Last year was a very busy one in the Admissions Office and the end result was the addition of some great new students to the CDS family. In fact, we opened the year with 790 students - a record! With those new additions now settling in, we have turned our attention to meeting and assessing next year’s applicants.
The news of the passing of Ms. Steph Collins on Monday has struck our community to the core. However, we are mindful that Steph would want us to continue to live life to its fullest, and get outside and enjoy every day.
If your child is thinking about attending an Ontario university, don’t miss the Ontario Universities’ Fair – one of the only events where you can visit all 21 Ontario universities in one place! Visit www.ouf.ca to register and access your OUF Passport.
It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of a dear and long-time faculty member, Ms. Steph Collins. Steph passed away peacefully yesterday afternoon, surrounded by her family, after a short, yet courageous battle with cancer.
Ms. Collins has been a member of the Junior School faculty since 2003 and has been the face of the Outdoor Ed program there, and more recently in the Middle School since its inception in 2011. One cannot gaze out onto our sprawling back property without imagining Steph leading her little ones on an exciting new adventure exploring the world around them.
A natural teacher, Ms. Collins was a firm believer that children learn best by doing, so she provided her students with hands-on, captivating learning experiences that would ultimately encourage them to become lifelong learners.
CDS flags are flying at half staff today in Steph’s honour. Further details and arrangements will be shared with the community once we learn of them. For now, our thoughts and prayers are with Steph’s family and loved ones.
On Wednesday morning, Head of School John Liggett announced the Building Magic Campaign for a rejuvenated Junior School. Joined by CDS Board Chair, David Myers, and Board member and Chair of the Advancement Committee, Molly Fitzpatrick, Mr. Liggett unveiled the plans for an inspirational renewal to our beloved Junior School in front of 150 parents in the Paul C. Duckett Theatre.
The Building Magic Campaign will seek to build a new wing for our original Junior School, a spectacular and welcoming entrance that will showcase our 1883 Eversley Schoolhouse, and rejuvenate our existing indoor and outdoor junior spaces. This campaign seeks to raise $7 million toward what is expected to be a $12-14 million project.
The quiet phase of this campaign has been underway for sometime, and CDS has already raised 50% of its goal - $3.5 million. Of particular note is a transformational gift of $1 million from one of CDS’s original parents – Michael Burns.
Those of you who were on campus for Back-to-School shopping this week may have wondered what the film crew and trailers parked in and around Hawksworth Field were all about. Back in June, marblemedia, approached CDS about renting Centre Turf for the season opener of an 11-episode non-elimination sports competition reality TV series, All-Round Champion.
Before our students return in September, CDS faculty typically participate in some type of professional development. This year, all faculty and staff took part in a full-day of diversity training led by Alden Habacon, one of Canada’s leading diversity and inclusion strategists. Born in Manila, raised in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Regina, and married to a Chinese Canadian, Alden now lives in Vancouver with his wife and two young sons.
According to Coaches Steadman, Winterink and Avila, last spring’s track season could definitely be classified as a “character building” season. However, despite the unseasonably cold weather and frequent rain, the CDS team persevered in order to achieve the goals they set throughout the season. What a joy to work with athletes who chose to focus on the factors that they could control, and not on things beyond their control.
Wilson O’Neill ’19 received the news he had been waiting for the day before graduating from CDS – “Based on your performance achieved during the qualification period as outlined in the selection criteria, you have been selected to the 2019 Pan Am U20 Championship Team for Men's 400 Metres Hurdles.” He had been training all year to achieve this goal. This success had required sacrifices, like not playing on sports teams with his friends during in his final year of high school. However, this decision to devote his time to training had paid off. As part of Team Canada, Wilson would have an opportunity to compete against hurdlers from 36 other countries in San Jose, Costa Rica in July.
As you prepare to embark on summer holidays, cottage time, summer camp, summer hours, or just time on your deck – a bounty of delicious summer reading awaits! Whether it’s one, two, three or 10 books you plan read this summer – our wonderful CDS librarians have composed some terrific suggested reading for all ages, including adults!
While they will always be Cyclones, our grads are about to become Gryphons, Golden Gaels, Lions, and Badgers (Brock and Wisconsin) at universities across Canada and abroad.
