Volume 18 Issue 2
October 25, 2013
STRANSMAN SPEAKER: OLYMPIAN ADAM KREEK
lympian and social entrepreneur Adam Kreek made an appearance at Crescent School on the 15th of October as this year’s Stransman Speaker. The Stransman Speaker is part an endowed series brought to Crescent students annually to address the development of values and character through sports. Adam spoke to the development of his own character as a member of the national men’s eight rowing team. It came as a surprise that this high performing athlete suffered from a bout of depression after his team won the world championships in Seville, Spain in 2002. “That is the irony of achievement,” Adam said. Kreek could only find happiness when he decided to volunteer his time, and help those less fortunate. With lots of humour, including how he learned to embrace wearing spandex, Adam also explained how character was built through loss. His team had to grow and learn from their crushing defeat at the Athens Olympics where they finished fifth—having dominated the sport for years starting in Seville. “We cried,” said Adam, “we were devestated by our defeat.” Adam compared this experience, and the training his team had undergone in preparation for the Olympics, to attending high school for four years and then finding out suddenly you were not able to graduate when you had been getting straight As all the way through. But, as Adam explained, failure is not fatal and can have the opposite effect. This failure allowed Adam and the team to grow, reflect, and understand what went wrong in the run-up to Athens. They then went on to win a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, and their success was that much more satisfying. An interesting fact that Adam shared during his presentation (before he handed his gold medal into the audience to be passed around and be held by every student) is that fewer than 300 gold medals have been brought home to Canada since the Olympics began in 1896. Finally, this Canadian Olympian reminded students that the best things in life are challenging. “Challenge yourselves and find your unique path,” was Adam’s advice to everyone. “And remember, success is also judged by the quality of your relationships.” And from Adam’s perspective, just as valuable as a gold medal. Crescent School | 2365 Bayview Ave. Toronto, ON M2L 1A2 | 416.449.2556 | www.crescentschool.org
CPA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE
he Fall Term is always full of activity for the Parent Association. Committees are formed, dates confirmed, volunteers contacted and the planning begins! There are a number of big events this fall including the Halloween Party, Coat and Boot Drive and the Holiday Sale and CPA Cocktail Party. These are all fabulous parent run initiatives and I hope you can participate by attending, contributing or volunteering. Also underway are a number of small fundraising projects which the CPA organizes each year. Our goal is to offer products that are relevant and valued by the parent community and which in turn can contribute to our current pledge to the Great Boys campaign.
Tara Borg, CPA President
This year we continue with the magazines and holiday plant sales. For parents who previously enjoyed ordering Innisbrook gift wrap, we regret to share that this business closed in Canada and we can no longer offer it. Instead this fall we will offer frozen cookie dough perfect for holiday baking. The Committee is finalizing details with other partners and plans to launch yet another new and interesting shopand-support product later next spring. Please watch for details in the Green Room. As a Committee, we value feedback and new ideas. If you have an experience to share, or an idea that might benefit the CPA, I warmly welcome a call from you. My contact information can be found in the Green Room. —Tara Borg, CPA President 2013/14
Coat and Boot Drive
eginning October 28, the CPA will be asking the Crescent community for donations in all sizes of gently used coats, boots and other warm clothing items, such as sweaters, hats and gloves. This is our annual Coat and Boot Drive and runs until Friday, Nov. 15. The CPA collects these warm articles of clothing, sorts them and delivers them to parents and children at Firgrove and Willow Park public schools. Many of these families are new to Canada and therefore, are not yet prepared for our Canadian winters. Kindly have a look through your closets for any warm articles of clothing your family no longer needs and bring them to school during the designated drop off period. Thank you!
FALL TERM CPA EVENTS AND DATES • • • • • • • •
Grade Parent Socials through October/November Magazine & Gift Wrap September 27 – October 18 Lower School Halloween Party Thursday, Oct. 24 Coat & Boot Drive October 28 – November 15 Holiday Plants & Cookie Dough November 12 – 27 CPA Cocktail Party Tuesday, Nov. 26 Holiday Sale Wednesday, Nov. 27 Coyote’s Den Volunteer all year!
