Interesting Times in Education

I have spent almost my entire life in school. And for at least a third of my career, I have been simultaneously a teacher/administrator and a student as I have been enrolled in university courses and programs while practicing in the field of education. Having one foot in academia and one foot in the real world of education has given me a broad perspective on the evolution of education, both in Canada and abroad. It has exposed me to the everyday practice of running schools, to changes in government educational policy, and to the theoretical frameworks and research emerging from our institutions of higher learning. I say these things to qualify my next statement.  There has never been a more challenging time in education. And by challenging, I mean exciting, confusing, uncertain, hopeful, and intriguing all rolled into one.

The educational ground beneath our feet is shifting. This is not simply a matter of pendulum swinging. We are truly experiencing a transformation in education, brought about by technology and an explosion of new knowledge that is unparalleled in our history. And there is no turning back (or swinging back as in the pendulum analogy). A better analogy would be that we have launched a rocket, incapable of returning to earth, that will explore unknown aspects of the universe for an undetermined period of time.

Technology is unlike previous innovations in education, such as the open concept classrooms of the 60s. When the pendulum swung back on that innovation, schools were quick to replace the walls and return to previous designs. That is not going to happen with technology because providing students with direct access to the knowledge base via the internet has fundamentally and irreversibly altered the interactions among students, teachers and knowledge and at the same time research is providing new insights into how students learn. And in the world of education, there is a pervasive discourse ongoing about how best to prepare students for 21st Century living and an era in which most of the jobs we are preparing them for do not exist today.

The best minds in current educational thinking are telling us that the new “basic skills” for students are things like: creativity and innovation; digital literacy and citizenship; collaboration; research and information fluency; critical thinking; technology-based communication skills; intercultural understanding, and so on. This is difficult for people in my generation to digest. We have been taught that the basic skills were numeracy, literacy and subject content knowledge.

In times of rapid change and uncertainty, we tend to cling to the things that have served us well in the past. Standardized testing is one of those lingering elements of measurement designed to assess the target skills of an earlier era. And even though organizations such as the Fraser Institute would like us to believe that such tests provide appropriate data for ranking schools, they must certainly be thinking about schools of the past. As usual, the development of instruments to measure the 21st Century skills are lagging behind the efforts to instill these skills and so we find ourselves at that interesting juncture where we must admit that we are uncertain about how to effectively evaluate and measure the new target skills. As new assessment tools are being developed, we also continue to use the old measures (standardized tests) and organizations like the Fraser Institute will continue to use those measures in ways that do not serve our students, schools or society well.

There is mounting evidence to demonstrate why standardized tests are no longer serving our needs. For example, Dr. Zong Zhao, internationally renowned scholar and author has juxtaposed international test scores in mathematics (PISA) against the General Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) to look at how a country’s standardized test scores align with its entrepreneurial attitudes and endeavours (an indicator of innovation). The findings indicate that those with high mathematics scores have low entrepreneurial scores. Zhao also points to the Brown Center Report on Education (2006) which indicates that students who do well on standardized mathematics tests have lower confidence in their math abilities and lower enjoyment of mathematics. The point here is not that mathematics is unimportant – the opposite is true. However, standardized testing of basic skills fosters teaching strategies that thwart students’ creativity and natural curiosity, which are seen as important elements of innovation and entrepreneurism – the very skills that we believe will be important to their success in the new economy.

These conflicting messages make it challenging for today’s teachers and schools as we transition from teaching strategies and assessment tools whose origins are found in the industrial era to those that will prepare students for life in the knowledge economy. The way forward is not articulated by a clear roadmap or a reliable body of expertise that can illuminate the pathway. Instead, we are faced with carefully picking our way through unknown territory, combining the best of our experience and knowledge with emerging research and international trends. In order to navigate this uncharted terrain, we will need to significantly invest in the ongoing professional development of our teachers to enable them to stay abreast of important developments. The journey is not straightforward, but it certainly is interesting.