Queen’s University has once again captured the hearts of the largest group of our graduating class with 11 of our best and brightest heading to Kingston. This year Wilfrid Laurier shares top destination status, followed closely by McMaster, Guelph, Western and University of Toronto. For the third year in a row St. Francis Xavier in Nova Scotia gets the furthest from CDS, while still in Canada award, followed closely by Mount Allison and Dalhousie.
Adriana Leon ’10 is once again representing Canada this summer at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. The former CDS soccer star and current West Ham United footballer is making her second World Cup appearance for Canada after featuring heavily in the 2015 tournament which took place in Canada.
Fourteen years ago, Ian Rokas ’19 started in JK at CDS and his mother Maureen began volunteering three years later in the General Store. For the past 11 years, she has continued to come in and help at the store every two weeks, and has become a familiar face to the parents and students who drop by for supplies.
Since its founding about a decade ago, the Social Justice Club at The Country Day School has offered interactive and inspirational opportunities for community-driven Senior School students interested in exploring the issues and injustices faced in our contemporary world, as well as possible remedies for these issues. This year, Mr. Harvey and Mr. Downer led a group of students through their journey toward becoming global citizens with an ability and a passion for alleviating local, national, and international struggles. Over the past several weeks, I had an opportunity to sit down with both of these faculty advisors and speak about the goings-on of the club, its initiatives, its importance, and its future.
On Monday, April 29th, The Country Day School Mock Trial Team travelled to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Newmarket to compete against 21 schools from across York Region in a simulation of a criminal court case. After seven months of preparation, with semi-weekly team meetings and several sessions with Carol Shirtliff-Hinds, a practicing advocate and the team’s lawyer coach, Mr. Downer and the eight team members were ready to experience the ultimate legal showdown.
Students in the Grade 11 Healthy Living and Outdoor Activitiesclass took part in their third and final outdoor trip adventure from May 5-8 along the Bruce Peninsula.
The group of 10 explorers (eight students accompanied by Mr. MacMillan and Ms. Fransen) hiked their most challenging terrain for a total distance of 24.2 kms over the four days. They were greeted with blue sky and sun for the majority of their trip, a far cry from the cold and rain they endured as they paddled the waters of Temagami last October, and -20 degree temperatures hiking through deep snow-covered trails in Killarney in February.
Last month, three students represented CDS at the Spring Fulford Debate held at Ridley College. Grade 9 students, Tomas Chacin and Danyal Hakeem finished in 4th and 5th placed respectively in the Junior Division, winning coveted citations, and Grade 11 student, Georgie Tsioliswas 11th overall in the Senior Division. Well done, boys!
Grade 12 Student Wilson O’Neill’s start to 2019 has set a blistering pace for his expectations this year. After finding success at two National tournaments in the U.S. and committing to Western University for September, Wilson is setting his sights on finishing his CDS career with success at OFSAA and aims to be a member of the U20 Pan Am team competing in Costa Rica this summer.
“There is no planet B,” reads one of 6R’s student posters about Climate Change. In our Grade 6 social studies class, we’ve been learning about Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old activist from Sweden. She skipped school on Fridays to protest against Climate Change. At first, she stood alone in front of the Swedish Parliament. Soon, her friends, classmates and other students joined her, helping to spread the word.
The Grade 7 French class has been expanding their understanding of la francophoniein the Americas beyond Québec. Through exploring the many carnavals celebrated in francophone communities such as Louisiane and Martinique, the students discovered the importance that French people place on their culture.
The Junior School Library hosted a wonderful event for our Grade 1 readers on Friday, May 3. Each year, as part of the ‘Paws for Stories’ program, volunteers from the St. Johns Ambulance Service Dogs visit our school with their four-legged partners to enjoy some stories with our young readers.
Imagine being admitted to a prestigious Canadian Medical school before even finishing high school. The Queen’s University Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS) has been offering this exclusive and unique opportunity to 10 exceptional undergraduate students each year since 2013. Each year CDS has nominated an extremely worthy contender, never having received good news until now.
Grade 9 student,Karan Amin, travelled to Guyana on the northern coast of South America for 12 days over March Break as a member of the U16-U18 Ontario Cricket team. In Guyana, Karan played against nine other U16 teams from across South America and the world, including the very competitive Guyanese team.
