A Letter to Parents – December 2019

Mark Turner

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Yesterday we celebrated a long but undoubtedly successful term, with an exuberant All-School Christmas Assembly which amply demonstrated the strong bonds that bind our faculty and students together into such a close community. All of the Kindergarten to Grade 12 students singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was like something you’ve never heard before!

As I nervously check the snow forecasts (we are hoping for some skiing), I am pleased to have this opportunity to write with a number of words of thanks, and to highlight some important dates which will come over the horizon early in January.

First of all I’d like to pay particular tribute to our Parents’ Auxiliary which organized such a fabulous Family Gala last Saturday night. Over 700 members of our community gathered together to celebrate, in an atmosphere of family fun, the end of term and the beginning of the Christmas holiday season. I am aware that an event on this scale and of such quality takes a huge amount of planning and preparation. I am most grateful to those of you who gave so generously of your time to ensure that the event will be remembered as a wonderful SMUS occasion. There is an old adage that says, “If you want something done, ask a busy person!” I’m well aware that our army of volunteers are all hectically busy filling a wide range of roles. Thank you so much.

Yesterday, our Board of Governors met for the last time in 2019 and effectively signed off on the consultation and planning phases of our strategic plan. I am now looking forward to an opportunity to share information about our broad objectives for the coming decade. We hope that you’ll be able to attend one of two information sessions which are scheduled for Tuesday, January 21 and Tuesday, January 28 in the Chapel. Please RSVP on the SMUS website. We will begin each evening at 6 pm with a wine and cheese reception. I will present information on our strategic plan for approximately 40 minutes, which will be followed by a question and answer session with our Senior Leadership Team. It is expected that the evenings will finish by 8 pm.

I should also like to thank faculty and staff who will be moving on from SMUS at the end of this term. We say goodbye to Claire Clarke, who after three years as a houseparent is taking on new career opportunities in San Francisco. Ally Lord, working as an Administrative Assistant focusing on student attendance in our Senior School, is moving with her family to Saskatchewan. We wish them every success as they move on to new opportunities.

I must also single out the outstanding contribution of Gisèle Di Iorio, who for three decades has paid relentless attention to detail, working in our Data Centre. Gisèle deserves our warmest thanks and best wishes for an equally long and happy retirement, as she and her husband move to Creston, BC.

For now, all that remains is for me to wish you and your families a joyous and peaceful Christmas holiday season. We look forward to the new term in January 2020 with real anticipation, as an opportunity to move our school towards what I predict is a bright future. As we look towards re-enrolment in 2020, please be aware of changes designed to make the process smoother and more efficient for us all. Rita Lord, our CFO, has written separately about payment plans and there is also further information about continuous enrolment on our website.

Merry Christmas!

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Mark Turner
Mr. Mark Turner is Head of School at St. Michaels University School.

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