Developing Character at STS

Character development is one of the central tenets of the STS mission. Our efforts to develop character are multi-faceted and woven into the fabric of our curricular and co-curricular programs. Some elements of character are embedded in the IB Learner Profile including descriptors such as: risk-takers, principled, open-minded and caring.  Other elements of character are found in the STS values that we strive to instill in our students including: integrity, kindness, respect, responsibility, safety and service. Character building is accomplished, in part, by presenting challenges which cause students to struggle in various ways and work outside of their comfort zones. Struggles take many forms. Solving a difficult mathematics problem is a form of intellectual struggle that challenges students’ critical thinking. Making a speech requires students to struggle with the creation of an argument and then overcome the anxiety around delivering that argument in a public place. Athletic endeavours challenge students physically as they struggle through physical discomfort and find the courage to compete. Community service causes students to struggle with the discomfort of recognizing the suffering of others and the disparities that exist in our world. Doing a solo in a drama or music performance causes students to struggle with the technical demands of the performance and overcome their nervousness in order to present it well. These are just a few examples of character-building opportunities which cause students to take risks and put their strengths and weaknesses out there for all to see. 

Another setting in which we challenge our students is in outdoor pursuits. As I write this piece, I am thinking about our 9C students who are backpacking as we are experiencing our first winter storm. They are probably experiencing some discomfort and having to rise above the many challenges that poor weather presents on these outings. Each of them struggles with the experience in different ways depending upon their experience, their personal attributes and the boundaries of their comfort zone. Some will need assistance and others will take leadership roles in providing that. There will be opportunities to demonstrate kindness and support, to deal with anxiety, to develop resilience and determination and to face certain fears unknown to those around them. Some will experience exhilaration and others will experience exhaustion. But everyone will be challenged or stretched in some way that extends beyond the classroom experience and everyone will come home knowing something new about themselves. 

Kurt Hahn was a renowned German educational philosopher and the founder of Outward Bound and Round Square. He was also instrumental in the development of the International Baccalaureate. Hahn believed that as educators, our responsibilities went beyond the development of our students’ academic skills to include the development of their character and citizenship. He believed in the value of adventure expeditions and described it in this way: “Expeditions can greatly contribute towards building strength of character. Joseph Conrad in Lord Jim tells us that it is necessary for a youth to experience events which 'reveal the inner worth of the man; the edge of his temper; the fibre of his stuff; the quality of his resistance; the secret truth of his pretences, not only to himself but others."

Over the years, much has been written about the importance of character development in education. You may have recently read about the emergence of the theory that “grit” (a term that refers to certain strengths of character such as resilience in the face of adversity) is a better predictor of success than academic achievement. Character development is not a recent trend at STS and its origin as part of our school philosophy and ethos dates back to the missions of our founding schools. We are committed to our belief that excellence in character and leadership are as important as academic excellence when it comes to preparing our students to assume leadership roles in the world and we will continue to strive to develop those qualities of good character in all of our students – even though that will mean causing them to struggle at times in the face of meaningful and transformative challenges. 

If you are interested in reading more on the subject of “grit” and character, see the article below from the Globe and Mail, September 1, 2012:

William Jones
Head of School

Full School News

Dates to Remember

  • Upcoming University Fair – November 1, 2012
  • Distinguished Alumni Award – Call for Nominations Deadline – November 23, 2012

Advancing Our Strategic Plan via the STS Community and Alumni Network

This month’s update on the School’s strategic plan centres on the STS Community and Alumni Network, which strives to protect our core values, traditions and history, build and strengthen relationships, and encourage service and philanthropy for the benefit of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School. We are proud to say that we have made great progress in this area. Our broader STS community is engaged and supportive of our current students – which in many ways is a testament to the already strong and vibrant STS family.

Our recent successes:

  • Students enjoyed the advice and career direction received from 31 alumni who participated in various speed, medical and career mentoring sessions.   
  • POSTS is to be commended for bringing the STS community together socially and in support of Black Watch fundraising.  Thanks to everyone who generously gave to Black Watch GLAM in support of the Fine and Performing Arts. The upcoming parent social on November 16, 2012 is an event not to be missed. 
  • Student rugby players challenged STS alumni to a friendly match. The rugby game was part of the well-attended Homecoming 2012 and annual alumni events calendar, reconnecting 700 alumni with former faculty, friends and the School.  
  • New videos to support admissions, celebrate our founding schools’ history and capture student leadership in OE, speech and other programs are posted for all to enjoy. 
  • Inaugural alumni are showcased on the Nil Nisi Optimum Notable Alumni Wall in the school to inspire to pursue diverse career paths.
  • More than 300 meetings with alumni and former parents have been hosted, connecting alumni back to STS and seeking their engagement and advice. 
  • New faculty were oriented in the traditions and history of the School to ensure they uphold STS values. 
  • Over $500,000 was raised in annual giving to fund learning on our country campus, teaching excellence, scholarships and bursaries, and a variety of other initiatives which enhance student learning. 
  • Class of 2012 graduates generously seed funded a bursary to enable future students to enjoy the benefits of an STS education. 
  • A community-wide fundraising feasibility study was conducted to support campus rejuvenation, teaching excellence and scholarships and bursaries. 
  • This family-centred school has drawn 39 alumni families back to campus as current parents of 63 children to carry on the tradition of a well-rounded STS education. 
  • A growing number of committed volunteers are leaders on the Board, STS Foundation and STS Alumni Executive.

