Food, French and Philanthropy

by Juliana, Grade 10

posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2016

For the past month, the Grade 10 French students studied international cuisine in the unit À Table! We learned vocabulary from cuisines all around the world and used that knowledge to create a flyer and a radio advertisement for a restaurant of our creation. We learned the words for different types of restaurants and foods, as well as the vocabulary needed to order at a restaurant in French. The unit concluded with our recipe project, in which we had to recreate a recipe from a cuisine and make a French cooking video teaching students how to make the dish. As we watched all of the video projects, we also brought in the dishes we made so that everyone could try the different types of food. Each student also brought in a donation of non-perishable food for Winnipeg Harvest, with the donations totalling over 20 pounds!


A Special Guest Reader

posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2016

To kick off 'I Love to Read' Month this February, Junior School students were treated to a very special guest reader at today's assembly. Mayor Brian Bowman visited Junior School in the SJRPA Music and Arts Studio to read them the story of 'Finding Winnie' by Lindsay Mattick. The true story of Winnie the bear - the original inspiration for A. A. Milne's 'Winnie the Pooh' - the story chosen by Mayor Bowman kept the students captivated and gave them an insight to a unique piece of Winnipeg's history. 

After reading the book, Mayor Bowman answered questions from the students - from 'Did you like the book?' to 'How does it feel to be Mayor?'. The students all had a fantastic time listening both to the story itself as well as the Mayor's answers. Thank you to Mayor Bowman on behalf on Junior School for coming to visit SJR and for sharing your love of reading with us. What a great way to start the month!



Hearing from our Alumni

posted: Wednesday, February 3, 2016

This week, Senior School students heard from alumus Jonathon Giller '02, as part of the popular 'Fireside Chat' series. After graduating from SJR, Jonathon, an SJR Lifer, pursued an economics degree while on a wrestling scholarship at the University of Manitoba. He continued his post-secondary education with a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and a Chartered Business Valuation (CBV) designation. Jonathon now works as Business & Investment Manager to James A. Richardson '68.

Jonathon spoke to the students about his unconventional approach to job hunting which ultimately led him to his current position. He noted the difficulties that our graduates may face in the competitive job market and shared his own advice about tackling life after graduation. Thank you to Jonathon for taking the time to visit with our students!










Staging a Show

By members of the Grade 9 Drama class

posted: Friday, February 5, 2016

Our Grade 9 Drama class recently completed a unit on Broadway. We studied the history of Broadway, and learned about all the work it takes to put on a show. We also focused quite a bit on choreography. First, we learned a dance from the Broadway show Newsies. It was very challenging, especially because it involved dancing on newspapers. It took a number of classes to put all the parts of the dance together, but it was rewarding once we finally mastered it. Eventually, we created and taught our own versions of famous song and dance numbers. 

To finish off this unit we took a class trip to see Billy Elliot: The Musical. At the show, we were able to see the final result of all the hard work that goes into putting on a high calibre production. From our experiences in class, we could identify different theatrical and technical elements. We were entertained, moved and inspired by the show. Ultimately, everyone had a memorable experience at the theatre and the songs have been stuck in our heads ever since!












Carving Creativity

posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2016

As part of this year's Winter Activity Days, one group of Middle School students opted to take a course in stone carving. This unique experience - which took place over the course of three days - saw the students learn the process behind stone carving and then put it into practice. Led by Mr. Konrad Ross, the students were able to complete each step of the stone-carving process and learn the necessary skills required for each component. Beginning with a rectangular block of soapstone, students used hacksaws, rasps and drills to shape their design. The next step was wet sanding, starting with 120 grit and slowly proceeding to 250, 400, 800, 1000, all the way to 2000 grit sandpaper to buff it to a nice variegated green finish. Once the sanding was complete, students warmed their sculpture in an incubator or a toaster oven and then applied wax to their sculpture.

The students had a great time learning this unique new skill and the final products - everything from a perfectly round sphere, a bird and a bear, to a piano complete with piano stool, a rubiks cube and even a Star Wars TIE Fighter - looked fantastic.


Letters of Action

posted: Monday, February 8, 2016

Grade 8 students are continuing their study of social justice and human rights with this term’s ‘Human Rights Project’. This project, led by Middle School Social Studies teacher Ms. Aaron Russell, requires the students to select and research a human rights violation currently occurring somewhere in the world. The students then create multiple forms of media to inform, persuade and activate an audience into doing something about this violation.

