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THE GRYPHON THE MAGAZINE OF ABERDEEN HALL 2019/2020

FEATURE ARTICLE

PHOEBE PRICE-ROBERTS FROM ABERDEEN HALL TO CORNELL UNIVERSITY PAGE 08

TEACHING EXCELLENCE | INSPIRING FUTURES | SHAPING CHARACTER PAGE 1


IN THIS ISSUE

ALUMNI UPDATE ......................................................

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I BELIEVE IN DRAGONS .............................................

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GROWING A CARING COMMUNITY IN THE JUNIOR SCHOOL .............................................

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MEANINGFUL CONNECTION AND MENTAL HEALTH .........

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HEALTH & WELLNESS AT ABERDEEN HALL ....................

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FAST FACTS .............................................................

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THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP .......................................

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LIFE-LONG BENEFITS OF TEAM SPORTS ........................

Page 06

FROM ABERDEEN HALL TO CORNELL UNIVERSITY...........

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THE ATHLETICS AND WELLNESS CENTRE .....................

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INSPIRING FUTURES IN INSPIRED FACILITIES ...............

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ABERDEEN HALL’S INAUGRAL SERVICE LEARNING TRIP - GUATEMALA 2019.............................

ONE-TO-ONE ...........................................................

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PARTNERS IN THE JOURNEY .......................................

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AT HOME AT ABERDEEN HALL ....................................

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FAST FINANCIAL FACTS ..............................................

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Photo credit: Melissa Carl Photography


FOUNDED IN 2004

ABERDEEN HALL FAST FACTS

702

30 CLASS SIZE 17 AVERAGE

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

HONG KONG, GERMANY, CHINA, JAPAN, MEXICO, USA, COSTA RICA, AND KAZAKHSTAN

58

277

PRESCHOOL

ATHLETICS

STUDENTS 2019/2020

367

JUNIOR SCHOOL

SENIOR SCHOOL

SCHOOL LEADERSHIP

Junior School Teams

Senior School Teams

Chris Grieve Head of School

• Golf

• Golf

• Cross-Country Running

• Cross-Country Running

Lisa White Director of Finance and Human Resources

• Rugby

• Rugby

• Soccer

• Soccer

• Swimming

• Track and Field

• Track and Field

• Volleyball

Casey Turnpenny Junior School Vice Principal, Academics

• Ultimate Frisbee

Lindsay Grieve Director of Operations

• Basketball

Grant Ozechowsky High School Principal, Deputy Head

• Basketball

Susanne Raye Junior School Principal Paul Bienvenu Middle School Principal Braeden Pistawka Middle School Vice Principal

• Badminton

Christina Ullyot Director of Admissions

• Cheer

Sean Ayers Director of Development Steve Acree Senior School Vice Principal, University Guidance

PERFORMING ARTS

Jaime Hill Senior School Vice Principal, Student Life Crystal Kolodziej HoS Assistant, Director of Parent Communications Tiffani Weaver Assistant Director of Preschool

• 130-seat multi-use theatre

• Drama presentations

• Digital design studio

• Music performances

• Digital recording studio

• Annual BuskerFest

• Drama studio

• Speech arts competition

111

• Art studio

210

6

TOTAL ALUMNI

ACCREDITATIONS & MEMBERSHIPS British Columbia Ministry of Education Independent Schools

Simon Fraser University

University of Victoria

St. Norbert College

University of Waterloo

Blanche Macdonald Centre

St. Francis Xavier University

University of Arizona

Thompson Rivers University

Vancouver Film School

University of Alberta

Western University

UK

USA

in Ireland

Acadia University Capilano University Dalhousie University Emily Carr University Guelph University

Federation of Independent

McMaster University

CAIS Candidate

STUDENTS IN THE CLASS OF 2019

Canada

Association (ISABC)

SAT Testing Site

39

GRADUATING CLASSES TO DATE

Our graduates have been accepted to:

Langara College

Schools of BC (FISA)

FACULTY & STAFF

McGill University Mount Allison University Mount Royal University Okanagan College Queen’s University Ryerson University

University of British Columbia University of British Columbia Okanagan University of Calgary University of Lethbridge University of Northern British Columbia University of Ottawa University of Regina University of Saskatchewan University of Toronto

Royal College of Surgeons

Belmont Abbey College

Queen’s University Belfast

Concordia University

St. Andrews University

Wisconsin

University of Buckingham

Cornell University

University of Exeter

Emerson College

University of Edinburgh

Missouri S&T

University of Liverpool

Parsons School of Design Post University

Other International: Tokyo University PAGE 3


THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP ENHANCING THE HEALTH OF STUDENTS AND STAFF By Tyler Bollhorn, Board Chair

As Aberdeen Hall families, we have a

ideas and information to help us make

lot to be thankful for. Great teachers,

Aberdeen Hall even better.

an amazing campus in a great city and

What struck me this year was the

school leaders who strive to improve the experience at Aberdeen Hall every day.

emphasis that the conference placed upon the health and wellness of

One of our school’s realities since

students, particularly mental health.

inception has been the need to construct

The two keynote presentations focused

new buildings and facilitate the growth

on topics relating to mental health

of our student body. We are currently

and happiness, demonstrating how

planning our next build, the Health and

important an issue this is for schools

Wellness Centre, which will include a

today.

great new gym. Not only is it an exciting

There are many ways in which a

new project, but it also emphasizes an important theme for Aberdeen Hall – the health and wellness of its students and staff. Recently, I joined Chris Grieve at a conference for Heads of Schools and Board Chairs put on by the Canadian Association of Independent Schools. This annual conference provides PAGE 4

school can enhance the health of its students. We strive to serve healthy food and promote water consumption

Physical exercise is an important component of the curriculum, and Aberdeen has made a “Culture of Kindness” an over sugar-based drinks.

important initiative because it benefits mental health. There is another important pillar that can easily be overlooked in our busy and fast-paced world, dominated by electronic screens. For this article, I want to highlight some of the things that I have been learning about sleep. One of my favorite pastimes is listening to podcasts. In fact, Mr. Grieve has now taken to calling me “Mr. Podcast”, possibly a cynical pleading to stop showering him with the trivial information that I gather from the weekly episodes that I take in on health and wellness. In 1942, the average person slept 7.9 hours a night. Today, it is 6 hours and 31 minutes. Recognizing that no one likes to be told how to raise their kids, my aim here is


not to preach to anyone. Instead, I want

from 7:30am to 8:55am lowered the rate

is done twice every year when we move

to save everyone some time learning

of car accidents among teen students

our locks forward for daylight savings.

what scientists are discovering about

by 70%! Thankfully, Aberdeen Hall

At this time, hospitals report a 24%

something that may be an epidemic

already has a relatively late start time

increase in heart attacks. The day our

in our society – a lack of sleep. It is

for Senior School students.

clocks are turned back, and we get

particularly important when we think

Most parents have their suspicions

that extra hour of sleep 21% fewer

about maximizing the health and wellness of our children. The points that I share below come from several interviews with world-renowned sleep expert, Dr. Matthew Walker (check out his TedTalk on sleep, it is excellent) by one of my favorite podcasters, Dr. Peter Attia (his podcast is called The Drive). I also read some other sleep focused studies referenced by these interviews. In the 1960s, school generally started at 9am. Start times were moved up as society shifted to one in which both parents worked, and the school schedule needed to reflect the needs of parents. Today, many schools start classes much earlier, and this has had a particularly negative impact on teens. I was surprised to learn that it is natural for teens to stay up late at night and sleep in longer and that we should accept it. As a teen, my parents told me it was because I was lazy. Researchers have found that teens need to sleep 9-10 hours a night, even when 16 – 18 years old. Only 11% of teens get that much sleep and, on average, only get 7 hours of sleep. Yet 72% of parents think their teens are getting enough. Numerous studies have found that moving toward later start times for schools has positive impacts on performance, attendance and health. In one study, simply moving start times

about the negative effect that our

heart attacks.

phones and tablets have on sleep.

