Category Archives: Arts

It’s School Musical Season!

Last night at the HS Athletic Banquet, the theme was “Look How Far We Have Come”. I was able to pass along some anecdotes from the beginning of our sports history and compare and contrast them with the 2015-2016 school year. Other than the greater number of student-athletes participating, the main difference is the facilities our students now enjoy.

Our year-end musicals could also have a “Look How Far We Have Come” theme to them. In fact, the very first school musical held at the Main Campus in 1987 took place before the school was even open! Explanation: the school was entirely housed at the current TEAM School location that year and, as a way of creating some excitement for the move to Port Credit, the founders decided to get the Auditorium (and the hallways leading up to it) all ready for the show. The lighting and sound equipment was rented, there was no air conditioning and the rest of the building was in shambles after being vacant for 3 years. Nowadays, our lights are pre-mounted and programmed, the sound equipment includes wireless microphones and iPad controllers, and we have three shows at three campuses (all in air-conditioned comfort). What hasn’t changed is the sense of accomplishment from the students, the 100% participation behind-the-scenes of our teachers and the smiles on the faces of the audience members.

There is one unfortunate change with modern technology, however. Copyright rules and production agreements no longer make it possible for the school (via the school store, The MT Room) to offer DVD copies of the musical. If you plan on attending “The Lion King”, “Charlotte’s Web”, “Beauty and the Beast”, or all three (!) in the next few weeks, please keep this in mind.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

Bringing The Mentor/TEAM Community Together Through Music

Last week, I wrote about how I don’t need to be in a music classroom to “hear music all around the school” but next week, I will be able to hear and see the arts all around me!

The annual Festival of Arts will see students from all divisions of the school taking part in the concerts on Wednesday and Thursday evening. I am excited for two new groups to make their on-stage debut (the TEAM Bucket Drumming Ensemble and the Mentor Grade 9 Jazz Band) and to see some of the students who were on stage in 2005 with the Primary Campus Chorus now playing in the Senior Band or singing in the HS choir 11 years later!

For those wishing to stimulate their visual senses, Mentor artists from Grade 5 to 11 will have their works displayed throughout the school. Take a wander through the hallways and you can see how the art department develops the artistic side of our students whether they are sketching, painting, sculpting or creating multi-media installations.

Finally, the graduating visual arts students from Mentor and TSS will open their show “Roots of Steel” at 6:00pm on Wednesday. The show is open from 6:00-9:00 on Wednesday night and then again on Thursday from 9:00am to 9:00pm. The students have been planning this show and working on their exhibits since September and they would love to have you come and discuss their pieces with you.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

There Is Music All Around Our School

One of the best parts of having responsibilities that extend to all of our campuses is that I get to see every age of student from Grade 12s to Pre School. When I do see the students “in action” it is almost always outside of the classroom and there were three vignettes in the past 24 hours that made me smile.

At the “Memories to Music” concert last night, I saw 21 of our senior HS students perform a song that they had composed for their senior partner from the Alzheimer’s Society. Of those students who sang, there were at least five who have never been singing on stage before…but 99% of the audience wouldn’t have known it from how they performed! This morning, I saw three girls from the Intermediate Division at a hydration station. One of them was filling up her “Astra” bottle (from last week’s Fashion Show) and as she opened it she told her friends in a musical voice, “I am awesome at unscrewing water bottles!” Later in the morning, I was lucky enough to be the bus driver for the junior kindergarten trip to the library. After visiting the library and the ducks on the Credit River, they had me smiling as they searched for robins on the trip back to school and sang out “I found a robin!” when they did.

Whether it is coming from a wonder-filled 4-year-old, an excitable 10-year-old or a nervous 18-year-old, there is music all around us. When Alzheimer’s patient Irene lost her husband a year ago, she stopped playing the piano. The interview sessions that she did with her junior partners at Mentor rekindled her memories of music and her daughter wrote a nice note to the students saying that her Mom has started playing again!