One of the violations that the students looked into was child labour and large companies' use of child labour for manufacturing their products. As part of the information gathering stage of the project, the students researched companies which have been accused by the media of using child labour; they were unable to find definitive answers to their questions on the companies’ websites. As a result, they took the step of writing letters to 10 companies around the world – from Apple and Disney to Sears, H&M, Nike and Walmart – asking them direct questions about how their products are made.

The purpose of the letter-writing was not only to gather information, but also to take action themselves. In their own research, the students discovered how hard it is to find the truth about where our clothing is made and by whom – finding answers to their questions will help them become informed consumers so that they can make informed, ethical choices. The next stage of their project will be to inform and activate their audience into taking action against these violations – if the companies are unable to provide satisfactory answers to their questions the students plan to let people know so others can also be informed about the ongoing use of child labour by many well-known global brands.


On the Way to Worlds

posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2016

From February 6-8, 2016, SJR hosted the 32nd annual National Public Speaking Championships. SJR students have won 26 of the past 31 national championships and this year, SJR's success in debating continued, with four of our students winning national awards and two qualifying to represent Canada at the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, in April 2016.

First place in the overall Championships and winner of the Benny Claman Trophy for National Public Speaking and Debating Championships was Olivia Railton (The Country Day School, King, Ontario). The top six students in the tournament, four from Ontario and two from Manitoba, qualified to represent Canada at the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships:

  • Winner of the National Public Speaking Championships: Olivia Railton, The Country Day School, King, Ontario
  • Second place: Helen Kosc, De La Salle College, Toronto, Ontario
  • Third place: Elizabeth Roberts, St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Fourth place: Kasra Khadem, St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Fifth place: Natalie Ganzhorn, The Country Day School, King, Ontario
  • Sixth place: Armin Safavi, University of Toronto Schools, Toronto, Ontario

Elizabeth and Kasra will join fellow SJR student Alek Ebbeling, who qualified earlier in the school year for the World Championships at a tournament held in Toronto, Ontario.

SJR students also performed impressively at the individual events at the Nationals:

Impromptu Speaking:
National Champion: Disha Mittal, St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Interpretive Reading:
Second place: Stefan Leicht, St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Persuasive Speaking:
National Champion: Elizabeth Roberts, St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Second place: Kasra Khadem, St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Second place: Elizabeth Roberts, St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Congratulations to all those involved and best of luck to the SJR students continuing on to the World Championships in April!


Restoring our History

posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2016

In 1967, the year of the Canadian Centennial, SJR’s ‘Sixth Form’ students (as the Grade 12 students were known back then) decided to embark on a project to commemorate this celebratory year. Their Centennial project was to replace the windows of the Richardson Gym, which were then in a state of disrepair. At that time, the Richardson Gym – now located in Junior School – was only connected to the rest of the School by a covered passageway leading from the gym to the Memorial Wing. The windows that the students chose to replace were on the exterior west wall and were thus subject to the external elements throughout the year.

The three panels, made from foam, were carved by the students and coated with fibre glass before being installed. Each of the panels represented a different aspect of school life – fire for the mind, tree for the body and eagle for the spirit. The panels have remained on the wall for close to 50 years, although with the expansion of the School campus, the external wall is now an internal one, forming part of the Junior School hallway.

In August 2015, a routine inspection was carried out by the Fire Marshall and Russell Britton, SJR Facilities Director. The Fire Marshall noted that the now-exposed foam, an unstable plastic material, was extremely friable and therefore the panels posed a potential fire hazard, meaning they would either need to be removed or restored. In light of this information, Calla Grabish, School Archivist, contacted Carolyn Sirett, a Metal Conservator who has been cleaning and restoring SJR’s school artifacts for a number of years.

Ms. Sirett assessed the panels and was able to begin the restoration work, filling the exposed cavities with a conservation grade polyethylene foam and painting the stained areas. The panels, having once been part of the exterior gym wall, were also filled with moss which had to be removed. The successful restoration of the panels has helped to preserve a vital part of our School’s history and has allowed the work done by the Sixth Form students of 1967 to remain accessible to the students of today.

Excerpt from the 1967 Eagle Yearbook on the Legacy Project:

“As the Centennial year progresses, countless projects are taking place throughout the country. The Sixth Form, not wishing to be left out, unanimously decided to do something unforgettable for the school. The gym’s unsightly glass brick windows have long been the home of many birds which choose to build their nests in the broken glass bricks. The Sixth Form’s Centennial project is to replace those windows with something more suitable and meaningful.

