A Moving Inaugural Event at the RSIC

2017_2018_RSIC2017_SA_0052017_2018_RSIC2017_SA_006On the first morning of the Round Square Conference, we headed to the Cape Town International Convention Centre to take part in the Opening Ceremonies. Our delegation, along with many others from around the world, was very excited for the inauguration of the conference.

Once everyone had been seated, a group of three musicians came on stage with some odd-looking instruments. Using only her actions and no words, the leader of the group instructed us to reach under our seat where we were all surprised to find a tube with a wooden stick. The audience then began copying the musicians’ rhythms and joined them in a couple of neat patterns. My favourite part was when we were instructed to each play a different beat depending on where we were sitting in the auditorium. Every section’s tube produced a different sound and we united with our separate rhythms to create a beautiful song. It was lots of fun and a great way to get us excited for the rest of the ceremony.

Another part of the ceremony that I really enjoyed was the presentation of the flags. One by one, every school was called and a student walked across the stage holding their flag. I thought this was very interesting since every school had something that was unique and different. Some of the uniforms were particular to the region they were from, while others had different emblems and flags that didn’t at all resemble the others. It was also a special moment when the name Lower Canada College was said out loud and our flag was proudly walked across the stage.

The rest of the ceremony was filled with different cultural performances by the host schools, award presentations and a couple speeches, but none was as memorable as His Majesty King Constantine’s speech. The current president and one of the earliest members of the organization, King Constantine attended the ceremony and we were fortunate enough to hear him speak. However, when he started speaking about Round Square, he began to choke up and shed a few tears. This was a truly touching moment for everyone in the audience and it was at this moment that I realized the full extent of Round Square’s influence and the power that it possesses to bring together people from all four corners of the world who share the same values.

Overall, I felt very lucky to have been in that auditorium for the Opening Ceremonies and I think that it was a phenomenal way to kick off the festivities. – Andrew Fata ’19

Hands-on Learning at Tuli Wilderness, Botswana

IMG_1924After a flight to Frankfurt where we had a 12-hour layover, another long flight to Johannesburg and a seven-hour bus ride, we, and seven other students arrived in Botswana on September 25th to commence our adventurous journey in the Savannah. During the jeep ride to our destination called Tuli Wilderness, we were in shock when we saw zebras on the side of the road. That made us realize that we were truly in Africa! When we arrived at our camp, we were all exhausted after our 48 hours of travel, but our night was not over. We had a quick dinner and bonded at the campfire with the two other schools that we would be spending the next few days with. We then went to bed in our cabins, listening to all kinds of different animals outside, while once again amazed by where we were in the world!

The following morning, we woke up at 5:30 am to have a quick breakfast and go on our first game drive. We saw so many animals including wildebeests, impalas, kudus, crocodiles, guinea fowl and hyenas! We got out of the truck multiple times to get a closer look at footprints and animal tracks. We also learned many interesting facts from the tour guides about all the animals we saw.

Once we returned from the game drive we left for our second camp. Since it was very hot in the middle of the day, the animals did not come out so we stayed at camp and played card games, continuing to bond with the other schools. Finally in the afternoon, we left for our second game drive. This time, in addition to the animals we saw in the morning, we also saw giraffes! Once the sun had set, we had dinner in an open area in the middle of the Savannah and it was beautiful. That night, we slept in tents in a fairly open area. Our guides told us that it is common for elephants and lions to walk through the campsite during the night. It was a little scary!  Danielle Cutler ’18 and Meghan Fersten ’18

 

 

 

Head’s Blog: Four Flags

IMG_0789If you walk by the front door of LCC’s main school building, you will note that we proudly fly four flags: Canada, Québec, LCC and Round Square. The final one requires some consideration. Although we are a member of many school associations, Round Square is more than a membership; it represents an ethos that underscores our approaches to education. Why is this significant?

Round Square is a global association of nearly 200 schools inspired by Kurt Hahn, an influential educator in Europe pre-WWII. He was a visionary who believed that it is concrete experiences beyond the classroom that have the most profound impact on student growth. Even in the 1930s, he was concerned about what he called “decays” in youth, especially regarding compassion, curiosity and the potential toxicity of entitlement. Hahn was adamant that the adolescent mind was too focused on the self and needed to be shaken and challenged by active learning experiences.

All Round Square schools dedicate time and attention to what have become key areas of focus, the RS IDEALS. This represents a commitment to Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service. These foundational elements exist in all Round Square schools, from Canada to India to Thailand and Argentina, but always interpreted through a local lens.

If one looks at the Round Square flag, the organization’s name is there, but it is off centre, quite intentionally. A key objective of the Round Square ethos is to provide experiences that challenge students’ norms. When grappling with new ideas or experiences, students do broaden and shift their perspectives, preparing them to be more competent and confident global citizens.

During the past decade, membership in Round Square has had a significant impact on LCC students and our school. Through thoughtful discussion and a wide array of concrete experiences (international exchanges, conferences, service, leadership training) students have grown and developed in ways that are profound and lasting.

So now we are ready to welcome the world. In late September of 2018, LCC will host the Round Square International Conference, inviting approximately 450 student and adult delegates from 65-70 schools from around the world. Under the thematic banner of “Bring Your Difference”, together we will investigate the meaning and importance of diversity in today’s world. For a full week, our extended school community will come together to act as hosts and we look forward to everyone’s contribution. Reflect on this next time you walk by our four flags. Perhaps the concrete experience will push us all a little off centre and we will surely be the better for it!

Round Square Regional Conference: Learning to Be My Best Self

RS_ArgentinaThe Round Square Regional Conference of the America’s at Belgrano Day School sadly came to an end on April 25, 2017 – too fast for everyone participating in the conference.

