Educating and equipping discerning disciples of Jesus Christ for restorative work in His kingdom
The Cedar Bough
Stories from our Alumni
Cedars Christian School Alumni are part of our past, present and future! These are some of their stories about life after graduation.
We’d love to hear from our alumni and keep in touch with you! Please send us your story using our Story Submission form.
Cedars Alumni Story – Dramatic Arts – Submitted 2018
World-renowned writer, Oscar Wilde, once remarked: “It was only in the theater that I lived.” Caitlyn Gairns, a 2015 Cedars graduate has taken Wilde’s words of passion to heart.
Caitlyn has been heavily involved in performing arts scene since she was age five, when she first began to ascertain her definite appreciation and affection for the stage through weekly Speech and Dramatic Arts classes. These lessons allowed Caitlyn to hone her talent as a performer in various productions ranging from Shakespeare to contemporary works of art alongside participating in local competitive festivals. From a young age, Caitlyn was recognized as a fierce competitor amongst her peers and consistently placed at the top of her class – subsequently resulting in the opportunity to take her talent to a provincial level. At provincial competitions Caitlyn continued to excel and has been recognized for multiple years as being within the top three young actors within British Columbia.
“Returning to Provincials year after year has been an incredible privilege and opportunity. It is beyond encouraging as a young actor to recognize that your devotion to the art is paying off – people begin to know you by name and expect you to bring a stellar performance; I find it challenges me to perform to the best of my ability. Having your name recognized province-wide in the theatre industry is a huge stepping stone, to say I am thrilled would be an understatement!”
Caitlyn recently was awarded with best overall performer in the Prince George Speech Arts Festival which was paired with her qualification for the 2017 Provincial of the Performing Arts which took place in June in Kamloops. Caitlyn’s performance was regarded highly, and she obtained a top three placement within her class opening a door for an international opportunity. Caitlyn sent in a video entry showcasing her talent, hoping it would be enough to be recognized at a worldwide level. Caitlyn found out in late August that she had been selected through Magnum Opus International Speech and Dramatic Arts Competition as a finalist and would be performing at Carnegie Hall in New York in November!
“I was in a state of shock for sure, the magnitude of my excitement did not hit me until after I had thrown my phone half way across the room. I remember thinking, this must be a dream… though my friend assuredly confirmed that it was not. It is an artist’s dream to perform in Carnegie Hall and I am beyond blessed to have this opportunity, who knew speech arts classes would lead to this?”
Caitlyn ventured to New York accompanied by some of her closest friends where she took on the world-renowned Carnegie stage amongst other theatrical performers showcasing a piece she has been perfecting for several years. Caitlyn excelled in New York and with her spellbinding performance leaving the audience speechless leading to Caitlyn securing a place as a finalist in this competition.
“I remember walking out onto the Carnegie stage and peering out into the audience, seeing people who had willingly travelled across the Country to watch me perform – this was a catalyst that sparked one of the best performances I have ever given. I stood there in a moment of silence after I finished my piece and there was this moment of serene silence, which was then followed by a “Wow…” I have never experienced a vocal reaction from sharing a piece. It affirmed in all ways that acting is something that I need to continue to pursue, it was crazy.”
From Caitlyn’s success, universities have been scouting her for theatre programs. Caitlyn has recently been accepted into Trinity Western University where she will be pursuing a double major in Theatre and Psychology.
Interview submitted 2018
How many years did you attend Cedars? I attended from Kindergarten through to grade 12.
Where do you attend school now? Trinity Western University. I am the Captain of the Spartan’s Women’s Basketball Team. Trinity plays in the highest level of varsity sport in Canada.
Describe your sport/education path since leaving Cedars. In the fall of my grade 12 year, I signed a scholarship committing to play basketball at Trinity Western University as well as pursuing a Bachelors of Business Administration Honours (BBAH) with an Accounting specialization.
I had a great first season and year at school making some of my closest friends and having a successful basketball season. I made the Canada West All Rookie Team after my first year. Also, after my first year, my team went on a missions trip to Paraguay – a truly life-changing experience. In my third year, our team made program history for making it to playoffs for the first time – it was very exciting!
