Inside King's-Edgehill School

Joe Seagram, Headmaster

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KES Headmaster's Newsletter -- Week 37

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Jun 17, 2017 3:21:02 PM

Dear KES Family:


What defines a good year? Is it prizes and championships, scholarships and university acceptances? Having just seen Grade 10 students Ben Fleckenstein and Justin Betance spontaneously throw their arms around each for an exuberant end-of-year hug, perhaps the measuring stick is simple: good friends, good memories, and a feeling of joyous accomplishment. A good year is that eruption of positive emotion one feels when a job is well done and freedom awaits. The yardsticks of success are both personal and collective. Summertime beckons.

I will miss this grad class. I know in my heart that they will thrive in the years to come, but there is a strange heaviness in me. You know that feeling when you say goodbye to a loved one at the airport? You know that little bit of heaviness as you turn away at the security gate and walk back to the car – they move on, their adventure begins, their life is separate from yours? Same thing. It is always tougher for those who stay behind.

The crows who live on campus always stay behind. Generation after generation they have witnessed more graduations on this campus than anyone. I consider it a compliment that they no longer squawk or caw when I walk by them. Maybe a tilted head, or a little hop away, but they seem to accept me as one of the clan. I take my cues from them and remember the old superstition about the crows at the Tower of London – all will be well with the British Empire as long as the crows are in good shape. I am happy to report, as I do every year at this time, that the crows at KES are doing well.
 
Sincerely,
Joe Seagram

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KES Headmaster Newsletter -- Issue 36

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Jun 12, 2017 8:47:20 AM

Dear KES Family:


Nobody competes with the intention of losing. In life, in sport, from Monopoly to Crazy Eights, everyone likes to win.  So what do we do when we don’t win? What do we do with the emotional upset of losing?  Do we blame the referee? The weather? The coach?
 
How we react when we lose or win defines us.  It also teaches us.  Time and time again I read research into resilience and anxiety, into coping skills and mental and emotional health, and time and time again I am reminded that losing not only makes us stronger but is essential to the well-being and development of our children.  Life is full of set-backs and disappointments.  Sometimes we don’t get the job we applied for, or receive the marks we are used to at university, or the return on our investments that we hoped for.  Relationships break up (or down), flights get delayed and cancelled, disease and accidents are inevitable, and businesses frequently fail and/or let employees go. To prepare our children properly for life, we need to allow them to fail and to lose.
 
There is lots of research to show that exposure to germs at an early age, to literally play in the dirt, enhances our immune systems and strengthens our resistance to disease.  The modern-day trend of sanitizing our children’s environment, or snow-plowing any obstacles in their way, of doing anything we can to keep them from being disappointed, does them a disservice.
 
Winning is tough.  Even the best of teams cannot take victory for granted.  A provincial title is elusive, and the honour of wearing KES “sleeves” is rare.  I am over-joyed for the KES track and field athletes and coaches who returned to the School with a provincial banner last weekend.  However, there were five other teams competing last weekend too.  All of them did well but none came first.  Seeing their reactions and hearing their stories fills me with equal pride.  No matter how much we love to win and hate to lose, our students know how to savour the journey and appreciate each other.  They bounce back with humour and a healthy perspective. Of them I am equally proud.

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KES Headmaster Newsletter -- Issue 35

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Jun 5, 2017 8:09:14 AM

Dear KES Family:


It is at this time of year when one realizes that there are a zillion shades of green.  The spring rain and warmth has created a verdant wonderland on campus and the surrounding hills and countryside.  However, it is rather ironic by the time June comes and the campus looks stunningly perfect that the end of the school year is upon us. I really think we ought to extend our programmes right through the summer months so that everyone can enjoy the natural beauty which surrounds us. Don’t you think? Who wouldn’t want to spend their summer in a classroom?
 
Okay.  Maybe that is just too weird to contemplate, but it still seems a bit selfish to be saying farewell when the campus is so gorgeous and there are only a few of us left behind to enjoy it.
 
I had some fun today going back through some of my old photos from previous years.  I gathered a few for the slide show below.  These are not quite baby pictures but there are certainly some baby faces amongst them!  I apologize in advance for not having some of every student, but I think everyone will appreciate the trip down memory lane.  Some students have not changed much over the years.  For some, the years of growth and maturity (and orthodontics, hahaha!) have been transformational.
 
It is hard not to be nostalgic once June rolls around.  A third of the students currently at the School will not be here next year. It is hard to fathom the KES family without them.
 
 
Sincerely,
Joe Seagram
 

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Topics: About King's-Edgehill School

KES Headmaster Newsletter -- Issue 34

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on May 26, 2017 4:37:31 PM

Dear KES Family:


Yesterday was a classic King’s-Edgehill School day. Chapel in the morning (wonderful message from Reverend Curry putting the Manchester bombing into a meaningful and thoughtful context), followed by classes, sports, and the Spring Fling arts extravaganza. In the morning I was able to see the track team in action at the Regional Championships, the rugby team(s) took to the field for their Regional Final in the afternoon, and then I saw many of those same athletes on stage at the Fountain Performing Arts Centre in the evening. Thank goodness for hot water and showers!

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KES Headmaster Newsletter -- Issue 33

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on May 21, 2017 2:01:55 PM

Dear KES Family:


Guy Payne is back - Hooray! What a fabulous sight it was seeing Guy on campus this week. Working (as he has since 1968!) with our track athletes, Guy was his usual inspirational self as he helped our triple jumpers perfect their technique. Wow!

