Inside King's-Edgehill School

Headmaster's Weekly Newsletter – Week 6

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Oct 15, 2021 3:01:37 PM

Dear KES Family:

Dr. Stan Kutcher’s official biography on the Senate of Canada website describes him as “a leading psychiatrist and professor who has helped young people successfully manage major mental illnesses. His appointment to the Senate allows him to put his decades of medical, academic and policy expertise at the service of all Canadians.” Invited to the School to speak with our Canadian History and Politics students about Canada’s parliamentary system and the role of the Senate, Dr. Kutcher delivered an informative and enthusiastic address.

What really fascinated me was his quick description about the mental health guide he has recently created for Canada’s public servants in Ottawa. Although it was a quick comment about something he has been responsible for, I wanted to know more. There cannot be many jobs more injurious to one’s mental health than politics. One’s work/life balance would be impossibly skewed, every action and decision would be constantly criticized, and the pressure to make everything instantly better would create tremendous distress. When Nova Scotia’s former Premier stepped away from politics, he expressed the simple sentiment that he was “tired of being blamed for everything.”

Being in politics is a choice. Being a teenager is not. Afterwards, while walking with Grade 10 student Danica Scully ‘22 to Dr. Kutcher’s car, I asked him what advice he would have for today’s students who deal with the relentless pressure of criticism and society’s preoccupation with physical perfection. It was not a simple question and he stopped walking to compose his answer.

His advice to Danica and her schoolmates was in two parts. First of all, he said, “pay attention to where the criticism is coming from.” The source of negativity is important. If it is from someone you know and respect it may be worth paying attention to. Otherwise, you must learn to ignore it and not let it affect you. We all want to be liked, he said, but social media has created an addiction to ‘likes’.  We have to be okay with people not ‘liking’ us. As I listened to Dr. Kutcher I remembered what my son Kyle wrote to me recently: “Haters gonna hate”.  Developing the skill to not let negativity affect us is more important to this young generation than it was when Dr. Kutcher and I were growing up.

His second piece of advice was related to social media itself: “Teenagers must learn to take control of social media, and not let it control them.” This includes turning it off, setting strict filters, and being comfortable blocking would-be friends and followers. The developers of social media prey on the addictive nature of the teenage brain and develop software that creates FOMO (a fear of missing out). Dr. Kutcher was clear that teens need to understand that they are being manipulated and to take control.

As I listened to him, I could hear his vast experience with youth coming to the surface. I was also thinking how important this mental health advice must be for our country’s leaders to heed.

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

Headmaster's Weekly Newsletter – Week 5

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Oct 8, 2021 5:38:44 PM

Dear KES Family:

Surfing, making sushi, going to a movie theatre, apple picking, and visiting our mascot Dylan at his farm, are but some of the available activities this Thanksgiving for our students. KES staff member Paul Baumann is performing at the Wayfarer’s Ale Society, and a large group of runners is heading to Wolfville for the Valley Harvest Marathon and the 10-kilometre run. Looking ahead to this weekend, I cannot help but be grateful for all we are able to do here on campus and within Nova Scotia.

A year and a half ago, the pandemic hit us by surprise, descending upon us faster than we could fathom. One day we were reading jokes about the worldwide toilet paper shortage, and the next we were all locked down with many travellers scrambling to make it home before international borders closed. However, as our Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Strang has said, “The pandemic is not done with us yet.” The surprise now is how slow the pandemic is to leave. If a second wave was unthinkable last year in autumn (had the global lockdown and all our hard work been for nothing?), this fourth wave was beyond comprehension for most of us. My heart goes out to all who continue to struggle with the harsh realities of COVID-19.

