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Top 15 Ways UCC Rocked in 2016-17

To our UCC community,

From start to finish, the UCC news desk runneth over with amazing stories this year. And, once again, it’s time to take stock of all the excellence, fun and community building.

This year-end “highlights reel” is brought to you annually, BuzzFeed style, anchored by all the top news, videos and images we’ve shared on Facebook and our news feed over the year.

NOTE: If you’re not familiar with BuzzFeed, you need to click on any blue text to read the full story from our 2016-17 archive.

Best wishes from UCC. Have a great summer.

15 Reasons UCC Ruled in 2016-17

15. You’re the best bunch of “consultants” a school could wish for.

Close to 1,000 UCC community members volunteered their wisdom, #UCCgoals and constructive feedback as we crafted our new strategic directions in 2016–17. Kicked off by the first-ever Old Boy Summit in October, Principal Sam McKinney and the senior leadership team consulted widely with parents, staff, faculty and students, to create a preferred future that hits the right mark.

14. Norval knows innovative stuff happens when boys get to “take it outside.”

Bees aren’t doing so well, maybe you’ve heard. After Norval installed a new hive with plexiglass windows, Grade 7 student Tushar Arora was inspired to set up a fund to stop “colony collapse.” And art also gets pretty inspired outdoors—like our Grade 8s’ “land art” — best viewed by drone. There’s a saying: “The more separated people are from nature the more comfortable they are destroying it.” So, way to go Norval.

13. Want to live forever? Our guys are working on it.

We already host Canada’s oldest annual, student-run world affairs conference. And we want to keep that title going. Enter this year’s World Affairs Conference keynote, by radical life-extension expert Aubrey deGrey. Does he hold the secret to eternal youth? Get back to us in 2117.

12. Principal Sam McKinney’s officially not the “new guy” anymore.

One thing’s clear. Sam McKinney is a people person with lots of heart and big plans for helping boys become their “best selves.” His installation ceremony in November made it official. Our Canadian-via-Australia principal is now a fully repatriated Canuck. (He’s also a new “UCC past-parent”; eldest son Jack is Class of 2017.)

11. Fake news? No way. Our debaters are the real deal.

debate

These politically informed, linguistically gifted students make us proud—and could teach a certain world leader a thing or two about oration. They placed second at the National Oxford Cup Debate Tournament in November, second at the Ontario Student Debating Union Provincial Championships in February; and second at the National Debating Championships in April. Remarkable.

10. Our Model UN brings its A-Game—four years running.

model UN

Our mighty Model United Nations earns “best delegation” at the Secondary Schools MUN Symposium for the fourth year; “Best International Delegation” at the Harvard MUN; and a “Best Club” award at the Berkeley MUN. Gentlemen, you’re quite a team.

9. Goodbye Cookie. Hello Ice!

Ice Mascot

Our beloved mascot almost made it into the storied Quarter Century Club. Alas, after two decades of spirit-raising, his plushness just wasn’t what it was. After student voting — sorry to contenders “Blue Army Man,” “Mooster Blue” and “Brix the Bull” — Ice debuted at Winterfest.

8. Our boys know it’s ok to not feel ok.

zach address

As our new strategic plan gears up for an amplified focus on boys’ well-being, our health centre scheduled special wellness events with stress-busting activities in 2016-17. And Old Boy Zach Schwartz ’05 addressed Upper School assembly for Mental Health Awareness Week with an urgent message — that’s it’s ok to feel not ok.

7. Our teachers have hidden talents and big ideas.

faculty update

Did you know Julian Bauld is UCC’s official poet laureate? (See him read his special Leaving Class poem in the above video or read it here). Or that Rachel Metalin leads the only non-denominational Holocaust education trip in Canada? Or that Allison Macrae made headlines for publicizing the danger of cars speeding on residential streets? Or that Catherine Erb brought Latin to life by having students create and bury artifacts as part of a real-life dig?

6. We live for the applause …

applause

Silver and gold for Prep concert and jazz ensembles. Stand-up hilarity at our third mother-son dinner theatre. A sparkling Nuit Bleue. Insanely professional-calibre theatrical productions. The boys couldn’t do it without our committed Arts Booster Club and our incredibly passionate theatre faculty.

5. We know how to roll out the red carpet

red carpet

It was a day of pomp — and special security — when Governor General David Johnston presented the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award to 60 deserving young Canadians in Laidlaw Hall. Adair Simpson ’16 was one. (A shout out to the Prep choir for a great job of “O’ Canada.”)

4. Canada-wide Science Fair medalist? Check.

science fair

It was the top Prep-student news of 2016-17. Grade 7 student Kevin Lui earned bronze at the Canada-wide Science Fair for his work on pollution levels in river systems after placing first at the Toronto regionals. His wisdom? “If one has an idea, no matter how seemingly ridiculous, one should nurture and develop that idea.”

3. We’re gearing up for new Middle Years Program.

MYP Update

It’s the last piece of the International Baccalaureate puzzle. When we’re authorized to deliver the MYP in 2019, we’ll be the only boys’ school in North America to deliver all three IB programs. Its ethos, “learning to learn” is way more important than pure facts, and far more essential for tomorrow’s grads; they’ll be ready.

2. So much YES! Our teams keep bringing it.

Athletic roundup

Team work, persistence and gracefulness in defeat—these qualities stand hand in hand with victory — and you all deserve a big Blue Army cheer. Our recent spring sports successes include tennis, track and field, squash and rowing. And we celebrated an incredible year across the board at the recent spirit of athletics assembly. Thanks to the hard work of the Blues Booster Club and coaches for all they do. We only have room to list championship titles here, but a huge shout-out to every one of our athletes.

CISAA:
Prep:
U11B/U12/U131D soccer, junior golf, U14D2 volleyball, U12 hockey, U13/boys overall swim, U12 softball, U11/U12/boys overall track and field

Upper School: varsity football, varsity soccer, midget cross country, U14 hockey, varsity squash, varsity swimming, U16 tennis, varsity cricket

OFSAA:varsity swimming junior team, men’s single tennis

Other: Stotesbury Cup rowing regatta; Gold Medal Junior Varsity Heavyweight Eight Crew (first since 1993)

1. Make us an offer: Flood of scholarships for Leaving Class.

Leaving Class Scholarships

It’s been an exceptional year for our graduating class—with six major entrance awards. (Typically the class will get one or two.) We’re super-proud. Plus, our Leaving Class parents are tops too—with a record-breaking participation rate for the Leaving Class gift — the highest in six years; we’re 60 per cent over target, with $120,000 raised.