Boarding Newsletter | Term 3 underway!
I didn’t have a chance to piece together a newsletter for last week as I was caught by the end of second term assessments. Who knew taking three courses could actually be this stressful? That said, Term 3 is well underway and shortly after, Year 12 exams will take place. In a typical year, I would say this time marks the start of a rather stressful few weeks leading up to exams, university applications and a switch to the winter term/activities. Although the majority of us no longer have to worry about those, the uncertainties and discrepancies add a few bumps on the road. What’s been a good year so far I hope will continue!
Arranged and written by Jack Edelist ’21
The last two weeks at a glimpse…
➢ The Boarding Experience: New policies and dining
➢ Year 12 Exams: The full rundown
➢ A wrap on fall sports
➢ Pumpkin carving
➢ Boarders’ paintball weekend
➢ Karaoke in the Quad
➢ Rao Cup volleyball
➢ Nature walk
➢ Morning golf
The Boarding Experience: New Policies & Dining
In the last newsletter, I wrote about some restrictions that had the potential to impact the more active boarders. This time, there’s some positive news to share – students are allowed in each other’s rooms provided they follow some safety measures. It’s been a long time for those waiting to finally visit their friends in the confines of their rooms, and now that we can finally do that, it adds a much more pleasant aspect to boarding life; we’re slowly moving closer to normal. However, we can only visit those in our year level, there can only be two individuals in the room at once and both must be wearing masks.
As Principal McKinney recently shared, medical-grade masks must now be worn in the school and boarding houses. UCC staff hand masks to anyone who needs one and so far the minor change hasn’t been too impactful to anyone.
Food had been a hot topic recently in boarding as boys are voicing their opinions. Jay Kim and the nutrition committee are working with Aramark to ensure diverse cuisines are represented, however, there are still improvements to be made. From what I’ve been hearing, the breakfast menu is the first on the list to change where boys are seeking more variety and looking to remove some options.
Year 12 Exams – The full rundown
While the rest of the school settled nicely into the fall, the Year 12 students had a brief issue regarding the midterm exams that was recently settled on an agreement involving parents, senior leadership and faculty involved in the grade-level. Originally, Year 12s had to write midterm exams worth between 30 to 40 per cent of their January grade several students, rightfully so, advocated to lessen the exams in any way they could. They were planned to only give the Year 12s three to four days to study for an accumulative exam covering content from Year 11 and 12, as well as being written on exam.net – an online exam writing software – to accommodate for the small portion of remote learners.
The day community did what they could to get their voices heard, but the boarders came together and organized a small group that really got the student-voice heard by the faculty. The main points coming from the boarders included mental health, family circumstances, living in boarding and much more. Thankfully, Mr. Bardai announced exams are now to be carried out in a fashion that may only benefit the student – it will count only should they do well. We are grateful for the teachers who helped us have our voices heard, and especially those who made the decision to prioritize our mental health in these times.
A Wrap on fall sports
Photos from Tre Ahn ‘22
This marks the last week of fall sports. Overall, although several aspects of the season were suboptimal, the effort made to even get us out there and playing was encouraging, to say the least. To my knowledge, most sports in the fall ran as normal, but no one was allowed to be in physical contact with one another. Further, cohorts and grade levels were separated so the groups practicing together remained tight-knit for the whole season.
Personally, I was playing football with the same 5 or 6 students which is a whole lot different than the 40 to 50 person team that would normally practice together. You might wonder how such a contact-oriented sport can be played with a fraction of participants and the elimination of physical contact. Though it was an unorthodox adjustment, I cannot complain about receiving 1 on 1 coaching on technique two days a week from the best coaches in the league. Throughout the season, practices ran from Monday to Thursday with cohorts A and B alternating. The same coaches were out there every day giving their best efforts at the limited hour-long practices.
There’s no question that it wasn’t the senior season we hoped for and it wasn’t the ideal circumstances under which to play sports. However, spending one last season playing a sport some of us won’t get to play again definitely added another chapter to the UCC and high school experience, and spending the last few moments with our teammates on that field was a great way to conclude the fall.
In the meantime…
I’m proud to announce that Seaton’s came first in the school’s pumpkin carving contest. Possibly making up for coming last in the Terry Fox Run, the boys in boarding carved out approximately 10 of the best pumpkin designs in the confines of the Seaton’s Common Room. From video game characters and Disney cartoons to animals, the boys exhibited their versatile skill set, becoming the school’s champion carvers. What was the first time for many seemed to be a seasoned professional’s effort.
Boarders’ paintball weekend
Photo from Ms. Powell
Last weekend, the boarders took a road trip to a destination where they had a chance to take out their frustration in a rainy paintball match. Although it is still unsettled who the best paintballers are, it is fair to say everyone had a great time shooting and getting shot. Despite some cases of friendly fire and illegal shots, no friendships were broken and everyone returned home safely (some with welts). Stories circulated a few days after about those who may have cheated or broken the rules. From what I hear, the boys are looking forward to potentially planning another event – possibly some unsettled revenge?
Karaoke in the Quad
Photo from Ms. Dinel
Of all the things we are surprised at from this year, having a loud-speaker karaoke machine in the Quad might top the list. On a Friday night, it seemed Forest Hill was delighted to hear the tunes coming from 200 Lonsdale to lighten up the neighbourhood. Ms. Dinel and a few singers from Seaton’s and Wedd’s sang some cultural songs, as well as my personal favourite – Adele’s Rolling In The Deep — great to see good music isn’t being forgotten.
Rao Cup volleyball
Written by and photos from Mr. Turner
Rao Cup competition has never had more significance as in the fall of 2020. Vik and Vivek Rao were prominent figures in the UCC Boarding program in the mid-1980s. They were one of the few brother combinations who elected to create life long friendships by becoming cross-quadrangle rivals. Vik joined Seaton’s and Vivek joined Wedd’s.
25 years after their graduation UCC approached the brothers to gauge their interest in endowing a gift to UCC by creating the Rao Cup that would foster friendly competition, and further entrench life-long friendships. The Prefects Cup honours friendly competition between the day and boarding houses; the Rao Cup fosters friendly weekend and evening competition between boarders in Seaton’s and Wedd’s.
On Sunday afternoon the spirit of the Rao Cup was in full display as boarders from Seaton’s and Wedd’s gathered for an outdoor volleyball match. Rao Cup competition is serving as a wonderful remedy for students looking for fun and safe competition opportunities during COVID-19 times. A big thank-you to Vik and Vivek Rao; their gift to the boarding program has never been more appreciated.
Written by Sufian Alawiye
Photos from Ms. Dinel
To enjoy the last stretch of warm weather, a group from Seaton’s and Wedd’s were able to go on a long walk through one of the local ravines. Multiple streams and small rivers over time have cut deep valleys and gorges that traverse the city, and are enjoyed by Torontonians during the warmer months. Even though we were in the middle of the biggest city in Canada, with all the different terrain we had to traverse there would’ve been no way to tell! We had to cross a stream using stones, and at the end, everyone’s shoes were very muddy, but it was a worthwhile experience.
Written by Anthony Dicriscio
Photo from Dr. Baxter
Today a couple of guys and I took advantage of the beautiful weather by playing a round of golf at Don Valley golf course. It felt great to get outside and have some fun right before heading into the long weekend.