Category Archives: Mentor/TEAM Spirit

A Time For Endings And Beginnings

June is a time of both endings and beginnings.

I was at my oldest daughter’s convocation in Halifax on the weekend; having your first child graduate from university makes you very sentimental. Even though she has been on her own for the better part of four years, I finally saw that she was an adult. She showed us the place where she got her entry-level job and talked about the pros and cons of the non-student apartment she is getting in September. Despite all of this mature conversation, however, I still saw my little girl from Mentor. The same four-year-old who hid under one of Miss Kane’s tables in JK (and wouldn’t even come out when Mrs. Philbrook was called in for the extraction!) still likes her alone time. The Grade 4 student who beamed for two months straight while she was playing “Wendy” in the Primary Campus production of “Peter Pan” had that same smile as she strode across the Dalhousie stage to receive her diploma. The Grade 7 student whose poems were kept by her teacher as samples for future classes to read was the editor/publisher of the arts journal this past year and the HS student who was asked to compose some songs for the spring play still takes out her guitar and uploads originals and covers to her YouTube channel (not to be “discovered”…just because her friends and family love to hear her). In her Grade 12 yearbook (photo above), she wrote

It’s odd to think that next year will be the first year of my life that I cannot call myself a Mentor student. I’ve been through a lot in these buildings and I know in some way it will always be a part of my story. Thank you to all my teachers and friends; even when I’m not walking down these halls every day, these years will always be with me. I love you all! DFTBA

She has gone through a number of endings already and is starting another one of her beginnings.

Just as she is still going through endings and beginnings, so too do our students still here at the school. The ending part is pretty obvious as young students go on their last field trip, elementary students have their final rotary class, and high school students have their last day of classes. These next two weeks are particularly meaningful to the “graduates” (Mentor Grade 4s and the Grade 8 and 12 students of Mentor/TEAM/TSS) as they spend their last few days as the senior students of the division. The year is capped off with a diploma and/or report card. In that report card, it says that a year of academic accomplishment has been completed and that the student is ready for the beginning of the next year of their academic life. For most students, it is simply moving up one grade but for others (like the Grade 12s heading to post-secondary education) it means a new school entirely. No matter what the situation, each student has a great set of academic tools and a wonderful year of memories to equip them for whatever the future holds.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

Poise and Burrito Boyz

A month or so ago, I blogged about a family many years ago who came for a Primary Campus assessment, accidentally ended up at the Main Campus, and were so impressed with the high school students who got them across the field that they were sold on the school before they even got to their appointment. Mrs. Talarico (Primary Campus vice-principal) just had a similar experience.

There was an assessment morning at the Primary Campus and between the assessment and the afternoon parent interview, a Mom took her child to Burrito Boyz for lunch. With the influx of Mentor students, lunch at Burrito Boyz is like an ice cream shop in the middle of a heat wave but instead of going to another restaurant, the prospective family stayed and actually did a bit of market research by asking the high school students what they thought about their school.

Mom said the students were poised, well-mannered, spoke highly of the school, AND were very nice to her daughter. Based on their experience at the Primary Campus, the decision had been made that Mentor was the best fit for their family but the interaction with students 10-14 years older than her child was a positive experience that really cemented that decision.

We remind our students and staff members frequently that they are representing the school even when they are not inside the building. How lucky we are that they do so in such a wonderful manner!

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


friends-tv-show-1I’ll be there for you (when the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you (like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you (‘cause you’re there for me too)
I’ll Be There For You (Theme from ‘Friends’) – by The Rembrandts

When I was attending Wilfrid Laurier University, some friends and I spent the afternoon of Super Bowl 20 (Patriots vs. Bears) playing tackle football in the snow and afterwards, we watched the game together. Little did we know at that time but we were starting a tradition and over this past weekend, I participated in the 31st Annual Snow Bowl. We migrated to touch football about a decade ago, we may have lost a step since that first game, and there are a couple of guys who need to sit out of the game because of the limitations of 50-year-old-bodies but playing and watching football has become secondary in importance. 8 of the 14 guys on Sunday were there at the first Snow Bowl 31 years ago and we always take the time to reminisce about the old times and to catch up on each others’ lives.

I keep in touch with many former Mentor/TEAM students through Facebook and I can tell you that the friendships your kids are making are ones that will last a lifetime, too. When I see alumni wedding photos, there is at least one (usually more) bridesmaid or groomsman from our school and alumni who post photos always get comments from friends made during their time here. Some have gone into business together and some have even married their high school sweethearts! They very often find themselves as roommates in 2nd year when they need to find an off-campus residence and just last week, I was talking to a mom who said that her daughter (now 19) was quite excited to be sharing a house next year with a friend she made here in junior kindergarten!

Parents, I know this from my own experience as a Mentor/TEAM Dad. Your child’s friends and acquaintances will come and go over the years but you will see some of the same kids who were at the kindergarten birthday party at the Grade 8 graduation. You will see many of the Grade 8 grads at the Grade 12 commencement ceremony and once more again if your kids get married. As parents, we can’t be there for our kids once they head off to post-secondary school but it sure is nice to know that they can have made friends who can help each other out when it hasn’t been their day, their week, their month, or even their year…

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

Season’s Greetings!

macdonald-cThe holiday season offers us the opportunity to extend goodwill greetings to all, as we look forward to spending time with friends and family. Our school holiday also offers us the chance to rest and to reflect.

As always, term one is very busy and includes many events that take place from the start of school in September until the holiday assembly on the last day of classes in December. As we reflect on all of those activities where we watched our students perform in an ensemble, take part in a club or activity, or play in a sport event, we also had the opportunity to see and to recognize the dedication and enthusiasm of our staff members who supervise, lead, and coach these activities.

As teachers, we work with fantastic students who challenge us, and who remind us daily of those positive reasons why we want to be educators. Our students are great kids that come from families who put an emphasis on education. The end result is that parents, teachers, and students all come together and share the same goals.

As families, and administrators, we are fortunate to have excellent teachers for our students. They are teachers who put great effort into their daily academic instruction, but also organize, lead, and support our students through various clubs, sports, and activities.

It has been a very busy term, so it is now time to reflect, be thankful, celebrate, rest and recuperate in order to be ready for the next term.

We wish you and your family a restful and meaningful holiday season. We look forward to seeing our students, staff, and everyone in the TEAM and Mentor community in the New Year.

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year!

Chuck Macdonald
Director – Mentor College/TEAM School