Student Town Hall Focused on Black Lives Matter & Racial Hatred

On Monday, June 8 we had the opportunity to participate in a virtual town hall meeting focused on the Black Lives Matter movement and racial hatred. We started the discussion by splitting up into smaller groups and talking about the definitions of terms like racism, structural racism, status quo and white privilege. We learned that defining these terms is the first step to educating ourselves about issues of racial injustice and participating in discussions about them. However, we soon came to realize that we could never reduce the centuries of oppression and discrimination faced by the black community to just a simple definition.

We concluded the session by watching some clips of an interview conducted by Hotchkiss School with DeRay Mckesson, a civil rights activist who is a leading voice on the Black Lives Matter movement. This provided us with statistics and laws related to police brutality and impunity and what policies need to be introduced to fight the racism so deeply rooted inside the criminal justice system. We learned about allyship and how we as high schoolers can involve ourselves to support this movement. The first step is to become an ally and extend our sympathies, then move on to become an accomplice by realizing that we have the power to push things in ways that other people don’t. Finally, we can become co-conspirators by asking ourselves “what am I ready to put on the line to support this movement”?

To anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the black experience in America and wants to know how to be a helpful ally, accomplice or even a co-conspirator, we recommend watching his interview.

Through this discussion, we discovered how vast this problem is and quickly concluded that we will never be able to cover every aspect in just an hour and a half. We are looking forward to many more discussions in the future, to broaden our perspectives and to gain a better understanding of the experiences of black people in Canada and around the world.

Not only does there need to be large-scale action taken in response to supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement but we also must educate ourselves on the centuries of oppression faced by people of African descent. We are very grateful to the teachers who put time and effort into organizing this and giving us the opportunity to gain a better perspective. We have a duty to continuously educate ourselves and we encourage everyone to invest time in these issues both over the summer holidays as well as in the next school year, for example by joining the new social justice club.

We ask again, how much are you willing to put on the line?


Written by Savini Goel ‘21 and Mareike Hofstee ’21

Global Student Leadership Day Fuels Inspiration

GSLD2020The Global Student Leadership Day (GSLD) was an incredible experience. It consisted of 32 amazingly talented speakers from around the world. Although it wasn’t possible for the conference to take place in London, the speakers still managed to connect with the students watching online. Personally, I felt very connected to the speakers because it was as if they were speaking to me face to face. The fact that the conference took place online did not take anything away from the overall experience. I was very grateful to attend the conference because it helped me a lot with my current state of mind. As a grade 11 student, I will inevitably have to make a few big decisions in the next upcoming years. What will I study? Where will I go? What will I do? With the guidance of the GSLD speakers, I was able to engage in some self-reflection. I started to think about what is important to me and what’s not. In consequence, I am now making much better use of my time in quarantine. Now, I feel like everything I do is with a purpose. I consider myself lucky to have attended some very inspirational, motivational, engaging and persuading presentations by exemplary people. I learned a lot about the fundamentals of being a leader.

One of my favourite presentations was from by Vinh Giang. I have never been so captivated by a speaker in my life. Funny enough, Mr. Giang opened his presentation with a magic trick. What does magic have to do with leadership? I had no clue, but I was very interested. It turns out Vinh Giang’s presentation was about voice articulation. He mentioned that it is probably the most underrated and powerful tool that a human has. Likewise, Giang stated that with proper voice articulation, you demonstrate confidence and professionalism (which are leaders’ qualities). All in all, this was a very eye-opening experience and I really enjoyed it. – Maxwell Kaspy ’20

Let’s Lift Every Voice and Sing

2019_2020_SS_MS_Assembly_Black_History_Month_001Today is our final assembly in February, which makes it the final assembly we have this year during Black History Month. In honour of that, we have a special performance from grade 11 students Isabella Taite, Sascha Ouaknine and Justin Fisher. They’ll be singing Lift Every Voice and Sing, which was originally written as a poem in 1900 by civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson. With the help of his brother, it was turned into a song, and it became the official song of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The significance of the song became so great that it’s widely considered to be the black national anthem.

I went to school in the US when I was younger, and I used to sing this song in my elementary school with my classmates. My music teacher was adamant about educating the youth of today, and she would preach to us about the history of our country: what we were obliged to know and what we had the right to feel. The people she taught us about, the songs, the poems, and this one in particular, were so powerful and so pressing that I remember some of my classmates, in the second or third grade, would cry. I think the importance of remembering and keeping the past with us as we move forward is often overlooked. It’s easy to passively accept something without actively acknowledging it, so today we acknowledge it.

Lift Every Voice and Sing, is a song to acknowledge the past, but also to look forward to the future with hope. During the heat of the civil rights movement, it became a song that was performed around the nation, that was an anthem for all people to unite together and to strive for a proud and equal future. It took the place of the Star-Spangled Banner, which created to represent all Americans, but actualized to represent really only one event or moment. The Star-Spangled Banner doesn’t speak to the other struggles that went on in the US. It doesn’t speak to those whose hardships went unrecognized, it doesn’t speak to all the people. And here came Lift Every Voice and Sing, which is an anthem made to recognize all the people, to unite us all. So today, we remember. – Isabelle Whittall ’20


Lift ev’ry voice and sing,
‘Til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on ’til victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
‘Til now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.