Going Forward:

  • Implement the young alumni engagement plan to keep recent graduates from the last decade close to the School and to each other. 
  • Optimize social media, online alumni directory and other outreach vehicles to connect alumni and support them in career pursuits. 
  • Engage and seek feedback from parents of current students relating to this strategic goal. 
  • Support a growing demand for scholarship and bursary recipients. This year 42 students are benefiting from student awards. These exceptional students are involved and contributing leaders in the classroom and co-curricular activities, acting as ambassadors for STS. 
  • This year’s annual fund appeal will support enhancements to the country campus as an extension of the classroom by building a Forest Learning Centre. Faculty are excited to motivate students’ learning with the natural environment we enjoy along our trails, beside the pond and in the new learning centre. We are striving for participation from Every Family – Every Year in our annual giving which enhances the experience for every student.

STS is a vibrant community which contributes in many ways to the STS experience. In striving to further solidify, broaden and strengthen our community and alumni network for the benefit of past, current, and future students we welcome ideas from you – our community – on how to further accomplishment this strategic goal.Nil Nisi Optimum Notable Alumni Wall Unveiling, Homecoming, 2012

Recap: On a foundation of academic excellence, our five strategic differentiators are:

  1. Integrated Programming
  2. Global Perspective
  3. Centre for Excellence in Teaching
  4. Unique Rural Campus
  5. STS Community and Alumni Network 

Marti McKay Week

During the week of October 15 – 19, 2012, STS celebrated the 28th year of Marti McKay Week, our annual artist-in-residence program and celebration of the literary arts. Marti McKay Week presents STS students with the opportunity to explore the literary arts in an experiential way as they learn from individuals who work in a variety of artistic fields. Over the past 27 years, the school community has been visited and enriched by poets, novelists, illustrators, playwrights, musicians and the like. 

Marti McKay, a gifted writer and poet, came to STS in 1979 as a Grade 10 student, but her life was tragically cut short in 1981. Marti’s family and friends established a fund in her memory to keep the passion for Creative Arts alive at STS. This fund enriches the lives of all STS students, giving them the opportunity to experience the Arts in vibrant and dynamic ways. It is through the generosity of Marti’s father, Mr. McKay, that past and present STS students continue to learn from a diverse array of creators and artists. The message that Mr. McKay has communicated to our students is the importance of being positive and to creating something positive from a negative situation or event. 

The week began with a full school assembly, which was both a lovely tribute to Marti McKay and the McKay family as well as an opportunity for students to come together to celebrate this long standing STS tradition of hosting artists-in-residence.  Cake was also served at lunchtime in the Black Watch Bistro as part of the special celebrations. Our fabulous parent volunteers created a commemorative display outside the C.A. Smith Arts Centre and in the elementary hallway outside the Peter B. Ditchburn Library which honoured the generosity of the McKay family and introduced the school community to our artists-in-residence.  Students had the unique opportunity to learn from and work with four literary artists this year.

Children’s author, Holly Preston, read from her books celebrating the legacy of Canadian sports teams. Students learned about sportsmanship, perseverance and watermelon helmets through her books in The Always Team series about the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and were introduced to the Winnipeg Jets through her book The Home Team. Following her presentation, students asked questions ranging from “What inspired you to write these books?” to “Have you ever worn a watermelon helmet?” Ms. Preston responded to all the students with warmth and encouraged budding writers to write down the stories in their imaginations. It was a pleasure to have Holly Preston visit our school and our students look forward to signing out her books from our library soon.

Author, Mr. Ryan Flavelle ‘05, an STS alumnus, presented to our Senior School students about his experiences as a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces. He has published a memoir about his time in Afghanistan entitled The Patrol: Seven Days in the Life of a Canadian Soldier in Afghanistan. Mr. Flavelle’s book was long-listed for the 2012 Charles Taylor Award, and he was also named the Canadian Author’s Association’s Emerging Artist of the Year for 2012. Students were captivated by the stories Mr. Flavelle told about his time in Afghanistan and were challenged to think about questions he raised regarding war, heroism and the influence of the media in shaping our perspectives on war and life as a soldier.

Mr. Ian Keteku, a spoken word poet, mesmerized our Middle School and Grade 5 students with his humorous and thought provoking poetry. Students were impressed and engaged. One student remarked that Mr. Keteku must have magical power because he is a “sorcerer of words”! Mr. Keteku involved the students in the process of poetry writing with creative exercises that elicited amazing metaphors and short poems from students within a matter of minutes.

Mr. Robert Feagan, a novelist for young people, spoke to our Grades 4-6 students as well as to students in Grades 7 and 8. Mr. Feagan told many stories about his life growing up in Northern Canada and students were fascinated by his accounts of the harsh weather, the wildlife and the variety of cultures in the North. Mr. Feagan brought many artefacts to show the students including seal harpoons, animal pelts, sculptures and even a pair of eighty year old wooden sunglasses used to prevent snow blindness on the tundra. Mr. Feagan has written three novels and our students are eager to read more about Northern Canadian tales of adventure.

