ADDRESS FROM STRUAN ROBERTSON (INTERIM) HEAD OF SCHOOL TO GRADUATING CLASS
Good morning Class of 2019. Congratulations on making it to this very special day.
Good morning Parents, family members and friends of the Class of 2019 - you too have made it to this very special day and I think it is important to recognize your role in supporting your graduate today and in the journey to get here.
Good morning Faculty and Staff of The York School. Thank you for all the time and energy you have spent preparing our graduates for today, for helping them achieve their academic and personal potential and for being a truly amazing group of educators. I am deeply humbled to work with you each and every day.
One of my favourite things to do as Head of School is to pick the brains of our grads…. Tough to do in 9 weeks, but Georgia, Simon and I have quickly bonded over a few lunches. They have provided me with fantastic ideas for a successful transition including adding the quarter zip to the uniform and attending the Grad Retreat up at Camp New Moon. This was truly one of the highlights of my year. As the New Guy, watching and listening to you share the bonds you’ve made with each other and the impact The York School has had on your lives was inspirational. The web of yarn you created was something I wish we could bottle and share with new York families.
For your parents - well….. let me just say - you would have cried.
It is clear that this is a tight graduating class…. Not to mention some of the things I learned during Family Feud... Jonah - first billionaire, Gabe taking over from Steve Harvey and who was the couple that are going to be married by age 19?
While you are all clearly comfortable with each other and in your own skin at The York School, my remarks this morning focus on offering you some advice for the next challenge each of you will face, whether it is in September at university or if you are taking a gap year, or where ever you find yourself in the Fall. It is about being The Newbie. Because next year, you will all experience being the newbie. It doesn’t matter if you are heading off to McGill or Queen’s or Western or where ever with a great friend from York…. you will still be The Newbie.
So Class of 2019, I am offering you my Top 5 Tips for Being the Newbie, from the new guy….. tested here at the York School over the past 9 weeks!
My first tip for being the newbie is to Smile. Smiling is a universal language that cuts across all cultures, borders and boundaries. I remember heading off to Dalhousie, my parents put me on a plane with 2 hockey bags and said “good luck”. I remember arriving at Halifax airport and not having a clue about where the campus was or how to get there. I smiled at a girl at the baggage carousel and she smiled back. We ended up sharing a cab to the campus and remained friends for all 4 years of university. It all started with a smile (and my parents being really excited for me to move out of our house!!).
My second tip for being the newbie is to always assume positive intent. This tip has served me well in life - similar to the idea of the glass half full vs or half empty. By assuming positive intent, you are able to see the good in people, in situations and in life and I often find it energizes you. Let me give you an example: the first time I took Simon and Georgia for lunch with Ms. Charley, was April 10th. I had been the interim head for a week and we walked down to the Woodlawn to grab some food. No sooner had we ordered, I realized that I had left my wallet back in my office….. how embarrassing! I made my order and then excused myself to run back to the office and get my wallet. As I walked outside, I knew I had to run…. Georgia and Simon could be looking out the window… I had said I would run….. So I ran! A world record time…. To the school and back in 2.5 minutes…. And Simon had in fact watched me run from the window… assuming positive intent (and ensuring I wasn’t sticking them with the bill for lunch).
My third tip for being the newbie, is to show empathy. As a Junior School Principal, one of the stories I’ve always told parents on the first day of school is about lunch in the cafeteria. Picture it…. Your Third Grader goes through the cafeteria getting their food and then are faced with the monumental task of finding a seat in a sea of unfamiliar faces. Scary!!!
You will go through this in September. I always reminded parents that if their child had found ONE familiar face in the lunchroom, then it was a successful first day.
Remember that. And more importantly - Grads - remember to invite, in fact, stand up and invite that person that you will see scanning the crowd nervously on the first day in the cafeteria. That would be the York thing to do. That would be something I feel confidently the Class of 2019 would do.
My fourth tip for being the Newbie is to get involved. Whatever you do, don’t mix up the cool guy card with the New Guy Card. When in doubt, play the newbie. Sign up for intramurals, or clubs or the band or try-out for a team or the choir…. Something that involves others and will get you involved in the life of the school immediately. Being active is good for you. Think back to all the examples you used at the Grad Retreat last week - sports, teams, arts, band, MUN, clubs etc. The list goes on and on - so many of you mentioned the opportunities you’ve been afforded in attending the York School. The cool thing about university is that the opportunities are even bigger - you can reinvent yourself or try something completely different…. A fresh start - kind of exciting - even for the newbie.
