September News


Music by the Campfire

Written by: Hannah, Grade 12, Arts Prefect

posted: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Last Friday, September 26, 2014 the SJR Arts Council held this year’s first Coffeehouse event. This Coffeehouse was a bit different from the usual Coffeehouses because instead of holding it under the ceiling of Robinson-Wolinsky Hall, it was held under the stars. Located in the Dell beside Shepard House, it was the first outdoor Coffeehouse in SJR history!

Around fifty students and staff attended the event, including the Head of School, Mr. Keefe. Attendees huddled around the fire pit on blankets and tarps, making the format of the event a cross between a music festival and a traditional campfire. The fire was almost unnecessary because it was a warm, cloudless September night.

The talent exhibited by the performers, the novelty of the experience and the overall high spirits of all who attended made the evening a great success! The funds that were raised for admission will go towards the Senior School initiative to help build a garden for a school in Kenya. Overall, the Coffeehouse was a great use of the last of the summer weather, and a great beginning to SJR’s year with the arts.



New Building Opens to Much Excitement

posted: Monday, September 29, 2014

The new Senior School opened to the students this morning to rave reviews! As one student said, “it’s like an airport, only a really, really nice airport!” After a special assembly the students were allowed into the building for the first time to explore the new three-storey, 35,400 square feet of new and renovated space. This innovative new learning environment boasts 12 new classrooms, a student lounge, biology labs and breakout areas. “It’s so cool and futuristic with all the huge windows and glass doors. It makes you want to come to school and learn even more!” one Grade 9 student stated.  


The excitement and energy from our students was bursting out of the building as Mr. Bruce Neal led a simultaneous count down allowing students to enter the new building from both entrances at the same time. They were allowed to explore the space and in no time the students had made it their own.

 The new building allows for approximately 1,750 square feet for a student lounge, which every student went running to see. When asked what the best thing about the new building was, one Grade 12 student said, “the student lounge is my favourite by far – it’s so big and will be a great space to hang out in and get to know each other better.” The lounge will soon include two very special legacy gifts, a television from the Class of 2013 and an electric fireplace from the Class of 2014, recreating two very important elements from Schaffter Hall. 
“The sense of excitement among the Senior School students was palpable. It was fun to watch the students’ reactions as they entered the stunning new facilities and to hear their views on how it might improve their learning experiences in the years to come,” said Mr. Jim Keefe, Head of School.

Construction of this $15 million project began in July of 2013, and it is the most ambitious capital campaign SJR has undertaken in our close to 200-year history. It has allowed for over 40,000 square feet of new and renovated space to be added to our campus. The new Senior School replaced the Hamber Hall block of classrooms that were built in the mid-1950s. 

The Fitness Centre, opening next month, is an impressive 4,000 square feet of cardio and strength training space.  Fully equipped and built to the highest standards, the new Fitness Centre will be able to accommodate two classes simultaneously, addressing the scheduling needs of all three Schools.

Mrs. Linda Bulka, Senior School Principal, stated that “the cutting-edge facilities will allow our faculty to adopt new and innovative teaching methods and approaches, allowing us to collaborate across departments and to push the boundaries of educational thinking.”

Today, we integrate technology with teaching in every discipline. Students often work in small groups, collaborating with their peers and their teachers. We rely on varied approaches to classroom instruction to meet the diverse needs of today’s learners. All of these advances in education require a flexible use of space.

The new Senior School features moveable walls, wireless capability, green technologies and SMARTboards to create a learning environment that addresses the needs of the 21st century student.

With forward-thinking design, the new space creates a more seamless transition between high school and university for learners as they get ready to embark on their post-secondary studies. Transitional spaces that are open and inviting will enhance the flow of our School, creating a hub where all members of the SJR community can connect, socialize and work together.

When asked what she was most looking forward to in the new building, a Grade 10 student said, “it’s a brand new learning environment and with all the windows letting the sun shine in, it’s a more positive environment. I’m looking forward to the much bigger classrooms too.”

Make sure to join us on Wednesday, October 15 for the official opening where we will reveal the new name of the Senior School!



View more photos from the opening of the new Senior School at:





City Champs!

posted: Sunday, September 28, 2014

Congratulations to the U12 Boys’ Soccer team for winning the WYSA City "B" Championship on Saturday, September 28, 2014! They played a great all-round team game.  Go Eagles!











It’s Safety Day Today!

posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014

To better prepare our students should there ever be an emergency, SJR conducted emergency training and drills this morning‎. ‎Students started with a bus evacuation training session; upon returning to their classrooms a simulated lockdown drill commenced, followed by a fire drill and then an off-site evacuation drill‎. During the simulated lockdown drill all doors are locked, blinds are closed and, in the case of Mr. Jim Keefe, Head of School, he has to hide under his desk as his office is surrounded by glass. The School practises the bus evacuation training and off-site evacuation once a year, while fire and lockdown drills are practised throughout the School year.






Training Leaders One Student at a Time

posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Students involved in the Leadership Diploma Program at SJR went on the annual Leadership Retreat at the beginning of the School year. In total, 47 students from Grades 11 and 12 along with some teachers travelled to the Wilderness Edge, located in Pinawa, Manitoba. This Retreat is a time when students come together to explore their personal values, determine what leadership means to them and consider what challenges they would like to set for themselves. It is also a time when the students begin to build trust within the group, step outside their comfort zones and experience different outdoor adventures. By the end of the Retreat a bond has been established that will continue to strengthen during the students’ time together in the program. During the Retreat students and staff took part in a variety of team building and trust activities. One student noted, “I have learned how to leave my comfort zone and bond with others that I usually have not had the chance to be with and it was truly an inspiring experience.”