William Jones
Head of School

Full School News

Dates to Remember

October 19, 2013 – PSAT writing
October 21, 2013 – Alumni Speaker Series
October 24, 2013 – Fall interim report cards for Grades 7-12
October 24, 2013 – Grade 7 pizza and concert evening
October 29, 2013 - Photo re-take day (formal uniform)
October 29, 2013 – Parent teacher interviews for Grades 7-12 (day 1 of 3)
October 31, 2013 - Dress in Halloween costumes (casual dress day)
October 31, 2013 – University Fair
November 1, 2013 - Senior School Students/Alumni Speed Mentoring Session
November 4, 2013 – Primary choir open house
November 5, 2013 - Parent teacher interviews for Grades 7-12 (day 2 of 3)
November 7, 2013 - Parent teacher interviews for Grades 7-12 (day 3 of 3)
November 8, 2013 - Elementary Remembrance Day Asseembly
November 11, 2013 – Full School Remembrance Day Assembly

Electronic consents have been recently sent for the following activities:

Junior A Girls VB Three Hills
Grade 1 Skating
Grade 2 Skating
Junior B Boys VB Rally Pointe
Junior B Girls VB Rally Pointe
JV Boys VB Medicine Hat
JV Boys VB Three Hills
MUN San Francisco
JV Girls VB Medicine Hat
Speech: Churchill Tournament
SV Women FCHS

If you have any questions, please read the attached FAQ document or contact Mrs. Jana Wager, 403-938-8301

2014 Distinguished Alumni Award - Call for Nominations
Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School wishes to recognize eminent alumni who through their outstanding contributions to the school, have stimulated new ideas or developments at STS, and have shown exceptional dedication, creativity or leadership. The Distinguished Alumni Award has been established by an anonymous benefactor, and will annually celebrate distinguished alumni,showcasing those who truly represent the spirit of STS – Nil Nisi Optimum.

The purpose of this award is to honour and publicly acknowledge individuals for their extraordinary commitment to the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School.  Winners of the award set the standard for service, dedication, and excellence; they bring prestige and honour to STS and inspire others by their example.

To submit a nomination, please complete and return the nomination form by November 22, 2013, and tell us why you think the nominee deserves special recognition.  The winner(s) will be honoured at the 8th Annual Calgary Alumni Dinner in the spring of 2014.

We hope you will participate in this wonderful opportunity to honour those who have distinguished themselves as eminent STS graduates. Their success helps strengthen our school.

Photo Retake Day is Tuesday, October 29, 2013
If a photo retake is required, please have your child return their proof order form and envelope or bring a handwritten note to give to the photographer requesting a retake.

If your child was absent from school on the original photo dates (September 5 & 6, 2013) or your child is new to STS, please send them with a note to give to the photographer to request a photo for the yearbook, an ID card and a proof to order photos from.

Please ensure your child dresses in formal uniform if they plan on having their photo retaken.

Elementary Physical Education Teacher to Once Again Take Part in Parkinson’s Fundraiser
Last year, Mr. Ken Mackenzie, one of our Elementary Physical Education teachers, was the top fundraiser in Canada for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, raising funds for Parkinson's disease with his inaugural 'Pedal for Parkinson's' event.  It was a major success and lots of fun, with the help of 13 teams filled with students, teachers and families from our school (of the total 25 teams).  

This year, he is going for it again because he believes, like our school does, in the power of physical activity.  Ken was diagnosed with Parkinson's two years ago.  The annual stationery bike event will take place on Sunday, November 3, 2013, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at a the University of Calgary Gold Gym.  For more information, to donate or to register a team, click this link: www.pedalforparkinsonsresearch.com.

Marti McKay Week Takes Place at STS

 

 

 

Marti McKay Week took place over the past week at STS and students were treated to presentations from authors and illustrators such as (from left to right): author and activist Chris Turner, illustrator Lorna Bennett, illustrator Gerry Rasmussen, and author Teresa Toten.

Winter Busing Procedures from First Student Canada
With winter just around the corner we would like to remind you of what you need to do before heading out to meet your bus, what to do while you are waiting, and what to do if your bus doesn’t show up at its usual time.  

  1. Be sure to be appropriately dressed for the weather. (hats, boots, mittens / gloves, scarves, winter coat, sweat pants/ski pants under your skirts, bring a blanket)
  2. Check online at:  www.myschoolbusmonitor.ca  Type in Strathcona-Tweedsmuir, hit select school and check to see if your route is running late. 

