Heads Up

Welcome to Heads Up, your one-stop source for news about your son’s upcoming activities and events.

Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division

scott

Upcoming Senior Division Dates:

  • Monday, Nov. 6– Assembly Special Guest Speaker – Nate Leipciger, Holocaust Survivor: Laidlaw Hall, 9:55 a.m. (First Dress Required)
  • Thursday, Nov. 9– Remembrance Day Assembly – Special Schedule (First Dress Required)
  • Thursday, Nov. 9– Year 10 Student Photos: Lett Gym Mezzanine, as scheduled
  • Friday, Nov. 10– November Long Weekend, no classes

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education has appropriately emerged as an area of focus in recent years as a key priority in almost all educational settings.

During last Monday’s assembly, the spotlight shone on STEM here at UCC, as the boys heard from Dr. Ronald Cohn, chief of paediatrics at the Hospital for Sick Children and chair of paediatrics at the University of Toronto. Cohn’s fascinating address was a blend of his life story, mixed with remarkable updates in the field of CRISPR treatment, and prudent advice on how to lead a fulfilled life.

Like many of the boys, I had heard the term CRISPR before, but did not have a full appreciation of the life-changing impact that this specialized type of genome-editing technology can have on those suffering from conditions caused from DNA errors, specifically patients with Duchene muscular dystrophy. For me, a self-professed recovering English teacher, the scientific details proved too much to fully grasp, but watching a video of a laboratory mouse that was unable to move its hind legs, and seeing that same mouse fully mobile after receiving CRSIPR treatment was astounding. As well, hearing Cohn speak of the considerable impact this same technology could have on the quality of life of someone suffering from the debilitating disease was simply awe-inspiring. Here is a link to a Toronto Star article featuring Cohn’s work in the CRISPR realm.

Cohn’s work in this field, and all that he shared with the boys clearly demonstrated his intelligence and intellectual ability. However, what was equally impressive for me about his talk, were his encouraging comments about the characteristics he felt would lead to living a successful, fulfilled life.

First, he spoke about setting goals and pursuing your passions. Reminiscing about his high school experience, Cohn mentioned that his chemistry teacher advised him against pursuing the sciences at the post-secondary level. “I’d love to speak with him now,” mused Cohn.

Second, our guest reinforced the need for hard work, and the need to be resilient in times of failure. He commented on the numerous setbacks that occur during scientific experiments, and the countless sleepless nights he’s had throughout the years, in preparing for conversations with patients when things haven’t gone as planned. Ultimately, failed experiments provide important data for future successes.

Finally, Cohn talked about the immense joy he receives through his work in the service for others. He lit up when he spoke of the kids in his care, and challenged the boys to deeply consider how their work, whatever it may be, might positively impact those in need.

While Cohn’s message had a specific scientific focus, there were definitely elements of his talk that apply to all of us – scientists and non-scientists alike. I would encourage you to speak with your son about Monday’s assembly, and about setting goals, being resilient and caring for others.

Thanks for reading,
Scott

 

 

 

Calendar

Legend

Blue: Whole School
Yellow: Upper School
Red: Prep School

 


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