All in all, the 2012 Marti McKay Week was a great success - providing enrichment opportunities for our students and keeping alive the long standing STS tradition of valuing and celebrating the Creative Arts, which is an integral part of the STS mission to provide our tudents with a well-balanced education.



CPO Preforms for the STS Community – written by Michael Sullivan ‘13

The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) performance at our school was an enjoyable and enlightening experience to have that I found not only entertaining but also inspirational in my own pursuit of musical performance. Although all the pieces were great, the repertoire consisted of Star Wars, a Mozart overture, Ave Maria, an overture to an operetta and Phantom of the Opera, I think the best part of the performance for me was being able to hear how so many different instruments and lines of music could be crated together with all the skill and artistry possessed by each musician in the overture to the operetta which translated into English was “The Bat”.

To hear music of such high calibre and professionalism is not only entertaining, but an educating experience as well. Learning music to prepare for a performance requires great devotion, time, effort and skill development. But, when the performance actually occurs, the musicians place that preparation behind them and allow the audience to experience music as the great form of art that it is. To see the connection between the preparation and the performance is a great way of learning that although great effort and devotion is required to learn anything difficult, it’s still important that the result, and even the effort there, was not only enjoyed, but an experience that helps to broaden understanding of not just the skill learned, but also the message that comes along with it.

I think the great benefit of such a concert is that it inspires students to continue pursuing their artistic pursuits, and seeing professionals performing something they love to do has great impact on students. I know that every time I see a professional concert, I strive harder to take my artistic skill to greater levels and try to enjoy it more, and I know this occurred for others. The concert was also great exposure to different genres of music, even music that is not very popular anymore, and allows students to have a greater understanding of what kinds of music exist and how they can enjoy and pursue different types of music. Overall it was a great experience that was inspiring and broadening and it was awesome to hear a CPO concert free when I usually pay!

New Choral Risers a Hit - STS students share their thoughts

The new four-step choral risers, installed last week, are the first item purchased by Mrs. Dickson and Mrs. Provencher with funds donated from the spring 2012 Black Watch Gala. After years of being a little too close for comfort, singers in all four STS choirs have space to spread out, move around safely and sing.  While the physical comfort of the singers in paramount, this new arrangement promotes better singing by our students as distance between the choristers allows for circumambient space or “space all around”. This invites students to listen not only to themselves but also across the choir, developing great musicality and independence as choristers.

Jyoti Ruparell ’18, a member of the STS Junior Choir shares her thoughts: “I like the new risers because we have more space to sing and showcase our voices.” With close to fourty singers in the Junior Choir, space has been at a premium during rehearsals in the choral room. 

“I love the new risers because I don’t have to sit so close to my grumpy friends in the morning!” states Emily Black ’18, also a member of the Junior Choir. Zoe Wilmoth, ’18 makes note of the challenge of early morning singing: “I like the new risers because I can actually spread out in the morning when I’m tired.” Early morning rehearsals are hard for some and it seems the space provided by the new choral risers helps this situation.

As a student new to the STS choral program, Anastasia Bykovets ’18 was thrilled to see this new addition to the choral room: “The new risers make the sound we give off more powerful! I love the new risers!” Anastasia is correct: choral sound does improve with more space and research has found that crowding singers together can have a negative impact on their vocal production and singing. 

After the first Intermediate Choir rehearsal last week, several students shared their thoughts about singing on the new risers. “I think the risers are really great! It gives us so much more room to breathe. It really spreads us out so we can project our sound, and sound like a better ‘wall of kids’. The risers are awesome, and I’m glad we have them!” Alice Yates ’19, Intermediate Choir member. 

“The new risers are great! They are good for sitting on and because they have an extra row, I’m not squished in choir. They are very big and they have new railings so you won’t fall and because there is an extra row, no one has to sit on the floor.” Ben Coleman ‘19, Intermediate Choir member.

The new risers also make life easier for Mrs. Dickson and Mrs. Provencher who are thrilled not to have to move extra sections of risers into place for every rehearsal. The four rows allow for every child to be seen and heard making rehearsal time that much more productive. Rhyd Samuel, ’20, sees an improvement in music class too: “The new choir risers give me more space to learn.” There seems to be no end to the positive comments by STS students and singers. 

“I like how the risers have more room for your feet. I can put my folder on the riser without my feet getting squished.” Melissa Spyker, ’19, Intermediate Choir member. 

“I love the new risers because they have more space so in choir I am not so cramped!” Arman Lakhu, ’20, Intermediate Choir member. 

“I really like the risers in the music room because now I cannot fall off of them.  I also like the risers because there is now so much more room when you are singing and you are not hitting people if you make the slightest move.  The risers make choir much groovier because you now can also dance a little in the fun songs!” Zasha Rabie, ’19, Intermediate Choir member. 

“These risers are THE BEST THING EVER!!” is the excited response from Megan Evans ’19, a member of the STS Intermediate Choir.  “The first time Intermediate Choir got lined up on the risers, Mrs. Grunewald and Mrs. Provencher called us ‘a wall of kids’! The sound that was projected from us sounded 10 times louder and bolder. These risers are the reason that choir members don’t leave practice thinking ‘That was WAY too hot and stuffy and I think my personal bubble was popped’! Thank you so much for these awesome and spacious risers!”

