We have reached the end of the 2019-2020 academic year, and what a year it has been...
This last message before the summer is a great opportunity to share with you all some reflections about the year's highlights in the Senior School.
We have been incredibly impressed with our students’ resilience and commitment, to each other and to their learning, during the physical campus closure. We have been equally impressed by their ability to reach out when they needed help, felt lonely or were worried about somebody else, and have learnt very much from them - perhaps even more so than during ‘normal’ years. In particular, our students have reminded us of the importance of accepting uncertainty and using it as an opportunity to challenge ourselves, to continue growing and learning about what truly matters and what truly makes us happy. We are very grateful for this.
Many of our students have shared this process of self-discovery with each other and with their teachers during our final on-campus days, as well as the strategies they used to cope with the pandemic and continue making sense of the world around them. Within minutes, our on-campus conversations included topics as diverse as the importance of slowing down and experiencing boredom (once in a while!), how exercise, music and the arts can help us in times of stress, and the importance of continuing to pursue social justice and equity in our communities. We are so very proud of all our students for the wonderful individuals they are becoming, and for the amazing community they are shaping in our Senior School.
The physical campus closure has also been an opportunity for great student and teacher feedback, which we have consistently gathered since March. Thanks to this feedback, we have started a very important conversation, with both our students and our teachers, about the value and role of assessments - not as something to be feared, or as a judgment on our overall abilities, but simply as a diagnostic tool to guide our future learning. We are looking forward to continuing these conversations in the fall, working with our student body - and especially with our newly created Senior School Student Advisory Council - to continue building resilience and encouraging a real enjoyment of learning.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our teachers for the incredible job they have done during e-learning. While, as always, there is much we all still need to learn, the commitment and care of our students demonstrated by faculty throughout this time has been extraordinary - we all truly worked as a community, eager to learn together, and this has made us exceptionally proud, once again, of being Mulgravians.
With this in mind, we must not forget the many months before the pandemic, and our community’s achievements in so many different areas. Our Athletics season was a truly remarkable one, with our Senior Boys basketball team making Provincials and placing 7th overall, and the Cross Country teams having their best season ever! Go Titans Go! Our Arts students and team have delighted us with an incredibly warm winter concert, a great Senior School plays and an inspirational Group 6 exhibition. Finally, while our GEX service trips and local opportunities were canceled due to the Pandemic, so many of our students showed incredible initiative in developing and leading service projects that ranged from writing cards to seniors to ‘gifting heroes’ and sharing ‘recipes to end hunger’.
While this year has been a unique one for our Grads, whose final IB exams were canceled for the first time in the history of the IBO, their achievements have been impressive. We had a record number of scholarships offered to Mulgravians this year, and incredible post-secondary placements, which reflect a real commitment, on the part of our students and of our University and Careers Counselling team, to the important concept of best fit. We are proud of the many ways in which our Grads have demonstrated autonomy and a real ownership of their future learning throughout this process, and the wonderful Convocation ceremony that we had on May 29th is also a testament to how much they have contributed to their community.
We know that this is a time of great uncertainty, for our Grads and for our current G11 students, many of whom are wondering what the future has in store for them. We would like to reassure them: the strength of our community can withstand any challenge, and we are confident that both this year’s and next year’s Grads will be able to successfully find their path in a world that, while to a certain extent is unpredictable and unprecedented, we can all contribute to share thanks to our actions and to the character that we show in the face of adversity. The agility, confidence, and ability to adapt that our students have already shown this year will undoubtedly serve them well in the coming months and year - and we will be here for them.
Our strategic action plan next year focuses on the continued strengthening of mental well-being initiatives, student voice, and student inclusion through differentiation and further personalisation - in all areas of learning. We look forward to continuing a dialogue with all students and parents about these initiatives and projects, and to continuing to learn through feedback and self-reflection.
Our final thought goes to a very special member of our community, whom we lost in December. We will never forget you Keira, and your friends and teachers continue to find comfort in and cherish the many wonderful memories they have of you. As well, you brought us together and reminded us of how important we are to each other - we will take this with us wherever we are.
We wish all our families a beautiful and restful summer, full of everything and everyone you love. We can’t wait to welcome you back in August.
Dr. Chiara Tabet, Mrs. Clark and Ms. Nolan Wood