Without going too far into the weeds,

Studies have found that using an iPad before bed delays the production of melatonin by 50%, which moves our sleep timing forward by as much as three hours. That screen time also reduces REM sleep time which can affect us for two to three days. Perhaps the biggest effect from our phones and tablets comes from sleep

researchers are discovering that there is likely a causal link between a lack of sleep and Alzheimer’s disease. Beyond the science, he pointed out anecdotally that Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were both known to shun sleep in favor of working hard. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia were part of their late lives. I am far from an expert on this and only share what I have learned from sources

The fear of missing out socially is a real

hope is that you find enough here to arouse your curiosity about the importance of sleep, especially for the young and growing minds of our children.

consideration for our teens.

We can build amazing school buildings

I like a bit of caffeinated tea in the

and hire great teachers, but if our kids

procrastination. Why sleep when you can check Snapchat or Facebook one more time? I have seen my kids set up their phones to activate the camera flash any time a new message comes through to them from social media.

morning and was surprised to learn that caffeine at 7:20am can reduce deep

that I believe are credible. My

are tired, they are not going to enjoy their best learning, health and wellness.

sleep that night by 10 – 12%. Eating as much as 3 hours before bedtime will negatively affect sleep. Sleeping in a room that is warmer than 20 degrees Celsius will lower our sleep quality. The list of common behaviours and their negative impact on sleep goes on and on. We must think about the ways in which a lack of sleep is affecting us all. Dr. Walker points out that the greatest sleep study involving millions of people PAGE 5


Head of School Chris Grieve (middle row, second from left) played Center for the Toronto Marlies (in the Toronto Marlboro Organization) in the early 1980s.

LIFE-LONG BENEFITS OF TEAM SPORTS PARTICIPATION IN TEAM SPORT TEACHES STUDENTS MANY IMPORTANT LIFE SKILLS By Chris Grieve, Head of School

It’s easy to say that you’re a team

commitment, sharing, losing, winning,

and learn to develop relationships with

player (I hear this a lot during

sacrifice, communication, respect, and

them. Understanding and accepting

interviews); however, it is another

leadership.

these personalities is very helpful when

thing altogether to truly understand

Team play requires members to spend

navigating life in general. For example,

the team aspects of perseverance, PAGE 6

time with a wide variety of personalities

players can be natural leaders, show-


offs (aka- show boats or hot dogs), ego-

occurring around them. Some of these

and I think that they lost their first six

maniacs, quiet, loud, selfish, generous,

tasks are challenging and/or thankless.

games. It took about three games for

smart, less smart, etc.

For example, often a fullback gets a

them to score their first goal, but when

Through the trials and tribulations

‘fake’ handoff, which results in that

they scored that lone goal in game four,

player being hit or tackled, to ensure

the team erupted in jubilation and went

that the defence will be deceived. If

home with proud smiles on their faces.

successful, the other running back

Fast forward seven years and the team

will get the ‘real’ handoff and run

now competes competitively at the

through the hole created by the fake.

provincial level.

of the team experience, teammates create special bonds that can develop into tremendous friendships. Many of my closest friends today were past teammates from childhood teams. When we talk with Aberdeen Hall alumni, they speak fondly of the friendships they made while playing school sports. In fact, they often show up together to visit and reminisce. Bonds created with favourite coaches can also be an

A successful play is also reliant on linemen completing their assignments, which usually involves some type of blocking with only one or two players actually touching the ball in a given play. The success comes from a collection

influential role-modelling experience.

of assignments being completed well.

To this day, when I am presented with

The same can be said here at school.

a problem, I will often think about how

Aberdeen Hall is successful due to a

one of my favourite coaches might have

myriad of roles and responsibilities, both

worked through it.

big and small, being completed to a

Individuals with team sport experience

high level. Some of these assignments

understand that in order to find success, there are a wide variety of tasks that

are glamorous, and some are not. The organization advances when everything

must be completed in order for the

works in unison.

team to advance.

Many team sports also work with

The organizational dynamics of running

the successful implementation of a

field. When a football play commences,

plays (volleyball).

For students that do not excel in the classroom, a successful team sport experience can also contribute greatly to their overall self-esteem.

there are 11 players on the field for

In some games there are ‘stars’, and

each team (NFL has 10), each with

other times there are ‘goats’. The

We are excited about the many added

a specific assignment. Some tasks

benefits gained from learning how

are detailed, some are a little more

to celebrate with grace and pick-up

general. However, the focus must be

teammates after a mistake are most

on the successful task completion of

certainly life-long. Healthy competition,

each and every participant. If the team

including the adversity of losing can

members execute correctly, the play

create resilience and build self esteem.

is successful and the team advances.

When coached properly, every outcome

Often the players cannot see the play

presents an opportunity for a positive

as it progresses. Their job is to focus

learning experience.

on completing their individual task to

About seven years ago we fielded our

a school (or any company) has some interesting parallels to the execution of a successful football drive down the

a very high level, regardless of what is

‘system’. These systems can be a physical flow of movement (basketball, rugby, soccer) or rely more on individual

inaugural boys’ senior soccer team

benefits that a purpose-built, state-ofthe-art gymnasium and athletic centre will add to the student-life experiences for our students. It will provide more opportunities for students to learn important life skills with the coaching we will be able to offer, build our community further by adding a venue that promotes time together in healthy activities and be a central gathering space for assemblies, performances and, of course, athletic tournaments. PAGE 7


FROM ABERDEEN HALL TO CORNELL UNIVERSITY

AFTER A GAP YEAR COMPETING INTERNATIONALLY, PHOEBE PRICE-ROBERTS IS READY TO TAKE ON THE IVY LEAGUE By Erin Jones, Director of Publications and Social Media

This fall, Aberdeen Hall alumna (2018),

Adrian (graduating this year) and Bridget

Phoebe throws the hammer, really, really

Phoebe Price-Roberts packed her

(AHPS 2015). We had the pleasure of

well. The hammer throw is one of the

bags and headed to Cornell University.

sitting down with her this past summer

four throwing events in regular track and

Phoebe was among the first students in

(the day before she left) to catch up

field, along with discus throw, shot put

our original Acland Road location over

with her and hear about her athletic

and javelin. It requires strength, balance

15 years ago. Phoebe’s parents are

achievements in the year since her

and timing in an event that requires a

Nigel and Suzanne and her siblings are

graduation.

nearly perfect technique. In her time at

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Aberdeen Hall Phoebe single-handedly

medal in the Canadian Track and Field

Cornell University. Her future ambitions

won two Provincial titles for the school

Championships in Montreal.

include graduating university with a

and as the only senior on a fledgling

Academically, she was always a top

Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering

track and field team, it really was an impressive feat. In the past year since graduation, she took some time off from academics and focused on her athletic training in Kamloops, BC. She headed to the Junior Pan Am Summer Games in Costa Rica and secured a bronze

student and after her year training with the Kamloops Track and Field Club and representing her country and province internationally, she has now embarked on the next step in her education, studying Mechanical Engineering at

and minor in Aerospace Engineering while continuing to compete in the hammer throw, with an ultimate goal of competing in the Olympics. We’re so proud of her accomplishments so far and are excited to follow along as she takes on the world.

