Category Archives: Extracurriculars

Mentor/TEAM Guest Blog: The Sound of a Musical

wilkinson-kSomething very special has happened to me during the rehearsal process for The Sound of Music. As we have been working to portray the von Trapps and their story of music uniting them as a family, I’ve come to realize that we as a school are doing the same thing. I’ve had so many comments from teachers and parents expressing the same sentiment: “I love The Sound of Music – it’s been my favourite since I was a child.” Mr. Macdonald even mentioned that at one time as a young boy, he pretended to play the pipe organ processional for Maria’s wedding on the arm of the Macdonald living room easy chair!

I am told that it was only in the very beginning of the school (when there were under 100 students in all grades) that students young and old have been involved in the musical. Watching the young actors look up to the older ones and seeing the teenagers take such care of the children has been heart-warming. Knowing that there are 27 students who want to take part in the pit band is incredible. With all four divisions involved in the show, it’s hard not to feel the ever-present sense of community and love for this music surrounding me. We all seem to connect with this show in one way or another.

Throughout this rehearsal process I’ve felt a sense of family here at Mentor more than ever. I hope you do too as you watch the show. After all, you are a part of the Mentor family, and family is what Mentor is all about.

Where can I get tickets?

Kara Wilkinson
Head – Theatre Arts Department
Mentor College

What It Is Like Traveling Internationally With A Group Of Mentor/TEAM Students

I have three rules of thumb when it comes to travelling internationally with our HS students and yet again this March Break, they each came to fruition while I was with the music and art trip to Italy.

Rule #1: I will be asked for directions in the airport.
Even with my nametag prominently announcing that I am the administrative principal of Mentor College and TEAM School, at least one traveller will ask me an airport-related question like “where is the Qantas counter?” I guess we do not own a monopoly on navy blazers, ties and grey pants…

Rule #2: I will see more than one school family during the trip.
One family was in the Air Canada line when we left Pearson and when we got to the security check, a Grade 9 boy and his family let me cut in front of them to allow me to stay with the group. Mr. Hoare met a man who had just organized a music educator’s conference and had worked with a former student of ours (Julian Lam) in one of the seminars. And when we were making our connection in Frankfurt on the way home, we were approached by a Grade 8 grad from the early 90s named Michael Lista. Michael was “Aladdin” in the Intermediate musical way back when and is now a professional poet!

Rule #3: I will get many compliments about our students.
From airline employees to tour guides to bus drivers to members of the public, the teachers and I never tired of hearing how nice/smart/well-behaved/clean/respectful our students were. Whether we are travelling halfway across the globe or just up the street to the Living Arts Centre, our students always represent Mentor College and TEAM School very well. They are just wonderful people to be around…so wonderful that the chaperones actually start thinking about the NEXT trip to take while the current trip is taking place!

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

Make the Most of Your Holidays

This past winter was a very nice one compared to last year when, at March Break, we had not seen a temperature on the humane side of zero since November! Still though, I imagine most students and teachers are looking forward to March Break 2016.

Our school breaks are a chance for teachers and students alike to finally vanquish the cold they have been fighting, to get caught up on some reading, to binge-watch a season or two of a favourite show or to get away for a vacation full of activity. Getting relaxed and refreshed is really important this year in particular because with the Easter holidays falling within the March Break, it will seem like a LONG time until our next holiday. Yes, we get an extra day for March Break but starting Tuesday, March 29, we have 38 straight weekdays until the Victoria Day long weekend!

So whether you are doing vacation or “stay”cation in the next two weeks, I hope that you and your family enjoy yourselves before the final term of academic and extra-curricular activity begins.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

Anticipating a Busy Month Ahead!

Well we are four school days into 2016 and after three weeks of (relative) relaxation and re-energizing, everyone quickly got back into their regular school routines. For me, the only differences between 2015 and 2016 that I have noticed is that it is a bit colder and that the QEW from Erin Mills to Hurontario has much less traffic between 7:00 and 7:30 (I would be interested to hear your theories on the traffic part, by the way!).

We have welcomed a few new students into our schools this week and based on the phone calls and emails at the campus offices the past four days, we are anticipating one of the busiest January Open House Saturdays for prospective families we have seen.

Remember that if you have children who are not currently at the school, we want to see them in January so we know we have a spot for them. Please also realize that beginning January 18, we will be admitting 2016-2017 students to Mentor’s JK to Grade 8 classes so we would like to have those registration forms back as soon as possible.

There are many extra-curriculars next week and then the mid-year evaluations for many of our students are near the end of the month. Please take a look at the online calendar as we have a VERY busy month coming up.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

University-Minded & University-Bound

Last night, our Grade 12 students and parents (along with some Grade 10 and 11 families) got the exclusive opportunity to meet with over 40 Canadian colleges and universities at our annual University Fair. The Grade 12 students were a mixture of excitement and terror … excited about all of the options open to them but scared that they will make the wrong decision. I even overheard one student say that she was even torn about last night. “Should I be here finding out the courses and marks I need or should I have stayed at home to study in order to get the mark in the course I need?”

Having graduated from Goderich DCI (a small rural-ish high school), I did not experience any of these things. If there was a university fair somewhere, I didn’t hear about it and only a handful of universities held information sessions at our school. I never worried too much about my marks (to my mother’s chagrin) and neither have I ever questioned my decision to accept Wilfrid Laurier University’s offer over Western and Waterloo.

If this year’s Grade 12s could only come to Commencement tonight and speak with the Class of 2015, they would get re-assurance from these post-secondary “veterans” (they have been away for 5 whole weeks after all!) that everything will work out just fine. They would hear that being a TSS/Mentor grad does not mean that you are immune from all the distractions of university but that when you move your stuff into residence, you will also be bringing with you a unique skill set that allows you to balance the fun part of post-secondary life with the academic side. In other words, you have the academic background and work ethic from your years here that will allow you to be just as involved in extra-curricular life as you were in your high school years!

Have a wonderful long weekend, everyone!

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School