Inside King's-Edgehill School

Connect, Converse, Catch-Up – Hsiu-Ping (Patrick) Wu '14

Posted by Mr. Kevin Lakes on Dec 6, 2021 10:32:15 AM

Join Mr. Kevin Lakes as he shares profiles of KES Alumni. It's always fun and motivating to Connect, Converse and Catch-Up!

Fortunately, good schools are increasingly prioritizing the encouragement of diversity and inclusion. I recently had opportunities to contemplate plans of action with colleagues and students as we move forward with curriculum and extra-curricular strategies to ensure our community is aware of the nature of stereotypes and oversights. Even with the best intentions, we are all vulnerable to misconceptions. Perhaps this is why a recent Facebook post by Hsiu-Ping (Patrick) Wu ‘14 caught my attention and popped with prescience.

Patrick is an award-winning composer and violinist. He currently studies in Boston; however, he considers Halifax home. As a Taiwanese-Canadian, he eloquently expressed his perspective in a recent post:

“A colleague of mine recently asked me, ‘Can your music sound more Asian? Maybe add some pentatonic in it?’ I have studied western classical music, as well as traditional Chinese and Indian music. Should my music sound Asian? Should everything that comes from me be considered a part of ‘Chinese music?’ Can it not be simply Patrick Wu’s music?"

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Topics: Arts At KES, KES Alumni, ARTS, bemore, kespride

Headmaster's Weekly Newsletter – Week 13

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Dec 3, 2021 4:27:14 PM

Dear KES Family:

Our Head Chapel Prefect this year is Stanislav Matkovskyi ‘22. A full IB scholar (11 current subjects plus calculus which he completed in August!), this young Ukrainian is also a dedicated cross-country runner and swimmer. At home his primary sport is boxing. He has a true love of learning and of reading. During the worldwide lockdown in the spring of 2020, Stanislav was at home in Odessa. Despite the time difference, he would Zoom in each afternoon to attend our morning chapel service on campus. In all my time at KES he is the only student I have known to attend chapel every day. Junior, Senior…it does not matter. He is always there.

Because of Stanislav, our long-silent chapel bell is now rung with enthusiasm each morning at 8:00am. He has resurrected a tradition which alumni from decades past would appreciate. As far as bells go, our chapel bell is a good one. Unlike the deep ding-dong of a large church bell, its double tone ding-ding hits tenor notes. Its ring is clear and surprisingly loud.

Chapel and church bells go way back. They signify more than a call to congregate. They are also a call to celebrate. Bells are rung to grant wishes and to ward off evil spirits. Wedding bells are undoubtedly happiness bells, granting prosperity and health, signifying good news. Over time, door knockers may have been replaced by bells because they are more easily heard by the occupants of the dwelling, but the happy belief that bells prevent bad spirits from entering your home made them popular.

Hikers in the Canadian Rockies wear “bear bells” to warn and ward off grizzlies. Shepherds around the world have bells on their livestock for easy identification, protection, and to help find them when they stray from the herd. I love choir bells in church, however, the most reassuring and beautiful chorus of notes I have ever heard have been made by herds of Maasai cattle in East Africa.

Many know the phrase ‘for whom the bell tolls’. Its origins are found in John Donne’s meditation on the inter-connectedness of humanity, that none of us is an island, that we are all “a piece of the continent, a part of the main”.  The pandemic has certainly proven this to be true. From the very first day we have all been in this together.

Whether it is our specific day to attend chapel or not, when Stanislav rings the bell, he rings it for all of us. It is a celebration. We are here. We are “part of the main”. We are connected and therefore strong. If the bell’s ringing happens to ward off an evil spirit or two, so much the better.

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Topics: Joe's Journal -- Weekly Headmaster's Newsletter, Campus Life, bemore

Headmaster's Weekly Newsletter – Week 12

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Nov 26, 2021 1:59:32 PM

Dear KES Family:

For parents and educators there is tension between keeping children safe and preparing them for life. Building strong and confident children is impossible if we over-protect and coddle them. As life requires us to have good judgement, it is imperative that children are given opportunities to make decisions on their own and to experience the consequences of bad decisions, and the exhilaration of good ones. As parents and educators, we are constantly weighing the benefits of exposing our children to risk.

