Senior Division - January 30, 2014 RSS Feed
Message from Scott Cowie, head of Senior Division

Scott CowieUpcoming Senior Division dates:

Friday, Jan. 31 to Saturday, Feb. 1: Classical play Agamemnon, David Chu Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 3: World Affairs Conference opening event, Laidlaw Hall, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 4: World Affairs Conference for FY to IB2 students; no scheduled classes

Thursday, Feb. 6: Parent-teacher interviews; classes end at 1:15 p.m.

As many of you know, at various points throughout the year Dr. Power hosts parent coffee mornings in his office. While the agenda for those meetings is usually free-flowing, parent grade representatives who help organize these events usually send out a list of topics prior to the meeting that the group has expressed interest in discussing. This past Friday we met with the parents of IB2 students and the number one item on the minds of those in attendance was the emotional well-being of their boys.

Many parents shared their observations about the sources of stress that they see as having an impact on their sons. The concerns discussed centred chiefly on anxiety related to university admission requirements and corresponding acceptances. I recognize that issues of this nature are particular to boys in IB2, but as parents I suspect we see our kids struggling through many challenges, school-related and otherwise, which ultimately have impact on their emotional well-being. I certainly see my own kids - aged nine and 11 - trying to cope with their own sources of stress, and I feel that I often struggle to provide them with the right kind of support to help them through their struggles.

We discussed issues related to mental health for students and employees of the College yesterday at our faculty meeting. One of the resources shared at that meeting stood out in particular for me. The appropriately titled, two-and-a-half-minute animated video The Power of Empathy clearly illustrated the difference between two often confused sentiments: sympathy, which can “drive disconnection;” and empathy, which “fuels connection.”

As a parent, I think you’ll find the video enlightening, and it may help you better support your son through challenges he'll inevitably face. Here’s the link to the video.

Thanks for reading,

Jazz musician Archie Alleyne to speak at Feb. 3 assembly

Monday's special schedule has assembly starting at 9:55 a.m. (after period one) and guest speaker Archie Alleyne will have his jazz CD (Syncopation: Life in the Key of Black) and photo book (Syncopated: Black Stories, A Photo Exhibit) available to purchase for $10 each that morning for any boys or parents who may be interested.

WAC attendance is mandatory for Senior Division students

While Upper Canada College and Branksome Hall’s World Affairs Conference (WAC) has become one of the foremost events of its kind in North America over the past 30 years, absenteeism has become a problem that parents can help eradicate by strictly enforcing attendance at this compulsory component of the school’s curriculum.

As UCC students, we strongly believe in what WAC has to offer. A population with access to high quality discussion and debate is a more informed one. To this end, the WAC team works tirelessly to ensure that students have access to a diverse and compelling set of plenary topics with excellent speakers.

This year’s plenary discussion on the changing face of health care affects us all, while a morning panel on the legalization of drugs and a mid-day plenary examining euthanasia are also highly anticipated.

We have a number of notable speakers, including: Dr. Robert Ouellet, former president of the Canadian Medical Association; Dr. Samatha Nutt, founder of Warchild; Stefan Molyneux, a principled anarchist and host of the philosophy radio show Freedomain Radio; and Marc Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children.

With all of these distinguished speakers, why do some students still not attend? One cited the opportunity cost of WAC as a significant factor. He said that to attend the conference would mean forgoing a commodity more precious and scarce at UCC than a high-calibre parley: sleep.

Judging from past years, we expect a large portion of the UCC population to deliberately miss out on this opportunity. We need help from parents to remedy this. The conference is incontrovertibly mandatory for Foundation Year, IB1 and IB2 students despite boys’ best efforts at arguing the contrary.

A captive audience may not be an inquisitive one, but WAC remains the premier choice for students to listen to and meet acclaimed speakers on world affairs. Nowhere else can a high school student find such a diverse mix of perspectives under one roof, all in one day. This opportunity should be seized, not neglected. Those students who remain skeptical should try it out at least once before they graduate.

WAC opens on Monday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. with keynote speaker Dr. Samantha Nutt in Laidlaw Hall. The evening event is open to the public and all are encouraged to come. The conference continues throughout the following day. Find out more from the WAC website.

—Lucas Cusimano and Conor Healy

Coffee with Dr. Power for IB1 parents on Jan. 31

Dr. Jim Power is hosting a series of coffee mornings for Upper School parents. You’re invited to attend the student assembly beforehand and then enjoy an informal conversation with Dr. Power and other IB1 parents on Friday, Jan. 31.

8:30 to 9 a.m. Student assembly in Laidlaw Hall

9 to 10 a.m. Coffee, immediately following student assembly, in Dr. Power’s office

Please note that the start time is dependent on the length of the assembly. RSVP to year representative Stefanie Mahon.

Parent-subject teacher interviews and interview booking

Parent-subject teacher interviews will be held on:

  • Thursday, Feb. 6 from 2 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 2 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.


You'll be able to access the parent-subject teacher interview booking system link from starting on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 28. This link won't be visible until the morning of Jan. 28. The booking site will be available at these times:

Open: Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 9 a.m.