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
FACULTY PROFILE—Welcoming Katharine Hancock Where did you grow up? Right here in Toronto. Where were you before Crescent? The York School and St. Clement’s, with a year spent at City Hall too! Why did you become a teacher? I’ve wanted to be a teacher as long as I can remember. I’m that kid who organized my siblings and friends and “played” school when I was young. Even though I have two engineering degrees, I realized quickly that the best way for me to apply my education was to teach math and science. What do you teach? Math and Science from Grades 6 to 12. I’ve also taught AP Physics. Did you have a favourite teacher growing up? Who was it and why? Mrs. Smith, my kindergarten teacher. She had been a flight attendant before becoming a teacher and would always tell us about her adventures as a flight attendant and made sure that class contained a sense of exploration. I loved the idea that you could have two different careers that complemented each other, and to encourage students to ask questions. How are you liking Crescent? I’m loving it. Crescent already feels like home; the students, staff and parents are so friendly and welcoming.
What’s your favorite thing about Crescent? Not having to make lunch every morning. If you could change one thing about Crescent, what would it be? A Middle School photocopier that also staples. What do you do in your class that is specific to boys’ learning? I’m super organized and so I always model that, it’s a skill that many boys have to actively learn. I colour coding things, so each of the classes I teach has its own distinct colour for files, etc. If you had to change professions, what would you do? Municipal politics. What changes have you seen in education during your career? The use of technology in all aspects of teaching. Technology in education has gone from occasionally booking the computer lab to do a hands on tech lesson to every student having their own device. Sometimes now the boys are teaching me new and better ways to use the technology! As well, there has been a sharp increase in the amount of reading, writing and reflection that are part of the math curriculum. I think makes the subject much more difficult for some students to wrap their brains around. Math is a distinct language on its
own, and having the two combined adds an extra layer of complexity.
Clowns. They’re creepy.
Big fish in a small pond or small fish in a big pond? Both. I love being the “small fish” when I’m part of a crowd—at a sporting event or in a movie theatre. There’s something more about sharing an experience with others. “Big fish” when I see something that I feel needs fixing, like the time I spent as co-chair of my son’s school council and managed to secure about $400,000 in additional funding to support their playground and technology.
Favourite movie or book? The Shawshank Redemption, in both movie and book form. Most people don’t know that it was short story written by Stephen King—he’s a great story teller and doesn’t always have to do creepy. Even though he has written about clowns. In general, I love a good story whether in book or movie format.
Of what are you most afraid?
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
What is your greatest joy? My son, Owen. He’s nine.
If you were a professional athlete who would you be? Usain Bolt. I would love to be able to run like that— when he is running it is truly a thing of beauty.
From the Lower School
CHARACTER IN ACTION—THE ROLE OF ADULTS IN MENTORING YOUTH
f you recall a couple of weekends ago, it seemed that Toronto city streets were shut down. You could not get there from here. There was a Leafs “tail gate” party, subway closures, road closures, Nuit Blanche and a major run, all in the space of 48 hours. Crazy. Needless to say, I found myself on the subway more than once that weekend, and I was surprised to learn something interesting about how the world outside handles respect and responsibility. The subway was crowded with people going downtown. Three young men, approximately 19-years-old were sitting down and madly gaming or texting. An older gentleman and, what I presume to be his grandson, boarded the already packed train. The older man put his hand on the boy’s shoulder and strained to reach the overhead support bar. One of the boys looked up, took in the situation, and nudged his friends. Dragging their eyes away from their screens, it was clear they understood the unspoken message: What do we do? A moment passed, and one of the young men sitting
down stood up, and said to the grandfather, “Please sit down.” I was thrilled! Young men, being aware, taking the step to help out... and then...“No! I don’t need to sit down. What, do you think? I am old?” To me, this was a missed opportunity for thankfulness and appropriate recognition of a lovely gesture. The boys looked hurt, but then shrugged and resumed their texting. Now, really. I, of course, stuck my oar in and said, “That was a very nice thing to do.” The boys looked sightly embarrassed, but pleased. As adults, we cannot underestimate our role in letting our children (and young adults) know when they do well and that it is appreciated. When I think about life at Crescent School, I know that the boys’ gesture would have been met with a thank you of some kind. Let us be a part of sharing the Crescent spirit of character development wherever we are. —Dr. Boyes, Head of Lower School
From the Middle School
love autumn is Canada. The winters are long and the summers make my wee Scottishness paleness wilt, but the autumn is beautiful. This weekend, in amongst all the food and general thankfulness and gorgeous weather, my wife and daughter had to head out to the mall and there was a distinct possibility that I would have to go too. Now, in my vocabulary the word “mall” and the word “thankful” cannot exist in the same chapter, let alone the same sentence. Perhaps words like “endure” or “tolerate” but not “thankful.” It showed the desperation of my situation that the next words out of my mouth was, “But shouldn’t one of us be taking Rory for a walk?”—tough times indeed if I’m volunteering to take the new puppy for a walk. And so I found myself, my son(another conscientious objector of mall visits) and our puppy on our way to the local trail. The sun was shining through the rusty leaves, dancing its dappled colours on a carpet of red and orange. There was a gentle
