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Association Day draws rave reviews

It was a good omen when the sun was out and the temperature was in the high teens as folks started arriving for the new parent breakfast at Weston Hall at 8 a.m. on Sept. 28, and things only got better through the rest of Upper Canada College’s 35th annual Association Day.

The Blue Army led a parade of energetic Prep students up the avenue to the Upper School front steps for opening ceremonies and remarks from principal Jim Power, head of Prep and Upper Schools Don Kawasoe, Association Council president Jim Garner, A-Day chairs Jill Carmichael Adolphe, Johanne Dotsikas and Lucas Atkins, and head steward Andrew Callahan.

Activity was brisk at the booths and stalls lined up along the east-west road leading into the front of the Deer Park campus, as attendees purchased food from The Jon Wookey Market, the snack shack (which raised $2,035) and a handful of UCC clubs, as well as fresh produce grown in the Prep learning garden. They also scooped up free ice cream and popcorn from Greg’s and Kernels respectively. The Norval Outdoor Education Centre had a larger presence than normal, owing to the 100th anniversary celebration it will host on Sunday, Oct. 6. Three large Norval birthday cakes were cut up and served to anyone who wanted a slice.

The north-south avenue was full of interested people: getting information about the Think Ahead campaign and Upper School renovations while picking up free swag; learning about the Blues Booster Club, Prep Parents’ Organization and Parents’ Organization; watching and taking part in art demonstrations promoted by the Arts Booster Club; admiring the 1956 Chevrolet Deluxe 210 Handyman Wagon (which raised $24,100 for the Class of 1970 Scholarship Fund in an online auction); and purchasing books from Scholastic.

Bidding was hot and heavy for the array of items available in the silent auction, including gift certificates, flights, sports tickets, lessons, food and catering, books, wine, clothing, spa sessions and much more. All the winning bids added up to $21,000, which went towards offsetting the costs of A-Day.

Young ones who didn’t burn off all of their energy bouncing in the inflatable amusements and playing games in the expanded Kidzone used it to drench faculty and staff members in the ever-popular dunk tank, which raised almost $1,340 for the 2014 leaving class gift. Children could also launch balloon rockets and watch how far they travelled.

A-Tunes @ A-Day was a new addition this year, and it proved very popular with people as it showcased the musical talents of both UCC students and faculty members. The St. Jamestown YC Steel Orchestra was back again, and young Keith Moon wannabes could test their drumming speeds to round out A-Day’s music component.

Hundreds of hamburgers, hot dogs and sausages were sold as part of a barbecue lunch in a large tent in the Prep parking lot which raised $4,800, and another $1,845 came from a hospitality area on the Simon and Kit Leung Terrace that satisfied those desiring a beer or two while they talked with friends and watched the varsity soccer and football games.

A major announcement was made just prior to the varsity football game as it was revealed that, after a year of requested anonymity, Old Boy Stu Lang ’70 had stepped forward as the $11-million donor that represents the largest single gift in Canadian independent school history. The donation in support of financial assistance is the leadership gift in UCC’s $100-million Think Ahead campaign, which has now raised $80.8 million.

In honour of Lang’s gift, UCC will launch the Lang Scholar Program to ensure a legacy of furnishing current students with leadership and other character development opportunities.

Sports have always been a big part of A-Day, and that was certainly the case again this year. Prep Soccerfest pitted the various colour houses against each other in a morning tournament, while Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association competitions took place between UCC and other schools in various age groups in soccer, volleyball and football. The home teams came away with an impressive record of 11 wins, two ties and two losses.

Old Boys also got in on the action at the Michael Evan Jurist Memorial Tennis Tournament, Allan Harris Old Boys Soccer Tournament and a ball hockey game between the graduating classes of 1978 and 1983.

Separate receptions were held at noon for Old Boys from the leaving classes of 1963 and 1988, who received 50- and 25-year ties respectively. A reunion dinner was held in the evening for Old Boys from all graduating classes with years ending in three or eight, which capped off a full day on campus and brought another A-Day to a close.

Here are some photos that captured the enthusiasm of A-Day: