Inside King's-Edgehill School

Joe Seagram, Headmaster

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KES Headmasters Weekly Newsletter -- Week 4

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Sep 29, 2017 6:29:38 PM

Dear KES Family:

If you are ever losing hope in this young generation of teenagers, you have to come to our assembly sometime. Magical things happen.

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Topics: Joe's Journal -- Weekly Headmaster's Newsletter

KES Headmasters Weekly Newsletter -- Week 3

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Sep 22, 2017 4:32:05 PM

Dear KES Family:

Our Head Boy, Arturo Ramirez, made an announcement on Wednesday in which he urged his fellow students to make sure they left the Dining Hall neat and that when they put away their dishes to stack them in the appropriate piles (bowls with bowls, big plates on big plates etc.). He finished by saying “little things can make big changes”. He is right. We have to look beyond the small impact we make as individuals to see how transformative we can be as a community.

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Topics: Joe's Journal -- Weekly Headmaster's Newsletter

KES Headmasters Weekly Newsletter -- Week 2

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Sep 15, 2017 5:09:13 PM

Dear KES Family:

There is a small room by the entrance to the Chapel where we change and prepare for the service. Each morning when I enter to put on my robe I am invariably greeted by students like Mona Mohamed or James Atwood or Korolos Sawires, as they light the candles and gather the Crucifix for the morning service.  Despite the fact that it stopped years ago, my eye is inevitably drawn to an old clock on the wall, frozen in time at 7:05. 
 
I like the fact that there is a place at KES where time stands still.
 
In this age of rapid change and electronic stimulation, it is soothing to be in a place that stays the same.  There are visual and auditory and olfactory touchstones.  The smell of the old wood, the feel and creak of the pews, the old School Colours (254 flags), the muted light of the stain glass, the unique resonance of the organ: all these elements create a kind of sensory time capsule.  This is both comforting and reassuring, like hot cocoa on a cold winter’s day.
 
The first hymn we sang this morning pre-dates the origin of the School by 6 years (1782), and the reading from Genesis may date back to Hebrew scripture in the 6 th  Century BC but it has a timelessness to it that is diminished by giving it a ‘date’. Singing and reading and thinking about things that countless generations have sung and read and pondered before is also comforting.  When Reverend Curry asked us this week what it means to be human I could not imagine a more fundamental question, or one that has not been asked since time and human communication began.
 
Each day our School Prayer invites us to think about such traditional values as “truth, honour, and duty” and “purity of heart”.  These are words and concepts that don’t surface in the course of a typical modern teenager’s daily life, and yet there is not a student here who would not recognize their value in themselves or in their friends. 
 
We need anchoring spaces and places and ideas in our lives. No matter what happens during our day we need places of solace, places that are safe, places that allow us to reflect upon life. We need physical and emotional space to find and return to ourselves.  We need anchoring connections to those who have gone before.  For generations and generations of students the Hensley Memorial Chapel has been this kind of place.
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Topics: Joe's Journal -- Weekly Headmaster's Newsletter

KES Headmaster Weekly Newsletter-- Issue I

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Sep 9, 2017 8:08:08 AM

Dear KES Family:

It has been an absolutely superb first week here at the School. The enthusiasm (and energy!) for the year ahead is at an all-time high. Picking up from the tremendous leadership of the Class of 2017, this year’s graduates are already leading the way, providing a warm King’s-Edgehill School welcome for our 153 new students. Our Grade 11 Stewards and their Grade 12 Prefect counterparts are doing a remarkable job. Whether carrying luggage, reassuring new parents and students, or singing loudly in Chapel, they have helped everyone make that sudden transition from summertime and holidays to classes and our 24/7 KES life. Clubs and sports and auditions for the musical have commenced. Even the joys of running front hill for fitness have been discovered!

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Topics: Joe's Journal -- Weekly Headmaster's Newsletter

KES Headmaster's Newsletter -- Week 37

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Jun 17, 2017 4:21:02 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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Topics: About King's-Edgehill School

KES Headmaster Newsletter -- Issue 36

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Jun 12, 2017 9:47:20 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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Topics: About King's-Edgehill School

KES Headmaster Newsletter -- Issue 35

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Jun 5, 2017 9:09:14 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 5:37:31 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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Topics: About King's-Edgehill School

KES Headmaster Newsletter -- Issue 33

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on May 21, 2017 3:01:55 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 5:16:27 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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Topics: About King's-Edgehill School

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