breeze hushing its path through the forest. My son and I walked. We talked when there was something to say, and we walked when there wasn’t. Our puppy stayed vaguely on the path and didn’t eat too many unidentified objects. We had no time that we had to be back for. My son is nine, but half way round I noticed he was holding my hand. We talked about nothing in particular but it all felt so important. It was brilliant. I felt a million dollars. We didn’t achieve anything in particular. This wasn’t in preparation for anything. My son didn’t develop a skill; we didn’t unpack an issue or learn anything new. The walk wasn’t in service of a greater good or some future opportunity. It was just a walk; a brilliant Canadian autumnal walk and we had a blast doing it—done. I think sometimes, particularly in the Middle School, can be guilty of seeing everything as an important piece of a bigger journey. Everything our boys do is considered as part of a larger consequence—I suspect due to my responsibilities, I
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
am the guiltiest of this. Please don’t get me wrong. I believe deeply that Middle School is a critical journey and I see each year the building blocks of each new decision and success or failure and how important all the small bits are in contributing to the final product our boys become. But in amongst it our boys are 12 and 13 and sometimes an activity has no further consequence or effect than the absolute fun of that moment. Sometimes the point of a day is to be happy today not just to prepare to be happy in future days.
As I walk around the Middle School classrooms it always encourages me to see that this balance is being sought—our classes are fun places with interesting things happening in them. Things that can both prepare our boys and bring them joy today. And as one final lesson, my wife and daughter returned from the mall not talking to each other. A clear reminder that no matter what else I am unsure of, mall visits never have an upside. —Mr. Young, Head of Middle School
From the Upper School WHY PUNCTUALITY MATTERS
want to report on some changes that we’ve made for this year regarding student attendance. You may have already heard from our new Attendance Assistant, spoken to your sons, or read Mr. Lowndes’ Upper School Head’s Message; it’s important that the boys and you understand our rationale and expectations regarding this important area of school life.
day and/or contacted by me if your son is late to class on a regular basis. We encourage you to assist your son in being responsible for his attendance at School and in class each day. Please communicate with us if he is late or absent for a legitimate reason and expect us to discipline him if he is late or absent without one.
Over the past few weeks, I have held grade meetings after assembly. I have addressed the boys about the importance of punctuality and the connection to their education and character. A Crescent School education has two great goals: to help boys become smart and to help them become good. Put another way, we strive to positively charge their cognitive and moral development. There is arguably no greater predictor of personal and relational success in life than to be both smart and good.
Our boys live in a “think-for-yourself” world where they are surrounded by the freedom of choice each day. However, they need us to help them be respectful, responsible, honest, and compassionate through managing choices, training compliance, and teaching skills—to be Men of Character.
To this end, our boys need performance character—a strong work ethic, positive attitude, commitment to learning, and grit—in order to realize the possibility of success in any achievement context in school or beyond. They also need moral character—courage, integrity, empathy, and justice— in order to be ethical men in any relational setting or situation. In short, at Crescent we see character as the pathway to both excellence and ethics.
Punctuality matters because it builds performance character. And besides, as the Director of University Counselling, Mr. Haag often says, “It is no longer in fashion to be fashionably late.” —Mr. Fellin, Assistant Head of Upper School
This year, we have created a new Attendance Office to coordinate the School’s attendance procedures (Grades 3 to 12). We are thrilled to have a past parent, Mrs. Barb Mason, as our new Attendance Assistant. She will oversee the daily operation of student attendance and other school-related attendance inquiries in each division and assist the Upper School with a progressive disciplinary approach to student absenteeism and lateness. Please note that you will now be contacted by her if your son is absent in any period of the
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
ADVANCEMENT NEWS The Alumni Reunion: Another Successful Evening!
n September 28, we welcomed over 100 alumni back to campus to celebrate the annual Alumni Reunion. This year, the classes of ’78, ’83, ’88, ’93, ’98, ’03, and ’08 were celebrated and special attention was paid to the Class of 1988 who celebrated their 25th Reunion in style with a champagne reception hosted in the Drawing Room to kick off the night. Our Alumni enjoyed cocktails and food, while they caught up with their former teachers and classmates. Some, not having been back to Crescent since they graduated, were fortunate enough to have a tour around the new facilities—and, of course, the older facilities they so fondly remember! The 2013 Alumnus of the Year winners, Alan Diner ’87, Greg Wells ’98, Cam Heaps ’92 and Robbie Mitchnick ’09, were recognized and celebrated at this year’s Reunion. To view the photos from the evening, please visit the alumni website at alumni.crescentschool.org.