The thing is, despite COVID…for us this has been a magical start to the school year. The students are focused and engaged. Our teams are winning, the School musical promises to be spectacular, our first report cards are excellent, and we are making arrangements to host a world debating tournament in Halifax in the new year. The spirit on the sidelines for basketball and soccer matches has been nothing short of phenomenal. Two years ago, we raised a record $17,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation with our annual run. This year we have raised over $42,000! Last year we opened the School with 327 students. This year we have 383 of the most wonderful young men and women you would ever have the pleasure of meeting. A new member of faculty penned a Thanksgiving message to me this morning: “I have been fortunate to work in three wonderful schools prior to joining KES, but this community is the warmest and most supportive that I have ever had the pleasure of working for.”

Last week I received an email from a passenger returning on the same flight as our girls basketball team: “We flew on a Flair flight from Montreal to Halifax, on Sunday night. The girls basketball team was sitting behind us, and I just wanted to write you and let you know that their behaviour was excellent, during the flight as well as before and after.”

This Thanksgiving, perhaps more than ever before, I realize just how much we must be grateful for.

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

Headmaster's Weekly Newsletter – Week 4

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Oct 1, 2021 6:16:11 PM

Dear KES Family:

Canadians have a reputation for being friendly, kind, and generous. We are teased for saying “eh”, wearing “toques” in winter, and apologizing for frivolous things. Generations of Canadians have been taught that we are a “cultural mosaic”, which means that we are made up of a multitude of ethnic groups living together. Learning the truth about our country’s treatment of Indigenous people has not only wounded our hearts and national reputation but affected the way we see ourselves as well. 

This Wednesday I was hiking up Mount Moses with a group of students and ended up chatting with a wonderful girl from Germany, Patricia Gerlach ‘23. Our conversation swung to the morning’s Truth and Reconciliation presentations. At one point, I mentioned how difficult it was for Canadians to learn about the residential schools for aboriginal children and what happened at them. Patricia was very sympathetic. She knew what I was feeling and exclaimed, “I think every nation has its dark history. Being from Germany I know what this feels like.”

What followed was a meaningful discussion on Reverend Curry’s assertion that morning about how one cannot confess sins for someone else, even though we feel the effects of their misdeeds. Patricia was clear that we have an obligation to ensure that bad things from the past are not repeated.

I would like to think that this week’s reflections on Truth and Reconciliation have provided all Canadians the opportunity to improve. I also hope that the sadness we have been feeling does not become yet another burden that generations of Canadian youth must shoulder. When the time comes to raise our flags again, I trust that we can do so proudly.

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

KES' Cam Rendell showcases skills to college and pro scouts

Posted by KES Blogging Team on Sep 27, 2021 11:26:17 AM

Exciting news from our Highlanders prep baseball programme:

Outfielder Cam Rendell '22 has been invited to the Milwaukee Brewers scout team!

Cam Rendell '22 lines up an incoming pitch

For those who may not know, the Milwaukee Brewers are a Major League Baseball (MLB) team. Scout teams are comprised of top high school players across North America and serve to track progress, send in reports to scouting directors and ultimately create a pool of high-calibre prospects. Scout teams allow MLB personnel to identify graduating seniors who might be considered for the draft the following year.

This is an amazing opportunity for Cam that has come as a result of much hard work. This past weekend, he participated in the Arizona Fall Classic – an invite-only college showcase that provides opportunities for youth baseball players to improve their skills by playing against top-level competition from all over Canada and the USA. Following the Fall Classic, the 17-year-old student-athlete will be travelling to Jupiter, Florida to participate in the Perfect Game Wooden Bat tournament – a highly scouted event by every MLB team and top colleges across the USA.

"Cam understands that his hard work in the classroom is just as important as the work he does on the field, and this is what will provide him with opportunities in the future,” said coach Trevor Wamback, former Montreal Expo '98. “With Cam, there is no ego, he leads by example and is one of the most humble players I’ve ever trained – a true character guy who is super competitive.”

Cam has had a solid start to his career with a 2019 Canada Cup gold-medal earned while playing for team Nova Scotia in the 17 and under division. He can also run from home to first in 4.0 seconds (MLB average is 4.2 seconds), has an exit velo of 95 mph, and a throwing velo from the outfield of 90 mph.

