Football is More Than Just a Game

Noah_ChazonoffIt’s hard to put into words the feeling you get when you play football. You think to yourself, “All right, who am I covering? What’s the play call? Are they passing or running? How many receivers are lined up on my side?”

I know to some of you those words mean absolutely nothing. But to me, football actually goes beyond just this.

In elementary school, I was only into drama. In grade 5, I was Sebastian in the Little Mermaid and in grade 6, I was Woody in Toy Story. And then, when I came to LCC everything seemed to just fall into place.

In grade 8, I joined the football team. I figured, “Hey, they seem to be encouraging kids to play a sport every season, so why not try it out?” Little did I know, it would change my life.

For those of you who have ever been in Mr. Carlyle’s English class with me, you know I love to bring up LCC’s football championship in every oral presentation to prove that I am a bit athletic. So most of you know that in 2013 LCC won the championship, beating the first place team Selwyn House in the finals. And from that moment on, I never looked back.

For the next three years, football wasn’t just a sport, it was my entire fall season. This year, I was not on the team at the start of the season because I felt that work would consume my entire semester. But little did I know that within a few weeks I would come crawling back to Mr. Carlyle to be back on the team. And boy, am I happy I did that.

I loved all the practices after school with friends, sometimes ones that had to be taken seriously and others where we could lay back a bit and crack a few jokes. But I can honestly say that nothing has had a bigger impact on me in my entire life than football has.

I went from being a guy who was really, really, really bad at sports, to a guy who was still not great but a bit better. In all seriousness, it helped me grow as a player and as a person.

I can’t quite describe the feeling of a player running full speed at me and only having half a second to decide how I’m going to tackle him or where I’m going to tackle him, but I can tell you that most of the time it’s too late because he’s already knocked me down and scored the touchdown. But knowing that for two hours a day I can put everything else aside and fight for the guys on the field and on the sideline, makes every injury, every practice, every tackle, worth it.

When we break down in our huddle before each game, we use LCC’s classic cheer, Pride on 3. And why wouldn’t we? As LCC students, we’re full of pride. And we deserve to be.

I’m full of pride because I know that every guy who puts on that jersey at the end of the week is going to fight his hardest for me and my other teammates.

I’m full of pride because I know that even if we lose, we handle it with dignity and proper etiquette and come back hard in practice to prepare for another week.

I’m full of pride because I know that for those precious minutes we have to play the game we love, we can put aside our differences and become brothers.

I’m full of pride because I’m an LCC Lion.

So why did I write this? I wrote it when I got home from football a few weeks ago after suffering a heart-breaking loss which knocked us out of playoff contention. But my message, I hope, is clear. When I came to LCC, I started out as an unathletic guy who barely knew how to catch a football. And now? In grade 11, I leave here with 34 other guys I can call my brothers. You may not be into sports. I was like you at a point in my life, but no matter what co-curricular you decide to join at school, whether it be football, glee club, baseball or robotics, I can promise you the memories you form are life-changing.

So why not give it a try? Go join that team you were too afraid to try out for. Go sign up for that club you were too shy to join. Because the odds are, it may turn into something much more meaningful than just another team. – Noah Chazonoff ’17


Discovering the Health Sciences at McGill University

McGill_Discovery_DaysLast week, LCC students attended Discovery Days in Health Sciences at McGill University. The Discovery Days are one-day workshops that offer secondary students an opportunity to learn about the many career options in medicine and the health sciences. Here is what two students had to say about the experience:

On December 7, a group of LCC students attended the McGill Discovery Days to learn about different fields of health sciences. We arrived just in time to see the first keynote speaker, Madhu Pa, who spoke about global health and how you don’t have to be a doctor or scientist to be a part of the global health movement. The speech was very interesting and inspiring.

Next we had our individual workshops. My chosen workshops were Drug Discovery and Disease Detectives. For the first workshop, the speaker was a specialist in all aspects of drug discovery and development. She explained the process of the discovery, development and testing of the medicine. I stayed behind to ask questions and received advice that was well worth having less time to eat lunch. After lunch, we went to our second workshop where the speaker focused on the study of epidemiology and its origin. After discussing this, she sent us on a scavenger hunt in groups of five that was designed so that we could apply our recently acquired knowledge about the spread of diseases. Despite our enthusiastic effort, we came in second in discovering which disease was “spreading in the university.”