On April 23, in honour of Earth Week, the Middle School students did their part by participating in a campus-wide cleanup. Armed with gloves and garbage bags, all classes headed out on a beautiful spring morning to do their part and give back to the Earth.
Last week at Assembly, Mr. Moorlag presented a comprehensive update on how our students fared at some recent worldwide Math competitions. Here is the impressive snapshot:
University of Waterloo Canadian Computing Competition
Sixteen participants in Grades 11 and 12 (and one in Grade 8) wrote this three-hour coding competition that included questions inspired by real-world topics in computer science and mathematics, including a basketball scoring system and a text message compression exercise.
CDS made history on Tuesday at the World Independent Debating and Public Speaking Championships (WIDPSC) held at Branksome Hall in Toronto this past week. Not only did our veteran coach Ms. Kerstin Wyndham-West bring three students for the first time in her 12 years of qualifying CDS students, but one of our own won the World Championship once again.
“It’s not our bodies that need changing. It’s our attitudes.” This was the parting quote from the NEDIC panel discussion on “Finding the Balance: When “Healthy” Eating and Exercise Put Your Child at Risk” held last Friday morning for CDS parents.
“The ASK student art show is a fantastic opportunity for our students to publicly exhibit their work,” said Heather Castellan, CDS Head of the Visual Arts. “As artists, having the ability and willingness of a gallery to showcase our work helps us to connect with the larger community outside our doors.”
When something as exciting as a Music trip to Europe is on the agenda for March Break, it would take a lot to extinguish the anticipation and excitement shared among the students and faculty members. When news of a travel delay of an undetermined amount of time was released at the airport, our intrepid travelers navigated what turned out to be 24-hour-delay and multi-flight reschedule extraordinarily well.
This past weekend, CDS sent a delegation of 14 students to the Ontario Model United Nations conference at Upper Canada College to discuss issues as varied as solutions to cybercrime, the future of artificial intelligence, the prevention of corruption in the National Hockey League, and the historical fall of Yugoslavia. All delegates were challenged to think critically about the issues that face our global community.
One of the students who attended was Grade 9 student, Nicole Damianidis. She was asked a few questions about her experience.
Our Middle School students are at an age where they are developing their toolkit of life skills to help strengthen their relationships, explore their interests and passions, negotiate conflicts and become self-advocates (to name just a few!). Among the many skills students need to thrive and add to their toolkit, self-care, is one they have recently been exploring during our Monday morning advisory sessions.
For the 12th consecutive year, The Country Day School has qualified a debater for the World Championships held this year from April 11-17 at Branksome Hall in Toronto. There will be 14 students representing Canada, and for the first time three students will be from CDS.
The CDS Robotics team kicked off their build season in early January with a small group of students meeting in a rarely-visited corner of the school. Students from Grades 9 to 12 collaborated to design, prototype, build, and program a robot. Much like the robot itself, the team is made up of a variety of parts: groups of students working together towards a common goal.
Over March Break, 12 members of the CDS Track team, along with Ms. Steadman and Ms. Winterink, embarked on a 10-day adventure to the island of Oahu. The main purpose of the trip was to give students a head start on training outdoors in preparation for their upcoming track season.
Just before the March Break, 6J worked with the Senior Kindergarten students and taught them different things about electricity through fun activities. The SK’s were split into small groups and were paired with two or three Grade 6 students - we called ourselves Electro-Spark Buddies!
The highest level of high school volleyball in Ontario is represented at OFSAA and the road to get there is a hard one to pave for all teams. At the end of a long season, the Sr. Girls' team secured a spot as an ‘A’ school competing against ‘AAA’ schools at OFSAA just before March Break. This was the first time CDS has ever sent a volleyball team to OFSAA – so our girls were part of history, albeit complete underdogs who were not expected to be competitive. We wouldn’t have it any other way!
On February 22, Grade 10-12 students currently enrolled in the Spanish program experienced Cuban culture through a variety of activities in downtown Toronto. Studying a foreign language not only involves learning the grammar and vocabulary, but immersing oneself in the culture too. This is why students were taken out of the classroom and into the city!