Next year, Cam aspires to play Division 1 baseball in the States, and we have no doubt he will do just that.

The KES prep baseball programme develops players to be the best they can be by focusing on the finer details of the game to maximize their development and expose their talents south of the border. We provide players the full college experience before they get to college, ensuring a seamless transition in terms of academic accountability, time management, initiative, ownership, and leadership. Most importantly, we use the game as a forum to teach our players to be caring, secure and respectful human beings.

Athletics at KES

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Topics: Athletics At KES, Athletes at KES, bemore

Headmaster's Weekly Newsletter – Week 3

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Sep 24, 2021 5:29:52 PM

Dear KES Family:

The yearbook for last year has just arrived. Once again, editor and librarian extraordinaire Marilyn Curry and her yearbook team have done a marvelous job. The graduation section is particularly interesting, not just because of the candid baby photos next to each grad’s formal portraits, but because of what is written. Class of 2021 graduate Will Zhao wrote: “Just like the Ship of Theseus Paradox, when everything around you changes, would you still be yourself? If you want to know the answer, please go to Room 306 in the Senior building and have a wonderful, splendid, fabulous, extraordinary discussion with Mr. DeCoste.”

I love this for several reasons. Firstly, like Will, I enjoy my conversations with Mr. DeCoste immensely. I am thrilled that students enjoy deep conversations about life with their teachers. Secondly, Will’s insight into his changing environment and self as he enters university is profound. In real terms, he has flipped the paradox around because presumably Will is not changing, just his surroundings. Theseus’ ship was preserved to the extent that so little of the original ship remained the question arose about whether it was still Theseus’ ship. The ancient historian Plutarch describes the debate in his writings. Millenia later, philosopher Thomas Hobbes added to the debate asking if all the original discarded planks and rigging were used to construct a second ship, wouldn’t it have a better claim as Theseus’ ship?

Which brings me to our graduates. Are they the same person they were when they entered the School? Physically, the answer is no. Like the boards on Theseus’ ship our cells are being constantly replaced. For most of us it takes about 7 years for our body to completely replicate itself. Quite literally, I am not the same person I was back in 2014. Physically, I am a facsimile. A clone. But am I me?

Because teenagers are growing so quickly, creating and replacing cells constantly, this process takes less time for them. Depending upon when they arrived at KES, they are quite literally not the same people when they graduate. But, as Will asks of his classmates, “would you still be yourself?”

It seems to me a school whose mission is to change its students is doomed for endless conflict. However, a school that sets out to support students in the discovery of their best and truest selves has a noble mission. No doubt this journey of discovery will have its challenges, its minotaurs and labyrinths, but that is what makes growing up such a heroic endeavour.  

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

Welcome to the Fold! Annual Giving 2021-2022

Posted by KES Blogging Team on Sep 23, 2021 9:54:39 AM

Welcome to the KES Highlander Fold! Providing a welcoming environment for our Students, Parents, Faculty, Alumni, and the greater KES Community is the foundation of our new KES Highlander ethos of “Welcome to the Fold.” A unique aspect of Highland Cattle is that they live in folds, not herds. Hence, “Welcome to the Fold!” Our goal at KES is to build an inclusive and accessible community for everyone. We recognize that becoming a fully accessible School is a journey of continuous improvement and as part of this year’s Annual Giving Campaign, we are starting phase one of our journey. 

Integral to the overall KES experience is how well we facilitate movement on our Campus. Therefore, our first Annual Giving Campaign goal is to begin eliminating physical barriers through important campus improvements. Currently, some members of our community struggle to access the Hensley Memorial Chapel safely. To eliminate this physical barrier to the Chapel, we plan to build a ramp that will dovetail into the beautiful stonework of this historic 1877 building. Also, as part of Phase One of the KES accessibility plan, we will pave the Ted Canavan Athletic Centre parking area, allowing easier and safer, year-round access to Campus.