YOU’VE ACHIEVED SOME INCREDIBLE THINGS IN THE LAST SIX MONTHS. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THESE ACCOMPLISHMENTS?

WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE CAREER GOAL?

In the last six months I went to the U20 Canadian National

organization such as the Canadian Space Agency, NASA

Championships on Team British Columbia and achieved 3rd

or SpaceX.

My ultimate career goal would be to work for a space

place. I also went to the U20 Pan American Championships on Team Canada where I achieved 8th place.

WHY WAS CORNELL THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOU? Cornell was the right fit for me for so many reasons. The engineering program at Cornell is one of the best in the country, the whole community at Cornell is so welcoming and friendly, not to mention the campus itself is absolutely gorgeous.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE A PART OF THE CORNELL TRACK AND FIELD TEAM? Being a part of the Cornell Track and Field Team is absolutely incredible; it’s like having a huge family away from home.

HOW DID ABERDEEN HALL PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR TIME AT CORNELL? Aberdeen Hall prepared me for my time at Cornell by teaching me valuable time management skills, but most importantly to reach out for help when you need it. This has been very important to me to know that there are tons of people there to help me when I don’t understand a concept and the availability and willingness of the teachers was vital in making me comfortable to reach out to professors and TA’s at Cornell.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR STUDENTS ENTERING HIGH SCHOOL AT ABERDEEN HALL?

The whole team is an amazing group of people that will

My advice for students entering high school would probably

come together to support anyone at anytime and has made

be to focus on what you’re learning and learn the concepts

a huge impact on the success of my first semester here. I

well rather than worrying about your grades because in the

really could not have asked to be a part of a better team, not

long run, the material you retain is a lot more important than

only are the other athletes amazing people but the coaches

the grade on paper. Also, your grade should reflect your

are all so friendly and supportive of each and every one of

knowledge on the topics, so if you show that you are putting

us it makes you want to work harder for them. It is really

an effort into your classes, your grade will reflect that.

an amazing close knit group of people who are incredibly supportive of one another and really push each other to be better people.

Thank you Phoebe for taking the time out of your busy schedule to meet with us!

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THE ATHLETICS AND WELLNESS CENTRE MORE THAN JUST A GYM

Aberdeen Hall is embarking on its largest and most ambitious project to date:

Head of School. “We also believe that we’re building more

A $10 million Athletics and Wellness Centre (with a $6 million

space for creativity and performing arts, but beyond that,

fundraising goal)— a space that will be dedicated to advancing the physical and mental health of its growing student population of more than 700 students and 450 families. With a goal of getting shovels in the ground by next summer, Aberdeen Hall is relying on the generosity of its community to make this project a reality. Only together can they build a state-of-the-art facility that will support students in all areas of life.

than a beautiful gym. Yes, it will provide a space for team sports and tournaments, a space for fitness and health, a it will be the heart of our school and community.” The proposed Athletics and Wellness Centre will give Aberdeen Hall the ability to host major tournaments and the ability to bring the entire campus together for assemblies and pep rallies, fostering school spirit and connection. It will also include a show court to host games and tournaments of all levels — with a spectator experience to match with retractable bleachers, and a mezzanine for bird’s eye

“We’re very excited about how the new Athletics and Wellness

viewing. It will also boast a double gymnasium, art rooms,

Centre will complete our inspiring campus,” said Chris Grieve,

a weight room, fitness studio, and a rooftop pavilion.

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INSPIRING FUTURES IN INSPIRED FACILITIES WHAT WILL THE NEW ATHLETICS AND WELLNESS CENTRE MEAN TO OUR STUDENTS?

I’m excited about the new athletics

building. It will be a great place for P.E. and the volleyball team, which I want to join when I’m in Middle School. I’m also excited to go watch my older brother play basketball and cheer on our school during games and tournaments. I can’t wait for the new space!” Jaida Assam AHPS Grade 4

I think for me, the greatest thing

This new Athletics and Wellness

I am excited for the Athletic and Wellness Centre because it’s a place that brings athletics and academics together. In the Athletic and Wellness Centre I will be able to do all my favorite things like music, drama, and sports.”

Kenta Harris AHPS Grade 8

Attending Aberdeen Hall and

about having the new Athletics

Centre will provide future grades

playing sports here has opened so

and Wellness Centre is going to be

and generations the opportunities that

many doors for me. I’ve grown personally

the sense of community that comes

my grad class never had the privilege

and academically and made tremendous

along with it. The energy that is brought

of experiencing. Extra shootarounds,

progress on the court as well. This is due

to the court from cheering hometown

workouts and morning sessions, are

in large part to my exceptional teachers,

fans is amazing. Being able to host

just some of the great activities that

coaches and teammates. Building upon

tournaments and gain that advantage

will now be available in this new facility.

these existing resources will not only

is really going to bring our athletics

Aberdeen Hall has always been known

develop strong athletes but also help

program to the next level.”

for its excellence in academics and it

grow well-rounded individuals.”

Caleigh Van Leenen AHPS Grade 10

brings my family and I great joy that our school is now developing a strong

Kayur Ranchod AHPS Grade 12

athletic tradition as well.” Kristian Isa AHPS Grade 12

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ONE-TO-ONE

PEER MENTORSHIP AND THE BENEFITS OF CONNECTING STUDENTS ACROSS GRADE LEVELS By Paul Bienvenu, Middle School Principal Kenny (left) and Ryan (right) were a part of our inaugural peer mentorship program which was designed to foster connections and support student learning.

When Kenny talks about his experience

on connecting with a peer mentor, he

mentorship program, and was paired

as part of the peer mentorship program,

is practically effusive.

with another student in a one-on-

he shifts from side to side and his face transforms into a shy smile. Kenny joined our Grade 9 class last year as an international student, and over the

“Having a mentor was really good. He could teach me some things, ask me questions, teach me new English

one relationship designed to foster connections and support student learning. Cross-age peer mentorship is one part of the Aberdeen Hall way

of his developing English skills.

“It was really nice to have someone else from the school check in with me. We would smile when we saw each other in the hallways.”

However, when he shares his thoughts

Kenny was part of our inaugural peer

students in need of academic support,

first few weeks at school he found it a challenge to connect with peers because of the language barrier. Even today, he admits that he sometimes comes across as a somewhat shy, reluctant to speak, and a little unsure

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words,” Kenny grins.

of developing a caring and connected community. The program provides opportunities for a senior student to be a consistent and affirming presence in the life of a younger student. Initially conceived as a way of supporting students transitioning to the school, or


SOME FACTS ABOUT PEER MENTORING: • Over 15% of our Senior School is involved in our program, as a mentor or a mentee. • Mentors receive training through multiple workshops on topics Some of our 2019-2020 Peer Mentors from Middle and High School.

the program also targets students who

As a mentor, you aren’t just there to

might benefit from developing their

discuss academics, but to get involved

organizational systems, their time

in their life.”

management skills, or those for whom

Our mentors are supported by several

social interactions with their peers are difficult. For Kenny, the positive effects of connecting in a consistent way with a mentor were obvious. “The program was really helpful,” he says with a huge grin. Being a mentor isn’t easy, and it requires a commitment of hours of time given to developing a relationship with a mentee. “It’s worth it,” says Grade 11 student-

teacher sponsors, who provide them with training, guidance and feedback throughout the year. For the senior students involved, the program is an opportunity to build positive bonds with another member of their community. Many of our mentors have remarked upon how rewarding it is to see their mentee develop and grow, and how they enjoy feeling like leaders in their

“Getting to connect with the younger grades is a real opportunity. Teaching other people is a great way to learn yourself.”

community.

