Heads Up

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Goodbye from outgoing Parents Organization Chair Jody Howe

As we get set for the 2017-18 school year, please review Jody Howe’s great recap of all the amazing work the Parents Organization accomplished for the Upper School boys last year. Also be sure to check out the Parents Organization’s webpages for all the up-to-date details and ways you can get involved.  

Goodbye from outgoing Parents Organization Chair Jody Howe

As we get ready to start another school year, I wanted to take a minute to thank the members of the Parents Organization (PO) and in particular, those on the PO Committee.

This past year marked the 31st year the PO has co-operated in support of the College. The PO serves to enhance the boys’ experience in partnership with UCC’s administration and is a liaison between faculty, staff, parents and students to enrich our community spirit. We’re lucky to enjoy to a close working relationship with all these groups and I believe this is what makes UCC stand apart amongst the broader independent school community.

Each year we’re fortunate to have a group of hardworking, dedicated and passionate volunteers who organize social events, provide important services and provide valuable information to parents. I’ve felt particularly lucky to have had an exceptionally dedicated group of volunteers who made my job easy!

Two important services the PO provided this year include the used book sale in the spring and the new and used uniform sale in the fall. Other services include the organization and sale of grad rings to our Leaving Class, picture frame sales to parents and grandparents and the popular “grad wear” sale. In addition, the PO has a co-ordinator who puts together baskets twice a year for our  boarders — once in September to welcome them to UCC and again in December.

Together with the Prep Parents Organization, the PO runs the popular Festive Marketplace — an annual “friendraising” event that brings stylish and unique vendors to sell holiday-inspired gift items. Plus, we also host a silent auction, a bake sale and outside food vendors which the students really love. As well, the boys sing and play instruments throughout the day. Make sure to come out to this December’s event!

The PO also brings in speakers and hosts other special events throughout the year.  This past year, we were proud to showcase the award-winning documentary, Screenagers for all UCC families. After the film, which deals with the impact of technology on the teenage brain, we hosted a panel discussion with Jim Laplante, head of IT at UCC, Dr. Tripler Pell, a UCC parent, author and doctor, and Adam Rothman, our incoming Head Steward. The event was very well received and we plan on continuing with this theme, with more events and speakers on hot topics on all parents’ minds this coming year.

The PO also hosted a breakfast in the fall for the PO year and House reps, along with UCC staff and faculty. In addition, we hosted a lunch with the Board of Stewards in October as a way to reach out to the boys. We hosted a staff appreciation tea in May, in conjunction with the PPO, to show our appreciation to the College’s faculty and staff and for all the support that they give to the Parents’ Organizations.

The annual parent luncheon in May was held in conjunction with the PPO at the Vaughn Estates and featured Sarah Richardson, Canadian designer, author and wife of Alexander Younger ’89. She was hugely popular with the audience and shared her tips for finding work and life balance.

Other community and special events the PO contributes to include working with the Arts Booster Club and Blues Booster Club, offsetting some costs such as providing food for the boys at Nuit Bleue, assisting with Friday Night Lights, Winterfest and subsidizing “fan wear.” The PO also purchases flowers for graduation and Prize Day, gifts for graduation and support of the Schall Prize for community service — given out on Prize Day.

While our goal is to celebrate the camaraderie, unity and spirit within the school, any funds raised from our initiatives allow us to contribute to the College’s wish list on an annual basis. Examples of how these funds are used include helping with the refurbishing of the locker rooms, new shelving for the Macintosh Library, improvements to the west hall of the Upper School, monitors throughout the Upper School, a gymnasium scoring table system, starting blocks for the swimming pool, drums for the music department, two tap-water filter systems, a lighting grid and LED lights for the film studio, two heavy-duty power racks and multi-adjustable benches for the gym, couches and chairs for the boarding houses and more.

This year, I’m pleased to announce we purchased furniture for the terrace and Massey Quad; where there were none before, there are now beautiful teak chairs and benches for all to enjoy!

We also have contributed a large sum to put towards the cost of purchasing a livestream platform to broadcast live sports and arts events to our community and beyond. We’re hopeful these will be in place this coming year so you can watch your son’s football or hockey game, or his play or music night from your computer even if you are out of town or can’t be at the actual event. We’ll be starting with just some of the games or plays, and hope over the next year or two, we’ll be able to livestream just about any event. I’m thrilled both of these projects benefit our entire UCC community — boys, parents, grandparents, faculty, staff and Old Boys.

We also supported the boys by helping the Board of Stewards with their water bottle project. We have also started to provide free apples in the iDiv hallway once a week, as a way of promoting healthy snacks. This was a pilot project for the spring but was so successful we’d like to continue it next year.

We’re a very busy and dedicated group. What makes us so successful and drives the volunteers at UCC is the close relationships we have with all of the staff and faculty at the College. It’s become a great working relationship and I think you can see that from all the work we do with and for the school. While we’re fortunate we can contribute back to the school, we don’t determine our success by dollars generated but rather we want to enhance the boys’ experience at the school and raise community spirit and support.

This September, I’m thrilled to be passing the torch to Kim Enns, the new PO President for the 2017-2018 school year. Kim is a very capable and highly dedicated volunteer who will no doubt have a hugely successful year. Congrats, Kim!

It has been my honour and pleasure to serve as the 31st PO president. All the best for the 2017-18 year at UCC!

Jody Howe