The second goal of our Annual Giving Campaign is to continue to ensure our School is accessible to every student who has the desire to receive a KES education regardless of their financial means. Financial Aid is always a priority at KES. One third of KES Students depend on our Financial Aid and Scholarship Programme every year. As enrolment continues to grow, so does our need for financial aid funding! Every time you give, you are making it possible for motivated students to bridge the gap between their finances and their educational goal of attending KES. Without donations from the KES Community, we must consider raising tuition fees each year which in turn makes KES less accessible to students who want to attend our School.

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Topics: KES Alumni, bemore, kespride

Carpentry Club

Posted by KES Blogging Team on Feb 25, 2021 10:20:00 AM

he Junior School Carpentry Club meets once a week.  Our recent project came together quickly as we built benches for our campus. Benches are an ideal project as they engender friendships, relaxation, and allow us moments to take in the view of our lovely campus.

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Topics: About King's-Edgehill School, Campus Life, bemore

Lasting Joy of the Season comes from Giving

Posted by KES Blogging Team on Jan 10, 2021 2:42:41 PM

Happy New Year!  Although holiday celebrations during these pandemic times were a little quieter than usual, the slower pace provided time to contemplate what really matters in our lives.  During this COVID Christmas season, the need to help and support others seemed amplified.  Our community response was widespread and meaningful.  Eight local families in need benefited from our student, staff and parental gift donations. How wonderful it must have been for these families to experience the magic of the holiday season on Christmas morning.  Our local Feed Nova Scotia Food Bank also benefited from the generosity of our community.  The bins under our Christmas Giving Tree were heaped full of non-perishable food items that were transported to the Windsor Food Bank on the final days of term.  Special thanks are extended to   Claire Morton, Danica Scully, Ava Shearer and  Reegan Wagg  who loaded the van and made the delivery, and to all the students and families who gave so generously. 
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Topics: About King's-Edgehill School, King's-Edgehill School in the Community, bemore

254 Improv

Posted by KES Blogging Team on Oct 21, 2020 5:00:48 PM

Our Cadet Leaders stepped up this week and tried their hands at Classroom Instruction.  It was very successful when you consider that the last time any of our students gave a Cadet lecture was in November of 2019.  Our future leaders learned the Principles of Instruction while the Junior platoons learned the basics of the Cadet Movement. When you have great leaders like   WO Lily Gale, Greg Otto and  Mikaela Hinds, success is guaranteed.

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Topics: Campus Life, Cadets, bemore

Powerful Words

Posted by KES Blogging Team on Oct 8, 2020 7:30:00 AM

Words are powerful.  Just ask Grade 8 student Vincent Armstrong, now in his second year at King’s-Edgehill.  Vinnie is a dedicated student and athlete who has a passion for debating.  His initial contact with our KES community was through the summer Debate Camp on our campus.  As a young Grade 5/6 student he took part in the summer camp and, since his arrival as a Grade 7 KES student, he continues to hone his rhetorical skills as a debater.  Last week, Vinnie was one of the top 80 debaters from Grades 6 to 12 across Canada to take part in the online National Debate Seminar.  The Saskatchewan Elocution and Debate Association (SEDA) hosted this year’s event from Thursday, September 24th, to Sunday, September 27th.  “I learned so much about First Nations culture,” said Vinnie as he enthusiastically shared the reflections of his experience.  Speakers from the Treaty 6 Territory in Saskatchewan addressed the group daily, teaching the debaters about experiences of the First Nations through a variety of presentations, including: Aboriginal Myth Busters, Learning Circle Teachings, and the Ethics of Representation. “I also learned lots about how I can improve my debate skills for the future,” said Vinnie, reflecting on the inspirational addresses, including one by Tom Lawson, the founder of the Canadian Student Debating Federation.  I congratulate Vinnie on taking part in this level of debating competition; I can’t think of a better KES representative!

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Topics: About King's-Edgehill School, Academics at KES, Campus Life, bemore

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