Peru: A New Adventure

Wow, I cannot believe that one month has already passed since I arrived in Lima. This trip has been more amazing than I ever imagined, the friends I’ve made, the places I’ve been to and the things I’ve seen are all unbelievable. Since I DSC_0587arrived, everyone has been very welcoming and so kind. My Spanish is improving, my understanding of the language is great and everyday I learn something new. I still have trouble speaking but I manage to explain myself with all the different words I know.

During my first week in Lima, I saw some familiar faces when I joined the LCC group on the Gold Duke of Ed trip for the afternoon at a service project in Las Palmas. Even though I only stayed for a couple of hours it was great fun helping, getting covered in cement and seeing all of the work LCC has done in the past year or so.

This week I went to Lunahuana on a four day trip as a counselor with 11 year old kids. Getting to know the kids was my favourite part. I had a group of 12 kids and we were three counselors: a French exchange student, a Markham Grade 11 student and myself. The kids all practiced their English with me which I really appreciated. I got very close to them and it was a different experience as before I had always been a camper but never a counselor. It was great to switch roles!

My favourite activity was white water rafting in level 3 rapids. We took part in lots of other activities like horse riding through the Peruvian mountains, zip-lining across a river, repelling and rock climbing and Inca-teering (exploring the old houses of the Incas, the founders of Cusco). Finally, we performed a service activity when we went to a primary school and made a vegetable garden!

Le weekend prochain, j’irai à Cusco et a Macchu Pichu ( une des sept merveilles du monde). Nous partirons pour cinq jours durant le congé de Paques. Je suis tres excitée mais en même temps un peu decue car une fois de retour de ce petit voyage dans les montagnes, il me restera seulement 4 jours à Lima et ensuite c’est le retour vers Montréal. Je suis tellement triste que cette merveilleuse experience se termine mais toute bonne chose doit avoir une fin!–Eloise MacIntosh ’14

The Value of “Almosts”

2011_2012_hockey_senior_boys2_blogWe almost did it… We got so close… So frustrating!  There were a lot of LCC athletes with that feeling last week. Within 24 hours, four very solid LCC Lion teams of athletes lost four separate nail-biter games; two of them at home and two on the road.  Close. So close.  There’s an old saying that “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” Although this presents some interesting imagery, I disagree with the premise of the statement.  We all learn from coming close, from the pile of “almosts” we accumulate in our lives. They are valuable learning moments.

I had the good fortune of seeing both of our home games: Juvenile Boys Hockey vs. Selwyn House and the Juvenile Girls Basketball game the following day against John Rennie.  Both were great games; evidence of lots of solid preparation, with a lot of skill on display, solid teamwork, physical hard work and genuine emotion laid bare on the ice and on the gym floor.  I’m told it was the same for our squads playing playoff games away: Bantam Boys Hockey and Juvenile Girls Hockey.

The Juvenile boys game on our home ice was a classic barnburner.  It took five periods and a 16-man shootout to decide the outcome.  Well before the shootout began, the piles of snow were becoming ridiculously thick since they hadn’t cleaned the ice in so long, and it had become almost impossible for players to handle the puck.

Without a doubt the four final outcomes were frustrating, disappointing and upsetting: but they were also so memorable.  In fact, that is one of the greatest qualities of competitive athletics in school.  We don’t always win. You can’t always win. There are always factors beyond our control, and even when our teams play very well—as they did last week—a roll or a bounce or a fine play by an opponent can make all the difference, but not always in your favour.  I am certain that for all our athletes on those four teams, they would have surely preferred a different outcome. But they will never forget that difficult loss and the experience will help make them better next time…. Not just as an athlete but when they find themselves under pressure, when emotions are high and something important is on the line.

We all like to win and we’d all like to see an “A” on the report card in every subject but despite our efforts to control our fate and destiny, real life has a way of creeping in and reminding us that despite all the hard work and preparation, things can’t always go our way.  That’s a key element of life that we all learn one way or another and, in an odd way, it’s good that our students have such valuable concrete experiences with hurdles and frustration during the high school years.

That said, I congratulate all of our teams who proudly wore the LCC Lion on their chests last week.  They did their best and impressed all of us who were out to support.  They have all progressed a great deal since the start of their respective seasons, and the coaches deserve much of the thanks for that.  We thank them for their dedication, inspiration and helping our students develop the resiliency necessary to pick themselves up and stay positive.

I also saw these same qualities at play at the robotics competition last week at Vanier College—where our team placed among the top 10 teams, including CEGEPS—and in the creative flair presented in the Senior School play, “Departures and Arrivals.”  Great job, LCC Players!

All of these activities outside of the classroom have helped to make each of you stronger, wiser, better teammates, more insightful.–Chris Shannon, Headmaster

Shannon’s Top 10 Reasons to Read

ClaireHodenRothmanThis week we welcomed Claire Holden Rothman, author of this year’s LCC Reads book The Heart Specialist as well as Dr. Ariane Marelli, Director of the MAUDE Cardiology Unit at the Montreal General Hospital (Lib_LCCReadsAssembly_01Dec2011).  In the spirit of discussing this book, I put together my own Top Ten list about the importance of reading (view LCC Reads photos).