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. You are invited to honour those who have given generously of their time, talent, and energy to serve Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School and distinguish themselves among the alumni of our institution. To submit a nomination, please complete and return the nomination form by November 23, 2012, and tell us why you think the nominee deserves special recognition.  Click here to view guidelines for qualification of candidates.

The winner(s) will be honoured at the 7th Annual Calgary Alumni Dinner in the spring of 2013. 

Tickets for STS Production of Grease are now available

Don't miss out on this fun-filled production. For more information click here.

POSTS Warm up to Winter Parent Social – Friday, November 16, 2012

Tickets available now! For more information, please visit

Tweeds and More update

Tweeds and More will no longer accept payment by cash or cheque. All purchases will be charged directly to your child's school account. The new hours of operation will be 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month and 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

New Parent Email

The POSTS Committee has set-up an email address which will be monitored by the New Parent Chair, Nancy Culmone, on a daily basis. This address can be used by any new parent with questions about uniforms, Tweeds and More, Black Watch Bistro, busing or other concerns you may not know who to direct it to. Please email us today at We are here to help! 

Parent volunteers needed to help with Grease costumes

Parent volunteers are needed over the next month to help us create and organize 50’s attire costumes for the STS musical Grease. We need parents who would be interested in sewing formal wear, as well as shopping for or lending costumes. We are looking specifically for prom dresses, colored men’s suits, circle skirts, poet blouses, and leather jackets. For those interested, please contact either Ms. Gonzalez or Ms. Harrison as soon as possible.

POSTS Lost & Found partners with Mabel’s Labels

Are you frustrated by the amount of stuff that leaves your house, never to return? After lots of research and testing, Mabel’s Labels created the perfect labels for the stuff kids lose. Their sticky labels and clothing labels are dishwasher, microwave and laundry safe, and customized with a child’s name, choice of colours and icon.

You’ll be amazed at what you can label. For every order placed with Mabel’s Labels, STS receives 20% cash back, which will be reinvested to support the school!  Please click on the link to order your personalized labels.

POSTS Lost & Found encourages you to label all of your students’ belongings. We are committed to returning items that belong to you and your student but we need your help by labelling ALL things, not just clothing.

Don’t hesitate to contact POSTS Lost & Found volunteers for help locating missing items. Email or call us with all of your Lost & Found inquiries: lost& or 403-938-4431, ext. 207.  If there’s no answer, please leave a message.  Lost & Found volunteers will return your call in a timely manner. 

Middle and Senior School News


Middle School Round Square has a busy start to the year 

Since the beginning of September 2012, Middle School Round Square has been busy planning and running initiatives to enrich our school, and share our good fortune with the Calgary and  international communities.

For the Love of Reading/Adopt a School:

From September 17 to October 6, 2012, Middle School homeroom classes collected coins in support of the Chapter/Indigo “For the Love of Reading” campaign.  This program provides library books for underprivileged schools across Canada.  This is the third year that STS has supported the program.  Two years ago, Jyoti Ruparell ‘17 began the fundraising in her Grade 5 class.  Last year, she involved both Grade 6 homerooms, and this year, the event was expanded to include all Middle School homerooms.  Jyoti selected a Calgary school to support, and began the fundraising efforts. All students were encouraged to bring in coins to support the Children’s Village School in northeast Calgary.  “Our school is a special setting that caters to students with emotional/social difficulties. We don't have a parent council to fundraise for our school so any extra books would be greatly appreciated. The vast majority of our students live in poverty and group homes.”  according to Mr. Mike McMahon, Principal of Children’s Village School. Over the course of three weeks, each homeroom was challenged to collect as many coins as possible to support the adopted school’s library.  On October 3, 2012, Jyoti collected the jars from the respective homerooms, and counted out the totals.  The Grade 7A homeroom class raised $428.35 out of the total $983.62 collected, and received a Booster Juice Day as reward for their efforts.  The funds raised were used to purchase 81 books for the Children’s Village School.  There were also several parent supporters who contributed online ebooks to the program.  We would like to thank all contributors, and we hope to continue to expand the For the Love of Reading campaign next fall! 

CAIS Middle School Leadership Conference:

Four STS students attended the inaugural CAIS Middle School Leadership Conference from September 26 to September 29, 2012 in Haliburton, Ontario.  There were students from over 30 CAIS schools from across Canada involved in the conference.  Emily Black ’18, Holly Greer ’17, Alan Ma ’18, and Max McKay ’18 represented STS at the conference which provided students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, all while participating in camp activities in a gorgeous Ontario fall setting.  The students were actively engaged in workshops and sessions that focused on identifying and building their leadership styles, communication skills, and confidence in their abilities. Upon arrival at Camp Onondaga, students were greeted by friendly camp staff, and then treated to a “Welcome Dinner”.  Following supper, there was a presentation by Scott Hammell.  He spoke about his passion for escape artistry, and how it has helped him learn to make a difference in the lives of others.  He also taught the students how to escape from a strait-jacket, a skill for which he holds a Guiness Book of World Records title.  The following two days were filled with energetic workshops and sessions, alternated with camp activities where students were asked to work as team members and leaders.  The culminating “Canada’s Got Talent” provided the students the opportunity to share their creativity and show off their exceptional talents, all while having a great time with their new friends from across the country.  The conference was a great success, and we look forward to providing this outstanding opportunity to more students in the coming years. 