ALUMNI INTERNSHIP PROGRAM IS NOW OPEN We’ve placed young alumni in summer internships in the following industries: FINANCE • ENGINEERING • CONSULTING • ARCHITECTURE • LAW • MEDICINE • ACCOUNTING If your firm is seeking talented, dedicated, young professionals for summer internships please contact us and we can facilitate this for you! Contact Jay Mansoor, Co-Chair, Alumni Internship Program at jmansoor@ britpm.com or Kathryn Rutherford, Alumni Relations Officer at 416-449-2556 x260 or email@example.com
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
ALUMNI INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
MATH LEAGUE RESULTS
n October 15, students participated in the first of six Math League contests this year. We had a strong turn out of 46 students for the first contest to kick off this year’s Math League. The current individual standings are:
1. Matt Allion, Grade 11 1. Max Liu, Grade 11 1. Ian Lo, Grade 11 2. Ronald Chow, Grade 10 2. Sean Chung, Grade 12 2. David Ferris, Grade 12
5 5 5 4 4 4
2. Jake Fisher, Grade 12 2. Ryan Harrs, Grade 10 2. Jacob Kachura, Grade 12 2. Danny Liu, Grade 11 2. Hugh McCauley, Grade 11 2. Time Melis, Grade 12
4 4 4 4 4 4
2. Adam Murrai, Grade 11 2. Duncan Osler, Grade 11 2. Jonathon Pearce, Grade 11 2. Jamie Rose, Grade 12 2. Winston Xing, Grade 11
4 4 4 4 4
Massey House is in 1st place with a team score of 20 points, Hudson is close behind with 19 points, and Simcoe is in 3rd with 18 points. Please encourage your son to come out and write the next contest on the 12th of November! —Sean Chung, Grade 12
A VISIT FROM UBER5000
ast week, students in Grade 6 had an opportunity to witness spray artist (aerosol artist) Uber5000 at work right in our own backyard as he created one his signature art pieces featuring chickens. Chickens you say? Start looking around at Toronto’s graffiti art and you will undoubtedly see one of Uber5000’s chickens. They are ubiquitous. How did our love of graffiti art begin? Last year, students in Grade 6 travelled down to Richmond and Peter for a tour of graffiti alley—a popular attraction seen often on the Rick Mercer Report. There, many students noticed the chickens and really liked this iconic bird who seemed to tell a story in every scene. The graffiti alley tour guide explained the history of the location, the culture of graffiti, and how a code exists amongst artists—one of respect and conduct. What most people may not know, is that building owners give permission to the spray artists, and fervently endorse their work. And in a lot of cases, Uber5000 has added his chickens to the work of graffiti artists that already exists. Ms. Kuchmak, after seeing how much the boys enjoyed seeing the chickens last year, reached out to Uber5000, and contacted him this summer, asking if he was interested in coming to the School and presenting to her students. He was happy to hear from her and willing to do a demo for the kids. Because of the aerosol fumes, the art class had to be outdoors, and students gathered around as Uber5000 explained his process and pulled out spray cans from a duffle bag containing a range of 50 colours. While Uber5000 says he didn’t like art class as a student, the artist decided to stay for the remainder of the day and sat in with Grade 5 students and drew in their sketchbooks, while also drawing a couple more pictures for the School. Uber5000 has recently completed murals for the offices of Facebook and murals at the WVRST Beerhall at 609 King St. West. Look for murals on many buildings in the downtown core. Underwater scenes are also a favourite. Especially octopi! Check out uber5ooo.com/blog.
Men of Character from Boys of Promise
rade 8 classes travelled to the Daily Bread Food Bank last week as part of their Science and Geography Helping Fred assignment. Four classes travelled down (two classes over two days) to help sort 7,500 lbs of food that would in turn help 700 families. This hands-on learning experience helped our students develop a deeper understanding of how poverty is having an impact on the quality of life of all people in Toronto. Thank you to all Crescent families who donated during our annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, organized by the Outreach Council.