Inside King's-Edgehill School

Headmaster's Weekly Newsletter -- Volume 9, Issue 1

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Sep 7, 2018 5:16:17 PM

Dear KES Family:

The story goes like this: “Gordo” (Gordon McKenzie) has been working as a custodian at King’s-Edgehill School for twenty-five years. There is not much he has not seen or done in his time here. He is universally loved, and legions of alumni will describe their hours of restorative service with him as some of their fondest memories of their time at KES (even if they were in trouble and removing gum from the bottom of desks as a consequence).


After all these years, Gordo exclaimed that he had a “first time” this week. Yup. He had just finished cleaning a classroom at the end of the school day when one of our young students, in his first days at KES, said hello and thanked him for cleaning his classroom. This was the first time a student had thanked Gordo for the cleaning he does every day.

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

Headmaster's Weekly Newsletter -- Week 36

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Jun 9, 2018 11:13:24 AM

Dear KES Family:


As I had my final meeting with this year’s dynamic Head Girl and Head Boy (Meredith Chambers and Arturo Ramirez), I could not help but feel the heaviness of their emotions. It was not just that they were feeling emotional about the end of their time at KES, that graduation is only a week away, but that they will be missing out on all the great things that are planned for next year. They are excited for the next stage of their own lives but sad that the next stage of the School’s life will belong to others.

There is a lot in the works this summer on campus and some fabulous new programmes at the School next year. I can see how they may feel they are missing out. First of all, construction has already started on the Fountain Performing Arts Studio. This is a 1,100 square foot dance and recording studio which will be home to our new dance programme and dance instructor Stephanie Cummings. It will introduce a whole new element to our performing arts programmes at the School. Additionally, construction for our new all-weather turf field starts on Monday. Surrounded by an eight-lane, crushed-gravel running track (we won’t be able to finish it until we have raised the funds to do so), it will be a huge addition to our recreational and varsity sports programmes as well as our Cadet Corps. The field will be FIFA and World Rugby dimensions and certified.

Sometimes the biggest changes are those which are not “built” but created. For instance, I have been busy this week interviewing girls for our new prep school basketball team. These young women are simply incredible. Motivated scholars and dedicated athletes, they will fill KES with their good humour and energy. Two of the sparkling and happy girls I interviewed this week are six foot four inches tall! All of these students are enthusiastic about working as hard in the classroom as they are on the basketball court.

And then there is the anticipation of having one of the very few licenses to perform “Mamma Mia” next fall, of having a vibrant dance programme, of seeing our debating and robotics programmes leap to the next national and international level.

To successfully survive another 230 years, KES must never stand still. We must constantly grow and evolve. We can stay small but we must always be mighty.

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

Headmaster's Newsletter -- Week 23

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Feb 25, 2018 8:13:17 PM

Dear KES Family:


Although there has been tremendous drama and excitement this week about the Olympics in Korea, and at KES we have celebrated all our national heroes - be they Mexican cross-country skiers, German hockey players, Russian figure skaters, Japanese skiers, and all our diverse national and Canadian Olympians - there is another movement taking place south of our border worth paying attention to.

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

KES Headmasters Weekly Newsletter -- Week 6

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Oct 13, 2017 5:08:02 PM

Dear KES Family:

Friday the 13th? Good thing none of us are suspicious. :) 

The first frost of the year was glistening white on the ground and rooftops this morning. It is rather magical seeing the sun rise and watching its warmth melt the frozen dew. I realize that no Canadian enjoys scraping their car windshields – especially on a dark and chilly morning – but there is a freshness to a snapping cold autumn morning followed by brilliant sun and vivid colours that are good for the soul.

The students have that same warming ability. No matter what may happen or what my mood might be, at some point in the day the warmth and humour of our students will lift my spirits. Some highlights this week include   Riley Coe’s  classic eye-roll and communication with   CBC’s Trent McClellan  who was interrupting her debate during filming of "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" on campus. Riley was poised, polite and composed despite being on camera and harassed by one of Canada’s foremost comedians.

Another moment would be running into   Andrew Atwood on Monday night in the Athletic Centre. In an effort to exercise off some of my Thanksgiving turkey, I had headed over to the gym. Being a holiday weekend, I had not shaved for three days. In a classic reversal of roles, Andrew happily pointed out my fledgling beard, but was quick to mitigate my embarrassment by stating that it looked good on me. Hahaha! I love these moments.

After a few years absence, I am back in the classroom teaching one section of Grade 12 English. The course theme is good and evil and our current text is   The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is the highlight of my day. Inevitably   Quynn Rusaw  or   Heather Stanton  or   Nathan Danquah  or   Maverik Skeans or   Sharon Estrada  (or any other member of the class), will say or write something insightful and positive about what we are studying. Yesterday alumnus   Anthony Archibald (1990-93)  visited the School as a guest speaker in   Mr. Avila’s  Business class. He loved it. He felt the same energy and sense of fun I always do.
 
Life on campus definitely has its ups and downs, its chilly and challenging moments. However, the warmth of the students is always uplifting.
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Topics: Joe's Journal -- Weekly Headmaster's Newsletter

KES Headmasters Weekly Newsletter -- Week 5

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Oct 9, 2017 3:11:15 PM

Dear KES Family:

A group of nine international education consultants came to the School this week.  Representing nations from Brazil to Russia, our visitors started their cross-Canada tour of boarding schools in Victoria, British Columbia, last week.  We were their 17th school in ten days. 

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

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 Newsletter -- Issue 32

Posted by KES Blogging Team on May 12, 2017 7:40:43 PM

Dear KES Family:

Back in the 1700s the German writer and statesman Johann Von Goethe wrote that, “A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.” I don’t believe his statement is/should be gender specific. Our manners, our compassion for others, our understanding of proper etiquette, reflect our character. Do we hold a door open for those who follow us? Do we spit in public? Do we say please and thank-you? Do we leave the toilet seat up? (Okay…that one is absolutely gender specific!)

In this day and age of fast food, it is easy for the younger generation to lose sight of the joys of slow food and perhaps the art and niceties of sitting down to a formal meal. However, at the recent NSSAF Celebration of School Sport Luncheon it was not the young athletes from other schools who had poor manners, it was their coaches. I was very proud of our honoured KES athletes Laurence-Olivier Belley and Taylor Amirault when they waited for everyone to be served their meal before they started eating. Indeed, our whole table took their cue and waited respectfully while a vegetarian dish was delayed being served to a coach seated with us…except for his senior coach seated beside him. He was half finished his meal before his colleague’s arrived and never noticed that even the 12-year-old athlete from his school sitting beside him had been waiting patiently for his other coach to be served.

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

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