Last month, Grade 10 student Kennedy Ryan was the only female member on Team Ontario to compete in both Freestyle Slopestyle and Mogul events at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alberta. While she earned one of the coveted three female spots for Slopestyle based on her competitive results last season, Slopestyle skiing is what Kennedy does for fun, and Moguls are her primary competitive event. She has been competing in both events for five seasons.
On February 8, 29 CDS students participated in the 40th annual DECA Ontario Provincial Competition in downtown Toronto. Students compete in a variety of business categories, including Entrepreneurship, Marking, Finance, and Business Management, after undergoing rigorous training and preparation throughout the school year.
Last Friday, the Middle School Concert Band travelled to Lawrence Park Collegiate to participate in the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival. With a new, more challenging repertoire prepared, the band played their best performance of the year and earned a “Gold” award. The adjudicators made special note of the band’s professionalism and mature sound. Mr. Zero and Mr. Jung would like to thank the band for their hard work, dedication, and commitment in preparing for the festival this term.
The honour of hosting Matthew Shepard’s parents, Judy and Dennis – our very special guests visiting for all three productions ofThe Laramie Project, has helped to capture some incredible media attention, including that ofCBC Metro MorningandCBC Evening News.
This morning, Scott Garbe and Dennis appeared on CBC’s Metro Morning with host, Matt Galloway, for a moving and heartfelt interview you can listen to here:
This past Valentine’s Day, our Grade 6 Pathways to People students were thinking of the guests at The Welcome Table in Aurora. Welcome Table is a drop-in community dinner that operates every Wednesday out of Trinity Anglican Church, providing a hot meal to 100 guests each week, 51 weeks of the year!
Pathways to People students wrote kind and thoughtful notes to each guest. These notes were wrapped up with a hygiene product and delivered on Wednesday night!
Colleen Glynn ’19 was one of three visual artists who presented at a recent Arts Assembly. Colleen shared her evolving passion for art and some examples of her most recent landscape work.
Art has become something that has grown increasingly important to me over my years at CDS. I never expected it to become such a huge part of my life, but through the guidance of my teachers, it has. People now look at my paintings and say things like, “Wow, I could never do that,” which is amazing because I really didn’t think my art was decent until this past year.
After multiple snow days and cancellations, the CDS Snowboard team competed in the CISAA finals yesterday at Craigleith Ski Club and brought home Gold!
This is the first time the CDS Girls’ team has won a CISAA gold medal (they’ve won silver for the past three years) and the fourth consecutive championship win for the Boys’ team. Congratulations to the entire team and their coaches, Ms. Weening and Ms. Barbanchon!
Middle School assemblies are a crucial part of Middle School education and are a great venue to shine the spotlight on our Grade 7 and 8 students, as well as the issues that are important and relevant to them.
We have witnessed a fundamental shift in society with the growth in technology and social media over the past two decades. In last Thursday’s Middle School assembly, the students from 8D spoke to their peers about the impact of technology and how we all need to strive to reach a balance between real face-to-face interactions and those that we have with our screen.
Unlike a news story, a blog post can be whatever you want it to be about. In the case of The Country Day School’s new blog, our only proviso will be that it have something to do with our tagline, education with balance, and offer a glimpse behind the scenes.
Twenty years ago this past fall, on the evening of Oct 6th, 1998, openly gay university student Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, viciously beaten and left to die, tied to a fence on the starry outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. In the aftermath of what became known as one of the most infamous hate crimes in modern American history, the close-knit citizens of Laramie were left to confront and investigate the brutality of the crime, its roots in hate and intolerance, and the possibility of the community’s own culpability under intense and unsparing national and international media scrutiny.
As the mother of a child with potentially life threatening allergies, I understand and appreciate the great lengths our Aramark Dining Hall staff go to in order to keep CDS students and staff safe every day as they prepare food for 900 people.
In the world we live in, the new norm is that many of us have either food intolerances or food allergies. Some are outgrown, others not, and some come about later in life. Food intolerances can cause discomfort and nausea, while food allergies can cause mild to severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis which left untreated can be deadly.
Last October marked the 20th anniversary of one of the most infamous hate crimes in recent history – the killing of an openly gay university student named Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. The Laramie Project is a theatrical account based on more than 200 interviews conducted by members of the Tectonic Theatre Project of New York over the course of 18 months following Matthew’s death. It is also the choice for this year’s upcoming Senior School drama production taking place on Feb. 28, and March 1-2.