Middle School Dance:

On October 1, 2012, more than 70 Middle School students spent their afternoon dancing.  The first Middle School dance of the year provided students with the opportunity to get to know students from different grades, and to socialize in a non-formal setting.  There were balloons and a concession stand with cookies, chips and pop.  Students were able to dance to a selection of popular songs, all DJ’ed by Mr. Bodnar.  The dance raised nearly $500.00, which will be used to support the Bridgeland Manor events over the course of the coming year.

Bridgeland Manor Harvest Dinner:

On October 2, 2012, a group of seven Middle School students travelled to Bridgeland Manor in northeast Calgary to harvest the garden and prepare dinner for the residents.  The carrots and potatoes planted in May 2012 were collected from the garden, and were then washed, peeled, chopped and cooked for the turkey feast buffet dinner.  STS students also helped prepare salads, setup the buffet, and serve appetizers to the seniors at the Manor. Over the course of dinner, students visited with the residents at the Manor, and shared stories of their summer holidays. The jovial mood continued through dessert, which had been prepared by Harrison Hart ’16.  The delicious apple crumble and almost sinful brownies were served with ice cream, and enjoyed by the students and seniors.  At the end of the evening, there was a tearful and heartfelt “thank you” to Mrs. Nola Adam for her time volunteering at Bridgeland Manor.  She will be stepping back from her role as coordinator for these events, but we are happy to announce that Mr. Andrew MacDonald will be taking over as lead staff supervisor at the Bridgeland Manor. The next visit to the Manor will be in early December to host a Bingo and Dinner evening for the seniors.

Middle School Leadership Workshop at STS:

On the evening of October 12, 2012, seventeen students from Middle School participated in an in-house leadership workshop.  Facilitated by the Prefects, Middle School students were guided through four sessions.  The first session, hosted by Mark Storwick ’13, Scoutt Palframan ’13, and  Kate MacFarlane ’13, was an introductory activity where all participants had to work together.  It provided the students an opportunity to get to know one another, while also discovering the power of team work.  Following the physically challenging activity, Ibrahim Itani ’15 led the students through a leadership and communication style awareness session.  The Middle School students came to realize that working in groups, and in particular leading the group, requires recognizing the different personalities of their peers. After dinner, the group worked collaboratively to develop a “leadership motto” under the direction of Sarah Way ’13 and Renae McArthur ’13.  Their motto highlights the intention to involve as many students as possible in events, and the desire to inspire others to participate.  The last session of the evening was a brainstorming workshop hosted by Mitchell Beacom ’13.  The students generated a list of potential projects and/or events that could be hosted in each month of the school year to promote school spirit, activism, and awareness.  Some of the suggestions will be implemented immediately, with the workshop participants acting as the coordinators.  Other activities will be developed over the course of the school year, and the Middle School Leadership team will continue to work towards involving all students at STS.

Unity Day:

On October 17, 2012, all students in Grades 7 and 8 were involved in a Unity Day activity.  Unity Day is an initiative started at the Young Round Square of the Americas Conference in April 2012 at Lakefield College School.  The project involves students at all Young Round Square schools across North America participating in activities on the same day, and with a common purpose.  For this year, the goal of Unity Day was to raise funds for “Madagascar in my Heart” through a creative activity at each school.  “Madagascar in my Heart” is a partner-project with “I Want to Learn English”, a charity that works towards bringing learning opportunities to underprivileged people around the world. On the afternoon of October 17, Grade 7 and 8 students at STS created art cards, with a leaf motif, that will be sold during Parent-Teacher Interviews in late October and early November.  The art cards will be sold for one dollar each, but we will be gratefully accepting donations above this amount for the beautifully decorated note cards.  The funds raised from the art cards will be donated to “Madagascar in my Heart”, and the photos taken during the Unity Day activity will be included in a continent-wide video of the project. 

Grade 7 Students Skype with CBC Marketplace Host

Wayne Gretzky once said, "You miss 100% 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.  Students asked her several inquisitive questions.  Some of them were; “What actions does she take to live a “Green” lifestyle?”; “Do companies that she investigates every try to sue CBC Marketplace?” and “Do food products also have lousy labels like household chemicals?” If you are interested in watching the full interview it can be found at this link:  

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.   

Senior School Students and Alumni Speed Mentoring Event

Senior School students are invited to attend the 2nd annual Alumni Speed Mentoring session on November 23, 2012, in the Peter B. Ditchburn Library from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.  Alumni from various professional backgrounds will be on campus to talk about what to expect in university and in the professional working world that follows.  

Space is limited. Click on the following link to register today! 

For further information, please contact Mrs. Thompson, Alumni Relations and Events Coordinator at  or 403-938-8318.