This is Ryan’s second year as a peer

Our mentors and mentees also show

mentor Ryan Riopel.

mentor, and he is happy to talk about why volunteering his time to help others is not only a great way to develop his confidence with academic material, but also a way to build a sense of community for the school. “As a peer mentor, the emphasis is on being more than just a tutor. You develop a bond with a younger student, and you feel like you are really helping this person.

While research into the effectiveness of peer-to-peer mentorship programs is limited, there is consistent evidence regarding the benefits of school-based cross-age peer mentoring programs:

such as empathic listening and are regularly supported by dedicated teacher sponsors. • Mentorship goals are different for each pair- senior chemistry support, guitar tutoring, binder organization and oral language skill development are some examples. • Some mentors use their mentorship position to fulfill volunteer requirements while working towards a Duke of Edinburgh Award or to build a rounded portfolio as part of their applications for scholarships. • Middle School students also take on the role of mentors, as they join the Jr. School students in a weekly “Buddy Reading Program”.

they improve a sense of connectedness. an increased level of confidence in their own abilities, and report feeling more competent after spending time working with their peer. Whether it be confidence, competence or connection, it is clear that Aberdeen Hall students benefit from having the opportunity to build a meaningful relationship through the peer mentorship program.

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AT HOME AT ABERDEEN HALL INTERNATIONAL STUDENT HUGO SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE By Elaine Crebo, International Coordinator

Hugo (Back row, far right) with his 2019-2020 Senior Boys Basketball Team.

Smart. Great sense of humor. Athletic. Motivated. Respectful. Meet Hugo Liao, a Grade 10 international student who made his mark - literally - by diving into the Jr. Boys rugby scrum just weeks after arriving from his hometown of Hangzhou, China. His 6’4” frame was a welcome addition to the team and despite never having seen the game – let alone played - Hugo’s PAGE 14

efforts contributed to the Gryphons winning the Valley championships. According to his coaches, Hugo’s got great potential and will be a force to be reckoned with. It’s been quite the adventure for this young man who traversed half way around the world to join his classmates from Aberdeen Hall’s partner school, Greentown QinQin Yuhua in the city of

Hangzhou (pop. 7.5 million). Hugo found himself immersed in a completely new lifestyle which included a new school, a new family, a new language, new food and with snowboarding, kayaking ….and doing the dishes among the many ‘firsts’ he experienced! The Aberdeen Hall daily schedule is a big change from the 6:50 am – 9:30 pm school day that Hugo left behind and


with no weekend academic classes in Kelowna, there’s been plenty of opportunity for Hugo to expand his horizons. His host family finds Hugo a delight and he’s become a much loved member of the transplanted Brits. Having lived in a boarding school prior to coming to Canada, sitting down for

twist, Hugo’s host brother George Smalldridge happens to be a teacher in the Junior School. While the daily trek home after school allowed Hugo plenty of time to decipher Mr. S’s British accent, what Hugo enjoyed best about this arrangement was the bakery stops along the way!

Since Hugo has been attending Aberdeen Hall, he has learned to live and think independently. His host family is amazing, they provide our son with delicious meals and support him in all his transportation needs. It is apparent that Hugo fits right into their family dynamic, which as a parent, makes me very happy. My son’s English has improved significantly since he’s been attending Aberdeen Hall. I’m so happy that my son has had the opportunity to broaden his horizons at Aberdeen Hall and in Canada. Weijun Liao, Hugo’s dad

Hugo (right) supporting one of his rugby team mates catching a high throw.

studies, Hugo’s advanced level of math is not unexpected given several years of successfully competing in the Mathematic Olympiads in China. Hugo’s father Weijun Liao, expressed that since Hugo has attended Aberdeen Hall, he has learned to live and think independently, more like an adult than a middle school student and he credits the supportive school environment and his amazing host family for giving his son the opportunity to broaden his horizons. We’re all proud of Hugo and know that his early accomplishments are just the beginning.

Hugo (right) with his host brother and Aberdeen Hall Junior School teacher, Mr. Smalldridge.

a family dinner every evening was a new experience – as was having new vocabulary to learn, texted to him daily by his host mom! In a rather novel

Hugo is enjoying life at Aberdeen Hall and finds the teachers kind and helpful. While his work ethic has resulted in a steady progress in his

Elaine Crebo

PAGE 15


ALUMNI UPDATE Alicia in front of the Christmas tree in the Kellogg’s Head Office Lobby where she is currently on a 14-month internship.

Alicia Hill-Turner AHPS Alumna 2016 I am currently studying Chemical Engineering, pursuing a double minor in Biomedical Engineering and Business, at the University of Toronto. I have completed my third year of engineering and am currently on a 14 month internship with Kellogg Canada as a Packaging Development Intern. After this internship I will return to university to finish my 4th and final year of schooling. Some of my recent accomplishments include receiving a $7200 research grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to be employed as a summer research student at the University of Toronto. At the end of my summer research position I presented my findings at the Undergraduate Engineering Research Competition where I was awarded 1st place for my research findings. This past month I was awarded the Canada-wide TELUS Diversity and Inclusion in Technology Scholarship, a $5000 scholarship awarded to women and minorities studying in a tech-related industry. I was ranked fourth overall in U of T Chemical Engineering this past year, based on my GPA for the academic year. In terms of extracurricular activities, I was recently elected PAGE 16

as the Vice-Chair of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineers. This accomplishment is something I have worked hard at for the past three years, and I am extremely proud of this. Next year I hope to run for Chair! Recently, I’ve been dedicating my spare time working towards obtaining my private pilot’s license. I also like to volunteer at a local elementary school for Breakfast for Better Days, a volunteer program that ensures every child starts every day with a full stomach (and it helps that all the kids are adorable and puffy in their snow suits). Overall, I am really enjoying Toronto. Toronto is such a great city to be in, there is always something to do! My friends and I love hopping on the subway or streetcar to try new restaurants or explore the Toronto streets. In the summer we like to take our bikes and have a picnic on Toronto island. I’m happy to chat with you about the University of Toronto, my courses, and university life in general.

CONNECT

alicia.hill.turner@mail.utoronto.ca

/aliciahillturner


School Homework Club, which has been endlessly rewarding. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Preschool to Grade 5, with some of my previous students now in Grade 9 and continuing to excel. I cannot believe how fast they have grown but, I have never been surprised by their ability to both develop their learning and grow as thoughtful and unique individuals.

Frances Smalldridge AHPS Alumna 2017 This September marked the start of my sixth year working in the Junior

I completed two years of my Bachelor of Biochemistry at UBCO, and this January I am fortunate enough to begin Medical School at the University of Buckingham in England. Although slightly daunting, I am exceedingly excited. I am looking to become a General Practitioner, as I like having to know a little of everything - which I realized from working as a

If you are headed to the UK for schooling next year, I’d be happy to connect.

Jordan Bates AHPS Alumna 2015

CONNECT

Veterinary Assistant and watching the amazing doctors have to handle all manner of situations. I also really like being the first point of contact, and find the appeal in communicating and serving my community. However, I’m open-minded and look forward to learning about all the options in medicine during my degree. Ultimately, I want to live and work in Canada, and with both my parents and brother (Mr S) still here, I plan to visit as often as possible! I can’t wait to embark on this new chapter in my life and I look forward to returning to Aberdeen to hear how all the future alumni I’ve watched develop have progressed on their own journeys!

francessmalldridge@hotmail.co.uk

I graduated from UBC this May with a B.Sc. in Geological Sciences, and three days later started my Masters in Management full-time at the UBC Sauder School of Business. I am in my last week of classes and will have completed my Masters examinations by December 7th!

