Diverse, Polite, Driven: Grades 9 and 10 Close Out Their Year

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It was a night of music, awards and proud parents. The Grades 9 and 10 Closing Ceremony honoured the hard work of these classes and, in turn, the students honoured the hardworking parents, teachers and staff that help them achieve.

Eliot Anderson, the Grade 9 Academic Advisor, had this to say about the Grade 9 class:

Grade 9 is a special year. It marks the beginning of the journey towards high school graduation and, apart from Kindergarten, is the only time where the entire class is new to the school in some capacity. Whether fresh to the senior campus from the middle school or arriving from many miles abroad to board here, each of these students were faced with new expectations, new teachers, and were all of a sudden the smallest kids in the school. It has been amazing to watch the growth and maturation of this class from September to June. Arriving unsteady and possibly even slightly intimidated you have all settled into your routines, found your own individual niches at the senior school and truly have become an integral part of the school’s culture.

I wanted to take a moment here to speak candidly about this group. They are a tremendously positive group who rally behind each other and look for the good things in life. They are respectful, kind and caring. They clean their mess up (believe it or not, this is extremely uncharacteristic of grade nines). They will hold the door open for you and they will look you in the eye, smile and wish you a good day.

In Grade 12, the Nation Bowl is awarded to the student who, among other qualities, is someone you would most like to have as a next door neighbour. I expect, in three years time, there will be a long list of names to read off as winning that award. They truly are an excellent group of people.

David Boroto and Charlie White were chosen to speak about the Grade 10 class. Watch their speech below.

David Kerr, the Grade 10 advisor, also shared a few thoughts about the future class of 2014:

Some of you in the audience tonight might have heard or read about Peter Drucker. He was a writer, professor, management consultant and self-described “social ecologist.” He explored the way human beings organize themselves and interact, similar to the way an ecologist would observe and analyze the biological world. One of his famous observations was that “management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” He went on to say that great leaders possess dazzling social intelligence, a zest for change, and above all, a vision that allows them to set their sights on the “things” that truly merit attention. As you will hear, I believe that we have the makings of this style of leadership in our Grade 10 class.

There are 147 students in the grade. According to my statistician expert in the Data Centre, Gisele DiIorio, this is the largest Grade 10 class to ever attend this school. Within that total are 62 boys and 85 girls – which is quite an imbalance, and I am not sure why!

There are also no fewer than 67 boarders, also a record I believe! Thirty-nine came through from Grade 9 and 28 were new to the school this year. They originate from 10 countries outside Canada, including China, Korea, Taiwan, Switzerland, Germany, Thailand, South Africa, Japan, and Mexico, as well as different parts of the United States. All in all, they are a very geographically and culturally diverse group!

The boarders have certainly contributed significantly to the cultural enrichment of the Grade 10 year and indeed enhanced the learning opportunities and appreciation of the world we live in for all of us at SMUS.

There are many high achievers in the grade – provincial athletes, theatrical stars, musical entertainers and performers, public speaking winners, Model UN participants, as well as some amazing academic scholars. Many of the Grade 10 class have taken advanced courses – in other words Grade 11 or Grade 12 courses and for a few of them, Advanced Placement courses – and have achieved a great degree of academic success.

But it’s not always about achievement, and this ties in with Drucker’s comments on “doing the right things.” Within the school community, this grade has been very active in joining school councils – in fact, at our final Grade Out last week, more than a third of the grade indicated they were involved in the councils this year – the highest proportion in a grade 10 class that I can remember. They also participated in service and leadership initiatives. Two of the highlights for me were both historical in nature, which is always appealing to me as a teacher of History.

First, I was inspired to see some of the students “doing the right thing” with their promotion of Black History Month, with performances in Chapel, in Assembly and building awareness around the school of racial diversity; most of those in this initiative were Grade 10 students and deserve praise for their enthusiasm and sense of identity. The second initiative relates to the announcement across the country of the demise of the penny – truly a momentous historical event! And yet, we had one Grade 10 homeroom use this as an opportunity to take on a very worthy cause of collecting pennies for a charity to provide clean water in Nicaragua, with over $320.00 raised.

School spirit is easy to see within this grade. They wore highly creative costumes at Halloween and on Valentines Day, were very heavily involved in the recent Keep the Beat and Walk for Water service initiatives, and contributed greatly to the Christmas hamper appeal. This reflects very well on part of our mission statement in which we seek the excellence in all of us, with passion and compassion.

A complete collection of photos is available in our photo gallery.

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