OR

Phone 403-531-3900, wait for the message to start then press 5(for private schools) and listen for your route number.  If your bus is running late, the message for your route will tell you how late it is running.  (Repeat this step again before going to your stop if the message said your bus was late to check for any new updates)

  1. Be visible at your stop, five minutes before the scheduled leave time.  If you are waiting with a car – have one person at all times standing outside the car watching for the bus.   (It may not be your bus or your driver.)
  2. Wait at your stop for at least 10 minutes after your leave time.  (15 minutes total)
  3. If your bus has not arrived yet, again phone 403-531-3900, wait for the message and press 5 to check for any updates.  Also, check your answering machine to see if you have any messages. 
  4. In extreme cold conditions, NO child should be left unattended at a bus stop for any length of time under any circumstances.  Always have a back-up plan (ie:  wait in a car, house close by, etc.)

First Student’s policy is to phone your home if your bus is running more than 10 minutes late.

We have no control over the weather, road conditions, or other traffic however, we will always do our best to be on time to your stop or to keep you informed of any time changes. From you we ask to please be dressed for the weather, check to see if your bus is on time, be visible at your stop and to be prepared to wait at least 10 minutes after your leave time for your bus to arrive. 

All children must be well prepared for the extreme cold and at no time should they be left unattended at their stop for any period of time under any circumstances.

To further assist us in our efforts to get messages to you in a timely fashion, please give your driver the best number to contact you at in the mornings (your home, cell, or student’s cell). This will be the number we enter into our call out system so if any changes arise, please let us know.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in making this a safe winter.

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities
Kerby Centre Luncheon at STS - December 11, 2013
Only six weeks away, the beloved Kerby Centre Luncheon has been an STS tradition since 1976.

Volunteers are needed to help set up, clean up and assist the Grade 6 students in serving lunch to the Kerby Centre Seniors (and enjoy the beautiful sounds of our STS choirs and Handbell choir). 

Grade 7 Boys and Girls Volleyball Tournament – October 25-26, 2013
We still need a few volunteers to help with snack table, score keeping, timers, etc. for this weekend.

University Representative Breakfast – October 30-31, 2013
Here is an opportunity to meet our university representatives!  Helpers needed for the following: October 30, 2013 - setup from 2:00-3:30 p.m. and October 31, 2013 - breakfast and cleanup from 7:45-9:30 a.m. Feel free to take in the university fair once breakfast is over. Halloween costumes optional!

Peer Tutor Display Designer - Flexible
A creative minded volunteer is needed to help Ms. Kennedy design the peer tutor display; schedule is flexible to meet your needs.

Primary Book Club – Fridays at noon
Every Friday at noon, students from Grades 1 to 3 rush to the Peter B. Ditchburn Library to be read a story and make a cool craft. The Primary Book Club is one of the few year round clubs to be offered at STS to the primary grades. The Peter B. Ditchburn Library is in need of a volunteer to co-host the book club.  Responsibilities include reading a story and supervising a themed craft in the library every other Friday at noon. There will be help from a handful of Grade 6 students. Very rewarding!

Email volunteer@sts.ab.ca if you are able to help.  Please fill in and return this year's volunteer registration form prior to any volunteer duties. Details about all volunteer opportunities are available in the Volunteer Handbook

Lost & Found
Lost & Found hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Or you may email us at:  lost&f@sts.ab.ca or call 403-938-4431, ext. 207.

Items lost:
Elementary girl’s STS uniform blazer lost first week of school. Parents, please check at home in case it was accidentally taken as we have one unclaimed blazer currently in Lost & Found.  Please contact Minelle Sidorsky at minelle@shaw.ca.

Items found:
luxury car key on key ring
key on ring with duck charm
lunch bag containing cash
large digital camera in case
headphones (not ear buds)
seven watches
various items of jewelry and STS pin
two pairs of prescription eyeglasses in cases
numerous items of casual clothing, uniform clothing, shoes, runners, water bottles, lunch bags, books etc,.

Costume Volunteers Needed for Shrek the Musical
Parent volunteers are needed to help with shopping for accessories and costumes as well as sewing and/or altering costumes and accessories for the school musical Shrek. If you are interested, please contact the costume coordinators, Mrs. Gonzalez or Ms. Harrison.

Elementary School News

STS Student’s Creation Reflecting Muslim Culture Wins Aga Khan Museum’s Art Competition
By: Aadam Nanji ‘19

The Aga Khan Museum was having an art competition and I’d like to share my submission with you. We were supposed to create a piece that reflects one’s Muslim Identity in a western nation and what the museum means to me. My creation won the upper primary division across Canada. The themes of my piece include: family, identity, popular culture, and fun. I hope you like the piece.