After my third year, I went on a travel study to Ottawa focusing on Business Law, Public Policy, and Cultural Change from worldview. That trip was one of the highlights from my whole time at Trinity. In my fourth year, my team continued to make program history by hosting our first playoff series and making to second round playoffs. After that season, I finished with the highest field goal shooting percentage in the Canada West (53.2%).
Also in my fourth year, I received an internship at the Langley office of Deloitte & Touche LLP. I learned so much from gaining hands on experience – it is much different than learning about accounting in the class room! I also coached a U14 girls basketball team in the community and I really enjoyed sharing my love of basketball with those girls.
Currently, I am in my fifth and final year of university and basketball. Our team just got back from an amazing trip to Japan and China where we played four games, represented the University, and did a lot of sight-seeing! I feel so blessed to have had such an opportunity. I am also acting as the President of the Trinity Accounting Association, where we plan events for members and students and provide resources for those wanting to pursue a career in accounting.
I am really excited to graduate in April but am trying to live in the moment and enjoy my last year and season with my teammates! I believe that this season will be our most successful one yet!
What are your aspirations over the next year/several years? I am hoping to travel this summer before I start working in September 2018. After my internship, I was offered full-time employment at Deloitte in Langley starting September 2018! I hope to gain my CPA desig-nation by 2020. I am applying for a program where you get your Master’s degree and CPA designation over the course of two summers (MpAcc) at the University of Saskatchewan. I am really hoping to get accepted. I also hope to continue coaching and mentoring younger female basketball players.
Cedars gave me a great foundation going into University. I felt the teachers really prepared me for university and I felt the attention and instruction I received at a smaller high school put me ahead of some of my peers. Even after playing basketball at the university level for four years, some of my fondest memories of basket-ball come from the crazy, long road-trips we used to take. I always say, once an Eagle – always an Eagle! I also think that it is so cool that I am now playing on the same team as one of the girls I helped coach when I was at Cedars still! (When I was in grade 11/12 I coached Jenna Van Delft who is now a first-year student-athlete on my team).
I attended Cedars from preschool to grade twelve and while I had many great experiences, two of them have been crucial in leading me to pursuing the work I do today.
In grade eleven, I had the privilege of going on YWAM which introduced me to poverty in a way I’d never known. I also took the Leadership 11 class and was introduced to life in the inner city of Prince George. I soon realized that the poverty I saw in Vancouver wasn’t too different from what I saw in downtown Prince George. This led me to volunteering weekly with a ministry called the Zechariah House. The Zechariah House was focused on interacting with kids in the VLA through outdoor activities, art, and music. This continued to fuel my desire to work with at-risk kids.
After graduation I took the Social Service Worker and Criminology programs at CNC. I worked in a high-risk group home for nine months before taking on a job with Youth for Christ Prince George. My job is focused on creating programs for kids in the inner city to be a part of, as well as being present and available to talk with. Currently, we have two sports programs on Tuesday afternoons and have a youth basketball team in the works for Thursday evenings. My husband and I were also given the opportunity to go on YWAM as chaperones this year and I saw again the power that trip has on shifting students’ view on the world.
It can be very easy for kids who’ve grown up in a Christian family and a Christian school not to see the hurt in our city. Through YWAM and Leadership 11, Cedars provided me, and continues to provide students, with a glimpse of life outside the walls of the school. And what blessing that is.
– Gera Warren (neé de Fauw)
Cedars teachers played an influential role in my faith journey. As a student, I remember the investment of time and spiritual encouragement people like Debbie Van Calsteren offered. I recall her challenging me to share what Jesus was teaching me as I led worship teams, calling out some of the potential I was struggling to see. After graduating, other teachers like Dave Brown did a great job in keeping me connected with the community. I enjoyed getting to be a mentor in his leadership class and joining them as a young adult leader on a mission trip to Mexico. The faithful witness of Cedars staff helped me to see Jesus and explore what plans he might have for me.
The decision to follow Jesus is never a forced one, and faith doesn’t fall into your lap, but I think Cedars provides opportunities that might not be available in other schools to pursue truth. It was a gift to be encouraged to take a Christian history course in Grade 11 as an elective, to be empowered to lead worship teams as a young and nervous teenager, and to have speakers come and share their experience and wisdom with us. I am grateful for my time there as a student and the opportunities I have had to continue to be involved in that community!