder where she is today…