 

 

STS Alumna Volunteering with French Students
By: Stacy Rozsa ‘91

Back again! It's been more than 20 years (and two additional Rozsa's in the Burns House since) and I'm thrilled to be on the STS campus again volunteering with the children that come from an immersion background inMme. Goldsworthy’s Grades 4, 5 and 6 classes.

While working on my BA in English Literature and a second Major in French Language and Literature at San Francisco State University, I spent a year in Aix-en-Provence and received my Diplome from the Institut d'Etudes Francaises pour Etudiants Etrangers, a program under the California State University system. After six years in Advertising on Madison Avenue, I pursued my Masters in Psychology from the New School for Social Research in New York. Due to the esteemed faculty and research at the University of Calgary, I have returned home to pursue my doctoral candidacy in Neuropsychology.

While here, I'm happy to volunteer my time on Thursdays with Mme. Goldsworthy and her French students. My foundation in French comes directly from Mme. Goldsworthy herself, having taught my brothers and myself years ago and I'm happy to use my language skills now to add to the rounded education for which STS is known. The strategy is to spend the 40-minute class time with one to two students discussing French books, writing personal essays and book reports, and working on their regular homework, mais tout en Francais. I’m thoroughly enjoying getting to know these bright and enthusiastic kids and hope to stimulate them with a wider worldview of the French culture and language. Coming home was a good idea!

HOP Students Honoured by First Nations Community
By: Stephanie Picioreanu ’20

Last year, the Elementary HOP club investigated the history of the education of our local First Nations children and their opportunities and challenges. Our year concluded with the extreme honour to visit the Dunbow Road Industrial and Residential School where 74 First Nations children are buried. As we know from studying the Rights of a Child, every child deserves a name. As we released butterflies, we dignified each child with their name rather than the number with which they were buried.

Our story was published in the local and national newspapers and caught the eye of a gentleman, Mike Cohen in Whitby, Ontario. He wrote: “My name is Mike Cohen and I am a maker of Shaker Boxes. The article about your 32 students really touched my heart. You must be very proud of these exceptional students. I would like to give each one of these students one of my boxes. I would custom make them as a remembrance box for each student.”

This September, we received these beautiful boxes for each of the students who paid tribute to the children at the Dunbow Road Residential school and a note that reads “For all of the students and teachers at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School who helped bring to light a tragic and sad narrative on our Canadian historic landscape in such a sensitive and heartfelt manner.  ALWAYS remember, Sincere regards, Mike.

A big thank you to Ms. Laurie Sommerville, a former STS parent, for arranging the field trip for us. Without her passion and devotion to our aboriginal children we would not have had this experience.

Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest
By: Scarlet Sprung ’14, Prefect

As the end of October rolls around, Elementary School students will have the opportunity to compete in the annual pumpkin carving contest! On October 29, 2013, students may begin bringing in their pumpkins to the tables which will be set up in the Black Watch Bistro. The students will be required to fill out a name tag that goes along with the pumpkin with both the name of the carver and the name of their pumpkin. The deadline to bring in your pumpkins is 10:00 a.m. on October 31, 2013. The pumpkins will then be judged on October 31, 2013 on many different categories such as "best name,” and are to be taken home at 3:30 p.m. that day.

 

 

Middle and Senior School News

Fall Interim Report Card for Grades 7-12 Available Online
Yesterday, students in Grades 7-12 were issued a fall interim report card.  This report card can be viewed online by logging ontoManagebac at https://sts.managebac.com, click on ‘Academics’ and then ‘Reports’.  Please email Mrs. Alanna Wellwood at wellwoa@sts.ab.ca if you need help logging on to Managebac.  

Parent/Teacher Interviews will take place on October 29, 2013 from 4:00-8:00 p.m., November 5, 2013 from 4:00-8:00 p.m. and November 7, 2013 from 1:00-6:00 p.m. Middle and Senior School students will be dismissed at 12:00 noon on November 7, 2013 and buses will depart STS at 12:15 p.m. to bring students home for those students who normally take the bus.  Parent/Teacher Interviews can be booked online and instructions for doing this can be found below and on the website in the downloads section. 

Booking Middle and Senior School Parent/Teacher Interviews
In an effort to streamline the booking of interviews, offer a more user-friendly program for parents and faculty, and reduce costs, STS has moved to a new company to use for the booking of all interview requests. Detailed, step-by-step instructions can be found here.  The system opened at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 24, 2013 for you to register and make your bookings.