1. Academic Success – Research confirms that the greatest single predictor of success in senior high school and post-secondary programs is the capacity of a student to read.  Reading builds knowledge and makes students smarter.

2. Vocabulary Development – Reading helps put words in context and broadens our word recognition ability.

3. Imagination – Reading takes us to new and imaginary places and helps us to be more creative; it certainly helps develop more colourful ideas.

4. Quiet and Calm – The opportunity to quietly pause and focus in a busy/noisy world is an important attribute of focusing on a text.

5. StorytellingStorytelling is so powerful that many ancient cultures continue to stress key stories as the foundations of their cultural identity.  This remains the case with many aboriginal nations in Canada.  Consider also how in mainstream culture the Harry Potter series excited and engaged a whole generation of young people.  The release of every new book in the series caused pandemonium around the world.

6. Choice – Read whatever interests motivates or excites you.  Whatever makes you think and develop original ideas, develop solutions to problems, or create a greater awareness of the complexities of the world is meaningful.  Reading can actually lead to discoveries and have a “wow factor” that motivates us to achieve.

7. Inspiration – Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address “Ask not what this country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” Nelson Mandela’s inaugural address as the first black President of South Africa… these are all examples of how the written word can awaken deep feelings in all of us. Also, stories of courage can motivate us and the written word presents the opportunity for a clear voice by people who are somewhat shy in groups and less inclined to speak out.

8. Meaningful – In our Junior School we use an active reading methodology called “AIM” which focuses on students’ meaningful personal connections to texts.  While students are quietly reading they employ gestures that indicate what the material makes them feel, think, predict, connect and remind them of. Each sentiment has a quiet gesture.  One-on-one, the classroom teacher listens to the student’s oral explanation of why something is personally meaningful.  In short, the reading material becomes more relevant – and young students become more actively connected to the content.

9. Power of Words – Words resonate deeply.  Remember that two winters ago Canada’s Olympic team chose a simple word to motivate our athletes and a whole nation – “Believe.”  It was Canada’s mantra, “Believe.”  The word inspired athletes, teams, and a whole country as we earned the greatest medal haul in our history.

10. Reading Builds Community – We begin young by reading some common texts/stories in school and continue to share stories in English classes in high school.  Beyond school, book clubs are very popular in Canada (at LCC as well at various levels).  Our LCC Reads program has helped to bring hundreds of people together over a single book.

Thanks to all of our English teachers for their support of reading and literacy skills here at LCC.  A special thank you to Mr. Moore, Head of our English department and co-chair of the LCC Reads committee, along with our chief librarian Mrs. Varvarikos and dozens of students who are active members of our LCC Reads Club. Continue to read, learn and be inspired by the written word. Remember, literacy is timeless!– Christopher Shannon, Headmaster

The Wonder of the Brain

Today I learned something that really surprised me. I learned about brain development in Executive Functioning. We heard about the University of London and the amazing discoveries they made when they did an extensive study on memory.

The scientists at the University of London were interested in how the brain changes or expands when it needs to hold a lot of knowledge. They decided to study London taxi drivers. In London, taxi drovers have to pass an extremely hard test called “The Knowledge.” This test takes about 2.5 years to study for, and cabbies generally make about twelve attempts at the test before they pass. It takes a really long time to become a taxi driver in London because it is a very complicated city with many roads and streets. The scientists that studied these drivers believe that an area of the brain called the hippocampus is what helps the taxi drivers pass “The Knowledge.” They know that the brain is composed of billions of minuscule nerve cells called neurons. These tiny cells are linked by branches connecting them to each other. The scientists discovered that mastering “The Knowledge” had a substantial effect on the brain making the hippocampus larger. This means that humans can change their brains and become more intelligent if they work hard!

That study proved that anyone can be smart if they keep trying, persevere and do their best. It means that no one’s intelligence is fixed because it has been scientifically proven that human brains can transform or grow!–Grade 7 Student

Grade 7: Discovering Ourselves as Students

After today’s session, I have learned many things that surprised me the most about myself. In class, we took an opinion survey in our Executive Functioning packet that focused on things to do with school and being a student. There were many points to rate ourselves on. For example, a couple of the issues were, ‘I like school work best when it makes me think hard’ or ‘I like school work best when I can do it perfectly without any mistakes.’ We were to give ourselves a score from one to six on how well the question described you. Then we added up the points according to what number score we gave ourselves and matched the result answer with the range the profile number falls into. We then read the section that applies to the result to see if the sentences matched the way we think and feel about our school work. The sentences that I read applied to me as a student but I did find out that I may have had a tendency to care more about my marks then the actual learning. Now I appreciate that learning for the sake of learning should be valued more. I have also realized that although some of my past marks weren’t as high as I would have liked, the more I enhance my intelligence by making mistakes and can still have fun while I’m learning! –Grade 7 Student