Three large panels, made of some unusual ‘stuff’ called Vibrafoam, are being carved by the crafty Industrious Sixth. The finished panels will then be coated with fibre glass and then put in place of the three windows on the west side of the gym.

Each panel has an image carved in it which will symbolize some aspect of school life. Fire will symbolize the mind; the tree will symbolize the body; and the eagle will represent the spirit. These pictures will be set out on a map of Canada, coast to coast.

The Vibrafoam and the fibre glass are being supplied by Park-Hannesson Company. If all goes well, we hope to have our project finished by Prize Day.”

With thanks to the Martin H. Ainley Archives Centre for the provision of photos and information



Hands-On Discovery

posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2016

This month, Middle School students participated in the popular annual Winter Activity Days: in place of their normal class schedule, they had the opportunity to get outside the classroom and experience some non-traditional methods of learning. The activities on offer included winter-focused excursions such as ‘Winter Adventure’, a trip to Camp Arnes or the ‘True Blue Winter Leadership Challenge’. Other students took part in ‘The Power of Body and Mind’, working with yoga and martial arts instructors to improve their self-defence and self-regulation (both physical and mental) techniques. In ‘Stone Carving 101’, students spent three days learning the process and skills required for carving sculptures (with some impressive results), while the ‘Winnipeg Arts Experience’ gave those participating an insight into book-making, as well as a trip to the Winnipeg Arts gallery where they explored techniques used by the Greco-Romans. Finally, the ‘Junior Iron Chef’ activity was a unique chance for students to immerse themselves in a world of culinary invention and creation – with a delicious dinner to take home at the end of each day!

Winter Activity Days give students the chance to learn in new, exciting ways. It allows them to problem-solve, express themselves creatively and expand their application of knowledge and skills to real-life situations. Part of the Middle School philosophy is to ‘help students make connections between different bodies of knowledge and perspectives, and to begin to distinguish their own strengths, interests and identities as scholars and individuals’ – emphasis is placed on group work and ‘hands-on discovery’ as a means of both academic and character education. Activity Days are a unique, engaging and innovative way of encouraging this in our students.


We Are Silent

By Stuti, Grade 10

posted: Thursday, February 18, 2016

In keeping with our School's mission to do the best we can to improve ourselves and our communities, SJR students continue to make others aware of the global atrocities happening in the world we live in. On Thursday, February 12, 2016 the Senior School students got involved in the We are Silent campaign, a Free the Children mission made to show the crippling effects many people suffer since they are not granted the simple human right of freedom of speech. All throughout history people have been killed for speaking up about injustices and violent acts taking place in their communities. A well-known example is how in Pakistan 14 year old Malala was shot in the head for speaking about women’s education rights. To make students aware of how these people feel in fear-ridden countries the community service committee arranged for everyone to do the vow-of-silence during lunch and the last two periods of classes. This included no texting and note passing.

Many quickly learned how impossible of a task this is in North American society. Students struggled not to write messages and check their phones. However around the world people do have to remain completely silent; retaliation is considered treason. This campaign caused a rippling effect throughout the Senior School students as they became intrigued about this issue. Hopefully other students will go on to improve the condition of the of people being oppressed into silence in other societies.

Watch the presentation prepared by students on the 'We are Silent' campaign below:


Builders and Bulldozers

posted: Thursday, February 18, 2016

Grade 8s had a unique insight into the idea of leadership and teamwork today with a special presentation given by Middle School Phys. Ed teacher Mr. Steven Landreville. Speaking about the concept of ‘Builders and Bulldozers’, Mr. Landreville highlighted the key differences between those who choose to bulldoze others by criticizing rather than supporting them – and those who build others up by encouraging and supporting them in what they do.

The concept of ‘Builders and Bulldozers’ was originally presented by Mr. Landreville at the Middle School CAIS Leadership Conference in Minden, ON in September 2015. Also in attendance at the CAIS conference was Grade 8 student Spencer, who asked if the same presentation could be run at SJR in order to show students the idea of bulldozers versus builders and demonstrate what they can do to change their own behaviour into positive, valuable action.   

Mr. Landreville and Spencer illustrated the negative impact of bulldozing, firstly through a spoken presentation and secondly through a group activity for all the students using the many cone markers that were set out across the floor of Reimer Gymnasium. The activity saw the students split into two teams – builders and bulldozers. The builders were asked to use only their hands to turn the cone markers so they were correctly placed on the floor, while the bulldozers were asked to use any means (hands, feet) to undo the work the builders were doing. Over the course of a spirited few minutes, it was clear to see the destructive impact that the bulldozers actions had on the efforts of the builders.