Success at Stampede Speech Tournament

On Friday, STS had 30 Middle and Senior School students competing in the annual Stampede Speech Tournament at John Diefenbaker High School.  The overall attendance this year for the tournament was much higher than other years with 130 students competing.  I am pleased to share with you that our students were exceptional.  Our Middle School students placed in every category they entered for a total of 6 medals (4 of which were gold) and our Senior School students left the tournament with a gold and a silver. 

On October 19, 2012, 30 STS students attended the annual Stampede Speech Tournament at John Diefenbaker High School.  Each year, the Stampede Board sponsors this challenging tournament in which students choose pieces which reflect the Calgary Stampede, agriculture or western Canadian development.  Stepping up to the challenge our students showed a strong standing within the tournament.  There were 130 participants in the tournament and STS brought home 8 medals.  Our students were well organized and prepared affording them many compliments on their strong speaking skills.

Dominating the junior division, our Middle School students performed exceptionally well.  In Original Oratory, Gayathri Peringod’ 17 won bronze with her speech on how the Calgary Stampede helped her transition into the Canadian culture. Rosalind Jackson-Roe’ 16, won gold with an interpretive reading from Dances with Wolves, impressing the judges with her powerful voice.  For a second year in a row, Lauren Wong’ 17 won gold in Interpretation of Poetry reciting the poem, “The Cattle Thief;” a poem describing a fight between English settles and the Chief of a Cree encampment, over cattle and land.  In the category of Impromptu Speaking, Michael Spyker’ 17 won silver and Kristy Lee’ 17 won gold through topics such as, “Where will Calgary be in 100 years?” Lastly in duet acting, Cameron Kletke’ 18 and Holly Kletke’ 18 won gold with their humorous piece on the trials and tribulations of an ant farmer, which left their audience laughing as they tried to picture what an ant branding would look like. 

The seniors also did very well with two medals.  Maria Golubev’ 14 won gold in Original Oratory with a brilliant speech outlining the Calgary Stampede’s ability to respond to various historical events; thus, making it truly the world’s greatest outdoor show. Thomas Dunlop’ 13 won silver in Impromptu Speaking on the topics of: “Describe your perfect day at the Stampede,” “Discuss the hardships that early settlers faced in the Calgary region,” and “Animal rights versus entertainment in rodeo events.”

We would also like to acknowledge and thank the parents who attended the tournament and helped with the judging.  These events rely very heavily on parents’ support and time in order for the students to receive constructive feedback from as many different judges as possible in order to enhance their speaking skills and development.  The next speech tournament will be November 16,, 2012at the Calgary French and International School.

Please congratulate the following students if you see them: Gayathri Peringod– Bronze in original oratory, Rosalind Roe-Jackson– Gold Prose, Lauren Wong– Gold Poetry, Michael Spyker– Silver Impromptu , Kirsty Lee– Gold Impromptu, Cameron and Holly Kletke– Gold Duet Acting, Maria Golubev– Gold original oratory, Thomas Dunlop   – Silver impromptu.  (Lara:  the students’ grad years were already mentioned so no need to put them in again.

Upcoming University Fair

Grade 11 and 12 students and their parents are invited to attend the STS University Fair taking place on Thursday, November 1, 2012 from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. in the Sandy Heard Sports Hall. 

Cross Country Provincials Results

In the lead up to the provincial cross-country meet to be hosted in Red Deer on, October 20, 2012 we were anticipating a tight competition with our rivals from Sundre. Having run against them at the South Central Zone meet in Canmore, we knew that some of our runners were closely matched. We had 21 runners registered versus their 15 so the small cushion offered some comfort, knowing that every runner would score points toward the total. Unfortunately, the comfort level became uncomfortable pretty quickly as runners sought us out to inform us of injuries and illness that might prevent them from competing. At one point, we thought we would be down to 17 runners with Claudia Belanger ‘14 out with a stress fracture, Juliana Smith ‘15 home with fever and aches, Daniel Livergant  ‘14 unable to get out of bed due to a sore neck, and Andrew Stone ‘14 dealing with illness.  

Feeling a little uncertain but still optimistic, we boarded the bus on Friday afternoon and headed north to Red Deer. Some runners wondered just how hilly Red Deer could possibly be and they were soon greeted by a course almost as challenging as the Zones course in Canmore. We completed the course walk-through and wondered out loud about why they might include running through a sand pit along with a hill so steep that it was dubbed “face-plant” hill. The temperature was a reasonable 13 degrees and it was a perfect fall day but we were assured that the weather would be changing overnight.

The morning of the meet, we were met with snow on the ground, light winds and a supposed high of two degrees. The weather would add another challenging element with slippery terrain and cool temps. One piece of good news was that Juliana was feeling better and would be joining us.