I’d love the chance to work with innovative technologies in the global transition to utilizing alternative energy.

I’m on the hunt for jobs now and am looking for opportunities in the renewable energy sector which will enable me to integrate my specialization in geological science with business development or strategic management.

A big thank you to all the folks at Aberdeen Hall for setting me up to achieve such great things here in Canada. My time there enabled me to make some waves in the last 4.5 years!

If any Aberdeen Hall students are looking to pursue a

degree in the sciences or will be attending UBC in the fall, I’d be happy to answer any questions!

CONNECT

This is a photo of me and my best friend and coworker, Sarah, from my graduation in May! (She just completed her Masters in neuroscience and has her thesis defense in a week, wahoo!!)

jordan@autconsulting.com /jbates24

PAGE 17


ALUMNI UPDATE [CONT.]

Casey (back row, left) with his a cappella choir at UBC.

Casey Broughton AHPS Alumnus 2016 I chose to attend UBC Vancouver,

where I am currently a Math major in the fourth year of a five year degree. I was previously in Combined Honours in Physics and Mathematics, but I transferred out as I realized that the workload was excessive and I found pure math more interesting than my studies in physics. After graduation, I’m aiming to attend law school and become a lawyer, as the law has always interested me and I hope I could use it to do some good, possibly working in the non-profit or government sectors. Outside of my studies, I’m heavily involved with UBC A Cappella, UBC’s student a cappella choir, specifically as a lower bass with the group Choral Reef.

If you will be attending UBC in the fall or plan on

studying mathematics or physics (or participating

CONNECT

(It seems to be a rule that all university a cappella groups have to have punny names.) I’ve been a member since my first year of university, and I find it to be a good excuse to forget academic stress for a while and meet cool new people. Each term, we learn and rehearse 4-5 songs arranged by our members, and perform with the other groups (which have similarly-punny names) at a big term-end concert. I’d highly recommend checking out our YouTube page if you’re interested in hearing us perform, and our Facebook and website if you’d be interested in joining! Songs from our latest concert should be posted in the next few weeks.

casey.broughton@alumni.ubc.ca

in A Cappella!) please feel free to reach out.

I enjoyed being part of a school that cared about my success just as much as I did.” Hunter Zandee

Hunter Zandee AHPS Alumnus 2014

After High School I spent three years playing in the BCHL for the West Kelowna Warriors and the Vernon Vipers where I achieved the ‘Inspirational Leadership’ award. From there I continued to pursue my education and am currently in my third year at Mount Royal University. I plan to earn a degree in Business with a double minor in Finance and Marketing. I’m also continuing to pursue my passion for playing hockey and play on the varsity hockey team at MRU. I have received multiple scholarships for

If you have any questions about university, balancing athletics and academics or studying business, please reach out. PAGE 18

my off-ice leadership skills as well as for my individual performance on the ice and in the classroom. Over the summer, I completed an internship within the oil and gas industry and secured a sales position with Element-Technical Services when I complete my degree. I will never forget the relationships that were made at this school and the positive impact it has made on my life. Aberdeen Hall has shaped me into the best version of myself.

CONNECT

hzandee@gmail.com


S A T U R D A Y, M A Y 3 0 TH D E LTA G R A N D B A L L R O O M Join us for a unique, spectacular evening in support of Aberdeen Hall’s new Athletics and Wellness Centre. This new centre will create the best facilities for our student athletes and artists, while also creating a space to promote mental and physical wellbeing.

Tickets available online at:

HTTPS://ABERDEENHALL.COM/GIVING/EVENTS.HTML $250 PER PERSON TEACHING EXCELLENCE | INSPIRING FUTURES | SHAPING CHARACTER

PAGE 19


I BELIEVE IN DRAGONS By Grant Ozechowsky, High School Principal, Deputy Head

I have always had an affinity for fairy tales. Not because I

I’m not talking about jumping on a white horse, shouldering

am particularly romantic, or because I secretly desire to live

a shield and charging headfirst into sooty battle (although

in a fancy castle. No, I think I appreciate fairy tales because

I’m not going to lie, that sounds pretty cool).

that’s where the dragons are.

No, the dragons I’m referring to are those that exist within.

I believe in dragons. Now before you write me off as a crackpot Game of Thrones fanboy, let me clarify.

I believe in the importance of facing your dragons. PAGE 20

They’re the thoughts that threaten us, the worries that hinder our progress; they’re the fears and anxieties that hold us down.

For some of us, facing these dragons might involve walking through the doors on the first day of school, trying out for


the basketball team, or putting in some extra time studying for a challenging exam. For others, it might involve volunteering an opinion during a class discussion, or sitting beside someone new at lunch. Sometimes taking these steps can be painful, but the rewards often outweigh the risks. Unfortunately, some people’s dragons are bigger, more fearsome. In some cases, when the world seems dark and unwelcoming, facing these challenges can feel almost impossible. Anxiety, loneliness, fear and sadness have never been more prevalent. Today, the importance of mental wellness, and the ramifications of mental illness are often frontpage stories. They should

by suicide. • Surpassed only by injuries, mental

• Speak to an administrator: The

the second highest hospital care

number one priority of the principals

expenditure in Canada.

and vice principals is student safety.

• In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them. Source: Canadian Mental Health Association https://cmha.ca/fast-factsabout-mental-illness For those who are coping with the challenges of mental health, dragons are real. The everyday fears, worries and concerns can impact their relationships,

most disabling group of disorders worldwide. • Today, approximately 5% of male

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” Although Chesterton penned the phrase about a hundred years ago, the premise still holds true.

12 to 19, have experienced a major

Even the largest, most ferocious

• The total number of 12-19 year olds

dragons can be defeated. Sometimes we just need a little help along the way

in Canada at risk for developing

to do so.

depression is a staggering 3.2 million.

If you ever feel worried, scared or lost

• Mental illness is increasingly

at school, please tell someone who has

threatening the lives of our children;

steps you can take:

the third highest in the industrialized

• Speak to your advisor: Your advisor

• Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year

Nydr is available for appointments. If you want to help, seek advice, or just need someone to listen, drop by her office. • Talk to your favourite teacher or coach: Teachers and coaches can

something threatening or dangerous, or feel unsafe, report it on the anonymous “Report It” website. This site is monitored, and reviewed daily by the school’s Safer School Supervisor. https://erasereportit.gov. bc.ca. I have an affinity for fairy tales, because they remind us that our dragons can be defeated. If you need a little help coping with your personal dragons, say something, and I guarantee we will always do something.

the capacity to help. Here are some

with Canada’s youth suicide rate world.

• Speak to the school counsellor: Mrs.

• Report It: If you are upset, see

youth and 12% of female youth, age depressive episode.

we can to help.

Recently, I came across a quote from with me. He said,

mental illness or disorder – the single

seriously, and we will always do what

also help get you on the right track.

children. The Canadian Mental Health

Canadian youth are affected by a

Your concerns will always be taken

their academics, and their happiness. Gilbert Keith Chesterton that resonated

• It is estimated that 10-20% of

challenging moments.

disorders in youth are ranked as

be, especially when they relate to Association lists the following facts:

a great first step in coping with life’s

is your school champion. They want to help you succeed academically, socially and emotionally. From arranging tutorials, to helping with a problem or conflict, your advisor is PAGE 21


GROWING A CARING COMMUNITY IN THE JUNIOR SCHOOL By Susanne Raye, Junior School Principal and Casey Turnpenny, Junior School Vice Principal

Growing a caring and inclusive community is an overarching goal for teachers and administration in the Junior School. Students who feel safe, connected and valued will have the PAGE 22

mindset to learn. Also key is providing students with opportunities to develop the skills and aptitudes required to be contributing community members. These skills and aptitudes identified in

the BC Ministry Core Competencies curriculum are brought to life through the Junior School’s Gryphon Code programming.