For example: instead of having a fence around our Tanna Turf we put boulders. They look great, they keep cars out, and they are used for everything from seats for spectators, exercise equipment for jumping and push-ups. Little does anyone know they are not “to code”. To protect the field from cars, the boulders are not placed far apart. Being so close together, children are tempted to jump from one boulder to the other. This leaping from rock to rock carries unacceptable risk for municipalities and public schools and so there is a code which dictates that they must be placed further apart than we would like (the width of a vehicle).

Frankly…I want my students jumping from boulder to boulder. I want them to have to make all the decisions necessary for a safe leap. Are they wearing the right shoes? Are the boulders wet and slippery? Is the rock within their jumping range? Is the surface too uneven? Are there some boulders which they can jump safely and some they cannot? Learning to say no, is just as important as learning to say yes.

So…are snowballs allowed or not allowed?

Most schools disallow snowballs. They are dangerous. Children cannot be trusted to make judgement calls about the texture of snow (cannot be icy or too hard/granular) or their aim (not at the face/eyes) or around buildings (might break a window) etc.

To me…learning how to play safely when one is a child is essential to learning how to act as an adult. On top of that, learning the social rules about how to play boisterously is equally important. Children need to learn to play fairly and not to gang up, to throw more softly to younger children, and to make a snowball fight a game that ends in laughter and inclusion and not in tears and exclusion.

Wednesday this week was magnificently snowy. It was a joyous day made even happier by the reaction of our international students who had not experienced snow before. How wonderful it was to see students change into their bathing suits and run through the storm bare legs and all. (There is nothing like the delicious tingle of snow on skin.) The students soon learned that it was “perfect” for snowballs and snowmen.

As teachers we kept watch and made sure that no one got hurt. The senior students did a good job of this too. Is there risk of harm every time one throws a snowball? Of course. The greater risk, however, is the harm created when opportunities to learn good judgement and social skills are eliminated.

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Topics: Joe's Journal -- Weekly Headmaster's Newsletter, Campus Life, bemore

Headmaster's Weekly Newsletter – Week 11

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Nov 19, 2021 4:02:30 PM

Dear KES Family:

The schedule of events for the rest of this term was sent to students this week. It happily includes traditional and “normal” events like the Headmaster’s Christmas dinner and the semi-formal dance, the Advent Christmas Services of Lessons and Carols, and…Christmas exams. Okay, so maybe exams are not considered happy occasions, but they are a sure sign of getting back to normal.

I have not researched the student body for exact figures, but at least half of the School has never experienced a proper examination period or written full length exams of any kind. For those who have written exams, these may have been two years ago. That is how long it has been since we had our last set of formal exams at KES. Needless to say, the mere mention of exams to some students raises their heart rate.

Performing under pressure is a life skill. It is as important in drama as it is in sport and in exams. In the workplace, being able to perform under pressure is a necessity. Preparation and practice are keys to success. Goodness knows, one wouldn’t want to take a penalty shot in soccer without ever practicing them in training. Similarly, the cast and crew of the School musical (Heathers) have a dress rehearsal today in preparation for Thursday’s opening night performance. Practice and rehearsal don’t eliminate stress, but by building confidence they make pressure and performance more comfortable and familiar companions. 

My concern right now is that some students will be overwhelmed by the thought of exams, and not their reality. Basketball players may dream of sinking a clutch basket in the dying seconds of a game, but few students share that same excitement about exams. They may have written hundreds of tests in class, and thousands of assignments at home, but lack confidence when it comes to writing a big test. 

Years ago, I had the good fortune to play golf with Hockey Hall of Famer Paul Henderson (remember his winning goal in game seven of the 1972 Canada Russian series?). A superb athlete, he was a master at positive self-talk. Before putting the golf ball, I could hear him talking to himself in a positive manner. Here was one of our nation’s most famous and popular athletes telling himself, “I got this.”

It is hard to believe that in a month’s time we will be three days into our Christmas holidays. Until then, I wish our students the very best in preparation and study. “You got this!”

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Topics: Joe's Journal -- Weekly Headmaster's Newsletter, Campus Life, bemore

KES Talks - Dr. Stan Kutcher

Posted by KES Blogging Team on Nov 9, 2021 1:54:27 PM

On Wednesday, October 13, Dr. Stan Kutcher joined Canadian history and politics students to discuss Canada's parliamentary system and the role of the Senate. The enthusiastic discussion, which culminated in a question period with students, was both engaging and informative. 

