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17 reasons 2015-2016 rocked

To our community,

How’d it get to be the last week of school? With our camps gearing up and your summer plans set to kick off, it’s time for our annual year-end wrap-up—once again brought to you “BuzzFeed”-style, our version of the popular website.

This review of the year’s highlights is anchored by videos and links to our news stories from the past year, including incredible student and faculty achievement, plus some milestone events sure to go down in UCC history.

Spoiler alert: Take a wild guess what the biggest news of the year is? Hint: You might want to take a peek at this illustrated keepsake book we assembled as a parting gift for Dr. Jim Power. It’s a decade’s worth of his famed “Power Point” blogs.

Best wishes from UCC. Have a great summer.

17 Reasons This Year Rocked

#17 There’s a new guy in town

September means back to school — but it’s also back to Canada for our 19th principal, Sam McKinney. Originally from St. Catharines, Ont., and the son of school teachers, McKinney was deputy headmaster and head of senior school at St. Peter’s College in Adelaide, South Australia. He moves into Grant House with wife Rose and his three sons Jack ’17, Connor ’19 and Charles ’20 on July 1. We look forward to giving him a warm UCC welcome and he looks forward to getting to know you and all the boys in September.

#16 Board-chair baton is passed

Yep, it was hard to imagine what UCC would be like without Andy Burgess’ ceaselessly energetic presence and high-energy passion for the Think Ahead Campaign. But in a short time Russ Higgins has brought his own panache to the role—with his deft steering of the principal search committee and his impeccable presentation skills.

#15 We keep the medal haul coming.

Our athletes like the sound of the word “victory.” A big Blue Army cheer goes out to every one of you. Our recent spring successes include rowing, golf, tennis and cricket but we celebrated an incredible year across the board at the recent spirit of athletics assembly. (We only have room to list championship titles here, but a huge shout-out to every single one of our athletes.):

Prep: CISAA champions included U10C Soccer, U11B Soccer, U11A Soccer, U12 Volleyball, U14 field hockey (undefeated season) U14 and U16 swimming, U10 A/B/C Basketball, U12A Basketball (perfect 25-0 season), U12B Basketball, U12 (D3 Tournament Champions), U13B Basketball, U14 Lacrosse, U11 Basketball, U13 Rugby

Upper School: CISAA champions include Varsity Soccer (also CAIS champions), Varsity Football, Cross-Country U14 team, Varsity and U14 Swimming: CISAA Champions, Varsity Squash, U14 and U16 Tennis, Varsity Badminton, Varsity Cricket, Varsity Track & Field, U14 Lacrosse, Rowing: CSSRA National Championships (three golds)
*Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association (CISAA)

#14 Our Model UN ups its game (if that’s even possible) on its quest to rule the world.

The accomplishments just kept coming for our Model United Nations club. Our team took the “best club” award what’s considered the “Super Bowl” of Model UNs, the University of California, Berkeley Model United Nations in March.

This means our team has won a best delegation award at every major conference attended over the past three years including Harvard University early this spring.

#13 We make beautiful music together.

Prep bands were three for three at music festivals this year, winning multiple gold awards at each event among other prizes. The concert band, wind ensemble and jazz band all won gold awards in the Montreal Heritage Festival in April and at the London Festival of Music in May, and the wind ensemble won gold and the concert band took silver at the Ontario Band Association Festival in February.

#12 Upper School unveils “classy” renovations and more.

It’s a big change from last summer—when our Upper School was a construction zone. Flexibly designed classrooms set a new stage for inspiration each day. A wide-open foyer unites the sightlines of our Upper School and boarding houses. Plus we’ve got revamped science labs, locker rooms, a new Prep playground and sportscourt.

#11 Our debaters are never at a loss for words.

If you’ve ever watched them in action, you’ll know they’re not to be messed with. They’ve got an answer for everything—and the results prove it.

#10 Our blogosphere bleeds Blue.

Our tight-knit community translates online in a big way, including over 443,000 visits to our web sites, and approximately 21,000 likes on our Facebook posts. Thanks to you all for keeping up with us on social media, on our news page and on our new sports site Go Blues.

#9 Refugee crisis? We heed the call.

Thanks to you we raised $50,000 to sponsor a Syrian family (arriving this fall). We kicked things off with a panel discussion on the crisis helmed by UCC parent and journalist Susan Ormiston. We also invited Syrian kids, waiting for proper homes in nearby hotels, to join us for two play days—complete with Timbits and ice skating. The World Affairs Conference also tackled the issue. We can’t solve it. But we can do our part.

#8 Guys, we hope you appreciate your parents as much as we do.

The Arts Booster Club goes all out for Nuit Bleue. You support our teams through the Blues Booster Club. You throw great dinner-theatre parties, teach our Prep kids about Chinese New Year, volunteer for all our annual events and work tirelessly for our parents’ organizations. You make us all look good and we thank you.

#7 The (Old) Boys are Back in Town.

NHL hockey player Colin Greening ’05 is back in Toronto as a Maple Leaf winger. The boys were thrilled to welcome him as a speaker at the recent year-end “Spirit of Athletics” assembly.  You can read all about him on the “All-Star Alumni” section of our new Go Blues website.

Among other alumni speakers, Greg Eckler ’87 wins UCC’s “funniest assembly speaker in a long time” award. One of The Rick Mercer Report’s head writers, Eckler spoke in April.

#6 Gentleman and a scholar

We’ll brag on his behalf. Kaleem Hawa ’12 was one of 89 Rhodes Scholars selected worldwide in 2015. (Eleven were Canadians.) It’s perhaps the most prestigious academic award in the world and UCC has 25 alumni on the list. (Our archivist is working to confirm if that’s a Canadian school record.) Hawa heads to Oxford University this fall.

#5 We’re great neighbours—and we serve 1,000 of them lemonade.

More than 1,000 curious Torontonians, would-be UCC families and even former faculty stopped by for a self-guided tour as part of the perennially popular province-wide Doors Open event on May 29. It’s the third time we’ve taken part—and everyone, even veteran employees, learned a thing or two about the College. (Did you know the bell in our chapel is one of the few surviving artifacts from our first school at King and Simcoe Streets?)

#4 We hit the mark — the $104.2 million mark that is.

It was official on Nov. 21. A community-wide “Luminous” party celebrated the wrap-up of our unprecedented Think Ahead Campaign—the biggest in Canadian independent school history. More than 7,000 contributed to the total, with 2,500 parents taking part. What a ride—and what incredible results. We thank you.

#3 Did YOU save a species today?

Our teachers moonlight as many things—savior of Australia’s most endangered freshwater fish, working artist/exhibitor and innovator in pedagogical research, to name a few.

#2 Goodbye to veteran faculty

…and leading up to the big goodbye—some other big farewells.
Leaving UCC this year are longtime faculty members Marshall Webb, Mary Gauthier and Lorne Young. We sent them off with an outpouring of well-wishes and wished them all the best.

#1 You guessed it… Headlining our newsfeed this year—farewell to Dr. Jim Power.

If we’d done it our way there’d have been fireworks and much more. As it was, we sent our principal off with a low-key pop-up Starbucks kiosk in our newly renovated Bernick Family Foyer. He delivered his final assembly speech to the boys on June 6. Best wishes to Mary, Bridget, Patrick, Seamus, Liam, Aidan, Peyton and Jimmer. We’ll miss you.

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