Those who have read my blog lately will know I have been on a roll with visits to alumni receptions in various locations: Toronto, Calgary and London, England. Next Thursday I will be in Hong Kong at our reception there, at the Canadian Consulate, hosted by alum Ian Burchett, who is the Canadian Consul in Hong Kong. This is part of an effort for my travel to coincide with these occasions. It is a chance for me to update our far-flung alums on what is happening at the School, and on what the key priorities are for us as we continue to maintain our quality as one of the country’s top independent schools. In addition we have implemented a plan to increase attendance at these events. The plan has been wildly successful – alumni attendance has been significantly better. Our work next year will be to sustain the effort.
But it is good to be back at School – not least because in our busy calendar, there are such frequent examples of the richness and quality of the SMUS education.
For example: This week, Simon Ibell, class of 1996, whom I have mentioned a couple of times already this term, has spoken to students in the Junior, Middle and Senior Schools. Simon is one of the world’s leading advocates for research and treatment of rare diseases. He himself has Hunter’s Syndrome, and he is an outstanding example of courage and determination. His final talk of the week will be at the Alumni vs Senior Boys Basketball game at 4 pm on Saturday, where he will be making a special presentation.
For example: On Thursday afternoon those who appreciate our music program had the opportunity to listen to our Grade 7/8 String Orchestra, under the direction of Mary Smith. It was electrifying to listen to these students play a varied program, and to entertain the audience with a level of skill and musical maturity that is very rare. Every student at SMUS starts a string instrument in Grade 4, and the value of that was on brilliant display.
For example: Thursday night we witnessed one of the most distinctive events that SMUS mounts: the Senior Recitation Evening. This is a celebration of the spoken word, where thirty-four students are selected to present these well-rehearsed excerpts from works as varied as Chinese traditional poetry to literary classics, to renderings of the work of stand-up comics. The Copeland Lecture Theatre is packed for this event, so you might want to start right now to plan your attendance at next year’s event.
A great week.