Appointed to the Senate of Canada in December of 2018, Dr. Kutcher's biography describes him as "a leading psychiatrist and professor who has helped young people successfully manage major mental illnesses."

With a varied and distinguished career spanning several decades, there is no doubt that Dr. Kutcher has made significant contributions within the mental health arena – especially child and youth mental health. The unique perspective Dr. Kutcher brings to the Senate makes him an invaluable asset in guiding decisions and representing underserved populations.

To watch the full address, please view the video below. We would like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to Dr. Kutcher for taking the time to visit our School and students.

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Grade 7 Students Take Over Brier Island

Posted by KES Blogging Team on Nov 8, 2021 2:29:19 PM

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Topics: Academics at KES, Travel at KES, bemore

Headmaster's Weekly Newsletter – Week 9

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Nov 5, 2021 6:55:25 PM

Dear KES Family:

On the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we will formally honour those who have served, at home and overseas, at the Remembrance Day ceremonies in town. Following this ceremony next Thursday, we will return to campus and re-assemble around our own cenotaph. There, we will hold our own service to honour those students who have gone on to war and peacekeeping missions around the world. 

We live in a time of contradictions, and so it is with some disappointment that we are not allowed to observe either ceremony as a cadet corps. However, it is with gratitude that we will attend and participate as a school. Instead of highland dress, we will wear our School uniforms, special masks printed with poppies, and appropriately warm outer clothing. Parents, and those for whom the School ceremony is especially meaningful, are welcome to join us.   

I realize these are turbulent times, that next week we will raise our lowered flags so we may, once again, lower them. I realize that the withdrawal from Afghanistan has many veterans questioning the meaning of their service and sacrifice. I realize that many in the Armed Forces are wrestling with orders preventing them from assembling in uniform, or at all, on this day. I also realize if I focus my thoughts on the turbulence that I will become turbulent myself.

Peace, for me, will come from focusing my thoughts on those who have served and sacrificed. Those men and women on the Honour Rolls deserve as much. The students understand the solemnity of the moment, of the ceremony, of the day. They understand the importance of the poppy. They understand why we must not forget those who serve and have served. What they wear is immaterial when compared to their intentions, and their reflections. Regardless of nationality, every student understands the meaning of sacrifice and how important it is, if only for a moment, to say thank you.

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Topics: Joe's Journal -- Weekly Headmaster's Newsletter, Campus Life, bemore

Connect, Converse, Catch-Up – Ian Janes

Posted by Mr. Kevin Lakes on Nov 2, 2021 10:46:02 AM

Join Mr. Kevin Lakes as he shares profiles of KES Alumni. It's always fun and motivating to Connect, Converse and Catch-Up!

The past year-and-a-half has forced many of us to be creative within the walls of our own homes in order to cope. I found myself finding solace and recreation in music, turning to the piano. However, for those whose livelihoods depend on performing, the pressure was on to adapt! I recently reached out to an experienced professional – Ian Janes ‘95, and it is evident that he is improvising as any great musician would. 

Ian has always been creative as a singer, songwriter, and producer. Recently, he released a splash of creativity that is paradoxically retro yet progressive from an artist who is adjusting to the times in which we live. 

Ian says it as succinctly as a well-placed musical note when describing the ever-changing music business: “The digital stays forever and for never, so I had to find a way to share my music, my way.” Ian’s new project tries to find the balance between the digital and the tactile with the release of Episode 5. His fifth album features a physical companion book of lyrics, photos, and narratives about the creative process, and Rolling Stone France took notice: "The album is authentically divine…Episode 5 is undeniably his best work yet...Ian Janes knows how to write songs that sound like classics, and he keeps getting better.” 

“I was finding, as an artist, I was creating things with no physical manifestation; I wasn’t satisfied. I grew up digesting album art and lyrics. I decided to try a new way to deliver my music…that’s why I am including the book…think of it as an extended and more elaborate album art. There is something about offering a physical product that feels closer to my personal style, an actual real thing in addition to the music itself,” says Ian. “A break from the screen, something to do with your ears, eyes and brain while you listen to the music.” 

All musicians are adjusting to an industry that quickly transitioned from something that people paid to own into something people no longer pay anything to “own.” That’s a tough way to make a living; however, Ian is in the circles of success, recently collaborating with promising young artist Kylie Frey. Their song “I Do Thing” recently went to the top of the country chart in Texas. Ian also had one of his songs prominently featured on the CMT TV show 'Nashville' (Season 5-Episode 11). 

