It’s About the Journey!

2015_16_MS_Holiday_Concert_020As our high school students prepare for exams we should all be reflecting on the journey that every student has experienced since we first gathered in late August. It’s a journey of learning and personal growth with a notable impact on mind, body and heart.

This morning I asked each Middle and Senior School student to reflect on their own personal journey – asking, what it has looked like and how it has felt?

Since September each student has gained new knowledge in various subjects. They’ve completed projects, in groups or alone, honed special technology skills, become better critical thinkers. They’ve all certainly experienced proud moments of achievement as well as difficult periods of frustration. I hope they are all learning how to handle both ends of the emotional spectrum well.

On this learning journey teachers have pushed and pulled, challenged and often inspired. Every student’s development and growth is complicated. Yet, as one parent recently declared after an evening of parent-teacher meetings, LCC teachers are “caretakers”. She was very thankful that our teachers are so supportive of our students.

Some of our students are quiet by nature, while some like to speak a lot and are still working on becoming better listeners. All have drawn on their capacity for creativity in their courses, but especially in developing what are called “Studio Habits of Mind” in Art, Drama, Music and Digital Media. This is the capacity to create, refine and improve work. In essence, they are developing skills for personal and academic resilience.

Pride is something we talk about a lot here – and it has often been on display in the classroom and in our many co-curricular activities.

For a large percentage of our students, athletics is a key aspect of the journey and involvement at school. With a focus on fitness, skill development and competition, most students have navigated dozens of practices, demanding coaches and high expectations.

Some teams won league banners while others fell short. However, the highs and lows of athletic competition have been an important part of their personal experience, providing many memorable learning moments.

Beyond sports, LCC students have been very engaged in many interesting activities. Dozens were Open House Ambassadors or hosts for “Student for a Day” events. They have stepped up as members of their Houses, iPride in Middle School, Grad Pride in Senior School as well as Student Council.

The journey has included debating competitions, Model UN, participation in the Destiny Quebec organizing team, Green Team, Yearbook, LCC Reads, Amnesty International, Duke of Edinburgh, Round Square, LCC TV, The Wire, Robotics, Movember, and roles as delegates to leadership conferences in Canada and Singapore. And of course they have all participated in a wide array of service initiatives across this city.

Our students prepared diligently for Monday night’s wonderful Holiday Concert and many are preparing the upcoming Middle and Senior School plays slated for the winter.

So yes, students should prepare well for their exams. But let’s remember, much of what they do here that is important has no exam at all, but does certainly test them. Clubs, activities, various inter-school competitions and performance opportunities are an integral part of personal and character development.

Since August each of our students has been on a marvelous journey. They have exerted a lot of effort, discovered some hidden talents, grown and matured. They should take genuine pride in that. No test or exam required!

Happy & safe holidays!
Chris Shannon – Headmaster

Active Learning at LCC: Coding & Robotic Engineering

DSC_6913LCC’s Coding & Robotic Engineering Programme provides innovative active learning opportunities. This year, coding & robotic engineering will be more accessible than ever from grades 7 through 12. There are specialty courses, integrated projects, and clubs, which include professional mentors from the engineering industry.

Integrated Coding Projects in Grade 8 Science

Last year, grade 8 science students used coding and robotics to set up an experiment that would help them better understand the effects of photosynthesis. This year, the experiment will be expanded, and will once again involve measuring the growth of numerous bean plants over a 30-day period. Each plant will be assigned different amounts of exposure time to sunlight. Robots will be used to lower a milk carton over the plants to keep them in the dark, or to raise the carton to give the plants sunshine. Students will program their robots to raise the cartons for their daily allotment of sunshine over a 30-day period. At the end of the experiment, the plants’ growth will be measured, and students will then formulate assumptions regarding the impact of light on the growth of their plants (view the apparatus demo and project site). This year, approximately 100 grade 8 students will participate in this experiment led by Mr. Tukkonen, Mme. Lalonde, and Mr. Auclair.

LCC Joins First Robotics Competition (FRC) with Industry Mentors

This year, Lower Canada College’s robotics team, comprised of 35 students, will be partnering up with mentors from the aviation industry as it competes in the globally renown First Robotics Competition. FRC is quite a change from the Canadian Robotics Competition (CRC) that LCC traditionally competed in; while engineering is still key, programming is also a featured skill. In fact, one of the coding platforms used in the FRC competition is Labview, an industry standard programming tool that is also used at all grade levels at LCC. Interestingly, Labview was also used to program several Mars explorers and it is compatible with LCC’s Vernier scientific sensors, leaving the door open for further cutting edge projects. This project will be coordinated by Madame Lalonde, Mr. Searle, Mr. Zuccheroso, and Mr. Auclair.

Middle School Coding Club

Now in its second year, Lower Canada College’s Middle School Coding Club now provides students opportunities to program on their iPads using Mindstorms. Add into this mix the latest EV3 robotic kits, and you have a recipe for some sophisticated active learning opportunities. Mr. Auclair and Mr. Tukkonen will be challenging students with a number of programming tasks throughout the year.

Specialty Coding Class in Grade 10

In grade 10, students have the option of taking a computer programming course with Mr. George. Using Visual Basic in combination with Excel, students delve into the more fundamental aspects of manually coding increasingly sophisticated projects. Precision, logic, and math figure prominently in this class.

Optional Course in Robotic Engineering, Programming & Artificial Intelligence

Now in its 14th year, approximately 20 students are enrolled in Mr. Auclair’s Senior robotics class. This course explores concepts  in physics, biology, and psychology in relation to the engineering, programming, and logic behind the design of autonomous robots. Students are provided with a variety of hands-on challenges to design and program innovative, functional robots that can make decisions on the fly. Past projects included robotic football, obstacle courses, and the development of an interactive humanoid.

