Heads Up

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Boarding update and reminders from Andrew Turner

Dear boarding parents:

I’m sure your son is getting excited about the new UCC school year on the horizon.

When everyone is settled in, there will be 89 students living in Seaton’s and Wedd’s. No doubt new students are feeling some trepidation about their first days at UCC. Rest assured that we assume you’re feeling a little uneasy. You would be no different than veteran students who are a year or two removed from the same situation.

We look forward to welcoming 31 new boys. Almost every veteran boarder has volunteered to return early to be part of the orientation program. Fifty-eight veteran students and 17 faculty members living on campus are equally committed to making sure that the new student transition is smooth.

New boarders who haven’t had English as a language of instruction will be involved in a half-day program facilitated by Kathryn Barnes, director of the Wernham & West Centre for Learning (CFL), and CFL Senior Division coordinator Jennifer Ferguson on Saturday, Sept. 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. If you’re reading this message, and wonder if you should participate because you have some concern about your son’s English language proficiency, please feel free to contact Tricia Rankin by email at trankin@ucc.on.ca.

New boarders will move in to Seaton’s and Wedd’s between 9 and 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3. They’ll participate in a program that runs daily through Wednesday, Sept. 6. I want to thank the veteran senior boarders for making their way back to residence on Friday and Saturday to assist with the delivery of the “New to Blue” program.

The second part of this message is meant to serve as a reminder for all boarders and parents that the UCC school day isn’t complete when classes are dismissed at 3:30 p.m. We’ve successfully integrated a program to provide boys with a healthy outlet from academic study at the end of the school day. It’s our goal to have all boys develop new skills and experiences that will lead to healthy lifestyle development, and the opportunity to meet new friends in the day and boarding communities.

It would be appreciated if every family could have a discussion about the co-curricular activities that your son could pursue during the coming school year. The boarding program requires every boy to participate in a major co-curricular activity during two of the three terms. The details of the expectation are as follows:

  • All boys must participate in a major co-curricular activity in two terms out of three. A school level sport (not house sport) or theatre production meet the time requirement needed to fulfill the expectation.
  • All boys must participate in a sport/theatre production during the fall term and then may choose either of the next two terms. Some boys will choose to participate in major commitments during all three terms. The only exception to this rule will be for boys with a demonstrated track record of participating in a major sport or theatre production in the winter and spring term.

As a longstanding member of the faculty and the university counselling office, I stand by the reasons we believe boys need two terms of co-curricular involvement:

  • Time-management and organizational skills will be enhanced.
  • A healthy balance of work and exercise will be achieved. We believe boys work better in the evenings when they’ve removed themselves physically and emotionally from the daily academic schedule.
  • A healthy change of pace helps boys sleep and work better because they can develop a true passion for an activity that gives them a reason to get moving each day.
  • Participation in a major after-school activity allows boarders to develop new friendships with day students.
  • Entry to university has never been so competitive. Strong academic results won’t guarantee entry to schools or programs of choice. Queen’s University, Western University and the University of British Columbia are three Canadian university examples that require student essays to be written as part of the application process. Participation in a major co-curricular activity gives UCC students an opportunity to write strong supplementary admission essays about their well-rounded development and why they’re a good bet for long-term success.

The senior house advisers are excited about the prospect of helping your son’s development inside and outside the classroom. I need to be clear that participation in the after-school program isn’t an option. We track the participation of each boy during the fall term. If a boy doesn’t meet the UCC boarding expectation there will be communication with the family. At the end of each school year we review co-curricular participation as a criteria for promotion to the next grade level.

I know some boys will feel anxious about the prospect of making a major after-school commitment. The senior house advisers have much experience guiding students along this path. A graduating boarder once wrote the following in his closing statement in the College Times yearbook: “I could have learned calculus anywhere; it was boarding and the after-school program that have given me friends for life.”

Please call or email me if you’ve any questions.

Andrew D. Turner
Director of Residential Life
Upper Canada College
416-488-1125, ext. 2500