Head Lines

Thursday, May 12, 2022

I still love to receive greeting cards or cards of any type, regardless of the occasion. I am not sure that anyone sends postcards anymore, but I used to love receiving those too. Actually, in my youth, I loved to send postcards; probably because I was somewhere warm, international and on vacation and the intended recipient of the postcard was not. Looking back, I suppose it was an “old school” version of an Instagram or Facebook post.

On the subject of cards, I am thinking that, maybe, it’s time to change the term “report card.”

Or at least drop the term “report.” It sounds so ominous. The reality is that the vast majority of report cards that I read are more like a welcomed greeting card and better than any postcard I have received. Nowadays, teachers are far more apt to be positive and effusive about a child’s talents, personality, work ethic, engagement and successes. The days of fearing the arrival of the report card, I think, are generally gone.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2022

This week, TCS’s Director of Guidance & Wellbeing (and registered psychotherapist (qualifying)), Ms. Koekkoek, is well-positioned to share valuable insights into anxiety, a timely topic as our Senior School students look to approaching exams.

Written by guest blogger, Ms. Krista Koekkoek

Our school counselling offices have been busy places these last few weeks. Students are delighted to be back on campus and are keen to tell us stories of their first rugby tackle, house dinner attire or interhouse visit (where they were, for the first time in two years, permitted to visit each other’s boarding residence). There is joy in these moments of sharing – laughter, delight, surprise – but there are also threads of apprehension.

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Thursday, April 28, 2022

The last time a live, in-person Speech Day took place at TCS “under the big top,” was on June 14, 2019. Thus, when we, as a school, gather in two months on Friday, June 17th, to recognize and celebrate the end of the 2021-2022 academic year, and the graduating class of ’22 in particular, it will have been three years, more than 1,000 days, since a previous Speech Day ceremony.

Little wonder then, that a “veteran” Grade 11 TCS student asked me last week, “What is Speech Day?”

The question was a vivid reminder of how many events and rituals our kids have missed as a result of the pandemic. Nothing tragic or monumental, but the various cancelled or modified events during TCS’s spring season, in particular, have impacted the student and staff (and parent!) experience at the School on the Hill.

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Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are scheduled to visit Canada this May. TCS diplomas will be handed out on Speech Day as part of the Prize Giving ceremony in June. Pope Francis is visiting Canada this July.

If you are a Roman Catholic monarchist with a child in Grade 12 at TCS, summer 2022 has the makings of a most memorable few months on your calendar!

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Thursday, April 14, 2022

Of all the Christian religious observances, Easter is generally considered as the most important. So what’s all this talk about a bunny who delivers chocolate eggs?

As a child, the Easter Bunny made the least sense to me as a symbol of any occasion. Santa Claus looks like a real person and, at the age of six, I could not calculate the mathematical challenges inherent with delivering gifts all over the world via reindeer-pulled sleds and a chimney-based delivery system. But, a fluffy human-sized Easter Bunny? To me, that simply did not compute.

Plus, I knew that bunnies didn’t lay eggs. It was impossible! And, laying chocolate eggs? Now, that was ridiculous! I was suspicious that the adults weren’t telling us kids the whole truth.

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Thursday, April 07, 2022

I think it took me until I was in my 30s to figure out how I learned. I realize that “learning to learn” might sound rather odd, so let me provide an example. As a student at high school and university, “learning” to me meant attending classes, reading, highlighting text, memorizing the content and trying to recite the information during a test situation.

Both my understanding of learning and how to learn has evolved. First and foremost, with life experience, I came to understand that learning can take place anywhere and at anytime; it’s not just at school, it’s not just about memorization of things like trivia or formulas. Second, how I was learning, in those early years, usually resulted in me forgetting what I had “learned” in a very short time frame. For example, I am confident that I could not answer the first question in my old high school calculus textbook – or chemistry or physics textbooks, for that matter!

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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Question: What are the common elements of the following games?

  • Tag
  • Hide and Seek
  • Kick the Can
  • Four Square
  • Red Rover
  • Hopscotch
  • Marbles
  • Capture the Flag

Possible answers that might have popped to mind:

  • Games that were fun
  • Games you played as a kid
  • Games that required others to play with
  • Games you played outdoors

An answer you might not have thought about:

  • “Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.”*

My answer:

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Thursday, March 10, 2022

In addition to celebrating (in person) the birthday of my good friend and TCS alumnus, TCS Global Ambassador, TCS Campaign Chair and #1 TCS fan, George Booth ’61, March 10, 2020 was the first day that the world pandemic had an impact on me.

I returned home to Port Hope and cancelled an upcoming March Break family holiday. At the time, it was a big deal. In retrospect, of course, it wasn’t.

Like you, I had little understanding of the monumental impact COVID-19 would have on the world’s population, our beloved school and the students at TCS over the many months ahead. I have said it before, but, in North America, next to our most vulnerable seniors, and healthcare and front-line workers, kids have had their world impacted more than any other demographic.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2022

One of the most unusual social fads during my lifetime was the “Pet Rock” craze in 1975. Pet Rocks were smooth, run-of-the-mill stones, marketed as live pets which arrived in a small cardboard box replete with a bed of straw and “breathing holes” for your pet. Also included was a training manual entitled, The Care and Training of Your Pet Rock, which advised how to teach your pet rock how to “sit,” “roll over” and “shake hands.” I repeat, this was a rock; as inanimate as any object could be.

Over one million pet rocks were sold at $4.00 each. The founder became an instant millionaire.

Mind boggling. I am sure there is a thesis or paper that has been written aiming to explain the overwhelming appeal of the Pet Rock craze. I have not elected to illuminate myself on the matter.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Many years ago, I backpacked through Thailand in the summer. From Chiang Mai in the north, to Bangkok and to small islands in the Gulf of Thailand; it was a great trip. The people, the sites, the food were all fantastic. But, the weather was hot. Really hot and muggy. And, when it rained, it poured. And, when it poured, it was torrential. And, when it was torrential, it was monsoon-like. In fact, at times it felt like I was standing in the shower with my clothes on.

On one particular wet, steamy day in downtown Bangkok, during rush hour, I was the only tourist on a local public bus with dozens of Thai adults, kids, grandparents and even a couple animals. The bus was packed. We were all soaked to the bone – and did I mention that it was hot!? But, there was no “rush” in rush hour. We were stuck.

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