The Core Competencies are sets of intellectual, personal, and social and emotional proficiencies that all students need in order to engage in deep, lifelong learning” https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/competencies The Gryphon Code lives and breathes throughout the life world of our Junior School, guiding much of the teaching and learning we experience daily. Junior School faculty have collaborated to design lessons, self-reflections, assessments and special events that help foster the traits emphasized through the Gryphon Code. Take a quick peek into each classroom and you will see the Gryphon Code proudly displayed in a central location, creating continuity for the students, and emphasizing a common approach and vocabulary from Kindergarten to Grade Five. Pop into a Junior School Assembly and watch students cheering along with their peers for those who have received coveted Gryph Certificates! During quiet moments of reflection at the end of term, observe children assessing their own work or efforts, using criteria that emphasizes creative problem solving, inquiry, and collaboration. The Buddy Program and House Teams help develop our vertical community. This year our buddies are connecting with a local seniors’ home. Working together, they are producing festive cards to be delivered throughout the year. We will also be taking groups down to the home to perform plays and

sing. House team events are always a favourite with the students. Once again we will be participating in House activities which involve collaboration and some healthy competition!

Favourites during the year are We Scare Hunger, the Readathon and Sports Day. Opportunities to practise critical and creative skills as well as collaboration are provided during project-based learning activities such as the Science and Medieval Fair, Winter Market, Titanic, and Hedgehog Houses. Our athletics program is flourishing and yet another example of how we connect students. Go, Gryphons Go!

“A community is a group of people who agree to grow together” Simon Sinek Smiling faces greeting you at the door when you arrive for the day; a classmate who teaches you how to play a new game outside; a teacher who challenges you to keep trying when something doesn’t work the first time; a project that inspires you to pursue your passions - the Gryphon Code brings our Junior School to life, creating a sense of community, connectedness, celebration and leadership! It emphasizes Core Competencies that build students’ thinking and communication skills, along with their sense of personal and social responsibility. With the Gryphon Code, we work together as a community

Our vision is

that all Aberdeen Hall students will become balanced and empathetic

individuals, keen thinkers and

communicators with a passion for life and

learning and an

enthusiastic drive to excel, enabling them to pursue

any kind of higher education and to succeed in any endeavor they may choose.

towards growing our common vision:

PAGE 23


MEANINGFUL CONNECTION AND MENTAL HEALTH By Becca Nydr, School Counselor

In the age of technology we are

loneliness, the angst, and the need

more connected than ever, but we

with others?

for more.

At the school level, we have a policy

have fewer meaningful connections. Snapchat, Instagram, VSCO...all the ways that students are sharing content, amassing likes, and seeking validation. Yet, in my office, I hear about the PAGE 24

As parents, how do we encourage meaningful connections and how can we give our children a chance to experience true connection

for the middle school students that their phones must be in their lockers during school hours. We do this in order to give students a break and to encourage face-to-face interactions


between peers. At this age, we are

social creatures, and we are not made

When I speak to students who deal

trying to encourage the development

to live in isolation. In fact, we require

with depression and anxiety, or even

of positive social interactions. We

love, belonging, and support for our

prolonged low mood and nervousness,

also have a school wide tech-free day

survival. If you take an average person

I always ask: “Where are you

every year.

with no mental health issues and cut

connecting?”. If they aren’t connected

them off from all social connection and

or they aren’t connecting I encourage

social interaction, they are more than

them to pick something; whether it’s a

likely to sink into a depression or go

sports team, a hobby group, or a club.

mad--just ask Tom Hanks!

If we give our students the opportunity

Being involved in the school culture

to authentically meet with each other,

We have clubs and sports and ways to engage students that involve face-to-face interaction because our goal at Aberdeen Hall is to promote a caring community and sense of belonging. This is something that I passionately believe in because there is a strong correlation between being meaningfully connected and positive mental health. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it is posited that love and belonging are necessary in order to develop positive self esteem and to reach self-actualization. If we don’t feel connected, there is a risk to our mental and emotional well-being. Humans are

is very important to me, which is why I started a number of initiatives at the

their sense of community and belonging grows.

school that aim to promote connections between students who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to bond. In 2017, Jesse Berteig and I started “Art Club”, where students could spend time making art in an informal setting and make connections with students from Grade 6-12 who also love art. There are so many faculty and staff members who are involved in extracurriculars with this goal in mind: to promote belonging in our community.

WAYS TO CONNECT JUNIOR SCHOOL:

MIDDLE-SENIOR SCHOOL:

Loose Parts Play

Soccer

Art Club

Yearbook Club (Sr. School)

Creativity Club

Volleyball

Fly Fishing Club

Student Council

STEM: Beginner, Junior,

Basketball

Yoga Club

Green Club

and Senior Robotics

Swimming

Mountain Biking Club

Outdoor Pursuits

Multi-Sport Club

Rugby

Dungeons & Dragons Club

Peer Mentoring

Strings Club

Badminton

Diversity/Inclusivity Club

Theatre Club/Trip

French Club

Ultimate Frisbee

Music Club

Magic: The Gathering Club

Soccer Club

Cheerleading

Karate Club

Strategy Games Club

Volleyball Club

Track and Field

Robotics Competition Club

Cross-country Club

Cross Country

Vex Robotics

Track and Field Club

Ski Team

Soft Arts Club

Basketball

Golf

Body Positivity and Yoga

Touch Rugby

Wellness Group (Middle school) PAGE 25


HEALTH & WELLNESS AT ABERDEEN HALL

Q&A with Michele Hopkins, Director of Family Services at The Bridge Youth and Family Services By Christina Ullyot, Director of Admissions

at the Bridge, to present during a

observation and inspire positive role-

recent seminar with COISA (the newly

modelling for your children at home.

founded Central Okanagan Independent Schools Association). With over 20+ years working with families, Michele specializes in supportive, educational and goal-oriented counselling; focusing

Each day, at Aberdeen Hall, our talented, inspiring and enthusiastic faculty fulfill our promise of personalized attention with a ‘small school’ feel. This produces a learning environment where every student can be recognized and supported. We’re proud that our faculty are specially trained in numerous areas. One area of focus this year is the social -emotional health of our students. With digital connection increasingly replacing face-to-face human interaction, research indicates that as a society, we have inadvertently created a lonelier generation. To support our own faculty professional development, we invited Michele Hopkins, Director of Family Services PAGE 26

Michele Hopkins B.A., B.S.W., R.S.W,

on the enhancement of communication,

The Bridge Youth and Family Services

parenting education and relationship

Why do you think childhood anxiety

-building skills. The event, hosted at Michele Hopkins

Q&A

Aberdeen Hall on October 23, 2019, allowed our faculty to get together and discuss ways to support mental health and wellness in our students and in our colleagues. As a team working together in the education of your children, it is our hope that we can continue to learn together how to best support children through anxious, stressful or challenging times. With Michele’s wealth of knowledge and experience, we reached out to her yet again in hopes of outlining some invaluable suggestions for parents on how to best support your child’s mental health and wellness. We promise to continue to build our own mental health toolkids to best support your children at school and hope that the questions below spark discussion, build

is steadily rising?

