The Wonderful Academic Cycle
"Every day you make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb."
- Winston Churchill
A wonderful metaphor for both the ascension of a growing independent school, as well as, a dynamic and stimulating academic year at Aberdeen Hall. Our 'ever-ascending journey' occurs in 10 month academic blocks. The students know these blocks as 'grades,' while the faculty refer to them as 'academic years.'
For the students the year begins with a clean slate, and with this comes an exciting sense of opportunity and a 'what this year might bring' feeling. Will this be the year I make some new special friends? Will this be the year I try a new sport or after school club? Maybe I'll run for student council. For the teachers, it may be taking on a new subject or grade of instruction; or perhaps the integration of one of the many new technologies.
September's sense of anticipation gives way to the shorter days of fall and the cooler weather. The stretch from Thanksgiving to the winter holiday is the hunker down and most workmanlike time of the year. It is during this period that the academic programs really begin to roll as the decreased daylight lends itself to longer work days. Many students and teachers find this the longest and most challenging stretch of the academic year. In order to combat this, we host school spirit days, casual days and who could forget everyone's highlight of late autumn: report card number one!
Although December brings the shortest days, it is an emotionally warm and happy time around schools as the students eagerly anticipate their winter holiday and traditional celebrations. Our families celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Eid, Diwali, and later, the Chinese New Year, -- just to name a few. At Aberdeen Hall, we embrace all family traditions by having our own festival of lights with decorations recognizing the many faiths present at school.
January and February, the fireplace months, represent the year's midway point. This time also brings exams, and university applications deadlines. The Grade Ones are excited to celebrate their infamous 100th day of school! It is not uncommon for many of us 'Aberdeeners' to run into one another at Big White on the weekend as we all try and get above the clouds for some sunshine. In February, the weather lightens up and blue sky days begin to outnumber the grey ones. The social chemistry within the classrooms is maturing and the friendships are solidifying. The teachers have a good understanding of their students individual learning styles and teach them accordingly.
Although March can be a soggy month, there is always a sense of excitement as everyone prepares for the coming warmer months. Recess and physical education are outside again full-time, and the classes gear up for their final term of units and culminating tasks. Certainly there are challenges associated with balancing academics and activities, but it is the successful navigation of these obstacles that make the year rich and rewarding, indeed 'far from discouraging.'
Springtime in the Okanagan Valley is truly spectacular with the blossoming of the orchards and explosion of colour (and pollen)! Having moved from the eastern Canadian climate, April is by far the most overachieving month 'weather wise.'
May might just be the best month of the year. Graduation speeches, class field trips, Gala parties for parents, grandparents day and the final academic push for the year. In June we say goodbye with final exams, closing ceremonies, graduation, proms and year-end class parties and farewell hugs.
Oh the 'joy and glory of the climb.'
The academic year and career, - a wonderful thing indeed.
Head of School