The concluding activity was the “Health Pros Tell All.” Instead of a single keynote speaker, a panel of five speakers, who were specialists in their own fields, told their captivating career stories in health sciences. If you are interested in going into health sciences or you’d like to get an idea of what those types of careers are, I’d recommend you take advantage of this opportunity next year! – James Galbraith ’18

Today, accompanied by Ms. Owen, along with eight other LCC students, I attended the McGill Discovery Days of Health Sciences. The event was split into three sections: a keynote speaker, workshop 1 and workshop 2. The opening speaker, an epidemiologist, spoke about the idea of global health. With the world becoming increasingly “flat” (meaning accessible to all), more health risks are starting to form, such as transmission of diseases as well as global warming. For example, there are over 4,000 airports in the world and 40,000 flight connections, all causing this huge epidemic. The speaker mentioned certain fields that would help in this problem like communications, business, science research and politics. This presentation taught us that there are numerous fields other than medicine, like the ones previously mentioned, that could equally help improve the world’s health.

After this, I attended two different workshops. The first one was dentistry. During this course, we met up at the McGill School of Dentistry where three fourth-year students greeted us. We participated in an abundance of activities that immersed us in the study of teeth. For example, we got to interpret x-ray scans, learn about the effects of sugar on the teeth and make our own moldings! The second workshop I attended was on occupational therapy. Once again, we were asked to partake in dynamic activities in order to fully understand some of the stuff these doctors do. We got to make our own finger cast out of thermoplastics and even try a computer that works through face sensors. All in all, I had a superb time. These hands-on activities gave me a real sense of what working as a health scientist would be like. As well, talking to students from the McGill program helped answer all of my questions and doubts. Seeing students that are not that much older than me proved that you can succeed in what you want to be, no matter which path you take to get there. In my opinion, the underlining theme of the event was “find something that you are passionate about and then work as hard as you can to achieve it.” This is precisely what I am going to do… – Abigail Shine ’17

“Seeking Flow”: Dr. Alex Russell Follow Up

Alex_RussellClinical psychologist, Dr. Alex Russell visited LCC a few weeks ago and offered many important messages. He works with struggling adolescents and is the author of the book Drop the Worry Ball: Parenting in the Age of Entitlement. Let’s consider some of the key takeaways from his presentation.

Dr. Russell was authoritative and direct. He noted that in Canada most parents are over-parenting and over-managing their children. We have all heard about “helicopter parents” who hover too much or “snowplow parents” who will do anything to clear the way. All parents aim to minimize bumps on the road of life and diminish anxiety for their children. But Dr. Russell reminds us that hurdles and anxiety are essential elements in the curriculum of life; they are key for balanced growth and development.

Despite the way we generally use the term, anxiety is not all bad. It can be defined as anticipatory fear in our frontal lobes, something that is unique to humans. We actually need anxiety to be successful, but what we experience is what psychologists describe as adaptive anxiety. It allows us to manage stressful situations, but we should not be frozen or immobilized by an unhealthy tsunami of anxiety.

We have to find a way to open the door to small failures. The only kind of failure we want young people to avoid is what Dr. Russell calls catastrophic failure. He reminds us that failing a test, a course, or even a grade is not nearly catastrophic and should never be treated as such. In terms of self-management, students need to learn how to cope with setbacks without being overly demonstrative or emotional. The normal challenges in life should never be treated like the end of the world.

Dr. Russell was clear: the problem with adults chronically over-managing students is that it underestimates and undermines student potential. He asserts that starting in Grade 6, students should assume full responsibility for all tasks and assignments at school – not partial, but full responsibility. Inevitably, some students will find this difficult. But when outcomes are negative, they are quite capable of adapting and taking responsibility. When things don’t go well, students can quickly learn new approaches, routines and priorities; they naturally adapt.

Essentially, Dr. Russell affirmed that students require the opportunity to explore without constant intervention and direction from parents. In his words, “students need to explore the jungle gyms of life and experience non-catastrophic failure.” That’s how they learn to climb without injury – literally and figuratively. But the responsibility is solely the student’s – it’s not shared.

So what can or should parents do? They need to give their children space and allow them to explore and learn from experience. The primary responsibility of parents is to “mind and care” – be supportive without constant direction or intervention. The key to this is for parents to trust teachers and be allies with them as they are the learning specialists.

What else does Dr. Russell suggest needs to happen? He asks students to accept their responsibilities and do their homework. They should do their best to limit procrastination and avoidance of work, which can be very problematic if it persists. But again, Dr. Russell is emphatic: when it comes to homework “parents should be screamingly absent.” Parents should show care and interest, but they should not take on any anxiety. No passing of the worry ball between parents and teachers; the anxiety should be the student’s alone.

Dr. Russell affirmed that by trying new things and being intellectually courageous students will feel anxiety in different degrees. In fact, one must pass through various states of anxiety on the way to what psychologists call flow. Again, I quote Dr. Russell, “Money doesn’t buy happiness, flow creates happiness; flow is the number one ingredient of human happiness.”

So what is flow? It is pure engagement – transformative engagement with a problem, an activity or way of thinking. Indeed, at one time or another all of our students experience flow. It could occur while they are solving a math or science problem, completing a history case study, reading a novel, playing an instrument, or participating in an athletic activity. It is engagement that is so complete, that time seemingly becomes elastic and the child is fully immersed in the activity.

One of the problems with attaining a state of flow is that in school and at work we don’t always choose our activities, and we clearly prefer some over others. In addition, school is a place where students have to live with the necessary evil of marks. They matter, but Dr. Russell asserts no one should obsess over them. Even when struggling, students can always bounce back. Rather than marks, we should all be much more focused on seeking flow.

On this front, parents and school should minimize the focus on achievement solely through marks, which we are actually discussing here at LCC. Together, students, teachers and parents should focus on embedding a positive growth mindset, promote exploration, engagement, and flow.

While at school every one of our students has experienced and will continue to experience failure, and they quite naturally take steps to learn, refine, regroup and adapt their approaches to learning.

Dr. Russell reminds us that learning and achievement is not about a “race to nowhere.” Rather, it is about welcoming anxiety in adaptive ways, and collaborating with supportive teachers who are authoritative experts in students’ lives. Parents need to simultaneously let go of control, while staying connected and interested in their children’s learning activities and what interests them.

Thank you Dr. Russell for the wise insights and great advice! We all probably have some work to do at LCC to provide our students with the space suggested here. Meanwhile, the student’s role is to be courageous, accept personal responsibility, embrace adaptive anxiety and continue to seek flow. With the right balance, we aspire that we will not only provide our children with essential  learning skills, but happiness that could be lasting and impactful. – Chris Shannon, Headmaster


Student Exchange: Colombian Explorations

Stefania_GaulSo far, it has been really fun here in Colombia! After a smooth flight, I was greeted by Mrs. Behar and an awesome group of students. Over the weekend, I had a great time at the club where I played some sports, and on the following Monday I took the bus to school at 6 am! That was a big change for me because I usually walk to school closer to 8 am. Everyone at school welcomed me warmly and provided English translations when I didn’t understand what was being said.

In the second week, I tried all kinds of new foods like ajiaco, empanadas and arepas. They were all delicious and taste very different from anything I have ever eaten.

Though there are some things that are similar to Montreal, like the traffic, for the most part it’s very different here. Take the weather, for example. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s November! Also, at school in sports class, I was able to choose to do gymnastics. It would be fun to have that option at LCC. In fact, there are many classes that we don’t have, like religion class and a technology class.

This past weekend, Cayetana, her family and I went to Cartagena where we learnt about the old city and spent some time at the beach. We went back to the club where I water-skied for the first time. It was so cool and surprisingly difficult! We also got to see the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which, to my surprise, was in English with Spanish subtitles.

At school the following week, we went on a science field trip to the Humedal Torca-Guaymaral, which is a big wetland in the middle of the city. We saw the wetland species and what they need to survive (temperature and pH) and I got close enough to touch a cow. Besides that, I almost lost my boot in the mud, which meant that I had to spend the rest of the day with my foot in muddy water. But it was fun either way! – Stefania Gaul ’19, Exchange Student at Colegio Los Nogales


Sauvons les monarques! Bring back the Monarchs!

MonarchsAs Middle School students at LCC, many exciting opportunities are made available to us. From debating to the Green Team, you have absolutely every possibility to achieve your full potential. One of these activities, Middle School Pride, helps instil leadership in every student, by giving them the chance to help others in their communities in addition to organizing activities and charitable events.

Au cours des dernières semaines, le groupe de Middle School Pride s’est intéressé à une organisation qui est dévouée à la cause des papillons monarques qui, malheureusement, sont de plus en plus en danger. Lors de notre session de jeudi dernier, un représentant de cette organisation est venu nous parler à propos de ces papillons, spécifiquement les monarques. Il a expliqué leur importance au niveau des écosystèmes nord-américains ainsi que plusieurs méthodes qu’on peut employer pour les sauver.

Nous avons pu regarder des graines d’asclépiade (la seule plante qui peut nourrir les chenilles monarques), apprendre comment les faire germer et commencer à planifier notre activité pour en distribuer à la communauté. – Domenico D’amico ’20

Photo Gallery