Closed: Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 4 p.m.

Open: Friday, Feb. 7 at 9 a.m.

Closed: Monday, Feb. 10 at 10 a.m.

You'll be able to book your interviews for Feb. 6 and 11 during any of these times.

The following information is necessary to use our online booking system for parent-subject teacher interviews. Please file it where it can be easily retrieved.

Booking parent-subject teacher interviews

We use the Pick-a-time online system to book interviews. Please click on the link below for instructions on how to use Pick-a-time.

Pick a Time Instructions for Upper Parents

We regret we can't accommodate online bookings outside of the times posted here.

Please ensure you print your schedule and bring it with you to the interviews.

Please contact the help desk at if you experience problems. Emails will be monitored regularly. You may also call 416-484-8636, ext. 3323 to reach the help desk between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The help desk is typically busy on the morning that parent-subject teacher interviews start booking, so please be patient and someone will get to you in short order.

Dr. Julia Kinnear

BSS-UCC co-production of Agamemnon runs until Feb. 1

After five months of preparation by Grade 10 to 12 students, the Bishop Strachan School-UCC co-production of Agamemnon is running through Saturday, Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in David Chu Theatre.

The Orestria is a trilogy of plays by Aeschylus that begins with Agamemnon. This play is the granddaddy, the launching pad and perhaps the motherlode of tragedy. It tells the story of Agamemnon’s victorious return from the Trojan War and the greeting that awaits him. In order to launch his fleet 10 years before, Agamemnon had to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia. That decision, his willingness "to put on the yoke of necessity," drives the play's action.

Tickets are available at lunch in the student centre for $15. The show runs for approximately 90 minutes without an interval.

View the university counselling office's "University 101" presentation

Download available:

 University 101 IB1 Evening

The university counselling office was delighted by the turnout of IB1 students and parents on Jan. 27 for the inaugural "University 101" evening.

A lively discussion ensued as parents and their sons compared expectations and engaged in a university research exercise. The university counsellors outlined the nature of the resources and supports available to families and provided timelines for Canadian, British and American applications. Boys were reminded that, if they haven't already done so, they should make an appointment to see their counsellor within the next few weeks.

Some students and parents were unable to attend, so the PowerPoint presentation can be viewed in the download above. Please don't hesitate to contact your son's university counsellor if you have any questions or concerns. Leigh Berndsen may be reached at or 416-488-1125, ext. 2262 if you wish to schedule a meeting.

Summer post-secondary campus tours

Many students will take advantage of the summer vacation to investigate post-secondary campuses with their families. If your son would like to participate in an organized tour, there are several options.

TS College Tours are designed to provide international students with a chance to explore various American campuses. There are two different tours of schools in the northeast, a California tour and a tour of art colleges. Each one is led by an experienced counsellor.

The company also has a partnership with Summer Discovery. Interested students can combine a college tour with a summer program at an American school and receive a fee discount for both activities. Go to for more information.

College Visits offers tours of schools in the northeast, New England, the middle Atlantic region of the United States, Ontario and Quebec. More details can be found at

Interesting summer options for Y2 to IB2 students

If your son hasn't yet finalized his summer plans, you might want to consider one of these programs:

Is your son thinking of law or medicine?

University of Toronto youth summer programs (YSP) offer a range of courses for students interested in law or medicine. All students stay in residence at New College and participate in evening events and weekend trips. Visit for more details.

The law YSP features six week-long modules for students in Grades 10 to 12 in the areas of criminal, corporate, international, entertainment, media, and rights and freedom laws, as well as civil litigation. Through lectures, field trips, interactions with leading legal practitioners and mock trials, each module provides a detailed and balanced understanding of legal concepts and theories and an introduction to legal practice.

The medicine YSP offers four week-long modules in the fields of human physiology, molecular biology and genetics, pharmacology and toxicology, and microbiology. These programs are open to students currently in Grades 10 and 11. The fifth module is a three-week research program in the medical sciences that provides Grade 11 or 12 students with the opportunity to participate in a lab experience under the supervision of a graduate student or professor.

Is your son intersted in math, science, engineering or technology?

The Da Vinci Engineering Enrichment Program (DEEP) Summer Academy is ideal for students who enjoy math and sciences. Students from across Canada and around the world study advanced topics in engineering, technology, business and science. Students can choose up to three one-week modules in subjects ranging from robotics and nanotechnology to entrepreneurship and biomedical engineering. Students can then participate in one of six capstone courses in the design and innovation week. DEEP Leadership Camp is also an option.

Applicants must submit a transcript and/or report cards from the past two years, be nominated by a teacher, and write a statement of interest and essay. Students may choose to stay in residence. Check out for more information.

McMaster University's Learning Enrichment Advancement Program (LEAP) offers well-rounded and highly motivated high school students the opportunity for advanced study in a variety of engineering, technology, business and entrepreneurial disciplines. There are three two-week sessions from which to select.

Residence accommodation is available. Students must send a recent report card with their application. Some bursaries are available for students with financial need. Please visit here for more information.