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Christmas Edition

No More November Exams? Student run newspaper committed to the St. George’s community

By Paul Hahn tephen Ziff, Bud Patel and the heads of departments have declared that they are discussing the exclusion of the November Exams in the next academic year. “Unless the heads of departments are massively against this proposal, there is a pretty good chance that the proposal will go through,” said Ziff. Ziff also explained that the entire reason for thinking about getting rid of the November exams is that the teaching body has asked themselves whether the hassle of the exams is worth the payoff. “Given how much time out of the schedule the exams take, which is usually a couple of days of review, 6 days of exams, plus a day or two on the backside, which is two weeks in total. So it leaves this huge amount of time, and given that, the question was posed: is that worthwile?” Bud Patel, the principal of the senior school added that St. Georges is one of the only private schools that still writes exams in November. Although Patel mentioned that he sees merit in both keeping November exams, as well as terminating them in the next academic year, he said that he is leaning towards getting

rid of the November exams. “I think that some people like summative assessments, but as a teacher or as a principal even, I really think that

By Eldon Chan apturing the British Columbia cross country provincial trophy is but a small part of Saint George’s student William Cliff’s plans for the future. Described by fellow teammates Max Douglas and Justin Hayto as someone who “possesses incredible work ethic and will power,” Cliff has his sights set far into the future. Cliff comes from a long line of accomplished athletes. His elder brother Andy captained the senior cross country team and his elder sister Rachel has represented Canada in International cross country races. It should therefore come as no surprise that Will has “loved running for as long as [he] can remember.” During his time at Saint Georges, Will has set a variety of school records. By winning the grueling five-kilometer, three-course challenge in Seaside Oregon out of 550 participants, Will has become the first student to ever win a race in the United States. Furthermore, he participates in the Sun Run every year, and finished this year in 220th place with a remarkable 38:32 time. Yet in spite of all his success, he maintains, “You’ve always got to stay humble and love what you do.” He adds, “It’s the journey that matters, not so

much the results.” Will follows a grueling training regiment that spans every day of the week. During the cross country season, seven practices are crammed over the course of six days, of which three are cross training, typically consisting of two spinbike sessions and one pool session. The remaining four are traditional impact workouts such as running. During the off season, Will trains equally diligently, running close to four times a week. Contrary to what one might expect, he follows no real diet regiment. He remarks, “I’ll eat whatever I feel like eating. If I feel like eating chocolate cake for breakfast, that’s what I’ll have!” Of course, in the event of a big event approaching, he claims, “I’ll try my best to clean up my diet and avoid junk food like pop and chips.” But at the end of the day, the 17 year old insists that the secret to success lies in dedicated training. He warns, “Nothing will ever replace a good work ethic.” Despite possessing what Douglas describes as “an insane pain threshold and will to succeed,” Will manages to always stay humble. In particular, he acknowledges his high-school coach Chris Johnson. Will says, “Chris Johnson has been instrumental to my success. He’s a strong coach and a great guy – an


would have to conduct two exams a year in order to develop these skills. In response to additional time gained by the termination of

Although the cancellation of november exams still remains a quiestion, there stands a good chance that students will say goodbye to them next year. all the time which the November November exams, Phil Webster, exams take up is not really worth head of grade 10, suggested that two the payoff.” days of professional developement Tom Matthews, the headmaster of for the teachers would be St. Georges, thinks that although it appropriate. “Also, for my own is imperative that students acquire personal preference, I would like to solid exam-writing skills during see if we could maybe take a couple their time in the Senior School, he of days from the exams, and merge doesn’t know whether the school it together with the October break,