Listen. Can you hear it? The music. I can hear it everywhere. In the wind… in the air… in the light. It’s all around us. All you have to do is open yourself up. All you have to do… is listen. – opening voice-over in August Rush (2007)

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

To Students: Take Advantage Of The Extracurricular Opportunities Your School Offers!

Last night was the high school athletic banquet and as I do every year, I marvel at the wide variety of athletic endeavours we offer AND at the student-athletes who partake in them. In many ways, I am jealous of the opportunities they have and find myself saying, “I wish I would have gone to a school like this!”

When I was in school, I played sports from the first day of school to the first day of final exams. Volleyball season led directly into basketball season, basketball was just finishing as badminton started up and I was able to start track and field a week or two before the last birdie had been bashed. We did not have such exotic sports as rugby, archery, cricket, table tennis or alpine skiing and I probably wouldn’t have found the time or interest to do any of them (although my Dad was a member of the Forest Hill Archery Club in the 60s). And while my school had music and drama and outreach opportunities, I didn’t take advantage of any of them (but in hindsight “wish I would have”).

Rugby is a good example of a school sport that attracts all types of athlete. Some students join for the camaraderie, some sign up for the excellent fitness component and some enjoy the physical contact of the sport. In a (relative to our opponents) small school population like ours, all types are needed to field a team and with great coaching, our rugby teams are 10-3 in ROPSSAA this year.

Archery has an even more diverse athlete profile. When we first started the programme, most of the team members were only part of that one sports team. With some initial success, archery began to attract more students and this year, the team has two OFSAA (Ontario) gold medals and most of the team members are involved in multiple sports during the school year.

We see this at all levels within our school. There are all kinds of reasons why students get involved in activities. They may join the Spelling Club because the teacher-in-charge was their homeroom teacher a few years before. They may not be particularly interested in the Choir but hearing from a teacher or parent that “you have a great voice” can be the start of a wonderful lifetime hobby. Peer pressure can be a positive thing and I imagine that more than a few of the actors on our stages this year only went out to auditions because their friends did. Motivation can come from unlikely sources, too; HS coach Mr. Milkovich can probably name more than a dozen girls whose 4-year career in a Marauder rugby jersey started with a uniform detention he issued in Grade 9 “to be served at 3:30…bring your cleats and meet me on the field”

As this year comes to a close, I challenge all students to take a look at how they can expand their horizons next year. This might mean joining more clubs but it also might mean dropping a few activities in order to focus in on one or two. For the older students, it might be improving their overall academic average and for the younger ones, it might be to make more friends. Mentor College and TEAM School gives every student these opportunities so make the best of them so you aren’t saying in June 2016, “I wish I would have…”

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College/TEAM School

All Divisions of Mentor/TEAM To Perform In Historical Performance Tonight

From 1987 to 1993, all of our divisions were at the Main Campus and only with the benefit of hindsight, I suppose we could have called it “Only Campus”. We were bursting at the seams by 1993 but I kinda miss those days when the senior boys’ rugby player would pop in to eat lunch with his Grade 1 teacher and her class and when a family of 5 siblings could all be under the same school roof. With our growth in enrolment in the 1990s, expanding to the TEAM (1993) and Primary (1996) campuses was necessary but it was inevitable that many of the school’s special events (Meet the Teacher Night, Speech Night, etc.) had to be split up.

Tonight’s 7:00 concert at the Main Campus, though, promises to be a true “Throwback Thursday”. For the first time in few years, we are pleased to showcase the musical talents of students from each of the divisions (TEAM, Primary, Intermediate and High School) AND for one very special number, we will have students from Grades 1 to 12 performing together. All four of our school choirs will join forces to sing “Eternity” and school director Mr. Macdonald (who started his career as a music teacher and choir director) says it will be the most moving choral piece ever performed in the history of the Festival of the Arts. No pressure!

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

PS: If you find yourself near the Main Campus anytime before 9:00pm, it will be your last opportunity to view the senior art show “Ataraxia”. And even though the idea of TSS was not a possibility in 1993, this show is another example of combining our campuses’ talents as works from graduating TSS and Mentor students are featured.