Boarding Newsletter | Settling in For a Bright Year Ahead
Pride Week, Yoga Mats and Nutrition
We’re at the stage now that we’re finally used to the virtual classes, the staggered dining schedule and (on a lighter note) the new dress code. After the stressful first few weeks of return, we’re settling into a routine although it involves several schedules and precautions to abide by. Fall sports are coming to a close after a good effort to encourage physical activity while still enforcing the restrictions. The second academic term is halfway completed as the workload ramps up toward the final days of the term, where typically every course assigns an assessment. So far, everyone in boarding has been safe and we thank those who help us ensure our lives are minimally affected.
Arranged & mostly written by Jack Edelist ’21
This week at a glimpse…
➢ Pride Week at UCC
➢ A Message From Our Nutrition Committee
➢ The Boarding Experience: COVID & Online Learning
➢ Where Are They Now? – Billy Shi
➢ A Message from The Director
➢ Trivia Nights
➢ Immersive van Gogh Exhibit
➢ Yoga Mats Could be The Solution We’re Looking For
➢ Outdoor Volleyball?
➢ Those Who Love Music Find Ways to Play Anyway
Pride Week at UCC
This week marks Pride Week 2020 at UCC! Pride is a celebration of the LGTBQ+ community’s diversity and progression in greater society and a reminder of the struggles that the community still faces. Despite the current circumstances, the GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) was still able to organize events that educated the school and provoked conversation among students and faculty.
As mentioned earlier, Pride is an acknowledgement of the progress of LGBTQ+ people both in Canada and around the world. Just 49 years ago Canada’s first gay rights march took place – an event still in living memory. Today, discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexuality is illegal in Canada.
UCC’s GSA is a group of students and faculty involved with promoting LGBTQ+ visibility at the school, as well as being a safe space for students to share their experiences. Some of the events organized for Pride Week this year included decoration of the year entrances, as well as a panel that answered anonymous questions submitted by the student body.
This year’s Pride Week like others was a great opportunity to have dialogue and learn about the progress of the LGBTQ+ community.
A Message from Our Nutrition Committee
The nutrition committee is headed by Sustainability Steward, Jay Kim, and consists of a handful of boarders looking to improve the food quality for us all. There has only been positive feedback about the food this year in comparison to last year, so we thank Aramark for their devotion to providing us with the best possible services. The group was formed as an initiative to diversify and represent more boarding cuisines/cultures while maintaining a modicum of nutrition. Jay says improving the underrepresented diversity in meals and repetition is next on their list of improvements. Boys who are interested in joining should email Jay if they are passionate about causing change in the dining services.
The Boarding Experience: COVID & Online Learning
A brief outline of what our online schedule looks like: we alternate days of online and in-person school where cohorts A and B alternate. Boarding meals are staggered since Seaton’s and Wedd’s are in different cohorts; the house that is online eats earlier and the house going to school eats later. All meals are served in the Upper Dining Hall except for the online learners who have lunch delivered. There is a microphone and camera in every classroom where online learners log on to see their teachers and classmates. Any comments made virtually are amplified to the classroom to facilitate typical classroom interactions, despite the physical barrier. It’s been difficult to get used to the schedule, but everyone has their own way of managing the online/in-person days to get the most out of the experience.
As far as COVID measures in boarding, we wear masks everywhere except in our own rooms, we’re not allowed to visit anyone else’s room and every common space has a capacity limit. Other than those rules, living in boarding is almost normal and abiding by the precautions becomes instinctual. However, a major change in the rules has just disallowed heavy activity indoors and prohibits indoor sports from taking place. For instance, running in gyms was recently prohibited as it promotes ‘heavy activity’ which could lead to the spread of the virus. We hope that by following these measures things will slowly start to open up again. But for now, getting in exercise as the weather gets colder presents itself as a rising issue for most.
Where Are They Now? – Billy Shi ‘20
Former Seaton’s Prefect & secretary of the Board of Stewards; started the Horizons Aviation program; heavily involved in facilitating boarding events. Now studies Engineering at Cambridge University.
What’s one thing you miss most about being a boarder at UCC?
Everything is the short answer, but I truly miss the time that the boarders spent together. I miss the pizza and burritos we had together with our Senior House Advisors; I miss the Monopoly games that lasted for four hours; I miss the boarding tutoring sessions surrounded by white boards; I miss Rao Cup events when (possibly only when) Seaton’s wins. It is in these challenging and weird times that I start to miss these interactions even more.
What’s the first thing you’d do if you visited?
I want to meet everyone that I know: students, teachers, coaches, etc. Truly, it is the people that make UCC so unique and special. Especially after arriving at a massive university, and with the current social restrictions, I strongly feel how lucky I was at UCC to know people well, to have people who care about me, and to trust each other. And, in the short term, I hope the first thing I do when I visit is to say proper congratulations, have proper handshakes and hugs, and to receive my Old Boy tie.
What are you studying and what’s the dream after college?
I am currently studying Engineering, so that involves electronics, mechanics, materials, coding, etc. The current task now is to learn a bit of every branch in engineering, and find out which one I am interested in: so that’s the dream in the short term. In the long run, I want to stay creative and curious about big or small issues around us, and find an innovative way to solve them.