Running for the thrill of it C

and have a slightly longer break. I’ll even suggest this at the next staff meeting when the November exams are adressed.” However, in the current phase of discussion, only teachers are asked whether it is worthwile to exclude the November exams in the next academic year. In case any parents or students have definite wishes, these will be listened to, but for the time being Patel thinks that it is up to the teachers whether or not the November exams will be held next year. In addition, Ziff mentioned that if November exams are cancelled, students will be evaluated as they are in term two. Also, the method of evaluation will be up to the teachers. If teachers feel the need to evaluate their students with a cumulative chapter test, it will be equally accepted as if they were to conduct small quizzes and tests. For example, Webster feels that there is a certain need for having a summative exam at the end of term one. However, he does not feel that a “sit-down-in-the-gymnasium” assessement is the best way to do so. “There are other ways of doing this. For example, in the

senior years, there have already been some alternative assessments. So Chemistry 12 last year did an hour of lab exams, where they had to perform an experiment for an hour. Not only did they have to demonstrate what was happening in the experiment, but also the physical manipulation of the topic. After that, the students sat a much shorter test, which in my opinion, is a much better way to assess a student. I also think that for term one, we could do the same in many subjects.” On top of that, Ziff believes that the exclusion of the November exams would not adversely affect students’ exam writing skills. “I mean even with only the June exams, you’ll still be writing at least five exams a year. With the 12 APs you’ll be writing at least 25 exams in your highschool career, if not more.” As a closing remark, Patel said that the thought of getting rid of the exams was expressed only because the school wants the best for its students. “It has nothing to do with making the school look better, or even saving money. However, it has everything to do with creating the best possible learning environment for our students.”

By Dustin Patara nventing the TV is no small feat, being an appliance found worldwide in almost every modern household. But what do you do when a greedy businessman steals your idea? The “Farnsworth Invention”, written by the author of “A Few Good Men” and “The Social Network,” is a modern play based on the true story of one of the most influential inventions of the 20th century, and the patent race that two aspiring men take part in after they realize they both invented the same thing. The son of a Mormon family, Philo T. Farnsworth must overcome the influential president of RCA, who would love nothing more than to drive his own company’s stocks up, no matter the cost. Why this play of all plays? In an interview with The Echo, director Robert Wisden told us that this play is perfect for a boys’ school. Not only are the parts mostly male, the overall theme is science, and in a school that has such a strong science background, it is a perfect fit. Unique to this play are the lead roles. The two leads never leave the stage at any time during the play. As Wisden said, “This is the test of an actor’s endurance. He

must memorize blocks of lines, remember all his choreography and blocking……this is material that we can make Rigg Scholars out of.” For the smaller roles, this isn’t an easy ride. The choreography, even for the two-liner roles, is going to be unforgiving, with intense memorization in blocking.

The imminent school play promised to be perfect for St.George’s students


inspiration to me.” Will has been recognized not only by his admiring peers but also by reputable universities. Receiving letters of recruitment from Dalhousie, University of Calgary, Queen’s, and more locally, University of British Columbia, Will fully intends to stay in Canada. As for his post-secondary running career, he remarks, “I’m never going to stop running. I’m going to run in university, and I’m going to run until I’m old. I run for the thrill of it, because I love it.”

Most notably, the prowess of the stagecraft classes will be on display. Throwing out conventional backdrops, there will be transparent screens akin to the ones at Rogers Arena. The screens will be used for effects such as a burning village, and is meant to highlight the cutting-edge technology (circa the early 1900’s) that this play centers around. Wisden himself is a local film actor, starring in movies such as Legends of the Fall, Final Destination and The Watchmen. He also has directorial experience with Cheaper by the Dozen, Playboy of the Western World, Mister Roberts, Ehrenfeld, and even writing and directing The Lonely Ones and Dunkpole. As with all great Saints Middle School plays, the Farnsworth Invention will be presented on February 3, 4, and 5, 2011.

School News

Collins confirms snow policy remains the same

By Joseph Lu hile the snow came and went, the old St. George’s snow policy remains the same. Director of Studies, Bill Collins confirmed that the decision regarding the cancellation of school due to snow would still be handled on a case-bycase basis. Collins told The Echo, “We make decisions based on how the conditions appear at the time. If we feel it is too dangerous for students to come to school, we will cancel the day of school.” Only 3 cm of snow fell on the morning of Thursday, November 25. Although St. George’s School was closed, the majority of schools remained in operation throughout the Lower Mainland. In past years, St. George’s has not cancelled school days due to snow, even with a greater amount of precipitation. The Director of Studies commented on how the situation drastically changes based on whether the day is an average school day or an examination day. “We felt that if some students came to classes and some students didn’t come to classes, it would create some problems, but problems that could be overcome. We felt it would be a different case if students came to write exams and some students weren’t able to come