Questions regarding any aspect of School Appointments should be directed to Mr. Cole Carlson, Director of Academic Programming (403-938-8310).

Senior Cross-Country Team Provincial Champions
This year’s cross-country running Provincials has confirmed a couple of things, we have some phenomenal runners at STS and there are hills in every part of Alberta. While we had 19 athletes qualify by placing in the top 18 in their categories at the South Central Zone meet in Canmore on October 9, 2013, we ended up bringing 23 athletes to Drayton Valley to participate in the Provincial Championship meet. When qualifying runners are not able to compete, they roll-down the list to allow other competitors the opportunity, thus enabling us to bring additional athletes.

The meet was hosted at the Pembina Nordic Ski Club, where it was decided to set the course with an exciting (for spectators) but grueling finish with a 400 metre climb. Our runners entered into the meet with personal goals of besting previous times, beating runners who may have finished in front of them at the Zones meet, and of course to earn as many points as possible to contribute toward the team championship.

As always, the Spartan runners did not disappoint and literally ran away with the 2A Provincial Championship for the fourth year in a row, beating the second place team by over 600 points. The total aggregate points put STS in the top five for all schools in the Province, a formidable accomplishment considering the size of our school.

Special recognition should be given to Angus Rawling ‘15 who finished 4th in Intermediate Boys and Gillian Ceyhan ‘13 who was 8th in Senior Girls.

Thank you to everyone for their support. While the cross country running season officially comes to a close with the Spartans defending both the South Central Zone and Provincial titles, we have 24 students who will head to Vancouver on Friday, October 25, 2013 to participate in the 43rd running of the James Cunningham (JC) Seawall Race.

Middle School Cross-Country Runners Bring Home the Banner Once Again!
Our competitive season began with the STS School Meet in which all of our Middle School students were expected to strive for a personal best on their designated course. The next meet saw the top 15 runners in each age category race against competitors from the Foothills Division.  As we host this second meet, it was another chance for our students to excel on the course they are familiar with.  The third and final meet of the season was the South Central Zone Competition held in Canmore on Wednesday, October 9, 2013.

Grades 7-9 saw 42 runner take part and did a great job in representing our school. They were excellent in supporting their teammates and often supported those that were outside of their running category.  It was a beautiful, blue sky, autumn day.  It is always so inspirational to see our students make their very best efforts in such a rigorous sport! Each race had approximately 100 runners our runners consistently finished in the top half to two-thirds of the pack. The distance for boys and girls in the Bantam and Midget categories, as well as the Juvenile girls, is two kilometers, of continuous up and down!  Juvenile Boys take on three kilomters of similar terrain.

Below are some of our front-runners who led their teams to this year’s success!

Bantam Girls: Our leaders in this race were Melissa Spyker ’19 who finished 35th, Brynn Dokter ’19 who finished 39th, Zasha Rabie ’19 who finished 40th, and Katie Sugiyama ’19 who finished 41st.

Bantam Boys: Matt Beingessmer ’19 led his team with a 6th place finish. Tom Cochrane ’19 finished 12th. Carter King ’19 finished 19th. Nick Aspinall ’19 finished 22nd.  These were excellent placements for our front runners.

Midget Girls:  Our leaders in this race were Alley Prete ’18 who finished 7th, Danielle Lowe ’18 who finished 14th, Victoria Maybaum ’18 who finished 28th, and Teigan Ross ’18 who finished 29th

Midget Boys: Henry McArdle ’18 led his team with a 9th  place finish. Spencer Kalnicki ’18 finished 14th;  Nich Potter ’18 finished 22nd and Nico Belanger ’18 finished 25th. They were closely followed by the rest of their team who all finished in the top half of the field.

Juvenile Girls: Our leader in this race was Katherine Smith ’17 who place 6th.Vanessa Parker ’17 placed 18th, Michaela Ralph ’17 placed 22th and Hadley Rawling ’17 placed 31st

Juvenile Boys:  Our leader in this race were Tom Melvin-Smith ’17 who place 10th, Evan Vadnai ’17 placed 15th, Dhananjay Gupta ’17 placed 35th and Liam Waterous ’17 placed 41th.

Grade 7 Students Interview CBC Marketplace Host

Wayne Gretzky once said, "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." This holds true for anything you do in life. If you are not will to try something, then you will never be successful.