Before the shutdown, Ian travelled to both Nashville and Los Angeles up to 5 times a year working with a variety of industry professionals. In fact, in mid-March, when the pandemic hit, Ian was booked to head back to Los Angeles to follow up on some opportunities sparked during a January 2020 trip. 

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Topics: Arts At KES, KES Alumni, ARTS, bemore, kespride

Headmaster's Weekly Newsletter – Week 8

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Oct 29, 2021 10:27:54 AM

Dear KES Family:

While I am interviewing prospective students I always ask if they have any questions. Over the years I have discovered that the questions I am asked vary according to age. Older students want to clarify their internal vision of what our School is like and so their questions are generally about the daily schedule, food, roommates, sports and clubs. On the other hand, I have found that the younger a student is, the more personal the questions are. Younger students ask questions older students wouldn’t. This week two different girls applying for Grade 7 wanted to know how old I was. They wanted to know what I love most about the School, whether I have any children, and are the teachers nice. Whether the teachers and students are nice is a common concern. Liking their teachers and having friends are the most important considerations for our youngest students.

Yesterday I interviewed a Grade 9 girl who lives two hours outside of Kampala, Uganda. She has not had proper school for almost two years. There is no internet at home. She has never been on a plane, never left her country, never spent time with people from other countries, and never seen snow. She hopes to arrive after Christmas. I cannot imagine what will be going through her mind after departing equatorial Africa and arriving in Nova Scotia and Canadian winter after long trans-continental and trans-Atlantic flights.

It is incredible to think that out of all the schools in the world this girl and her parents have chosen King’s-Edgehill School. So much will be new that I told her she will probably learn as much outside the classroom as she does in her lessons. Dorm life, sports, clubs, Canadian food, winter weather, or the different people she will meet, everything will be new. She says she is excited about all of it.

It might all be very overwhelming for her. However, for all the changes she will face I am confident about one thing that will make all the difference in the world for her: our teachers and students are nice.

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Topics: Joe's Journal -- Weekly Headmaster's Newsletter, Campus Life, bemore

Headmaster's Weekly Newsletter – Week 7

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Oct 22, 2021 6:19:04 PM

Dear KES Family:

Like so many, I have found the pandemic hard and, like so many, I have found distraction necessary. At times, being alone with my thoughts has been tough and so I have turned to music and audiobooks to keep me stable. When I am alone, Audible and iTunes have been my companions. The bizarre consequence of this is that now, when out for a walk or run, familiar surroundings will often trigger precise memories of podcasts and audiobooks I have listened to. 

Songs, on the other hand, trigger emotional memories. I am sure we have all felt this. We hear an old song and are instantly transported to a different time in our lives. Amazingly, our brains are hard-wired to connect with long-term memory and the emotions attached to those memories. Music assists in the storage of memories and resides in an area of the brain which is resistant to the ravages of time and brain disease.

But this is not really what I want to say…

My story is about two wonderful students from Mexico, Regina Contreras ’23 and Raul Arauzo Cortes ’24. With Raul playing guitar and Regina singing, the pair transported the audience in last night’s Coffee House to another place. Regina’s voice is gorgeous: vulnerable yet strong. She performed Lady Gaga’s Shallow and Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years with evocative delicacy. To my surprise, I realized that while the first song brought back memories of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in their film A Star is Born, the second song took me back to the spring of 2020 and the heightened emotions of the pandemic’s first wave and the worldwide lockdown. Fortunately, our McLellan Performance Hall was dimly lit, and I was sitting at the back of the room. We were all enjoying the first Coffee House in ages, and my eyes were streaming with tears.

I wondered if I was okay.

And then I thought – yes, I am more than okay. In fact, my tears had more to do with current than past events. The whole evening (indeed the events of the entire week) is an indicator that things are okay. That Hannah Pace ‘22, Mr. Smith, and the IB music class could organize the first Coffee House in a year and a half is fabulous. That the entire School (in their FTUs) were able to see our boys win the regional D1 soccer semi-final on Wednesday was awesome. That we have a record number of families touring our School for today’s Open House, and we are being treated to a preview of our upcoming musical production of Heathers the Musical is really exciting.

This week has been more than okay.

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Topics: Joe's Journal -- Weekly Headmaster's Newsletter, Campus Life, bemore

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