St. George’s Junior School Campus is dwarfed in a blanket of white snow that forces Headmaster Dr. Tom Matthews to cancel school.

meeting between Mr. Patel, Mr. Devenish, Mr. Collins, Mr. Sturgeon and Dr. Matthews the night before he snowfall after seeing a snowfall warning on the Environment Canada website. Ultimately, the decision to close the school was made at 6:00 am by Dr. Matthews after council with his advisors. “We didn’t want to take another day out of the academic timetable [to reschedule exams],” Collins explained. For many students, the decision to cancel the exams that day was a shock. Grade 10 student Jefferson Xu explains his disbelief: “I was shocked because we have had previous days with more snow and school wasn’t closed. This year, there wasn’t as much snow and I didn’t think the school would cancel an exam.” “It must have been 5 or 6 years ago. The snow was up to my knees and I had to walk all the way to school only to find out it was cancelled. That was the last time I remember the school canceling a day due to snow,” English Teacher Jeremy Sayers recalls. Most students were glad to be able to write one less exam. However, a small population wanted to write the exam to increase their marks.

and write exams. Then we would have one group of students who wrote exams and another group who didn’t.” According to Collins, the

cancellation of school was due,as always, to the safety of the students. “Because exams are seen as ‘important’ we didn’t want to create a situation where students and

parents would take risks involving dangerous driving conditions in order to write the exam.” Administration first considered the closure of the school during a

soon after the beginning of the third semester, the staff team caught up with lightening speed. A pity for the students, they lost in the end by nine points. Only seven members on the 11-member Heroes team scored, with 12 points from Yipeng Yao and seven points from Sajen Gill. On the other hand, only one person from the staff team did not score. As Proznick said afterwards, “[The Heroes team] had a skewed distribution of talent. Their top five were much better than their bottom five, and they did not work together. I am sure that they did not practice. The staff was probably smarter on the court and knew the importance of extra passes, while students wanted to go oneon-one.” Proznick, along with the “imported” mystery player, Richard Cohee, lead the staff to counterattack the students with invincible power and skills, delivering 12 and 10 points respectively. Gill admitted that the students were short of time to get trained. “We could have worked together better, but some of our guys were not really basketball players. The staff came up with three-point shooting. Cohee dominated the rebounds,” the student coach said. Proznick speculated that the students had underestimated the power of the staff. The staff had six varsity and university level players while the students only have five school team members. The Echo conducted a survey on 50

people, including both students and staff in the boarding house. The result showed that 94 percent enjoyed the event, and 80 percent believed that the Battle of Harker Hall should become a tradition. Thirty-two percent felt highly comfortable with the general ambiance. This reflected on Proznick’s promise that the gym would create an atmosphere for energy and excitement. Forty percent of people felt the games were really exciting, but 30 percent considered the games too lame to stimulate their enthusiasm. Twenty-two percent of students said that the players demonstrated a professional performance. While 50 percent of students appreciated the staff-student interaction in the event. The statistics illustrated that the event generally achieved its goals. Lots of people disliked the referees, considering the judges’ as “helpers of teachers.” Forty-eight percent of spectators believed that the referees should be changed next year. Some of them agreed that the referees should not only include staff members, but also students. Gill mentioned that the referees were “bogus” and they were the turning points of the game. Knowing this, Proznick, as a director, said that he may change the referees next year. Significantly, thirty-six percent of respondents thought the games were not fairly arranged. The survey also revealed that 42 percent of people felt uncomfortable

Left: Mr. Hvidston’s lay-up attempt is savagely denied by grade 9 border Kevin Jin; Right: Students cheer their team on as they take on the staff with the seats. Fifty-two percent of veyed people considered the speakers loud VIPs, except for one, were pleased and clear. Remarkably, 60 percent of by the VIP service. people thought that the score keepPronznick said that the students ing was professional. had done a responsible job but Only 24 percent of students were looked forward to them taking satisfied with the ticket sales. Al- greater responsibility in handling though the tickets were one dol- the next event. lar each, there was some ambiguThe percentage of students who ity about whether the evening was thought that improvement could be mandatory for boarders. All board- made to the Battle of Harker Hall ers were asked to go to the event. was significant; however as a staffForty-two percent of people thought coordinated and student-run prothat more VIP seats were needed, gram held for the first time in hisalthough most of these people liked tory, it was a major success in the the mysterious VIP lottery. All sur- boarding house.