Recently, Mr. Frehlich decided to take this courageous attitude on Twitter. Twitter is a powerful social media tool because you are able to follow and learn from some very famous and influential people.

Currently, his Grade 7 science class is studying the effects of chemicals on the environment, and his class watched an episode from the Canadian Television Series, CBC Marketplace, called “Lousy Green Labels”.

After watching this investigative report, his class had many unanswered questions. So Mr. Frehlich decided to tweet the host of the episode, Erica Johnson (@cbcerica) and invite her to speak to his class about the episode and field some questions via Skype.

The interview with Erica Johnson was very informative.  Ms. Johnson spoke about the importance of researching companies’ claims and to always continue to ask questions about company products.  Our STS students asked her several inquisitive questions.  Some of them were; “What made you interested in being an investigative reporter for Marketplace?”, “Why did you choose to investigate lousy Green labels?”, “What percent of the companies say no to your follow up phone calls and interviews?  Have any of them gotten mad at you?” and “If companies know that someone checks the ingredients on their products, why do they lie?” 

 Erica Johnson, like Wayne Gretzky and other great Canadians, showed us the importance of going beyond our comfort zone to be investigative in our approach to looking at the world.  

Grade 7 Orientation Camp
One of the exciting elements at the beginning of the school year for our Grade 7 students is the Orientation Camp that happens towards the end of September. We spent three days at Camp Chief Hector participating in activities lead by STS teachers and the camp staff. Included in this year’s itinerary were archery, geocaching, photography, science observations, challenge course, canoeing and hiking.  In the evening we played the animal game and created skits. 

Excerpts from student logbooks highlight what we had hoped to accomplish.  Please enjoy their reflections.

Sammy Dayo ‘19: “I loved the way the Grade 9 leaders were very nice and easy going.  I loved the way they gave up their time and came to help us at camp.  I loved the way that they would want to know you better and would always ask how you were doing.”

Jeremy Pierce-Lord ‘19: “I got to know my classmates better at camp.  Throughout all the activities I was spending more time with people who I normally wouldn’t spend time with.  I also got to know a lot of my teachers better.”

Zasha Rabie ‘19: “I really enjoyed canoeing.  It was super fun because legends were told and we sang songs all the way across the pond.  It was also a great workout.”

Ben Spilak ‘19: “The setting was beautiful.  We were placed right in the center of the mountains.”

Aiden Wolfson ‘19: “The animal game was fun.  We got to unleash our inner animal.  It got us really pumped.  The challenge course really made us work as a team.  We got stuck on the tire obstacle.  That helped us bond also.” 

Alice Yates ‘19:  “I loved the feeling when we reached the top of the mountain.  You knew how much you’d accomplished.  It felt great.”

Grade 9 Reflection Time
Students take time to reflect during the first day of the Grade 9 Backpacking trip to Upper Tombstone Lake.

 

 

 

 

 

Students Tour the Alberta College of Art and Design
On Friday, October 18, 2013, Art 20 and 30 students participated in our annual tour of the Alberta College and Art & Design (ACAD). This is a co-curricular field trip for students to gain greater knowledge and appreciation about a variety of art disciplines. Students completed a written assignment while at ACAD which involves analysis and discussion of five categories of art.  It’s great to see our students so engaged in this fun and purposeful event.

 

 

 STS Plays Host to International Schools Prior to Round Square International Conference
By: Halle Shopperly ‘16

I am one of six very fortunate STS students who attended the 2013 Round Square International Conference.

The Conference this year was hosted in Boca Raton, Florida, and the host country always offers pre-conference trips for schools to participate in.  There were a variety of pre-conference trips planned in places like New Orleans, San Francisco, Bermuda and here in our own backyard, Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise and the Columbia Icefields.

We were excited to host two very different schools on our pre-conference trip: St. George’s School from Namibia, Africa and Trinity Anglican from Cannes, Australia. The first day we met in Calgary to take in the history and sights of our city. We visited the Calgary Tower, the Glenbow Museum and Fort Calgary.

I even learned things about my hometown that I didn’t know before.

The second day, we headed to Banff because no visitor can leave our Province without seeing and spending time in Banff. We rode the gondola up Sulphur Mountain which gave our visitors their first experience with snow, ice, cold temperatures, and wind-chill.  Thanks to the Waterous family who designed a scavenger hunt for us, we were also able to show our visitors the spectacular sights, and tastes of Banff such as the fudgery, Hudson’s Bay Company, and the candy shop.  Our day ended at the Castle Mountain Hostel where we spent the next two nights, giving our visitors a true taste of the Rocky Mountains.  We were the only group at the hostel which allowed us to bond over amazing food, intense card matches and Jenga games.