Mr. Landreville encouraged the students to work together, not against one another and to think about how they can use their own strengths to help their fellow builders and teammates. Builders see the good and the value in people; they foster growth and change and care about others. Leaders are people who surround themselves with teams of builders. All in all, it was an encouraging and insightful presentation that focused the students on how they as Middle School students can become better builders and better leaders.


Teachers vs. Students Spelling Bee

Written by: Ms. Barbara Cahoon – Director of the Centre for Learning

posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2016

On January February 19, 2016, members of the Middle School Spelling Bee Club challenged a group of intrepid Middle School Teachers to a Spelling Bee competition.  The contestants were required to spell a variety of challenging words such as analgesia, aggrandizement, latitudinarian and psychoanalysis. Both teams did an excellent job of spelling some very difficult words, but in the end, the team of students was victorious. The students have been meeting since October to hone their spelling skills in weekly Spelling Bee Club meetings. 

This week, the top three spellers from the Middle School Spelling Bee Club will compete against the top three spellers from the Junior School Spelling Bee Club in a verbal spelling bee. Good luck to all of the students participating in this exciting event!


One Great City!

by Mrs. Miriam Stoller, Curriculum and Innovative Learning Leader

posted: Thursday, February 25, 2016

On Wednesday, February 24, 2016, the Grade 2 classes went on a unique field trip as part of our Social Studies unit on Our Local Community. Travelling by bus, we went to various Winnipeg locations which helped us learn about our amazing city. This included places that talked about Winnipeg’s history, natural resources, transportation, recreation and culture.

Armed with cameras, Group A travelled to Pan-Am pool, Grant Park shopping centre and the Manitoba Legislature. We met Val, who is a life guard and told us how much she loves the water, chatted with the Deli manager at the Red River Co-op grocery store, and greeted Shannon Martin, MLA for Morris, at the Legislature who told us about the optical illusion of the black star. We saw how friendly the people in our community are!

Group B went to St. Boniface Cathedral, The Forks and Union Station and learned many interesting facts, including how the fire at the St. Boniface Basilica started in 1860. Along the way, we all took pictures of what we thought was interesting or unique. We will now use these pictures to create a Winnipeg photo essay.

As a special treat, and to give a truly unique view of our city, we were able to have lunch at Prairie 360, the revolving restaurant 30 stories above street level. The experience started in the glass elevator travelling 30 floors up and continued with lunch while we revolved around the city. We were able to see lots of the places we visited and it gave us a better understanding of our city and how big it is. It was a fun-filled learning day!


Into the Night...

posted: Thursday, February 25, 2016

On Sunday, February 21, 2016, 68 student models strutted their stuff as they walked down the runway for the 26th Annual Grade 12 Fashion Show. This event helps to fundraise for their graduation and part of the proceeds go to Siloam Mission and The Nepal Foundation.
A special thank you goes to co-chairs Giordana, Hannah, Sarah and Shelby (Grade 12) for organizing such a fantastic event, to Ms. Barbara Cahoon, Faculty Advisor, who helped make the evening such a great success and to all the parent, student and staff volunteers.

Hair and make-up was done by Be·YOU·tee Factory and clothing for this event was generously provided by the following stores:
Aldo Formal Wear
Danali Men’s & Women’s Clothing
David’s Bridal
EPH Apparel
Hush Clothing & Accessories
Kings and Royal Sports
Moores (Madison Square)
Nygård International (Kenaston)
Out of the Blue
tharNzie Clothing
Therapy Boutique
Toto n Dot
To view more photos please got to: bit.ly/1oFAIYU


Alumni Connections

posted: Thursday, February 25, 2016

This month, our Alumni Office hosted receptions in Boston, Toronto and Ottawa and welcomed SJR alumni and friends to the events in each city. Jim Keefe, Head of School, Christina Barwinsky '86, Director of Advancement and Joan Banman Cristo '83, Alumni Coordinator (as well as Senior School teacher Ray Grynol, who joined them in Boston) met with alumni from the classes of 2014 all the way back to 1958! It was the perfect opportunity to reconnect with familiar and new faces and the events were a great celebration of SJR's alumni network.

To find out about upcoming Alumni events, please visit www.sjr.mb.ca/sjraa-events.