And my final tip for being the newbie….. Know when to ask for help. If there is one thing I can guarantee about university is that you will need help. You will experience some sort of challenge, of failure…. Whether it is really big or really small….. You will need to ask for help.
And let me be clear - this is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of maturity... of confidence… of strength….. of knowing yourself and knowing what you need to be successful. Be confident in yourself even when you fail. I have always found that the best learnings in life have come from failure. I like to call this failing forward….. Asking for help often guides you to fail forward instead of simply fail.
And so Class of 2019 - there you have it. 5 tips for being the newbie… from the new guy:
Always assume positive intent
Get involved and finally….
Ask for help
If you follow that simple advice, I believe you will have a successful transition to university next year or in the coming years. I look forward to welcoming you back, to hearing about your successes and just as importantly, your failures and how the York School prepared you for taking on the world.
My very best wishes to you all.
Interim Head of School
10 percent of the graduating class is off to an Ivy League School. 100 percent are on to bright futures.
You are the PRIDE of The York School!
Future city builders
Future film makers and dancers
Future health care professionals and scientists
Future change agents for social responsibility
Future Engineers and architects
They will leave The York School with confidence, not afraid of hard work, and keen to make a positive contribution to the world. We could not be more proud of our graduates, IB thinkers through and through!
SAVE THE DATE JUNE 12 - CELEBRATION OF I.C.E.
Please join us on Wednesday, June 12th at 6:30 PM for our annual ICE Pics celebration. The students are looking forward to sharing their culminating projects and Challenge Week documentaries. Thanks to Mikayla for creating the beautiful invitation. We look forward to to seeing you there!
The ICE Teachers
SAVE THE DATE - CLOSING CEREMONY - JUNE 14
From final exams to graduation celebrations , the dance card is full as we wrap up an epic year!
Therein, don’t forget to mark your calendars for The York School Closing Ceremonies at 1320 Yonge.
MIDDLE SCHOOL - 9:00 - 10:15
SENIOR SCHOOL - 1:00 - 2:30
Check your school section & calendar for more information and we will provide more details next week.
CLASS PARENT RECRUITMENT FOR 2019-20
Class parents play an essential role in keeping our school community strong by engaging parents in their class and keeping them updated on school events.
Class Parents are the liaisons between the school and the parents in their class. Class Parents are typically asked to serve for approximately 2 years. Each homeroom will have two class parents. To ensure continuity for a succession plan, if possible, each homeroom will ideally have one experienced class parent and one new class parent. If parents require additional help to plan parties, it is helpful to create parent groups for specific events.
UNIFORM GUIDE FITTING APPOINTMENTS
For new and transitioning families that need to, we hope that you have booked your uniform fitting for June 10, 11 or 12.
For a complete list of uniform items and requirements, please read the Uniform Guide.
All uniform items must be purchased online through TopMarks:
1. Visit https://topmarksorders.ca/
2. Go to “Online Orders”
3. Enter school code: YOR01
4. Create your account
5. Take your own measurements or book a fitting appointment June 10, 11 or 12, 2019. The fitting appointments will take place at the Junior School Cafeteria at 1639 Yonge Street.
Topmarks has also prepared an order form package outlining the process. The link can be found here
Letter Updating the Community on the Junior School Playground Build Schedule
Last week, The York School shared with the Junior School Community an update on the Junior School Playground Build Schedule. It read:
Dear York Junior School Community,
As our school year comes to a close we wanted to provide you with an update regarding the scheduled renovation of the Junior School playground.
Our goal has always been to complete the project without interruption to our students’ daily school life, and outdoor recess is a big part of their day. We recently encountered a scheduling issue with our construction plan and the city process that could cause a delay in breaking ground by June 16. With an uncertain start date and only an 10-week build window over the summer vacation, we need to push a significant portion of our construction into the summer of 2020.
The playground renovation project will now be constructed over two stages:
Summer 2019 - Work will begin this summer on elements of our new playground around the hard surfaces, including a refreshed and painted 4-square and basketball court, room for art and outdoor learning.
Summer 2020 - The larger build elements, namely the Wallholla, playing field and stage will be scheduled for completion by the start of the 2020 school year.
Junior School teachers in all grades today updated students about these necessary changes to our build schedule. While timing may not be exactly what we had all initially worked towards, or hoped, we reinforced the idea with the children that the playground renovation is still moving forward but in stages and there is lots to be excited about.
We will continue to keep the community informed of our planning and developments, and should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Praveen Muruganandan, Director of Admission and Advancement at 416-926-1325 ext. 1129 or email@example.com
Co-Chair, Board of Directors
Interim Head of School
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