Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division
Monday, Dec. 4: Special assembly: wellness and mental health, Laidlaw Hall, 9:55 a.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 5: Make-up session for student photos, Hewitt Athletic Centre mezzanine, 10 a.m. to noon
Thursday, Dec. 7: Year 12 exam tutorial day (class attendance optional)
Friday, Dec. 8: Year 12 exams begin
Many of you know that these missives are typically based on speakers and topics that have been a part of our weekly assemblies and usually end with a challenge to springboard into continued discussions with your sons at home. With that in mind, I offer two updates for this week.
First, during last Friday’s assembly, I had the honour of presenting the Head Boy, Grant Medal and Governor General’s awards to Old Boy Karmen Cheema ’17. The designation of Head Boy and the Grant Medal are awarded to the Year 12 student who achieves the highest final International Baccalaureate Diploma Program point total in the leaving class, and the Governor General’s Award recognizes the student with the highest average in all Ontario credits at the Grade 12 level.
A very deserving recipient, Cheema achieved a final IB point total of 44 out of a possible 45. It’s a remarkable accomplishment and a testament to his dedication and hard work. Equally impressive was the wisdom Cheema shared with the boys after accepting his awards. In reflecting on his current studies at university, and his experience at UCC, he spoke about three important strategies that he feels have guided him on his journey of learning and contributed to the success he’s achieved thus far:
1) “Too often people will just memorize things and spit them out for exams, but you can actually save a lot of time if you understand ‘why’ instead of ‘what,’ and this approach works well beyond high school.”
2) “Always collaborate with your classmates when you can … you will learn way more by working with your friends and classmates rather than against them.”
3) “Trust the process … Always be hungry for your end goal, but enjoy the ordinary things along the way.”
Wise words from a wise young man.
Second, Monday’s assembly was very much out of the ordinary. Indeed, I can’t provide much commentary on it since I wasn’t there. After some brief remarks from Principal Sam McKinney, all the adults (with the exception of our Health Centre personnel) were dismissed to allow the boys to have a more open dialogue with representatives from the CANVAS organization who presented on the topics of gender, dating, relationships and consent. I’ve heard feedback from some Senior Division boys, most of whom have commented on the discussion section of the presentation, which has prompted further conversations with their peers and at home.
Your son has heard some important, relevant messages this past week: one from a community member that could be of benefit as he develops his individual approach to learning; and the other from guests of the College that could help him navigate the sometimes complicated world of relationships with others.
It would be naïve to think that every boy experiences assembly in the same way. It’s also difficult to predict the ways in which the learning gleaned there might have an impact in the future. However, with the broad range of content covered there from week to week, it’s my hope that in some way, at some time, boys will remember what they’ve heard in that space, apply it to their own lives and, where possible, make a difference in the lives of others.
Thanks for reading,