The third day we hiked Johnston’s Canyon to the Ink Pots, with the guidance of Mr. Mercer. The highlight of this hike, besides the spectacular scenery, was seeing a grizzly bear while we were stopped for lunch.  We had a great view since he was only about 30 metres away; however, he was uninterested in our large group and eventually rambled away.

Our next day of hiking was to the Larch Valley, the Valley of the 10 Peaks and the Sentinel Pass with the help of our guides, Ms. Weber, Mr. Straub and Argus, the dog.  We counted ourselves very lucky to be amongst the few who get to see the Larches changing colour on a beautiful sunny day. But the highlight of the trip was climbing Sentinel Pass in snow that our visitors had never experienced before. They were so ecstatic to get to the top to look down the valley, make snow angels, and of course, have a snowball fight. That night we stayed in the Lake Louise hostel.

The next day was our driving day where we played tourists, stopping on the side of the road to take pictures as we drove to the Columbia Icefields to see and learn about the receding glaciers. At the Icefields, the wind was blowing at 80 km an hour, which did not appeal much to our visitors.  They quickly came to realize how important it was to cover their faces to prevent windburn.  Eating lunch in the windy parking lot was an adventure in itself, but we were all well fed. Seeing the beauty of our province through the eyes of those who are seeing it for the first time makes us realize and appreciate how fortunate we are.

And then we set off for the long trek back to Calgary where the entire group of 22 was hosted by the Stack family, who fed us dinner and gave our visitors a true Canadian treat – s’mores over a campfire! Then it was off to the airport for our 1:00 a.m. flight to Florida. 

For the Love of Reading
We are proud to share that STS students raised enough money to purchase 92 books, exceeding last year’s total books by 26 books. The books will be donated to High River’s Spitzee Elementary School that was devastated by the floods this summer.

Jyoti Ruparell ’18 began organizing the fundraiser in Grade 5 and has always loved reading. She believed raising funds for the Indigo Love of reading Foundation would be a great opportunity to act as a global citizen and give back to the community. Congratulations to Class 8C for having raised the most money.

STS Excels at the International Independent Schools Public Speaking Championships
From October 15-21, 2013, Elspeth Yates ’14, Ryan Shah ’14, Shiv Ruparell ’15, Asha Ruparell ’15, Maris Schneider ’15 and Imaan Kherani ’16 travelled to King City, Ontario to participate in the IISPSC and experienced tremendous success.  STS finished in fourth place out of 55 schools from across Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Peru, India, Germany and the Bahamas. This is the same tournament that STS hosted a year ago and many of the students and coaches complimented us on our very successful tournament. One of the benefits of hosting the tournament is that the following year, schools can bring six students to compete instead of the usual three.

Our team did exceptionally well and the following students advanced to the finals: Shiv Ruparell  in Original Oratory, Ryan Shah in Parliamentary Debate, Imman Kherani in After Dinner Speaking and Interpretive Reading and Elspeth Yates in Radio Broadcasting and Interpretive reading. Special congratulations goes to Elspeth Yates who placed 7th overall out of 160 students in the tournament allowing her to represent STS and Canada at the Worlds Public Speaking Competition held in Lithuania this April. As well special congratulations go to Imaan Kherani who place first in the category of After Dinner Speaking. After the banquet and prior to the awards ceremony, Imaan had the privilege of delivering her after dinner speech to the entire audience. The tournament was hosted by The Country Day School a short distance from King City about 45 minutes north of Toronto. Like STS the school is situated in the country; however, most of the tournament was held at the King Conference Centre a short distance from the school.

STS has a proud tradition of speech and debate and we are very pleased with how these six students represented our school at the IISPSC.