Our Juniors started us off with fantastic performances lead by Brynn McLellan ‘15 who placed 18th. She was followed by Lize-Mari Louw ‘15, Juliana and her sister Kathryn McLellan ‘15. The boys were led by Cole Pernitsky ‘15, Graham Seasons ‘15, and Michael Bruhjell ‘15. Gillian Ceyhan ‘14 ran beautifully as she won gold in the Intermediate Girls race, leaving the 2nd place runner 30 seconds behind her. The last time STS claimed gold at a provincial cross-country meet was in 2003 with Barb Reike ‘04. Sawera Dhaliwal ‘14 and Maria Golubev 14 also completed solid races. Fifteen minutes prior to the boys’ race, we had still not seen Andrew so Ms. Chow reluctantly went to formally scratch him from the race. Thankfully, within minutes of doing so, he was walking toward the starting chutes and we were able to withdraw the withdrawal. Andrew did unfortunately slip and roll his ankle on one of the hills but finished with a gutsy performance. Also running a great race for the intermediate boys were Xavier Boulianne ‘14 and Milad Eskandar ‘14. After the race, Xavier proudly proclaimed that he had beaten the runner from Sundre that Mr. Lederer had tasked him to keep an eye on.

The Senior Girls race saw fine performances from Kendall Seasons ‘13 and Georgia Young ‘13. Being their last cross-country race they were ready to put it all on the line. The last race of the day was the Senior boys and we looked to solidify our overall standing. Angus Rawling ‘15, led the charge with an inspiring 17th place finish. He was followed by Hayden Amundson ‘13, Ben Roskey ‘13 and Justin Nadeau ‘13.

In the end, we did come out victorious and were able to defend our Provincial Title for the third year in a row-. Watching the athletes put everything they have out there for the entirety of their race, to push themselves to the brink is truly inspiring. They did embody the STS motto of ‘Nil Nisi Optimum.’ We had a number of families brave the weather to cheer on the runners, for which we are very thankful.

As well, thank you to everyone for your well-wishes and support. While our cross-country season is officially over, we will once again be bringing a number of athletes to Sacramento to participate in the California International Marathon Relay in December.

Quatrapeat for the Spartans

From October 17 to October 20, 2012 the Senior Varsity Women's Volleyball team competed in the Western Canadian Independent School Volleyball Championship at Crofton House School, Vancouver, BC. In an eight team full-round robin, all nine girls contributed to a 7-0 record before playoffs. This may sound easy, but the Spartans were taken to three sets by both York House and Rundle. A measure of the Spartan mettle was their coming from behind 16-23 and winning 25-23 in the first set against York House. Strong defence, a commitment to consistently tough serving, combined with trust in each other helped the Spartans prevail.

At the banquet, Kate Macfarlane ‘13 was recognized as the most valuable defensive player of the tournament an achievement that was matched by Ciara Hanly's ‘14 most valuable blocker award. McKenzie Walker ‘14 was the honourable mention for setting, and both Kate and McKenzie were named as team all-stars. Saturday morning saw the Spartans taking on St. Michael's University School in the semi-finals. A huge contingent of alum, parents and other relatives provided the spirit that propelled the team to win in two straight albeit close sets. This victory secured a spot in the finals against the host team  Crofton House. In the finals, once again the Spartans showed that they are a true team by spreading their attacks amongst all players on the court. Tough serving, smart hitting, and disciplined defence again provided the winning mix. Spartans won in two straight sets again (25-20, 25-19).

At the closing ceremonies, the tournament organizer recognized it was appropriate that STS, the founder and first winner of the tournament, retained the trophy for the fourth straight year in the 40th year of the tournament. McKenzie Walker was named the most valuable player of the entire tournament. Please congratulate the girls on a wonderful representation of STS. The girls trust in each other and play as a team first and foremost is what we are most proud of. Thank you for all of your support of these athletes.

Congratulations to Kyle Webster

Very hearty congratulations to Kyle Webster ‘18 who through hard-work, determination and thoughtful strategy won three gold medals in his cross-country running season. The first meet was our STS Meet on September 18, 2012. The second was the Foothills Division Meet and his final gold was achieved in Canmore at the South-Central Zone Meet, held on October 3, 2012.  Kyle runs in the Bantam age group which competes over a 2km course.  This is a very quick race and always has a large number of competitors.  Of course, when racing for gold you don’t see much of the pack!

Grade 9 Boys Volleyball Team Update

The boys volleyball team continues to perform well on the court this season. With the addition of four new players this year, Saransh Loona ‘16, Andrew Cross ‘16, Nick Wynne ‘16 and Lasindu Yapa Abeywardene ‘16, we are even stronger than we were last year. So far the boys’ team have been in the championship match in three tournaments and are 4-0 in league play.  This past weekend, the team played in the Rundle tournament.  Getting off to a slow start, the boys quickly found their grove for the playoffs.  Facing a large Midsun team, Ethan Kemp ‘16 put up some huge hits, Paul Crichton ‘16 served up a storm and Nick made some great passes to beat Midsun two games straight.  Then on to the finals where the boys were up against a very strong team from Rundle.  Tristyn Butler ‘16 made some huge digs on defense, Reid McKay ‘16 set up Harrison Hart ‘16 for a great hitting spree and Lasindu blocked Rundle’s big hitter many times.  Unfortunately, a few questionable moments on the court found us down after the first game.  However, the boys rallied back and some huge blocks by Braeden MacDougall ‘16 and great setting by Aedan Mitchell ‘16 had us within a point of a third game.  After some challenges with the officiating, we were unable to secure a gold medal, instead getting silver.  However, all the boys played very well and have continued to  improve in all aspects of their game.  With two more tournaments to go, and playoffs looming around the corner, we are confident that we, as a team, will revisit Rundle in zone play and crush their hopes for victory.

