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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.


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 …


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.

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.

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Save the date for Association Day

Mark your calendar, UCC families and friends — Association Day (A-Day) is September 23, 2017. A-Day is one of the biggest community events of the entire school year. Join Old Boys, students, parents, past parents and friends of the College for a wonderful day of friendship, fun and UCC spirit.

Here’s coverage from last year’s event.

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Keenan Conlon wins OFSAA tennis championship

Upper Canada College Grade 12 student Keenan Conlon improved upon his third place finish last year to capture the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations high school boys’ tennis championship.

Keenan Conlon tennis

Keenan Conlon on the court.

“I felt I had put in the necessary hours throughout the tennis season to prepare myself for the moment,” says Conlon. “Over three days, I had some tough matches, but I felt like I raised my level at key points during my five matches.”

Conlon was the top seed and went undefeated through the tournament, including 8-3 wins in the semi-finals and final.

“Winning gold was an unforgettable experience, made that much sweeter given that I knew that moment would be the last time that I would don the UCC crest,” says Conlon. “Furthermore, my family has a long history of OFSAA tennis success, including my brothers Alex and PJ, who won a bronze and a silver medal respectively, so to be able to complete the family trophy case is an incredible feeling.”

“Keenan was a terrific ambassador for UCC, showed excellent sportsmanship, and made us and his teammates very proud,” says varsity tennis assistant coach Derek Poon. “He played very well, problem-solving each opponent along the way, battling through all the challenges he faced.”

Vlad Kotov also took part in the singles competition for UCC, while two doubles teams qualified for the tournament.

Kevin Berghuis and Gijs Noteboom won a bronze medal in the open boys’ doubles event while Alex Osipov and Charlie Dunbar had to withdraw from the high school boys’ draw to an ankle injury suffered by Osipov.

Athletics News

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Great results for Prep track and field athletes

Upper Canada College’s U11 and U12 track and field teams both placed first in their divisions to give the school the overall title at the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association (CISAA) championships for their age group.

The U10 team also took part in the May 23 meet at York University.

Brodey Bitove finished first in the U12 80-metre hurdles and set a new city record in high jump for his age group. Davey Seeman set a CISAA record in the U12 800 metres.

Spencer MacInnis set a CISAA record in the U11 javelin event and just missed one in the 200-metre race.

CISAA Prep Track

Action on the track.

JP Mahony set the CISAA record in the U10 200-metre race, while setting a UCC record in the 100 metres. Mahony, Gordon Wu, Cameron Samek and Henry Metcalfe combined to win the U10 four by 100-metre relay. Hunter Vilanez just missed a CISAA record in establishing a school best time in the U10 400 metres. Jonah Dale set a school record in the U10 discus.

UCC’s U13 and U14 teams also competed in a CISAA championship meet at York and had some strong performances.

Ethan Mistry set three UCC records in the U14 400-metre, 800-metre and 1,500-metre races. Colin O’Dwyer set a school record in the U14 shot put.

Jamie Selfe set a school record in the U13 javelin.

Athletics News

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UCC rowers win at prestigious regatta

Upper Canada College rowers had a very successful long weekend, starting with a victory for the boys junior eight crew in Philadelphia.

UCC won the Charles Butt Trophy for the first time in more than 20 years after finishing first in the 91st Stotesbury Cup Regatta on the Schuylkill River. The Stotesbury Cup Regatta is the oldest and longest running scholastic regatta, drawing more than 5,000 competitors from all over the United States and Canada.

The UCC boys competed in timed trials and a semi-final race against more than 50 crews to advance to the final, where it comfortably clinched the title.

“The crew executed the plan for the weekend perfectly,” says head coach Grant Boyd. “They raced with intensity, poise and confidence.

“This is a very good result for the program overall, and for the boys in the crew. This is definitely something we can build off of.”

There was more to celebrate at the South Niagara Rowing Club Regatta in Welland, Ont., where UCC junior rowers captured seven medals.

The 72-kilogram 4+, 72-kilogram 8+ and 8+ teams won gold. The 4x boat captured silver. The 2x, 1x and 4+ teams received bronze medals.

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UCC’s first Varsity Day wins battle with the elements

Upper Canada College’s inaugural Varsity Day may have been dampened by wet and cool weather, but the home teams came out ahead in all of the league matches that were played.

“Varsity Day replaces May Day, which was held annually on a Saturday,” says Lisa Assaf, the co-president of the Blues Booster Club (BBC) along with Carita Sheehy.

“Varsity Day has been in the works for two years and was the idea of the boys to celebrate the spring athletic teams at UCC and provide a social event for the boys, especially those graduating.”

Varsity Day lacrosse

UCC’s varsity lacrosse team lost its exhibition game.

The varsity badminton, rugby and tennis teams won their Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association matches, while the varsity lacrosse team lost an exhibition game against Detroit Catholic Central High School. Exhibition games for the varsity baseball and cricket teams were unfortunately cancelled due to the inclement weather.

Mascot Ice the Husky was in attendance to raise spirits, but the planned activities organized by new Blue Army Generals Calvin Jeffrey and Max Pentland were iced because of the poor weather conditions.

The BBC set up a spirit wear table to sell UCC apparel and almost sold out of its new visors. A Meltdown Cheesery food truck, making its first appearance on campus, drew steady lineups of fans for its gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese.

“Despite the weather, we had some hardcore fans come out,” says Assaf. “Next year we hope to have better weather that will significantly increase fan attendance.”

