Heads Up

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Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division

Scott CowieUpcoming Senior Division dates:

Friday, Oct. 6: Orange Shirt Day in recognition of Aboriginal residential school survivors
Tuesday, Oct. 10: Community Service Fair, student centre, 12:20 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 11: PSAT, all Year 10 students, Hewitt Athletic Centre, 8:15 a.m.
Friday, Oct. 13: Battle of the Blues varsity football game, Varsity Stadium, 7 p.m.

During Monday’s Barton Lecture assembly, three different speakers touched on the topic of other-mindedness.

Our featured speaker, Danielle Zanotti, president and chief executive officer of the United Way for Toronto and York Region, had the boys chuckling as he broke into song, crooning “These are the people in your neighbourhood … ,” the smash hit from Sesame Street. He then went on to challenge the boys to make an effort to get to know the people in their community, both at UCC and beyond the school walls.

He shared some very interesting statistics supporting the benefits of caring, connected communities over those that aren’t: higher gross domestic product rates, lower crime rates and better educational results. He pointed out that although Toronto is continually cited as one of the best cities to live in worldwide, we need to be aware that some in our community are still facing significant struggles, with 133,000 kids living in poverty and 80,000 young people who don’t graduate from high school or move on to post-secondary schooling. Zanotti’s message resonated with the boys, and served as a powerful reminder about the importance of connection and compassion.

Next up, the boys heard from Rachel Metalin, who reinforced Zanotti’s message by speaking about the chaos and calamity that can occur in communities that are void of kindness and concern. Referencing the violence that took place this past summer in Charlottesville, Va., the boys saw video footage of people who chose to divide, rather than unite, the people in their communities. Metalin reminded the boys that this type of hate can lead to dreadful consequences, as history has shown, and in this particular instance it ultimately led to the death of civil rights activist Heather Heyer. Through reflecting on the violence in Charlottesville, the boys were challenged to consider the importance of community, understanding, acceptance and courage.

Lastly, to celebrate other-mindedness, Jeff Needham, the executive director of the Ontario Duke of Edinburgh Organization, presented a group of dedicated UCC students with awards at the bronze, silver and gold levels. Kudos to all the boys who were officially recognized on Monday morning for their extensive commitment to serving others in need.

We may not have deep relationships with every one of our neighbours, but it’s comforting to know that we all belong to the UCC community. And while we’re by no means perfect, I do hope that you feel a sense of connection here, and that you find that the College is filled with people who care about your son.

During this Thanksgiving weekend, I hope you manage to make time for reflection, gratitude and connection with your son, family and friends.

Thanks for reading,