By Grant Ozechowsky
High School Principal
Late last week, Mr. Bosdet dropped by the high school office clutching some mail he’d received. Opening the envelope revealed a certificate from the University of Waterloo Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing. Mr. Bosdet went on to explain that several members of the math club (Robert Novakowski, David Blitz, Alisa Dubina, Ruby Fan, and Connor Zacharias) had written the competition earlier this year, and that the results had earned the title of Zone Team Champion!
It is always nice to be recognized for stellar achievements. In this case, I was, and still am, extremely proud of our students and their teachers for their mathematical prowess. It is a testament to the ability of our students, and the guidance from our teachers. I think that this anecdote sheds light on an even greater story.
Bear with me as I explain. The math award was earned by students who joined a lunch club. There are no marks associated with it. Students can’t earn credits for participating in it, and it takes place during lunchtime. So, really, the only reason our students became involved is because they like learning, and they feel supported by Mr. Bosdet.
I think that this story is a microcosm of the student experience at Aberdeen Hall. Not everyone is passionate about learning math at lunch. Sure, every student earns credits in math, along with their courses in social studies, science, language arts etc… The relationships they form with their teachers helps them feel confident and capable of achieving their best in all of these pursuits. However, it’s the opportunities that lie around the edges of these academic classes that really nourish the passions within each student.
For some, it is the math club. For others, it could be the rugby team, or the music club. Mr Sharpe has a wonderfully devoted group of students in his drama club this year. Ms. Dickson’s student council is learning how to bring their collaborative ideas to fruition. I believe that it is this celebration of different areas of excellence that creates the unique community in our school. Whether your passion be sport, math, science, or the arts. If you like lifting weights or playing violin, or prefer to recite soliloquies or code robotics, you can find your niche at Aberdeen Hall. These opportunities help our students forge connections with their teachers, with their peers, and with their own passions. In time, these connections also build a greater sense of belonging and community.
Earlier this week the teachers hosted our traditional Switch Day. Initiated by our students and Mr. Hill, Switch Day is an opportunity to change up the regular timetable, and for students to focus on a few different things for a day. Aside from providing an opportunity for students to wear casual clothes, and injecting a little energy into the hallways, Switch Day provides us with the chance to deliver some unique and valuable programming.
This year each student selected their own pathways, choosing from a wide variety of seminars. There were chemistry tutorials, AP English workshops, yoga workouts, financial planning sessions, art classes, and math study halls to name but a few. One of the highlights was an adulting class led by Ms. Nix and Mr. Hooper. Students learned some pro tips on topics like doing laundry, nutrition, and time management. After lunch, some of our Grade 11, Law 12 students also had the chance to teach the Grade 10 class about cyber safety in the modern world, which was terrific to see. In the end, it was a great day. We learned a bunch, had some fun, and felt energized to tackle the rest of the week.
Today, our students are back in their classes. They’re learning calculus, mastering the pentatonic scales, analyzing Emily Dickinson poetry, and debating philosophy (among all sorts of other things). They’re learning the things that will fill their transcripts, and earn them admission to the postsecondary schools of their dreams.
They're pursuing this knowledge buoyed by the understanding that they belong to their community. A community where they can express their merits on the stage, or art canvas; in the gym, or with their cello; holding a robot they programmed, or whilst playing Dungeons and Dragons.
They can also show their talents by writing the Waterloo Math Contest, like Mr. Bosdet’s team did. Because, in case you didn’t know, Aberdeen Hall is Zone Champion this year!
At Aberdeen Hall, we seek to admit well-rounded students who choose to be at our school. We are looking for students who demonstrate leadership through academic performance, involvement in co-curricular activities and civic engagement. We care about our students and seek those who value education and are prepared to enrich our incredible school community.