I was also thrilled to see our sprinters going through their paces on the straight stretch of tarmac which parallels Jakeman field. The boys were quick to point out that they had been clocked by our new radar speed control signs at 27 kilometers per hour. Hahaha! I love it. In fact I tried it myself. (20 kph…but I still received a Happy Face and a Thank You from the radar display!)

Interestingly, before we turned the radar signs on and despite having speed bumps in place, 29% of vehicles travelling along that stretch of road went above the speed limit of 30kph. Two vehicles were captured at 68 and 62 kph – twice our speed limit. This was really alarming. However, now that the radar signs are active, the average speed has dropped 5 kph, and the highest recorded speed has been 39kph. Before it was not uncommon for someone to travel above 40 kph. This behaviour has stopped altogether.

The solar powered digital signs are courtesy of KES parent Chris Fleming, who is a distributor (MyriadCanada.com). They detect vehicular speed and reflect it back to the driver with an accompanying happy or unhappy face and a short message of thanks or a reminder of the speed limit. The results so far have been excellent and our campus is safer. It just goes to show that a smile can indeed change the way we perceive things.

Sincerely,

Joe Seagram

This week in pictures

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Topics: About King's-Edgehill School

KES Headmaster Newsletter -- Issue 31

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on May 5, 2017 4:16:27 PM

Dear KES Family:


One of the fundamentals of good writing, especially of short stories, is capturing moments that reveal character. These occasions abound at KES, of course, but I am most impressed by those moments which come by surprise and demonstrate an endearing humility.

Perhaps in the long history of the School there is not a single student who has not made his or her way up Front Hill. Whether it was running for Terry Fox, sprinting up for team training, or marching up with the 254 Cadet Corps on parade, Front Hill is part of everyone’s experience at KES. This Wednesday morning I found myself at 6:00am at the top of Front Hill ready to take two students to the airport. It was a gorgeous morning, the early sunshine burning off a slight mist. I was surprised, yet thrilled, to see that I was not the only one enjoying the beauty of the dawn. For fitness and preparation for the track season, Joshua Goldson was sprinting up and down Front Hill. I only had my phone camera with me but if you look closely in the photo below you will see Joshua on the road down by the gates – I love everything about that silent moment of dedication.

As enjoyable an evening as it is, the Cadet Mess Dinner is long. After over three hours of ceremony and circumstance on the hard wood chairs in Stanfield Hall/McLellan Annex, one could hardly blame any of our students if they bolted back to their rooms once the meal was over. Afterwards, I thoroughly enjoyed some post-dinner conversation with our guests as the Dining Hall staff started to clear the tables of cups and cutlery, table cloths and centre pieces. It is a big job, requiring buckets for food and beverage leftovers, and multiple trolleys for all the crockery, etc. Recognizing this, two students joined in to help and did so completely of their own volition. I was so pleased to see Pablo Gonzales Sanchez (Class of 2021!) and Brenda MacDonald (Class of 2017) happily chatting away with the kitchen staff as they helped clear the banquet tables. Wonderful examples of leadership through service to others.

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KES Headmaster Newsletter -- Issue 29

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Apr 21, 2017 9:41:15 PM

Dear KES Family:


We are being inspected this week by the International Baccalaureate Organization. Like a nervous driver who, upon seeing a police car on the highway, instantly feels guilty and slows down, I have felt nervous all week (but it’s true, I feel guilty whenever I see the police, too – can’t help it!). When we are being evaluated it is only natural to be unsettled. The inspectors have been very good (so far anyway, we have not seen the report yet…) and the back-to-back-to-back interviews and sessions they have run hour after hour speak highly of their training and dedication. I kind of like them, too, even though the pens they wield are mightier than any sword.

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KES Headmaster Newsletter -- Issue 28

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Apr 14, 2017 3:00:00 PM

Dear KES Family:

I have been travelling in China this week and have had the opportunity to meet with alumni and parents (new for next year, current, and of graduates) in Shanghai, Beijing, Jinan, Shenzhen, Taipei, and Hong Kong. Many of our parents from Asia are unable to visit the School and so this visit is, in a small way, a chance to bring a bit of the School to them. Given that most of our Asian parents do not speak English, this is also a way to connect, to meet and answer questions. I am indeed fortunate to have a former parent, Dr. Michael Chow, as a companion on this trip. He has been invaluable as an interpreter and host in every city (and airport and train station!) on this trip.

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Topics: About King's-Edgehill School

KES Headmaster Newsletter - Issue 27

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Apr 7, 2017 4:41:37 PM

Dear KES Family:

I have been off campus this week and had a delightful two days in Vancouver before flying to Hong Kong (where I am now). Meeting up with alumni in Vancouver was fun.  The energy, the stories, and the passion that graduates of the School have for KES is really energizing. All of them are doing wonderful things and despite the generational differences there are striking similarities:  Taylor Wade '10 finished her Chemistry degree last year and is studying for her MCATs but won't write them until she returns from Ethiopia as part of an Athletes in Action mission trip. Former Head Girl Jenny Cho is on the Board of a Foundation doing transformative service work in Uganda - she is heading over there again soon. It was terrific seeing everyone. A very special thank-you goes out to David Bursey who hosted us at Earl's Restaurant (he works at Earl's head office in purchasing) and provided AAA steaks that he had aged in his own refrigerator at home for 70 days. They were mouth-wateringly delicious and tender! Best ever.

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Topics: Joe's Journal -- Weekly Headmaster's Newsletter, About King's-Edgehill School

Headmaster's Newsletter - Issue 26

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Mar 31, 2017 3:00:00 PM

Dear KES Family:

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Topics: About King's-Edgehill School

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