I think the complexity of our world has increased with access to information. Our children are inundated with world awareness, both positive and negative, and there are very few ways for them to filter that information so that they can understand it. I suspect that information is overwhelming so they become unable to plan for their future with confidence. Also, social comparison has become the norm. The ability to be unique and individual is almost gone in a way because of the range of imaging children are being exposed to. North American values are dominant, especially in the portrayal of women, and living a very glamorous, elaborate life is seen as the goal. If you are a quiet, introvert who doesn’t have a desire to skydivewho’s supporting you in that? In my


opinion, that exposure to being ‘perfect’

prioritize yourself.

best to build relationships and create

or ‘extreme’ is part of what’s behind

Can you provide a list of physical

an atmosphere for open and honest

feeling anxious?

prevention and treatment tools.

the onset of mental health problems for many youth. How might a parent engage their child in talking about mental health?

indicators that children express when

conversation. This is one of your best

Headaches,

What is the best piece of advice you

stomach

aches,

nervousness, racing heart, general

would give to parents?

The good news is that parents are still

complaint of “not feeling well”,

You are the expert, but you may have

the number one influence.

restlessness, eating more or less, and

to develop your own expertise. It goes

First, an adult must become very clear

disrupted sleep can all be physical

back to your need to know yourself and

indicators. Anything physical is always

know your child, so you can recognize

in the realm of possibility so simply hold

mental health expressions.How to

open the space to see that it could be

Talk So Kids Will Listen is a resource

a mental health expression. It doesn’t

that stands out to me as a very good

matter so much what you’re seeing but

foundational book.

more so if those expressions change

I would also remind parents to stop

on who they are themselves. You need to know yourself incredibly well and know how to tell other people about yourself before learning your child’s temperament. It really is a lot of work of knowing yourself, sharing yourself and teaching your child how to do the same thing with total acceptance of who you are and who they are. For a parent to suspend their own values and resist the urge

over time. You need to know your child’s normal baseline so that any changes are more obvious. What are your “go-to” resources for more information?

to download themselves into their

Foundry Kelowna

children is sometimes challenging. I

https://foundrybc.ca/kelowna

understand the reason parents do that,

Canadian Mental Health Association

but when you do, you deprive them of being able to become who they truly are. Understanding and discussing temperament openly is a great place to start. What are some ways that a parent can model healthy choices that promote positive mental health?

Modelling a positive mental health culture involves being transparent about your own struggles and letting your children how you are practicing self-care. “I take breaks for myself to relax, I go to the doctor/counsellor and that helps me feel better, I go to the gym because it makes me feel calm etc.” It’s also alright to express to your children that sometimes you may choose to prioritize them but there may be other times you may need to

https://cmhakelowna.com Mental Health First Aid Canada https://www.mhfa.ca What is the most frequently asked question by parents?

Generally when parents are reaching

trying to figure out how to best parent from an “expert”. You can parent well with self-awareness, child development and temperament knowledge. Can you admit when you’re wrong? Are you a good human who shows compassion and respect to others? In my opinion, those are the qualities that make a good parent. Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the Michele Hopkins. Examples and suggestions above are used in her own personal experience and are not based on experience with children diagnosed with learning differences or challenges that are behavioural in nature.

out it’s because they’re worried their child has a mental health problem. Don’t get caught up in the fear that something is wrong-get curious about what you are seeing. Write down any signs and/or symptoms with the date and duration, and take note of any risk factors. Then you have the information to share with clinicians and doctors, should you require it in future. Think about the developmental needs and temperament of the child before

Christina Ullyot

assuming a problem exists. Do your PAGE 27


ABERDEEN HALL’S INAUGRAL SERVICE LEARNING TRIP - GUATEMALA 2019 By Meghan Dunn, Grade 6 Homeroom & Middle School Humanities Teacher Photo Credit: Heather Knox

Mr. Acree and I had the privilege

the province, we knew this would be

Spanish, and made chocolate in the

of taking 14 incredible students to

a great opportunity for Aberdeen Hall

traditional Mayan technique. Less than

Guatemala recently, for Aberdeen Hall’s

students.

24 hours after arriving in Antigua, it was

inaugural service learning trip to Project

In October 2018 interested students in

time to depart for Project Somos.

Grades 8-10 submitted applications to

After a windy bus ride through the

be a part of this trip, went through an

Guatemalan countryside, we arrived

interview process, and were selected

and were met by Heather, Greg, and

to come to Guatemala based on an

2 of their dogs, Tika and Kila. After

established set of criteria.

checking into our rooms students began

On November 15th 2019, the highly-

their orientation. We learned about the

Somos. The Project, as it is commonly referred to, is located in the Mayan highlands of Guatemala. With stunning panoramic views of volcanoes, and lush greenery, Project Somos provided a stunning backdrop for an experience that was even more beautiful than its breathtaking scenery. 14 months ago, I began planning a trip that I would later describe as being one of the most impactful experiences of my life. My step-sister Heather Knox, and her husband Gregory Kemp began Project Somos in in 2011, as a way to support indigenous families and children living in extreme poverty in rural Guatemala. After talking with dozens of people connected to the project, reading student and parent testimonials, and discussing the benefits of service learning at Project Somos with other teachers and administrators across PAGE 28

anticipated departure date had finally arrived. Our group travelled via Mexico City to Guatemala City, and after a tiring 18 hours of travel, we stepped into the tropical humidity and excitement of our new destination. We were immediately transported 40 km west to UNESCO

importance of sustainability, where the Project gets its water, how not to waste any resources, and how to clean and disinfect our dishes. The students took on these life lessons with gumption, clearing every dish and crumb after every meal, while always laughing and

World Heritage Site, Antigua. It was

joking over a sink of dishes.

beautiful. Historic colonial architecture,

After a delicious meal grown on site and

panoramic volcanic views, and the

prepared by local cooks, we sat down

beautiful bright fabric indicative of

together and learned about the harsh

traditional Mayan weaving made

realities of life in Guatemala. We learned

Antigua truly a sight to behold. During

about the school system, the lack of

our time in Antigua, we observed a

qualified teachers and classrooms with

flower festival, learned how to barter

zero resources. We learned that young

at open-air markets, improved our

girls are often married and pregnant by


bus full of very excited 4-14 year old

expands.”

local children. We walked them down

Our last day at Project Somos was

to the school and playground, where

bitter sweet. We had the culmination

we rotated through stations. Students

to our special week, entitled “navidad

squealed with delight as they learned

en noviembre” in which we taught the

how to play California Kickball, made

children about Christmas in Canada,

slime, watched the eruption of a tinted

watched a holiday movie, made them

sucrose Coca Cola and Mentos volcano,

special wood-fired pizzas, sang songs,

formed and baked holiday ornaments,

and said our goodbyes. Walking them

baked muffins, harvested vegetables

up to the bus on the last afternoon was

from the finca (farm) and much more.

very difficult, and it was obvious that

me that I can CHANGE something if I set my mind to it. Words cannot describe the impact that Project Somos and the kids had on me. I feel that it has made me a more considerate person. One thing that stood out to me the most was that no matter how little the kids had they always showed up with the brightest smiles! If there is one thing I want to say to my peers, it is that always be grateful for what you have.”