Students Demonstrate their Outstanding Speaking Skills at the John Diefenbaker High School Speaking Competition
On Friday, October 18, 2013, 32 Middle School students competed in the John Diefenbaker School Public Speaking Competition demonstrating their excellence in public speaking. We are proud of all of our students who competed and it is evident their skills and confidence is growing as the year progresses. Special congratulations to the following students who received medals in the following categories:

Original Oratory: Ben Spilak ’19 - 2nd, Gayathri Peringod ‘17 -3rd.
Impromptu:  Holly Kletke ’18 -2nd
Poetry:  Kristy Lee ’17 -1st, Annabelle Hicks ’18 -2nd, Aliza Jaffer ’19
Prose:  Emma Cross ’18 -2nd, Brynne Steward ’18 -3rd
Solo Acting:  Lauren Wong ’17 -1st, Niki Lekatsas ’17 -2nd, Yo-Lin van Kleef ’17 -3rd
Duet Acting:  Zoe Wilmoth ’18 and Paulina Hart ’18

Thank you again for all the parents who judged the competition. The next speech tournament is on November 15, 2013 at Sir Winston Churchill High School.  Students who have not yet entered a previous tournament must enter this one to be eligible for competing in the Regional Tournament.

Spain Trip Itinerary
Current Grade 10 and 11 students are invited to explore Spain from June 22 – July 3, 2014. View the proposed itinerary here.  If you would like more information, please contact Mr. Thomson at thomsoa@sts.ab.ca or 403-938-4431.

Senior School Students/Alumni Speed Mentoring Session
Senior School students are invited to attend the 3rd Annual Alumni Speed Mentoring session on November 1, 2013, in the Peter B. Ditchburn Library from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.  Todate, 15 alumni mentors will be on hand to advice students about what to expect in university, and the professional working world that follows post-secondary education. 

Listed below are Alumni who will be attending and the professions they are representing.

Mr. Rick Weissenborn ’88 – Entrepreneur
Mr. Sebastien Gittens ’95 – Law
Mr. Lew Turnquist ’86 – Management
Ms. Gillian Selby ’89 – Interior Design
Mr. Liam Dinning ’00 - Business
Ms. Lara (Hamnett) Unsworth ’95 - Communications and Marketing
Mr. John Paul Smith ’04 – Law
Ms. Carolyn (Ash) Levy ’99 – Human Resources
Ms. Faye (Sidorsky) Steinberg ’89 – Business/Music IndustryMs. Jocelyn (Ullett) Russell ’01 – Business Consultant
Ms. Kaili Cashin ’06 – Media & Social Media Communication
Mr. David Howard ’96 – Engineering
Dr. Brandy James ’93 – Health
Mr. Steve Mannix ’96 – Commercial Developer/Investment
Ms. Sydney Schwartz ’00 – Architecture and Design

Click here to register today. Space is limited.

Following the mentoring session, alumni and students will be given the opportunity to participate in a mix and mingle reception allowing them another opportunity to network with the alumni mentors. For further information, please contact Mrs. Brenda Thompson, Alumni Relations & Events Coordinator, 403-938-8318 or ThompsB@sts.ab.ca.

Alumni Speaker Series featuring Jeff Kahane ‘89
Senior School students are invited to an engaging presentation from alumnus Jeff Kahane ’89 Owner/Lawyer of Kahane Law Office in Calgary on Monday, November 4, 2013 at 12:00 noon in room 51. 

Jeff Kahane’s ’89 fondest memories at STS include the trip to Greece, co-creating the school newspaper and playing rugby. Upon graduation, Jeff earned his Bachelor of Law Degree at the University of Calgary and University of Western Ontario, and in 2004 founded the Kahane Law Office in Calgary.

His hard work and dedica­tion earned him the Alberta Centennial Medal of Honour in 2005, a nomination for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2007, a Business in Calgary “Leader of Tomorrow” in 2010 and the Calgary Choice Award for small business in 2011. In addition, the Kahane Law Office was recognized as a Best Place to Work and 2013 Top Choice Award: Top Family Law Firm.

A free pizza lunch will be provided for all students in attendance.For more information, please contact Mrs. Thompson at thompsb@sts.ab.ca or 403-938-8318.

University Fair – Reminder to Grade 12 and Grade 11 Parents
A reminder that our annual University Fair will be held in the Sandy Heard Sports Hall on Thursday, October 31, 2013 from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Here you can see which Canadian Universities will be in attendance as well as other fairs taking place throughout Calgary should an evening fair be more useful to you. The Grade 12 Parent University Information Meeting will also take place Wednesday, October 30 at 7:00 p.m. in the C.A. Smith Arts Centre.

Canadian University Report
The Globe and Mail came out with their annual Canadian University Report on Tuesday. There may be some items worth chatting with your student about.  The electronic version can be looked at here.