Round Square is something that I have always had an interest in. Its philosophy of uniting six diverse IDEALS (International, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership, Service) into one way of life is unique and definitely something that I wanted to be a part of.

I found out about this conference in Argentina a year ago. I remember having a good feeling about it and instantly wanting to go. After talking to students who had just came back from the conference in LA, I knew that it was something for me. The experiences they had and the lessons they learnt about being well-rounded powerful leaders were ones that I too wanted to embrace. Never did I think that my decision to go would have had such a positive impact on me.

Argentina, even though it is troubled in certain political, economic and social sectors, has a special and unique thing about it that is quite hard to find – a positive environment/atmosphere. From the moment I entered the doors of Belgrano Day School, not once was I subjected to negative energy. Everyone and everything gave off positive energy, fuelling everyone’s happiness throughout the week. Friendships were started with a laugh, hardships were overcome with a hug and tears came purely from laughing too hard. This helped change the conference from being great to being amazing.

During the conference, the delegates had the opportunity to embrace whatever was thrown their way due to the positive and supportive environment of the conference. From the workshops and Ben Walden’s amazing speech to Techo and the Photo Safari Day, these experiences brought us together and taught us about leadership, service and responsibility. They showed us the importance of teamwork and dedication. Techo was truly an eye-opening experience. In the short time we spent there, my barazza and I pooled our efforts to create the base of the house we were constructing. The family it was going to was one that consisted of three lovely ladies – a mother and her two daughters. At the end of the day, even though we were all physically drained, I will never forget the smile on those two little girls’ faces as they ran across the elevated floor. It made every second and every bit of sweat worth it. Their happiness was all we needed to come together and create something life changing for those humble and nice people we got to volunteer for.

My experience went above and beyond the lessons learnt about the IDEALS. I have to admit that this trip was the first one I was experiencing alone. At first, I was slightly scared because I was travelling to South America, a continent so far from home, a place I never thought of visiting. On the day of the opening ceremony, Mr. Page, the former headmaster of Belgrano Day School, made everyone feel welcome by beginning his speech accompanied by four teddy bears. The four teddy bears represented a hug for anyone who was homesick. I thought I would be one of those people needing a teddy to hug. Instead, the opposite happened. In Argentina, I never felt more at home. It’s culture and way of life is very similar to my own as I am part Italian. Right from the beginning, starting with my amazing host family, the Alonsos, I was welcomed with a hug and a huge smile. They were truly one of a kind. They share strong family values and traditions like my own family and the respect they have for each other and others is an example. I felt like I was with my family in Italy and in Montreal. My host family, with their loveable personalities, made my stay in Argentina even more memorable.

If I had to choose the most memorable part of my trip I would choose the wonderful people I met. Over the course of six days, I made friendships that I will keep for life. Whether they were delegates or student leaders, 15 or 17 years old, I connected with all of them. Many friendships started in interesting ways; some were started right in my barazza, with friendly competition when playing field hockey, with playful teasing, and with rock-paper-scissors in the middle of a food court. They made you feel welcome and when you were with them you felt positive. I realized the importance of surrounding oneself with positive people, the importance of having a positive attitude and the effects of positive energy in everyday life. It taught me a lot about myself and who I want to surround myself with. In such a short time we came together and formed a tight bond which I will never forget.

A big thank you goes to all the dedicated and passionate student leaders and organizers of this conference. The memories created are owed to them. With their outgoing, cheerful and friendly personalities, it made the conference successful. Their enthusiasm and smile was contagious and made this experience worth remembering.

This Round Square Conference in Argentina will be remembered forever. It has taught me the importance of service, leadership and leading by example. Most of all, it gave me insight on how to be my best self.

Thank you LCC and Ms. Shadley for this amazing opportunity! – MariaLuisa Vigano ’18

Round Square Regional Conference: Building Houses and Changing Lives

IMG_3934 IMG_4055Saturday April 22:

On the bus ride to build a house today, I thought that I would just be building a simple house. Little did I know that meeting the people who would live in this house, experiencing their way of life, and the hard work I put into this project would affect me so much. 

After getting off the bus, we walked through a town to get to the land which we would be building on. Except this wasn’t a typical town. There were dirt roads, homes without doors and missing bricks, stray cats and dogs everywhere and kids walking around barefoot. It was a complete culture shock. It was crazy to think that just an hour and a half away from the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, life could be so different. 

When we got to the land where we would be building the house, the family that would be living in the house was already waiting for us. A mother and her seven kids, ranging in age from 2 to 19, greeted us. They were so excited and happy to have us with them. For most of the day, I played with the kids. Although they did not speak a word of English, the bond that I created with them will never be forgotten. They tried to teach me some Spanish and I tried to teach them some English. Despite their living conditions, each of them had a smile on their face and were so happy that people were there to play with them. 

The house we built was placed right next to their current house, which is much smaller than the size of an LCC classroom and did not have enough beds for all of the kids to sleep in. The house had a dirt floor and didn’t have a front door or bathroom. 

When we finished putting up the pillars for the floor of the new house, we all wrote messages on the pillars. When the mom wrote her message she started crying and when I wrote my message, I started getting very emotional as well. That was when I truly realized the impact I had on this family. They will have a clean house to live in with wood floors and life will become a lot easier for them. Their lives will be changed forever because of our hard work. 

When it was time to say goodbye, I knew I didn’t want to leave. The little girls came up to me and gave me lots of hugs and kisses and asked me to come back the next day. I wish I could. I wish I could go back everyday and help this family and the millions of others suffering like them as well. 

As we walked on the road to leave, I started crying. This experience was life changing. It made me realize how grateful I am to have everything I do in life and underlined the importance of never taking anything for granted. It makes me sad to think that I will never see these kids again. 

This was an amazing experience and I am beyond happy that I had this opportunity. – Danielle Cutler ’18