Last November, The Country Day School was fortunate to host actor and writer Kelli Simpkins for five days of workshops and rehearsals with CDS drama students and members of the cast of the upcoming Senior School production of The Laramie Project taking place Feb. 28-March 2.
Mark your calendars and save the date for the 46th annual CDS Auction on Friday, May 31st, 2019! Join us for an amazing evening of live and silent auctions with dancing, food, entertainment and more! This year's theme is Jeans and Jewels.
A natural focus for the Office of Admissions is to look ahead toward the upcoming academic year. From Open House events to admission interviews, interest in joining the CDS community has never been stronger. This is also the season when you, our current families, are asked to plan ahead and confirm your child's enrolment for September 2019. A re-enrolment contract for each of your children will be sent by regular post next week. The return deadline for the re-enrolment contract is Thursday, February 14th, 2019.
At Monday’s Senior School Assembly, Head of Physical and Health Education Pete Milonas, joined by his colleagues Denise Steadman and Josh Collins, presented the myths and potential health hazards associated with teenage vaping to our students.
This year, we are excited to announce an amazing opportunity for students in Grades 5-10 to take part in Debate Camp 2019, Canada’s public speaking and debating camp at CDS fromJune 17-22, 2019. This prestigious program, with space for 40 students, is offered for one week only. The directors of the camp are experts in their field, and students work in small groups with highly experienced counsellors.
Congratulations toTeagan Grant '19on her Gold medal win as a member of Canada’s U18 Women’s World Hockey team! Team Canada defeated the United States, 3-2 in overtime, at theInternational Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Championships inObihiro,Japan on Sunday. Their road to the finals included a semi-final game against Russia last Friday, which also ended in an overtime win for Canada, 4-3.
On Friday, January 18th, we will hold a small ceremony in honour of our beloved teacher, Colleen Graham, who passed away on December 29th. Colleen loved our Senior School Coffee Houses and so our ceremony will take a cozy format rather similar to Coffee House.
We will gather to honour Mme. Graham on the Winch Learning Stairs from 3:30 to 4:00 PM. Students are welcome to stay if they wish to do so. Our flags will fly at half-mast that day. Additionally, the school is donating to Colleen’s Living Memorial and we have plans to plant a flower garden in her memory.
Last spring, we conducted two online surveys – one among CDS Parents and one among CDS Students in Grades 6-12. Attached are highlights from both surveys, as well as some areas in need of improvement and attention, and recent school initiatives either underway or already developed to address these issues.
Are you interested in volunteering for Auction 2019? Join us on Wednesday, January 23rd after drop off for our Auction Kick Off Breakfast in the Di Ciano Atrium. By attending, you will be one of the first to find out the theme and get a sneak peek about what is in store for this year! Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An interpretation of CDS’ history by the Grade 1V Class
Jenn Vipond has been teaching Grade 1 at CDS for nearly 10 years and holds a true appreciation for the School’s 46-year history. So much so that, earlier this year, after being inspired by the words of our Head of School, John Liggett, she decided to take action and share the history with her young students. In an effort to simplify the story of our founding for her Grade 1 students, she chose to blend art with a favourite tale, and then animate the final product with her students voices overlaid on top.
I think everyone would agree that The Country Day School conducts our Remembrance Day ceremonies particularly well. As such, it was a tremendous honour, as Head of School, to bring a personal Remembrance Day message yesterday to the Middle/Senior and Junior School assemblies. Below is an excerpt of what I shared.
Throughout the month of January, Middle School students will be exploring the topic of Mental Health. Students have been exposed to this topic through their guidance classes, health curriculum, and class presentations during Thursday morning assemblies.
The research shows that approximately 1 in 5 youth in Ontario experience challenges with mental health. It has been found that early intervention is critical, and leads to improved academics and healthier outcomes. It is important for young adolescents to understand the importance of caring for their own mental health, looking out for one another’s well being, and how to ask for help from a trusted adult.
It looks like our new Traffic Light will become reality on Tuesday, December 18 right after drop off!
Hydro One provided connection of our new service yesterday, and the contractor will have York Regional Police on site for traffic control during the activation next Tuesday. The temporary line painting is to be completed by Monday, December 17.