The Positive Effects of Caring, Backed by Science

February 14 is Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love, and February 17 is the Random Acts of Kindness Day. So, I have chosen to focus on the IB Learner Profile Trait that ties all of these things together: Caring. I am hoping that all of you recognize yourself in this trait:


We can associate the term caring with love, and Valentine’s Day has become the day to celebrate love. As a historian, I am often interested in the origins of such a tradition, so in doing some research, I discovered that Valentine’s Day has its beginnings as a pagan festival in ancient Rome, although it was in the Middle Ages that February 14 became associated with love. Over time, the date developed into the day we now see celebrated by exchanging valentine cards, and in some cases, chocolates and flowers. Here at LCC, candygrams are being sold so that you can send a candy and a card to your friends. Yes, it’s lovely that we set aside one day a year to celebrate love but think about it, there are 365 days in a year – 366 in a leap year, like this year. If we only celebrate love on one day out of all those days, what a waste of the other days! I would suggest that we celebrate caring every day of the year, with maybe just a bigger celebration on February 14. Think about what that could look like for you – daily acts of caring towards your family, your friends, your teachers, maybe even to people you don’t know personally, but who need empathy and respect too. That could be a lot of caring acts.

So, how could you do this? Many schools have a community service requirement for students. In the real world, or the world outside school, this requirement isn’t as common. However, many of your teachers engage in service not because we have to, but because we want to. For me, while I wasn’t required by my school, I still did it. I learned the importance of service from my parents, who were both involved in many community groups and activities. I may not have recognized it at the time, but my parents set a strong example for how to care for others besides yourself. They did this not simply by donating money to charitable organizations, but by giving of their time and skills. While it’s easy to pay a toonie on a Casual Dress Day, even if you don’t realize that the toonie goes to a charity of some sort, it’s a lot more challenging to give your time to help others. It’s also a lot more rewarding.

When my daughters were infants, I found out about an organization that worked with orphanages in China, started by a woman who had adopted a baby from China. This organization works with the staff at orphanages to make sure that the orphans are well taken care of. I began to donate money to the organization as a way of supporting them. I would often make a donation in the names of my children’s teachers. In fact, I still do that. The organization made it easy – they have a website where I can make a donation with my credit card. It takes only a few minutes of my time, and I feel good doing something to support what they do for orphans. It’s almost as easy as you paying a toonie for Casual Dress Day.

Then, I found a way to provide my time in service to this organization. They were looking for volunteers to help them with editing work for reports that they published regularly. On a regular basis, I would be sent pages and pages of reports to edit according to the guidelines the organization provided. It was not exciting work, but it felt worthwhile. I was providing a service that the organization would otherwise have to pay someone to do. Plus, I liked reading the reports about the children, especially knowing that what I was doing was in service to them.

The next time you pay a toonie on a Casual Dress Day, I challenge you to take a moment to think about the organization that it is going to support, and think about how you could support that organization or another one like it, with your time and effort – with your service.

There you have it – being caring, every day of the year, not just on February 14, can benefit you and the people to whom you show kindness. As this video shows, there’s science to prove it. Being of service to others can encourage more people to do this, and as we live the IB Learner Profile trait of Caring, we can make the world a better place for everyone, while bringing to life our school motto of Non Nobis Solum – not for ourselves alone.

Constance McGuire, Director of Academics

Works Cited

Dutton, Lenny. “Focus: IB Learner Profile – Caring.” Https://, 3 Nov. 2019,

“The Science of Kindness.” The Science of Kindness, 17 Nov. 2017,

Head’s Blog: Experiential Learning in Cuba

Headmaster Chris Shannon is on a two-month sabbatical. Currently, he is learning Spanish in Cuba.

Chris_Shannon_Cuba_Spanish_ClassI’m now halfway through a three-week course in Spanish in Havana, trying to awaken long-dormant Spanish vocabulary and grammar first learned years ago in high school. Sitting in a class has been both challenging and refreshing. It gives me great respect for what all of our LCC students do daily and it is a reminder that deep learning of new material is a lot of effort — it’s hard!

The Barclay Language School is only two years old. Like a lot of new ventures in Havana, it appeals to extranjeros (foreigners) and our coveted hard currency. Despite notable shortages of goods and lots of visible decay in the city, the entrepreneurial spirit is emerging with this young generation of Cubans. Classmates come from all over the world — some for a week, some for a month. To survive, the language school partners with a salsa dance school. So there’s a lot of interesting energy in our narrow one-floor building. Classes are in the morning and afternoons are for exploring the city and practising Spanish with locals. More on my discoveries to come. Hasta luego! – Christopher Shannon (Pre-U ’76), Headmaster