Category Archives: Mentor/TEAM Spirit

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 Silence Can Teach Us

img_0570It has been a busy few weeks here at Mentor College with the introduction to of Edsby to students and parents. Instructions have been shared with students, parents have been notified of this new program via email, teachers have been posting on their pages and many other forms of communication are taking place between students, parents, teachers and principals.
Prior to Thanksgiving, I was fortunate enough to travel to the Outdoor Education Centre with 2 of High School’s leadership classes. We were able to avoid the rain and that presented an opportunity that I have not had in a very long time. Following our campfire on Saturday evening some students noticed the starry night sky above. They asked if we could all lie down on the grass volleyball court and watch the stars.

As we lay on the field a hush fell over the group. Chatter turned to complete quiet and for twenty minutes, 37 seventeen-year olds remained speechless, literally and metaphorically. The only sounds were the oohs and ahhs when a shooting star (or 4) streaked by. I lay there waiting for the silence to be broken by a giggle that I knew would erupt into laughter. It did not happen. Eventually the air became a little too cool and we moved into the OEC to warm up. As we walked back Ms. Higgs and I overheard students state they had never heard the world so quiet.
There are not enough moments like these in our lives. Our fast paced world has almost taken over our daily lives. It is difficult to escape the notifications from our devices or even the hum of electricity. If you have the opportunity in the near future I would highly suggest taking some complete quiet time like this for yourself. Consider it a restart of sorts.

Another more impressive moment was seeing maturity in action. These students knew the significance of what they were doing, when they were doing it. We are very good at appreciating memorable moments after the fact, but to recognize value in the moment and then fully embrace it was impressive to say the least.

Finally, as an educator I believe in the power of experiential learning. Whether it is an overseas trip to India or Iceland, running a school event like our annual Fashion and Art shows or simply sitting quietly under the stars, experience is a powerful teacher. At Mentor College we are proud to offer numerous clubs, organizations, teams and events that create these opportunities for students to share in and learn from. As you browse through your Edsby pages you will see the wide variety of opportunities that your student can take part in. Please encourage your child to engage in some of these in order to have the best possible school year.

Aneil Panchal
Assistant Vice-Principal
High School Division

Standing Up

bystanderLike many of you, I was glued to my TV on Tuesday night watching the baseball wild card game between the Blue Jays and Orioles. And while the game itself was fascinating (and the right team won!), I have been just as interested in watching the “Beercangate” controversy unfold.

Just in case you haven’t been following the story, an almost-full can of beer was thrown from the outfield stands at an Oriole outfielder as he was making a catch. In the 48 hours since, police and amateur online detectives have been trying to unlock the mystery of “who threw it?” After one day without solid leads, police released the photo of a “person of interest”, a name soon followed and the world went berserk from Mississauga to Maryland and beyond.

What I cannot understand is how the culprit was not caught within 10 seconds of the incident. I have been to many sports games, concerts and other stadium events and I am pretty sure that I would be able to identify the beer chucker. I might know who in my section purchased a can, who was acting rowdy enough to endanger a player and mostly, I think I would notice anyone who took a huge wind-up to launch a projectile from that distance. I think I could do this for a few people either side or for a number of rows in front of me…maybe 10-15 persons or so. Everyone in that section was looking at the play; there must be at least a dozen people who saw it happen and could identify the person. The health of a baseball player and the reputation of Blue Jay fans are in question so why has no-one stepped up and pointed a finger? And if I was in the same position, would I have the integrity to do so myself?

I am wondering if this is the part of the challenge that schools have with anti-bullying strategies. I think our kids are WAY more likely to point out wrong-doings (publicly or anonymously) than we are because they have grown up with the message (at our school and previous ones) that wrong is wrong and that if you see something that shouldn’t be happening, you should tell an adult you trust. The kids get it but maybe parents (sorry, but the people in that section look to be parent-aged, not kids) aren’t quite there yet. How many of you remember being in a classroom after some sort shenanigans had taken place and heard the teacher say before storming out of the class “Nobody leaves this room until they confess!”? How effective was that? We sat there are argued with each other until one of our classmates falsely admitted (or was “pressured” into) their guilt.

Your kids will tell you that the real culprits are the people nearby who saw it happen and know who it was but didn’t say anything. It will be interesting to see if this “person of interest” is an innocent bystander or not. As our kids have been trained to recognize, the “innocent bystander” cannot be innocent while standing by, only when they stand up.

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

Emulating Our Mentors

A high school friend of mine who chose an army career posted a video on Facebook yesterday. It was an address by Canadian Army Commander Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse to those in a senior leadership course.

He started by saying “Welcome to THEY”. He clarified by saying that the leaders were now those referred to in “They made the decision” and “They don’t know what they’re talking about”. He then told the commanders that while it was important that they need to be the person in charge, they also needed to give as much influence as possible to the “chief”. His reasoning was that “when you take your parade every morning and you look at all of those soldiers…most of them don’t want to be like you, you the CO. They want to be like your Chief”.

This analogy works on all kinds of levels. It certainly applies in the business world with CEOs, executive officers and management teams but I think it also works at a school like ours. Mr. Macdonald and Mr. Philbrook have their principals, the principals have their teachers and the teachers have their students. Each level strives to emulate the example given to them by the person or persons just above them and thereby become leadership models for the group below them. And at a school like ours where we have Pre School to Grade 12, the older students are exemplars for the younger ones. I look at our high schoolers and see excellent role models for our junior and intermediate students. They in turn are a wonderful template for what a primary student should strive.

Do you remember your favourite teacher from your school days? For me it was my Grade 8 teacher, Mr. Snell. He was the first teacher who did not allow me to just “coast” through the year; he would not accept anything but my best effort and my “best” kept getting better as the year progressed. I didn’t have another teacher like that throughout high school but I know that my daughters have a number of teachers here at our school who were mentors to them. These teachers both continue to inspire them to do their best and force them to re-evaluate what their “best” is each year.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School