Category Archives: Mentor/TEAM Events

Speaker Series: Craig Kielburger

Free The Children Founder’s Visit Continues to Build on Long Partnership

Q: How do you captivate a group of teenagers in a formal assembly, during this era of technology and videography? A: You bring in guest speaker Craig Kielburger!

Craig Kielburger, founder of Free the Children and Me to We spoke last week to a captivated assembly of Grade 8-12 students and guests. He previously presented to our students 14 years ago as one of the first in our Speaker Series, and returned with the same passion that had this audience engaged and alert. You could hear a pin drop!

I have watched and participated during those 14 years as Mentor College and TEAM School have grown into schools of compassion, social activism, and engagement. Our Take Action Group (TAG) and Leaders for Change clubs have allowed students to develop leadership skills while raising funds for projects locally and internationally. My fondest international school-building excursions with our TAG students have been to Ecuador, Kenya and India. On these service trips we physically made bricks, dug trenches and constructed schools while the elated pupils hovered in anticipation of their new classrooms. Our students have made a difference to break the cycle of poverty in these rural communities. We again travel to Rajasthan, India in March, 2019. I have always said that any Mentor student will forget what they learned in a unit of grade ten history in 25 years, but they’ll never forget the experience of the impact they made on a Me to We trip! And they learn to appreciate what they have and not take things for granted. Those concepts are not found in any textbook!

Mentor College and TEAM School are wholly involved in all facets of Me to We. Craig Kielburger and his brother Marc are very aware of this. As Craig so passionately stated in his speech last Thursday, “this is an extraordinary school because of its commitment to social justice, to student leadership, to empowering the students here……and you are taking those opportunities to create an amazing impact both here in Canada on some incredibly important causes….but also around the world on causes like clean water, health care, empowering kids to escape to cycle of poverty and have the chance to receive an education that we so often take for granted back here at home”. What Craig orated resonates within our school community and embodies our core values.

We are very privileged to have these guest speakers such as Craig Kielburger to Mentor and TEAM. An earlier speaker here, Stephen Lewis, spoke akin to Craig about taking action to aid impoverished nations through education. He asked, “What does a child in a developing country want more than anything in the world? A cell phone? Video games? A soccer ball?”. “No”, he replied. “That child wants to go to school. It’s where a child belongs. To play, to learn and to have opportunity”.

So Craig Kielburger reinforced these ideals of activism and volunteerism we have heard about in a variety of contexts. We are so pleased to support We Villages and marvel at the experiential learning that occurs with our student participants here and on service trips abroad. So, thank you, Craig, for your words 14 years ago! As I said to him before he took the stage last week, “look what you have started”! He smiled. I smiled. We are doing great things.





David Whyte
Principal, High School Division

What’s Coming Up Around The Schools

Today marks the half-way point in the 2018 part of the 2018-2019 school year. It has been a very busy 7.5 weeks and as you can see from the attached list of events, the calendar may be even more full in the next 7.5 weeks.

In particular, we have two of our “traditions” coming up in November. The first one takes place next Thursday as we welcome (back) Craig Kielburger from Me To We for the next installment of our “Speaker Series”. Kielburger was one of the first speakers that our Grades 8 to 12 students heard and because of his infectious enthusiasm on that day, groups like the Take Action Group and Leaders For Change were born. High school students have joined Me To We projects in South America, India, and Africa since then and students from Grade 5 and up get re-inspired by Me To We at their annual “We Day” every fall. Any parent is welcome to come to the presentation Thursday, November 1 at 10:00 AM. If you are attending, please inform your campus office so we will have enough guest chairs available. No ticket is required and the lecture is free but a freewill donation can be made to “Me To We” that morning by parents.

The second tradition is Speech Night. At one time, we had every student in every grade present their speech on the same night but we split the nights up now. The high school students of TEAM (TSS) will start things off with their night on Tuesday (the 30th) next week, followed by their Mentor counterparts on Thursday (the 1st). Students from JK to Grade 8 have their speech night in the last two weeks before the March Break. Speech Night provides a formal opportunity for our students to research, write, and present in front of their peers and parents and (despite what they may have thought a few years earlier) it is almost always mentioned by our graduates as one of the most important skills they learned while at Mentor/TEAM.

Please apply these events to your calendar and we hope to see you at one or more of them in November!

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College/TEAM School

Mentor/TEAM: A Truly Collaborative Environment

At the recent awards assembly for the Mentor grade 7/8 science fair, the science teachers congratulated the students on their ideas that were so inspirational, and encouraged them to realize the impact they can have to make something better, and to make a difference in the world. The teachers also helped the students recall the number of people involved in the process of completing their science fair project and recall the moments of collaboration among their peers, their teachers, and the parental support from the start of the project through to the final day of competition.

As the school Director, I have the privilege of seeing our students on a daily basis, and each week while spending time at all 3 campuses of TEAM and Mentor, I witness firsthand the many accomplishments of our students. While working with our students, we certainly celebrate their moments of success, but we also observe our students demonstrate their growing maturity and personal development as we provide guidance in the handling of the situations and experiences in their young lives. As teachers and administrators, we enjoy a tremendous sense of pride in our students; though it is on a professional level, it is akin to the pride of a parent.

Our students have been involved in numerous activities where we see evidence of them making a difference in their world, whether locally or internationally, either now or in the future. During this past very busy term, our students have also been enthusiastic participants in so many activities. We have seen them achieve excellent results in both individual and group activities in academic pursuits and academic competition, in interest activities, and we have also celebrated their achievements in the athletic arena.

Thank you parents for attending Speech Night, the Celebration of Cultural Diversity, Science Fair, sport games, and for enthusiastically encouraging the students in Deca, OEC trips, SK 100s day, TEAM Hoops for Heart, participation in the arts, play auditions, community activities like TAG and Habitat, the preparation for the India and the England/Iceland trips, student organized conferences, Intermediate Carnival and Primary French plays, and all of the many other second term activities.

Students, we urge you to enjoy your March Break holiday in whatever manner will assist you to re-charge and re-set, and to prepare for the next and final term of this academic year.
Parents, we thank you for your support to our students, our teachers, and to our schools.
This truly is a collaborative environment where we work together toward the best achievement and success of our students, as we witness their strides to make a difference in the world.
We wish you an enjoyable March Break and look forward to everyone’s safe return on Monday, March 27th.

Chuck Macdonald
Mentor College/TEAM School

One World, One Gym!

_rt_2137For those of you who have been born and raised in the GTA, cultural diversity has been part of your life. For people like me who were raised in small town Ontario, it was not…in fact, I was thinking this week that if they held a Celebration of Cultural Diversity at my high school, they could have held it in a classroom! I had no friends who were of a different culture, skin colour or religion and even if I counted in the entire high school, there would have been 3 students in one of those categories. It wasn’t until I got to university (and even more so once I started working at TEAM/Mentor), that I realized what a vacuum I had lived in all those years!

At the conclusion of the Culture Show concert last Thursday, Mentor high school principal Mr. Whyte noted that it was one of his “favourite nights of the year” because it involved every student of the school. All JK to Grade 8 students had the opportunity to tour the pavilions during the day where they were guided around the world by what ended up being almost 1/3 of the high school student body! The concerts included dance, vocal and instrumental performances by students from all four divisions of the school. Mr. Whyte then also pointed out that this was an event where PARENTS also play an active role; whether they are sewing costumes, coaching dances, cooking desserts, or delivering toothpick-pierced treats, they are proud of their heritage (or in the case of some students, an “inherited” one as they represent a country of which they simply have an interest).

The biggest takeaway for me (and hopefully for the hundreds of volunteers, performers, and guests) at the Culture Show is that our school is like Canada in miniature. Almost 40 countries were not simply represented but they were celebrated. The ability to celebrate everything that makes us different is what makes us the same.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College/TEAM School

Holiday Board-om

School Year Calendar 2016- 2017

School Year Calendar 2016- 2017

One of the jobs I have at the end of November each year is to prepare all of the registration documentation for the following school year. Because the first round of 2017-2018 registrations go out on January 2nd (for current Mentor JK to Grade 7 students), we need to have the school holidays set before we leave for our Winter Break.

The Ministry of Education sets the holidays three years in advance and we follow their lead with regard to when the Winter and March Breaks will be. Setting the holidays should be easy for everyone based on that but this year, public education boards started thinking out loud in the early part of this year that they would like to finish one week later in December and then return to classes January 9th. The “catch” is that Boards need to pre-obtain permission to go against the Ministry guidelines but when they released their list of holidays, there was an asterisk saying “pending Ministry approval”. Even if we had a way of knowing when the Ministry would approve the dates, it was already 4 months since we set our holidays and 2 months after we had given those dates to our families in the registration packages. I cannot understand how the Boards would not know three years ago (let alone two years ago or even 12 months in advance) what they wanted to do or why the Ministry would create holidays that their Boards would not want but I guess that is why I am (glad to be) in the private system!

I have spoken to many teachers, students, and parents who are part of the public boards and have yet to hear anyone say that they are excited to spend an extra week in classes with excitable students during December. When I walked through the Primary Campus front lobby this morning, there was an appreciable increase in the decibel level of the kids just because the holiday decorations were up so I know this will only increase throughout the month of December. The parents in the public school system are very jealous that we are going to be back in school on January 2nd. My personal experience with kids and the winter holidays is that after New Year’s Day, children are ready for the routine of a school day again because the excitement of new holiday gifts has worn off (eg: a week after dropping a few hundred dollars on the latest video gaming system, we just love to hear “We’re bored…there’s nothing to do”!). More importantly, parents need to get some semblance of normalcy as soon after the holiday as well.

Our holidays (or as I like to say “their” holidays) have proven to be a challenge for our high school sports in particular as we have three weeks of the winter season that are not common to most of ROPSSAA but that has been the only stumbling block. I hope that those who like to travel are finding good deals with two weeks of “uncommon” holidays and that those students who do their own gift-giving in December will take advantage of the extra shopping time. As for next year’s Winter Break, you can see on the Ministry website that the Christmas Break will be from December 25, 2017 to January 5, 2018. But you can also see on the site that, despite the modifications made by most Boards, the Ministry holidays for the current year (see the image above – click to enlarge) have not been amended…

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School