Athletics News

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Cameron White ‘15 will play NCAA D1 hockey

Former Upper Canada College student Cameron White ‘15 has announced his commitment to attend National Collegiate Athletic Association Division One school St. Lawrence University and play hockey for its team the Saints in 2018.

The former assistant captain of the varsity hockey team has played in the Central Canadian Hockey League for the Ottawa Junior A Senators for the past two seasons, helping lead the team to two successive Bogart Cup final appearances.

White, the son of UCC Prep athletic director Nigel White, is a defenceman who scored five goals and had 16 assists in 134 games with the Junior Senators. He’ll remain with the team for one more year to complete his junior hockey career before moving on to St. Lawrence.

Junior Senators head coach Martin Dagenais calls White “one of the top defensive defencemen in the CCHL” and “a great young man who also leads by example off the ice.”

White played for UCC’s varsity football, hockey and lacrosse teams and earned the Logie Medal in his graduating year. He credits much of his success to his many UCC coaches and has strong words of support for both varsity hockey head coach Carl Beaudoin and former assistant coach Mike Clarke, who he says taught him to be the kind of player that he is today.

White says his time playing varsity hockey at UCC was his most enjoyable experience and invaluable to his development as a player.

“The varsity program allowed me to learn, develop and play against stronger and older players in Prep school programs all over the States. The CISAA league is an incredibly strong league, with many players working to earn a spot on NCAA teams. There is no question in my mind that it is the best place for a UCC student to play if they are looking to play beyond high school.”

White will join former UCC varsity hockey teammates Will Reilly and Matt Baker in playing hockey for Division One universities. Reilly plays for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute while Baker is at Dartmouth College.

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UCC wins third straight CISAA varsity squash title

Upper Canada College’s varsity squash team was the underdog going in but persevered to win its third straight Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletics Association (CISAA) championship on March 1.

The Blues were seeded second at the beginning of the season-ending tournament at Toronto’s Mayfair Lakeshore club and advanced to the final against Crescent School after victories over Ridley College and St. Andrew’s College.

“The stage was set for the CISAA championships, with UCC as defending champions very much in a dark horse role, having lost all three encounters with Crescent this season,” says coach Peter Frost.

UCC’s third and fifth-seeded players won their matches against Crescent while the second, sixth, seventh and eighth-seeded players were defeated. The Blues were down four matches to two and needed to sweep the final three, which were played simultaneously, to retain the championship.

Ninth-seeded Todd Joy and fourth-seeded Griffin Manley came through with victories for UCC, leaving the championship riding on the shoulders of the top seeds from the two schools. UCC’s James Flynn won the first game and was ahead in the second when his opponent, Alex Collins, hurt his ribs in a collision with Flynn while attempting to retrieve a ball.

“Despite attention by the Mayfair Lakeshore physiotherapist, Alex clearly could not continue and, although he gamely attempted to carry on, he was forced to concede the match to James,” says Frost.

It wasn’t the way that Flynn wanted to win the match, but it gave UCC its fifth victory and a narrow 5-4 decision to claim the CISAA title.

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Rowing team acquires barge to help with training

Upper Canada College has had a powerhouse rowing program for years, sending boys on to competitive rowing universities and even Olympic medals.

Now UCC rowers have another weapon in their arsenal to help with their training: a still water teaching barge named “Admiral” John Ashbee in honour of the school’s freshman rowing coach. It’s believed that UCC is the first high school in Canada to have this equipment, which was acquired through generous contributions from past and present members of the College’s rowing community.

Barge walkway

The teaching walkway of the barge.

The dual-hulled barge has multiple seats to accommodate several boys. It provides a stable platform for training and will be especially useful for new rowers, including coxes. It will also enable head coach Grant Boyd to walk up and down the plank so he can examine each rower and better focus on helping them with their form.

“This will help us to develop and encourage our new athletes with a safe and stable platform to work from in developing technique and learning the rowing stroke,” says Boyd.

Boyd added that UCC will also institute “learn to row programs” that previously weren’t possible before acquiring the barge.

In addition to the support of the donors, Boyd also acknowledged Ashbee for being instrumental in making the barge acquisition happen.

UCC rowers had their first race of the 2017 season on Feb. 5 at the Canadian Indoor Rowing Championships at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ont. Raphael Berz placed first in the Junior B Lightweight category and Mathieu Hansen was first in the Junior Novice category. Many other rowers achieved personal bests and placed in the top 10 of their groups.

The outdoor rowing season will begin with the Hoover Regatta in Westerville, Ohio on April 22. More events will follow in May and the season will culminate with the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association national championships at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta Course in St. Catharines, Ont. on June 2.

Athletics News

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UCC finishes third overall in OFSAA swimming

OFSAA Swimming

UCC’s junior swimmers show off the banner they received for winning the OFSAA championship.

Upper Canada College swimmers finished tied for third overall among all 297 schools that took part in the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships in Windsor this week.

UCC, which won three Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association titles on Feb. 22, performed very well in the much larger competition held in Windsor on March 7 and 8.

UCC’s junior boys team finished first among 88 schools with 307 points. In the open boys category, UCC tied for second place with Pierre Elliott Trudeau High School from Markham with 213 points. The senior boys team was third among 106 schools with 215 points.

UCC’s combined total of 735 points put it in a third place tie with Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School from London. What makes this last accomplishment even more impressive for the approximately 20-member UCC team and head coach Vlad Roytberg is that many of the schools competing had both male and female swimmers taking part and adding to their point totals, while the Blues obviously didn’t have any entrants in the women’s races.

Watch the junior 4 x 50-metre freestyle swimming team win the gold medal below:

Athletics News

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