That night, our students wrote in their

our students were incredibly impacted

journals about their fulfilling and tiring

by their connections, and humbled by

On Saturday, November 24th 2019, our

day of giving to others.

a powerful week of new friendships,

The next few days included sports day

seeing the many faces of poverty, being

their mid-teens. We learned about how

petting zoo. Heather Knox of Project

difficult it is for families to access quality

Somos writes “For [the local] kids, each

education and the poverty cycles that

of these activities is a huge gift. Their

persist when children cannot learn.

lives are not easy. Their families live in

Monday morning. After a delicious

extreme poverty. There is often violence.

breakfast of tropical fruit, yogurt, granola, homemade bread, and preserves, we walked up to meet a

mornings, in which students did relays, played Mission Impossible, did a tug

At Somos, we offer opportunities for learning, eating well, and happy play. When volunteers are here their world

disconnected from technology, and contributing to something so simple yet

of war, and much more. Our students

so meaningful in a child’s life.

planned and facilitated all of these

Molly Small, a Grade 11 student writes

activities, and had the opportunity to

“I can honestly say that since I came

also work in the fields, prepare snacks

back from Guatemala, my outlook on life

and meals in the kitchen, and perform

has changed. The children at the Project

cleaning duties. Our evenings consisted

had nothing but joy and appreciation for

of playing the guitar, numerous games of

everything they had. This appreciation is

chess, as well as educational activities,

something that we can all lose because

such as an impactful documentary

of the materialistic society that we live

and discussion about Guatemalan

in. This experience taught me that I

migrants seeking a better life, and a

can make a difference as an individual

heart-wrenching evening with a local

and as a member of a community by

mother who bravely shared her story

putting myself in the shoes of others and

and struggle.

working to get involved in organizations

On Thursday we took the Somos

like Project Somos.”

children to the Iximché Mayan ruins

Jashanjot Khun Khun, Grade 9, also

where we watched a traditional Mayan

reflected on her experience by saying

Fire Ceremony, learned about our Mayan Nawales, and visited a nearby

trip came to an end. How did it go by so quickly? After lunch in Antigua, we made our way to the airport in Guatemala City for our red-eye flight home. All of us, tired, a little dirty, but always laughing. A new appreciation for life, and the deeper and more meaningful friendships that were created amongst our group - our most cherished souvenirs. As a group, we are forever changed by this experience. We got to be part of something so special, so meaningful, and so life changing. We will never forget our time together, we will never forget Project Somos, and we will never forget the children of Guatemala.

“This experience has taught

PAGE 29


PARTNERS IN THE JOURNEY Thank you to all those who supported the school in 2018/19. Your generosity makes a significant impact on the experiences and opportunities available to Aberdeen Hall students.

Stephen Acree*

Kevon & Christine Crumb

Keith & Gillian Kostek

Brent Sharpe*

Yassin Adam & Siti Maskanah

Bradie Cunningham*

Jason & Karyn Lapp

Roberto Signoroni*

Jake Anderson*

Nathan Cutler*

Paul & Suzy Larsen

Sharron Simpson

Sean & Ashlyn Ayers*

Derek Cutler*

Richard Leung & Katie So

Chai & Danielle Smith

Joanne & Lyn Bannister

Alan & Carol Dolman

Jeremy Lewis*

Philip Barker & Christine Zeindler

Doug & Lindsay Donaldson

Weijun Liao & ShaoPing Peng

Isabelle Sokolyk & Gregory Mansell

Brendan & Jill Bell

Meghan Dunn*

Kristen & Derek Locke

Bibby-Fox Family

DYD Holdings Ltd

Rob Mason-Brown*

Paul Bienvenu*

Francini Vargas Espinoza

Alli McCabe*

Greg Bird

Kyle & Sarah Frohaug

Ken Mulleny*

Norman Bobocel

Yangteng Fu & Zara Jin

Jessica Neathway*

Tyler Bollhorn

Niya Yu & Zhi Gang

Madelaine Nichvalodoff*

Cindy Bollhorn

Kris Ganzert & Lynda Brown - Ganzert

Marc & Judith Novakowski

The Benevity Community Impact Fund

Alyson O'Connor*

The Merrifield Foundation

Daphne O'Sullivan*

Robert Thomson

Janet Ozechowski

Jennifer & Andrew Thorne Rory Sills & Casey Turnpenny*

Geoff Bosdet* Ellen & Mark Brown Ashley Bryden*

Patrick & Sepora Geyzen Jacklyn Gidda & John Herron Giveclear Foundation Canada

Stacey Butterworth & Scott Humphreys

Grad Fashion Show Fundraiser

Grant Ozechowsky & Amy Splinter*

Justin and Becky Bullock

Chris & Lindsay Grieve*

Alex & Sheng Li Pavlovic

Chris Bunka

Mehrdad Habibi & Elham Koohpayehzadeh Esfahani

Rob & Monica Penner

Jiaon Cai Jiong Cai and Qin Kang Ted Callahan

John S. Hall Ted & Linda Hanlon Ryan Hannan*

Cambridge & Company Designs Inc.

Christian Hansch

Kevin and Tracey Carson

Laura Hazeldine*

Chase Office Furniture

James & Emily Phair Lauren Pighin* Sean & Jody Pihl Connor Pilling* Braeden Pistawka*

Shawn Spendlove* Jen St. Jean* Tom Stinson* Rich & Jennifer Sutton Scott & Cindy Switzer Shari Tambasco*

Christina Ullyot* Taylor Verboom* Leslie & Anjali Vincent Liu Wei & Jinxi Wang Dave & Stacey Ward Watermark Developments Ltd. Tiffani Weaver* Chris & Lisa White*

Christian Hill*

Mairiam Quelch & Michelle Jarman

David & Sandy Wiesenthal

Reagan & Leigh Church*

Jaime Hill*

Susanne & David Raye*

Josh & Amy Wiesenthal

Jennifer Clark

Christoph Himmelstein

Wade & Danica Redden

Marisa Williams*

Paul & Celine Cluff

Barbara Hofmann*

Mark & Samantha Reineking

Steve Woloshyn

Holly Corbett*

Michael and Nadia Holzhey

Leslie Ring & Trisha Rymhs

Jason Xu & Cici Shi

Dean & Stacey Corrigan

Kevin & Amanda Johnson

Holly and Marc Riopel

Li Yang

Creative Designs Custom Homes

Aleks & Frederick Kaldahl

Dalyce Romaniuk

Elaine Crebo*

Bruce & Kimberly Knight

Tonia Rutledge*

Christopher Chi Man Yau & Chui Wah Grace Mak

Crestview Chrysler Dodge

Kevin & Erinn Knight

Schueler Group Benefits

Lauren Cross*

Crystal Kolodziej*

Paul & Shannon Sexton

Jaeda Yurkiw Calvin & Vicky Zhang Ziyi Zhang & Wen Jing Dong *Staff member

This list reflects those who donated to the school between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list. If, however, any errors or omissions have occurred, please accept our apologies and advise the Development Office at 250.491.1270.

PAGE 30


FAST FINANCIAL JANUARY 2020 FACTS 11%

STUDENTS WHO RECEIVE FINANCIAL AID

FACULTY AND STAFF

5

111

MORTGAGE $ 3,815,508

YEAR ROLLING FINANCIAL PLAN

EXPENDITURES

Faciliites

3%

STAFF RETENTION

93%

NET BOOK VALUE OF CAMPUS $21,700,000

10-1

STUDENTS FOR EVERY TEACHER

Financial Assistance

4%

Mortgage Payments

12%

Program Costs

17%

Salaries and Benefits

64%

PAGE 31


GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING HERE.

TEACHING EXCELLENCE | INSPIRING FUTURES | SHAPING CHARACTER aberdeenhall.com

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The Gryphon Magazine - 2019/2020  

The Magazine of Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School. Aberdeen Hall is a non-profit, coed, non-denominational, independent university preparato...

The Gryphon Magazine - 2019/2020  

The Magazine of Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School. Aberdeen Hall is a non-profit, coed, non-denominational, independent university preparato...

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