UCC celebrates academic achievement

The College held its first in-person Upper School Prize Day since 2019 with great enthusiasm on Oct. 19. 
Laidlaw Hall was filled with families, faculty, staff and students as the awards for academic achievement were handed out. 

The event began with music chair Tony Gomes conducting the wind ensemble in an arrangement of O Canada; the ensemble also performed at the midpoint of the evening with Greek Folk Song Suite by Franco Cesarini.

After an introduction by Ian Ye, academic steward, Principal Sam McKinney welcomed the community.

“Over our 194-year history, academics has sat at the very core of a UCC education,” he said. “Indeed, since our very foundation in 1829, the delivery of a liberal and extensive course of instruction of the highest quality has been a central purpose…It is, therefore, only right and proper that we gather this evening to celebrate the academic accomplishments and endeavours of our students.”

Dr. Julia Kinnear, academic dean, also offered her congratulations to all the awardees and followed by asking everyone to think of a truly meaningful learning experience of their own.

“What most people think about is a moment of challenge or failure — an event where they came out the other side with more wisdom, strength and humility,” Kinnear said. “Making mistakes and failing is an important part of a person’s eventual growth and success.” 

She urged the community to celebrate “the really outstanding qualities of diligence, persistence and courage that our own students have shown.”

Paul Miskew, chair of the design department, delivered the evening’s keynote address, focusing on the importance of lifelong learning. 

Miskew recalled his first day of teaching and the words of his supervisor: “‘Education is like good food; it should be savoured,’” to which Miskew added, “and not rushed.” He urged the students to take pleasure in their learning, focusing on the journey.

“It doesn’t matter what the [subject of the] learning is, just keep doing it.”

He also marvelled at the learning that takes place when people collaborate, as they often do in a classroom.

“It is when we draw the threads [of ideas] together, leaning on each other’s understanding, that we find solutions, and, for me at least, joy.”

Miskew encouraged students to “watch and observe, but also to keep doing, because that’s how your skills will grow. We want you to become someone who is prepared to learn for life and to act on his ideas.”

As the community absorbed the speakers’ thoughtful reflections, the ceremony itself began. Applause flowed as students were called to the stage to be recognized for achieving excellence along their learning journeys.
The word experience The UCC Difference