Staff defeat students at inaugural Battle of Harker Hall

By Peter Ding he Battle of Harker Hall was the milestone of the first staffstudent large-scale sports competition in the boarding house. Although the games were not particularly considered exciting, the new tradition was embraced by the boarders. Much worse than Sajen Gill, coach of student teams, preciously expected, both student teams ended up with clear defeats. The first game, in which the development team challenged the staff, was 28 to 42, and the second game, in which the Heroes of Harker Hall made a forlorn attempt to win back honor for students, was 39 to 48. Gill explained the result, “Students didn’t bring their A games that day. The staff showed up with greater skills that scared the Grade 8s and 9s.” The staff dominated the court in the first game. Paul Proznick scored eight points, while Jocelyn Mannion and Reto Camenzind both scored six. The most outstanding player on the student team was Andy Lee, Grade 9, who diligently earned eight points. Proznick said that the student team lacked bigger players and were intimidated by the power of the staff. “They were average and no scoring threats,” Proznick said. When the heroes of Harker Hall rose and try to “avenge” the humiliating defeat of the development team, they started with an irresistible offence, leading 10 points at the end of the half-time. However,


Sports news 2010/11 Saints sprints to Cross-Country history saint

By Eldon Chan urdling past the finish line, St. George’s Cross Country Captain William Cliff and Christian Gravel led the provincial squad to a championship stint by finishing first and second place. Tackling the grueling six-kilometer course at Beaver Lake Park in Victoria on November 6, Saint George’s defeated the nearest rival Oak Bay by 63 points. This marks the third time over the past 40 years that a school has ever had runners clinch the top two spots. Despite conditions that coach Chris Johnson described as “wet and muddy and… fairly cold” he maintains that the team was “ready for anything.” And certainly, that preparation did show. The team, which consisted of Dennis Brown, Justin Hayto, Max Douglas, Daniel Goh, Matthew So and Ross Graham finished 23rd, 39th, 58th, 71st, 76th and 120th respectively. Aided by what coach Johnson describes as “Will and Christian’s huge one/ two finish,” the team’s cumulative score, which is derived from adding the five lowest finishes, totaled 74. In comparison Oak Bay and Dover Bay each scored 138 and 166. When evaluating the performance of the team throughout the season Johnson admits, “We compete in the independent zone and, to be honest, we dominate our zone.” Statistically speaking, Saints George’s runners typically take up a majority of the top fifteen positions. Indeed, Johnson explains that the team is, “large, with … a number of runners that

are working hard to help our team be successful. We are pleased with our depth.” Assistant coach Dwight Hillis is thrilled as well. “The team

By Samir Javer ver the weekend of December 3 and 4, the senior basketball team made a strong first impression as they came out on top at the ISA Tournament, held at West Point Grey Academy. The tournament kicked off the team’s 2010-11 campaign, which has been faced with many questions and doubts, largely due to the departure of several key players, especially hoops phenom Emerson Murray. Murray is now continuing his basketball career at the University of California-Berkeley. The team is aware they have some big shoes to fill, but do not let that affect them mentally at all. “The only thing that can hold us back is ourselves. We don’t ever live in the past, we strive to play each game to get better and better,” Grade 11 point guard Saahil Siddoo explained. However, the team put that adversity behind them as they kick-started their season at the ISA’s, where they made their way

to the finals with ease. They drew a date with Brentwood College from Victoria in the finals, and the Saints ultimately marched to victory. The boys went into halftime down by five points, but turned it around in the second half, en route to an 84-72 victory. Grade 11 guard James Pitblado told The Echo, “We felt that we started slow in the first half, but we regrouped at halftime and showed that we can come back, refocus and get the job done as necessary.” Siddoo was named the defensive player of the game in the finals, and senior student Cornel Alexiu was named the tournament’s most valuable player. In the preliminary stages of the tournament, Saints was pitted against Collingwood, where they emerged victorious, 69-40. Following that, they played St. Michael’s University, who proved to be no match as Saints manhandled them with ease, by a 9455 score.


within the team ultimately reflects Johnson’s belief in the need for “a large team of runners that are willing to work very hard together to be the

Pitblado. We always feel that we have a shot at winning the BC’s and next year will be no different. We will certainly give it our best shot.”


