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Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division

Scott Cowie

Upcoming Senior Division Dates:

  • Monday, Sept. 26: International Trips Presentations in Assembly – Laidlaw Hall, 10:05 a.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 29: Foundation Year Parent Information Evening – Student Centre, 7 p.m.

I want to extend an invitation to all of you, especially our new parents, to attend our upcoming Association Day festivities this Saturday. Essentially our version of homecoming, A-Day showcases a variety of events in which our boys are involved. It’s a great celebration of community as we see Old Boys, parents, faculty and staff uniting to support the efforts of current students representing the College in athletics and other areas of our co-curricular programming.

I read a remarkable story on the CBC news site a few days ago that got me thinking about the notion of community. According to the report, a group of lucky whale watchers came across a highly charged confrontation between a sea lion and a small group of orcas (killer) whales off the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Happening upon a chase scene like this is apparently somewhat common, but what happened next left those watching bewildered, and has a few scientists

Four humpbacks intervened, blocking the killer whales from attacking the Steller sea lion. (Alethea Leddy/Port Angeles Whale Watch Co.)

Four humpbacks intervened, blocking the killer whales from attacking the Steller sea lion. (Alethea Leddy/Port Angeles Whale Watch Co.)

scratching their heads. A group of humpback whales arrived on the scene and were clearly interceding to help the sea lion escape its dreadful fate. Indeed, the humpbacks intentionally placed themselves between the hunters and their intended prey, and even seemed to escort the traumatized sea lion safely away from the orca pack to end the confrontation. Witnesses described the amazing scene:

“Then, two more humpbacks joined the fray, literally putting their huge bodies between the orcas and the sea lion… It was a wild scene with the humpbacks even circling the sea lion trying to keep him safe, while he frantically struggled to get his breath.”

Trying to save one of their own makes a lot of sense, but these humpbacks risked injury, and perhaps their very lives, to save a member of a different species. When asked what might account for this highly unusual behaviour, the well-experienced captain of the ship offered this insight:

“As humans, we like to think that only we are evolved enough to do something so altruistic — when, in fact, seeing something like this out there makes us wonder, how come we’re not more like this?”

Here’s the link  to the story in case you’d like to read the article.

We may never be able to explain seemingly unnatural behaviours like this in the animal and mammalian kingdom, but I think we humans can learn an important lesson from this particular group of humpback whales. In our own diverse community here at UCC, we should exercise compassion, by being sensitive to those in need and having the courage to take action that will make a difference.

Hope to see you all at A-Day.

Thanks for reading,
Scott