What’s been keeping you busy?
Many many things. The coursework is challenging — every day’s homework questions are like Mr. Chun’s math tests – but very rewarding. It’s only been 20 days into the school year for us, and I’ve already experienced the joy and yelling over Zoom when finishing a mechanics question after three hours of teamwork.
But on top of that, I keep running and exploring this beautiful town. I’ve found the famous Newton’s apple tree: still alive but no apples on there. I’ve joined many societies, helping to build rockets and racing cars, as well as to help kids learn science. I think in due course I will be taking on a team project to develop an app that aims at identifying child malnutrition.
And, possibly surprisingly, I am taking a course to learn French!
As an old boy, what advice would you give current students?
Know that you are competing with yourself more than with others, and this mindset ultimately gives you more motivation to study, to train, to do well. Enjoy the moment when you solved a problem you couldn’t solve before and when you scored more goals than you did last time. Embrace challenges: when you get stuck on something, you’ve been given the key to learning. You learn nothing by getting all the answers right in ten minutes; you learn a ton by looking for them for three hours, no matter if you find the answer or not.
What’s your favourite quote from a teacher at UCC?
“Don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you never get it wrong.” A quote I love, and one that you can find from every email Mr. Brown sends. And, from Mr. Chan, “Thing? What thing? …” (This shows: it’s fine to be lost sometimes, even Mr. Chan does it at least twice every class)
A Message from The Director – Mr. Turner
There are lots of good conversations happening with Year 12 boarders as we move closer to the November university application deadlines in the United States, as well as scholarship deadlines in Canada. I continue to be very impressed with the time management and organizational skills of senior students who are balancing course commitments with essay writing for university applications.
I am also quite pleased with the leadership opportunities students are seeking in our COVID environment. I know Jack Edelist and a lot of other seniors would love to be playing competitive football, soccer or volleyball but I have been impressed with their interest in seeking new opportunities. Kudos to Jack for stepping up to take a leadership role in this weekly Boarding Life push page, and also to Rahul Chib and Jay Kim who have stepped up to leadership roles for students interested in pursuing the Duke of Edinburgh Award. I am also very thankful to Anthony Dicrisio, Guclu Can, Jade Boucetta and Arman Narzibekov for making time to speak to boarding parents about their academic and boarding life experience at our Town Hall meeting on October 16.
In the meantime…
Written by Sufian Alawiye
Despite the fact that many events have to be scaled back due to current circumstances, one Rao Cup event that has surged in popularity is….and you guessed it, trivia! On selected Friday nights, students from both Wedd’s and Seaton’s gather outdoors in the quad and put their minds to the test on diverse subject matter from mental health to the world’s longest street with the chance to win a prize. Last week’s prize was a $25 Amazon gift card. The winner of the last game was Sufian Alawiye. Another game is scheduled for this weekend. So can you correctly answer one of the questions? Time to find out:
What is the world’s longest street?
a)Yonge Street (Toronto, Canada)
b)I-95 (Eastern United States)
c) Trans-Canada Highway
d)Green Street (United States)
The correct answer is a), Yonge Street right here in the city! It is almost 2000 kilometers long and finishes near the US border with Minnesota!
Immersive van Gogh Exhibit
Written by Amir Modaressanavi
Last weekend Mr. Turner offered the boarders a unique opportunity downtown to visit one of the city’s artistic attractions. Several boys jumped on the opportunity and headed downtown for a great first-hand experience of some historic artwork.
35 minutes inside the soul of one of the most genius painters, after a 90-minute walk to 1 Yonge Street, made me think why art (whether music, visual or literature) is a revolutionary piece of the puzzle of self-knowledge. The 600,000 cubic feet of detailed projections of four of Van Gogh’s masterpieces along with classical music silences the audience: the Mangeurs de pommes de terre (The Potato Eaters, 1885), the Nuit étoilée (Starry Night, 1889), Les Tournesols (Sunflowers, 1888) and La Chambre à coucher (The Bedroom, 1889). Van Gogh’s openness to the natural world can be seen in every piece of his art… and what is closer to self than nature?
Yoga Mats Could be The Solution We’re Looking For
Although there have been efforts by the boarders to reopen the SAS, the deficit in workout spaces emphasizes the need for alternative solutions. ‘Home workouts’ have become increasingly popular however we are unable to borrow equipment from the SAS meaning equipment still remains a problem. Some boys have invested in adjustable dumbbells, some on parallettes, but most on yoga mats. Why? Because they are inexpensive, versatile and don’t occupy space. After school workouts and nightly stretching routines are now made possible again so we are looking towards providing yoga mats to those who want them.
For many, volleyball is a foreign sport – especially played outdoors. A few boys put together a five-on-five game where first time players got to realize how hard the sport really is. The nets are permanently set up in the outdoor fields during the fall where anyone has free access to the facility. Although rallies rarely got past two, it was a great experience to witness an effort of creativity.
Those Who Love Music Find Ways to Play Anyway
Piano player, Connor Taylor, was practicing on the grand piano in Laidlaw Hall one night during study-time. The music facilities are no longer open to students so practicing becomes an issue. Similarly, Lucas Chen practiced his violin playing in a classroom. Despite the unorthodox environments, boarders are really making the most of what they have.