St George’s atheletes with their coaches C.J Johnson (left) and Dwight Hillis (right) really delivered,” he says. Student athletes Cliff and Gravel are equally delighted by the team’s performance. Specifically, Cliff remarks, “What good is it if only I win, right? It was awesome; everyone rose up to the occasion.” Likewise, Brown and Douglas praise Cliff for being “an exceptional captain.” Douglas adds, “He’s always cheerful and sets a good example for the rest of the team.” The healthy synergy

best team possible.” When asked about prospects for next year, Johnson is not concerned by the graduation of the senior students. In fact, he predicts, “Our team will continue to be formidable. We have some young, talented runners coming through the ranks that will capably fill the shoes of our graduating runners. Gravel returns next year along with Goh, So, Graham, Oliver Bibby, and James

This quiet confidence is shared similarly by Cliff, who responds, “Oh, I have no doubt that the team is still going to dominate, even with us gone.” The onus now lies with Gravel, as he will have to lead the team forward and defend the cross country provincial title later next year. But Gravel is not intimidated by this responsibility. “Bring it on, because I’ll do my best,” he says.

Basketball ISA’s : Dominance Continues O

georges Hoops Preview By Joseph Lu

Guy da Silva, the coach assessing strategies for the team.

It was then off to the finals for the boys, where Saints was crowned ISA champs. However, following the team’s come-from-behind championship victory, Grade 11 forward Zaafir Ladha was quick to note that there is still a lot of work to be done.

“Yes, we may have won this tournament, but there were definitely some flaws in our game. And with the big HSBC tournament coming up shortly, we need to keep practicing day in and day out to make sure we put forward our best game at that tournament,” Ladha explained. The prestigious tournament Ladha eluded to is the annual HSBC Basketball Classic, the largest pre-season high school basketball competition in North America which pits the best high school basketball teams in BC against one another. It is a strenuous and vigorous tournament in which one loss means an instant knockout. With all the doubts and questions from critics slowly fading away, it is evident that the varsity basketball team is living up to their motto: respect is earned. And respect was clearly earned at this high-level tournament as the team took their first step towards what is sure to be an interesting basketball season.

ith December finally here, varsity basketball returns for another year. As arguably St. George’s most beloved squad, the varsity basketball team is preparing for another exciting season of basketball. The team is looking to rebound after a year which saw them miss the Provincials and lose star guard, Emerson Murray. Yet the coaches and players alike are confident that Saints’ season will be successful. This year’s varsity team is much younger, with only two returning players and a roster full of new faces mostly from grade 11. This caused them to be ranked by the critics as an “honorable mention,” lower than in past years. “I think we’re pretty good and better than people expect. I see us as a team close to the top 10,” secondyear head coach Guy DaSilva says. “If we qualify for the Provincials that would be huge for our team this year. That is our goal this year, to qualify for the Provincials and have a chance to win the Provincial Championship.” He added that the team must work extremely hard to become a top team and will focus primarily on defense as the team’s key to achieve their goal. Compared to last year, DaSilva says this team is more skilled, better shooting, more athletic, has more depth, and is a tighter knit unit. He will use this to his advantage by employing an up-tempo style of basketball. “We want to be a defensive pressure team that plays fast. It takes advantage of our depth and athleticism which I feel are our best qualities,” DaSilva says. The biggest challenge the team will have to overcome will be its lack of size. Cornel Alexiu and Adam Hildebrand are the only true “big” men on the team. “How we’re planning on making up for it is by playing good team defense and focusing a lot on transition to make up for our lack of size,” the secondyear coach adds. “I’m really expecting a lot from our two returning players Milan [Mitrovic] and Cornel. Sajen Gill should have a good year coming up as a leader from the junior team. And I’m really excited to see Deklan [Chung] as a grade 10 play for us.”s Chung, a grade 10 guard, remained optimistic about the season. “I think we will do well because we have a lot of skilled players. I think we can surprise a lot of people,” he says.


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