Message from Naheed Bardai, Head, Middle Division
The first day of school always comes with so much emotion for boys, parents and faculty – excitement, anxiety, relief, pain, joy, amazement, anticipation, apprehension, optimism. No doubt you or your son has been going through many of these feelings today and in the days preceding. From my point of view, today was a great day for your boys. For those who were returning to school, they met familiar faces and had the chance to meet their new form adviser. For our new boys, they showed courage and a willingness to learn and adapt. A warm and special welcome to all of our new families – we’ll become a better school and community because of the diversity and strength you bring.
I hope you’ve had the opportunity to read Sam McKinney’s letter regarding some of our priorities for the year. In the letter, he outlines the College’s intent to begin the formal process of becoming an IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) school. This is exciting news for the College, which already offers the Primary Years Programme (PYP), since 2003, and the Diploma Programme (DP) for 20 years. As Mr. McKinney mentions, this process will take us several years to implement in a methodical and sequential way. In consideration of this process, we’ve been engaged in some curricular developments at the Form 6 level that bring us in closer alignment with MYP expectations. I look forward to sharing some of those with you at our information evening on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 6:45 p.m. Please note that previous communication has stated the start time is 7 p.m. It has now been changed to 6:45 p.m.
Today we had our first assembly of the year to welcome back our boys and set the tone for year. After celebrating the achievements of our Canadian Olympians, I focused our attention on three subplots taking place during the games. The first was of an imaginative mural depicting the faces of five indigenous peoples representing five continents. The artist Eduardo Kobra, reflecting on his art stated, “Look at Europe, where people are rejecting refugees, rejecting what is different… I hope this mural, in the Olympic spirit, will help remind us that we are all different but all one: the human race.”
The second was the story of Caster Semenya, the South African, female, 800-metre, gold medal winner. For years, she’s been steeped in controversy as an intersex athlete. She has been mocked, ridiculed, bullied, misunderstood and excluded. This Olympic victory is a testament to her courage, resilience and grit. The third was recognizing the will of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Olympic Committee to, for the first time, include a refugee team in the Olympics. This was more than a gesture or crude tokenism; it was providing the opportunity to high-level athletes to compete, who through no fault of their own, found themselves homeless and stateless. For me, these three stories capture the spirit of the Olympics and pluralism that exists within it. Pluralism is an ethic of respect that values human diversity, rejects division as a necessary outcome of diversity and transcends basic notions of tolerance to embrace and celebrate difference.
Over the dinner table tonight, or during the drive to school, speak to your son about the idea of pluralism and how it relates to our school community, city and country. Have a great weekend!