– Christian Auclair, Coordinator of the Computer Science Department


robotic team 2015


Round Square Conference in Singapore: Adventures and Opportunities

image4My host buddy from India, Arvind, and I woke up with a jolt from a crash of thunder! We really hoped that it wouldn’t rain during our outing with our host family that afternoon. We freshened up, changed into our Round Square Conference T-shirts and packed what we needed for the long day ahead.

A van ordered by the host families in our condo was to take the 14 of us, students from India, Canada, Columbia, Germany, Switzerland, Kenya, and Singapore, to United World College, where the conference was being held. 
Upon our arrival, we separated ourselves into our Barazza groups, with whom we’d spend most of our time for the learning part of the Round Square Conference. With the help of my team leaders, Molly and Sid, we learned a logical way of breaking down an issue into four parts: 1) the mental model, 2) the systems and structure, 3) the patterns of behaviour and 4) the event itself. Once we understood how to look at a problem as a system, we focused on where in the system to intervene to find a long-term solution to the problem.

After we finished our Barazza session at around 11:00 am, all of us were dismissed to spend the rest of the day with our host families. My host family planned to take me and Arvind to the popular Sentosa Island resort at the southernmost tip of Singapore with its own universal studios, sky ride, luge, and beach. It was a 30-minute drive until we reached the island.

There, we met up with my friend Ameera and her host family. First, we all took two luge rides down the mountainous island. The Skyline Luge company has five international locations, one of which is in Quebec. But in my opinion, the short luge route on Sentosa Island didn’t compare to the lengthy and steep route on Mont Tremblant. Nevertheless, it was fun!

Next, we took a bus to a popular beach on the island. People were playing volleyball, swimming, and flying kites. I tried playing some basketball with Arvind’s brother, but within 10 minutes, we were completely out of breath and had to stop. I’ve never been asthmatic, but in Singapore’s hazy air conditions, I got a pretty good idea of how it would feel.

We ate a pleasant dinner at a pizza restaurant, adjacent to the serene harbour. Later that evening, we took a ride on a ski lift around the island. As we skimmed the treetops, the breathtaking skyline of Singapore became visible. We could also see the florescent domes of Marina Gardens. We almost came within arm’s reach of the iconic Tiger Sky Tower. A combination of its impressive height and hypnotic, pulsing, multicoloured lights decorated the dark night sky like a Christmas tree. It was an unforgettable sight indeed, which marked the end of our day at Sentosa.

On our way back to our luxurious condo, we passed by the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, and drove through the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE). The MCE is a 5 kilometre-long underground tunnel that travels under the seabed, connecting western parts of Singapore to the new downtown. They made the smart decision to construct this tunnel underwater instead of building a bridge over water to prevent the possibility of monsoons damaging the infrastructure.

In the car, Arvind and I talked to our host father about the haze in Singapore at this time of the year. Lately, PSI levels had risen to such dangerously high levels that school was cancelled. In Indonesia, they use the slash-and-burn farming technique. Big corporations cut down palm trees for palm oil, and then burn large amounts to clear land for farming other crops. They use the burnt plant matter as fertilizer, but the undesirable smoke bi-product makes its way up to Malaysia and Singapore. The Singapore government is working on solutions to this problem, but the truth is that there is no “them vs. us” scenario. In reality, many companies that contribute to this practice are based in Singapore.

On a lighter note, I’m glad that we got this opportunity to get to know our host family and really get the unique Singapore experience.

– Kameel Khan ’16

Exciting First Week at Glenlyon Norfolk School

Emma_Reuben_BlogOver the course of the first week that I spent in Victoria, BC, I did many interesting things, and I can’t wait to tell all my friends about them when I get back to Montreal!

When Emily [Mashaal] and I got off the plane, we were so excited. We met up with our temporary families and left to go do many exciting things. On the first day, we went over to the beach and marina where we fed seals and took many pictures. This was especially exciting because the seals were wild in the ocean. We also went zip lining in a beautiful forest. That was an incredible experience.

We have been at school at GNS for five days now, and it is, in many ways, different, and in many ways the same, as LCC. Emily and I learned the importance of voting and understanding what was going on in the government. We will be meeting a few party members on Thursday as well, which will be very exciting. I also believe that I am learning something very important at GNS. I am finding out how smart and talented each and every person at LCC is, and I realize now that we have high standards, and I am far more talented in certain things than I thought I was, such as drawing and math.

I also decided to take art class and I saw that I was much better at art then I originally thought. I think this is because at GNS I wasn’t comparing myself to all the other kids.

I am learning that there is always going to be someone who is better than you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re bad at anything. This is a lesson that I am proud to be bringing back with me to LCC, and I hope to share this with my family and friends.

– Emma Reuben ’19

Glenlyon Norfolk School Exchange: My First Week

Emily_Mashaal_blogOn September 26, 2015, Emma [Reuben] and I went on a airplane from Montreal, Quebec, to Victoria, British Columbia. There, we would be spending the next two weeks as exchange students at GNS (Glenlyon Norfolk School).

So far, after spending a week with my exchange partner, Sally, I’ve seen the many historical landmarks and beautiful sites that lay in BC, such as Mile 0 (where Terry Fox started his journey), the Oak Bay Marina, and Beacon Park. When you look across the Pacific Ocean you are able to see all the way over to the United States. It is so beautiful.

– Emily Mashaal ’19