Student Success Centre (SSC) Update

General activity in the SSC has continued to increase as the year progresses, particularly as a second “library” during the very successful Marti McKay Week.  It is great to see so many students of all grades and purposes using the space to learn and develop skills.  More frequently, students are simply dropping in to ask the Learning Strategist for advice on the best ways to approach their studying, time management, test-taking and organization.  Through October, the Learning Strategist has been in almost all of the Grades 7-9 health classes to discuss organization skills and strategies through various lenses; as the year progresses, further sessions in health classes will be provided regarding studying and test-taking strategies. 

November will be “study skills” month with a focus on resources for making meaning out of new information in such a way that the knowledge can be retrieved and applied as needed.  Every subject requires a slightly different approach to this level of studying and every student learns a bit differently, so all students are welcome to set up a time with the Learning Strategist to develop personalized study skills which they can apply independently.

The Peer Tutoring Program is in full swing with twenty-two volunteer tutors in Grades 10-12, and sixteen tutee requests in Grades 7-10.  The tutors have been devoted to getting to know their tutees and making their tutoring experience enjoyable.  As well, numerous tutors have volunteered “staff” more well-rounded drop-in tutoring times in the SSC at lunch.  Despite their demanding personal schedules, the volunteer tutors have been extremely flexible and responsive and deserve many thanks!

The drop-in peer tutoring schedule is as follows:

* All of the above occur in the SSC at lunchtime

  • Mondays – English, Social Studies, French
  • Tuesdays – Math, English, Social Studies, French
  • Wednesdays – Math & Science
  • Thursdays – French

If you would like more information about the SSC or the Peer Tutoring Program, please refer to last month’s Parent Page, or contact Ms. Kennedy:, or 403-938-9114.

Grade 7 Girls’ Volleyball Tournament 

Our Grade 7 Girls’ Volleyball team played in the Calgary Academy tournament October 12-13, 2012.  After a disappointing performance in our league game on Wednesday, the girls did a beautiful 180 for the tournament, playing their hearts out, having a ton of fun and winning bronze. We won the first two matches with significant margins against Calgary Academy and Calgary Waldorf; our third match against Rundle on Friday evening saw us being challenged for the first time in the tournament by Rundle’s powerful serves.  

In our matches Saturday morning, the girls learned how important it is to maintain dynamic energy throughout the game as we would win one set handily and then have a close 2nd set – at one point trailing behind an opponent by 8 points then coming back to within 2 points for the rest of the set.  We entered the finals tied for 2nd place with an unexpected tie break procedure that put us ultimately in 3rd, setting us to play against Calgary Academy again, this time for the bronze medal.  The STS team was determined not to give anything away, and quickly and decidedly won the match in the first two sets. By the last couple of matches of the tournament, our girls were consistently playing three-contact ball, even going for spikes whenever they could – unusual for a girls’ Grade 7 team this early in the year.  Many coaches, referees and parents from other teams commented on how well our team played, both in terms of skill and determination, and in terms of sportsmanship.   It was inspiring how our players used every experience to improve their skills and teamwork and of their overall performance. 

The STS  Grade 7 girls’ volleyball team is currently 1-1 in their league play, with their first match being an opportunity to know what is expected in a volleyball game, and their second match won through grit, determination, and consistent serving. Unfortunately, our game on October 23, 2012 was cancelled due to traveling difficulties for the other team, but we’re looking forward to three more matches in the league before play-offs November 21, 2012.  All of our games are on Wednesdays and we certainly appreciate family and school support in the stands: 

  • October 31, 2012  – at STS playing Pope John Paul II
  • November 7, 2012 – at Okotoks Junior High
  • November 14, 2012 – at Senator Riley

Thank you to all the players’ parents for their support thus far!

Elementary School News


Halloween Fun for All

Elementary School students will be participating in our traditional Halloween parade and classroom celebrations on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 31, 2012. Students will wear their casual clothes to school in the morning and bring their costume in a labelled bag. The parade, which travels through various parts of STS, is scheduled to start at 1:10 p.m. and parents may view the parade in various places along the route, such as the rotunda.  Following the parade, students will return to their homerooms for class celebrations.  

From 3:00 – 3:15 p.m., Mr. Uzick’s band will play ‘O Canada’ and two special selections for the Elementary School. Students will return to their homerooms until the regular 3:35 p.m. dismissal.

This year, the Prefects have organized a Pumpkin Decorating Contest. Students may bring a decorated pumpkin to school Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, the week of Halloween, and place it on display near the Black Watch Bistro. Please click here for further details and for the entry form.

STS Fast Reference Phone Numbers

Reception: 403-938-4431
Attendance: 403-938-8300 or
First Student Canada Bus Company: 403-531-3900
Enrollment (Ms. Lydia Hawkins): 403-938-8303
Advancement (Mrs. Dinnie Baker): 403-938-8317
Communications and Marketing (Mrs. Lara Unsworth): 403-995-5463
Online Community Coordinator (Ms. Kelsey Riecken): 403-995-5462

For questions relating to the website, please contact: