Category Archives: Mentor/TEAM Events

“Murdoch Mysteries”

diplomaI had the pleasure of attending the Grade 8 to 9 Orientation Night at TEAM/TSS last Thursday night and was even given the opportunity to tell a few stories about TSS students and teachers. I am not at TEAM School as much as I would like so the stories were from my perspective as a principal that spends most of his day at the Main Campus.

TEAM Secondary School really is the best of both worlds. For students who thrive in small class settings and are leaning towards a college education, the academic environment we provide is a perfect fit for them. Other private schools like TSS exist but not only do we believe that our academic programme is more challenging, we know that none of them are able to provide all of the extra-curricular opportunities that the Mentor/TSS student body combined can. High schools with even twice as many students as TSS rarely have sports teams, specialty clubs, cool trips, and arts programmes and when you think about it, those are things as parents you probably remember most about your high school years. Why is it that I can tell lots of stories about experiences and skills learned from Mr. Murdoch my Grade 10 basketball coach but none about Mr. Murdoch (same guy!) my Grade 10 business teacher?

In my youth (and in my town), there were no real high school choices. There wasn’t a Catholic secondary school anywhere nearby and I had only even heard of one private school (Alma College in St. Thomas). There weren’t acronyms like IB, AP and SHSM being advertised by the Board to entice me to a specific school; it was Goderich DCI or nothing. It worked for me but it was not suited for everyone. Our Grade 8 students (both at TEAM and Mentor) have already found a good “fit” for an academic programme so the transition to high school (while still an adjustment) is not that daunting and actually really exciting.

If you missed last week’s orientation nights at Mentor or TEAM, please contact the school and we would be glad to inform you about the Ontario secondary school system and tell you about TSS/Mentor’s place within it.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

Possum-bilities? Endless!

opossumIt was pointed out to me on Wednesday night that, with my youngest child in Grade 12, I was attending my final Speech Night as a parent (4 years with the eldest, 8 years with both kids and 4 years with the youngest for a total of 16 years!). I told my daughter afterwards that I thought it was her best one of the lot and her response was “You don’t remember my ‘Opossum’ speech in Grade 3, do you?” She inherited her mother’s looks and intelligence but definitely has her father’s wit!

Many, many years ago, we invited a graduating HS student by the name of Mike Zogala to speak to the Grade 8 class at their grad ceremony. We hand-picked him because we knew he was an excellent speaker and marketing-wise, we hoped he would be a great example of “how your kids will turn out if they stay at Mentor for high school”. His very first lines to the audience were: “I have dreaded Speech Night for 13 years. Now that I actually have a choice in the matter, I say ‘yes’ to giving a speech in front of students and parents! What is wrong with me?”

Mike had those feelings of dread almost 20 years ago and I imagine if I took a quick poll of the HS students who presented their speeches on Tuesday (TSS) and Wednesday (Mentor), the majority would agree that they could think of much better things to do on a school night. What I will also bet is that if I asked the question “was Speech Night worth it?” to our alumni, they would no doubt be on the other side of the argument. University students come back and tell us all the time that when it is time for group presentations, they are almost always voted as the person “to do the talking”. One of the shyest girls I ever coached in volleyball is now a liaison officer for a university and talking in front of strangers for a living. And Mike Zogala? Last I heard, he is a lawyer in New York City and I assume still uses “persuasive speech” in order to be successful.

As we prepare for our first Open House this Saturday, I think that one of the great advantages we have as a JK to Grade 12 school is the school-wide events we hold like Speech Night. We smile at our kids while they recite poems and songs in kindergarten and then before you know it, they are in their graduating year discussing varied topics like “Memory and Self-Identity”, “The Butterfly Effect”, “I Speak Cantonese, NOT Mandarin”, and “Hilma af Klint”. I doubt that my kid (or anyone!) will ever need to speak again about Hilma af Klint (a turn-of-the-century Swedish abstract artist obsessed with the paranormal…to save you a Google search), but the skills used and experience of presenting this speech will be used for years to come. If you know a family who would find the same benefits in a Mentor College and TEAM School education that you have discovered, please invite them to come see our school this Saturday morning!

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

Getting Aligned Online

paul-davis-mentor-oct25We are really looking forward to tomorrow¬†with the three presentations from social media expert Paul Davis. Our Grades 5/6 students and our Grades 7/8 students will each receive an age-appropriate presentation about both the wonders and the pitfalls of social media. I have not seen a Paul Davis presentation before but I imagine the students go into the auditorium thinking they know everything there is to know about social media and come out realizing (but perhaps not admitting) that there was lots they did not know (and that they didn’t think anyone over the age of 21 knew more than they did on the topic!).

For the evening seminar at 7:00, I imagine that Mr. Davis frequently sees the exact opposite set of emotions. I am sure there will be parents come into the talk with a combination of fear and ignorance and leave at the end with more comfort and confidence in their knowledge about online activity. Parents, I imagine many of you are like me. You have pretty much mastered emailing (even adding attachments!), you consider yourself quite proficient at looking up stuff on Google and YouTube videos and get Magnum P.I.-type satisfaction in finding old school friends on Facebook.

I also guess that, like me, you do not have much interest in Instagramming, Tweeting, Tumbling or Snapping, but this is where our kids are now. And if your kids haven’t hit their tweens yet, I have no idea what you will be dealing with in a few years but I do know that you need to educate yourself NOW. There is a delicate balance between letting your kids be independent and keeping them safe and with online activity, that balance can shift even quicker. This is why we are inviting ALL parents to the evening presentation.

One parent asked me if he should come to the presentation and my answer was “only if your kids know more about the internet than you do!” Based on that, I expect a full house!

Tickets are available in each campus office and the presentation starts at 7:00 at the Main Campus.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

This Will Be a “Lot” of Fun

This is the time of year when we have lots of guests at our schools. The year-end musicals (tonight at the Primary Campus and next week at TEAM School and Mentor Intermediate), year-end assemblies and Grade 8 graduation ceremonies see many smiling parents and friends of our students in the audience. It puts a bit of a strain on our parking lots and we need to utilize street parking so make sure you give yourself a little extra time in order to get to that school event before it begins.

This is also a time when we have some “fun” and a few folks have been asking “What is happening with Fun Day since we can’t have it on the field anymore?” Don’t worry! In addition to the usual selection of exciting amusement rides, we have added some extra attractions (including an inflatable soccer field!).

The catch? The rides will be placed in the north parking lot (the section along Queen Street) at the Main Campus and this will mean that everyone will need to be a bit more creative (and patient) at that campus during pickup and dropoff times. The evening performances of “Beauty and the Beast” will also be affected by this. Our high school students are in the midst of their final examinations and do not attend every day so this will help with the number of vehicles moving through the lot during the day but even if it gets a bit busy, Mr. Macdonald and his crew of lot attendants (Mr. Philbrook, Mr. Cowle, Mr. Milkovich and I) will keep things moving for you.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

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