The Leadership Diploma Program is a two-year opportunity for students to delve deep into developing their leadership skills through self-development, hands on leadership training and experiences and working collaboratively to make an impact in the world.

All students who successfully complete the Leadership course and the other requirements will graduate with an SJR Leadership diploma. They will receive the diploma at convocation and their accomplishments during the program will be noted at their graduation ceremony. 2013 – 2014 marked the first group of students in the Program to receive their diploma.

This year, Mr. Jim Keefe, Head of School, and his family joined the students on the Retreat. His involvement in the activities, from playing volleyball with the students to sliding down the rapids showed the students that he believes in building a strong community. Furthermore, the mini-lessons he delivered on trust and failure, as well as his participation in the other classroom activities demonstrated his belief in the importance of developing leadership skills in our students. After the Retreat a student shared that it “was an experience that made me feel a part of something special.”



Canadian Activist visits SJR

Written by Michael, Grade 12 student

posted: Monday, September 22, 2014

On September the 19, 2014, Senior School gathered in the Reimer Gymnasium to listen to three very impactful speakers. The first speaker and the main attraction was, Craig Kielburger, of the charity Free The Children. Mr. Kielburger founded Free the Children when he was twelve years-old after he read a newspaper article in 1995 about a twelve year old Pakistani boy who was murder because spoke out about child labour and the slavery associated with it. As a young student, Mr. Keilburger and a group of classmates founded Free the Children to raise awareness about child labour and also to raise money to support anti-child labour campaigns. In his presentation, Mr. Kielburger spoke about the history of Free the Children as well as how the organization does a myriad of international development work from providing clean water to building schools.

On the topic of clean water, Mr. Kielburger invited two local high school students who have begun a campaign to raise awareness on providing clean water in developing nation.  These students have cycled the distance of the circumference of the earth on stationary bikes and then over next summer they will be cycling across Canada. After the presentation was on Free the Children and its international development work was coming to a close, Mr. Kielburger challenged the SJR to “Scare Hunger” this Halloween by going door to door and collecting food to be donated to a local food bank. In addition to this he also challenged the School to “Adopt a Village” by raising the funds to provided a garden. This garden would provide a sustainable and reliable food source to the community and local schools. Mr. Kielburger’s presentation and challenges were accepted with a standing ovation from the audience and guests, with a special token of appreciation also presented to Mr. Kielburger for brining his inspirational story to SJR. After the presentation students even had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Kielburger and have their photo taken with him.




Amazing Opportunity for Dancers from SJR

posted: Monday, September 22, 2014

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for five young dancers who were chosen to dance in the live televised opening ceremonies for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Friday, September 19, 2014.  SJR students Courtenay (Grade 5), Reina (Grade 3), Whitney (Grade 3), Alexandra (Grade 5) and Lileia (Grade 4) were among the 130 young Winnipegers selected from almost 500 dancers, between the aged 8-13, who had auditioned.  The girls worked with SJR alumna, Lindsay Nelko ‘04, an international choreographer, who choreographed the event.






To watch their national debut go to:




Critter Dipping for Bio Class

Michael, Grade 12 student

posted: Thursday, September 18, 2014

On September 18, 2014, the Grade 12 AP Biology students boarded a bus and headed out for a day of fun and learning at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre. They spent the day learning about ecology, wetlands and bio-diversity. The day was broken into three sections, one for each the three main components of Oak Hammock Marsh, the wetlands, the wildlife and the plant life. A bird watching hike was the first section of the day, where students armed with binoculars and guide books headed down the trail to look at geese, pelicans and a variety of songs birds. To explore ecology in the wetlands students were given nets and a bucket to dip-net in the marsh for various aquatic critters. A lucky few were given hip-waders and had a chance to wade deeper into the marsh to see what critters they could catch out there. To end the day, the students reconvened to discuss how all three components of Oak Hammock Marsh interacted with each other to form a sound ecological system!



SJR Student Plays Centuries Old Instrument

posted: Thursday, September 18, 2014

Accomplished musician, new boarder and Grade 9 student, Sky, was a special guest performer at the Junior School Assembly on Thursday, September 18, 2014.  At the beginning of the assembly, Sky was interviewed by the Junior School Music Prefects about her Chinese instrument, the gu-zheng. This is a plucked twenty-one string Chinese musical instrument, which has been played since ancient times and is often associated with the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius. With a range of about four octaves, its open strings are tuned in the bass register. Its lowest pitch is about two octaves below middle C, or the lowest note on the cello.

Sky, has won multiple awards in China for her performance with the gu-zheng and will be showcasing her talent to a Winnipeg audience later this month.



What’s all the Digging About?

posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On September 16, 2014 – 44 Grade 11 AP Biology students traveled to Morden Manitoba to visit the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre (CFDC). This field trip provided enrichment on their study of Evolution. The CFDC houses a museum that documents the geological and evolutionary history of Manitoba, as well as a world renowned collection of 80 million year old marine reptile fossils. The students toured the museum, which included a tour of the fossil prep labs. After lunch the students were taken to a dig site to get their hands dirty. This was followed by a tour of an active dig site where an 80 million year old 25-foot marine mosasaur is being excavated. Extremely cool!



SJR Patrols

posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On Tuesday, September 16, 2014 the Grade 5 students received a visit from a City of Winnipeg Police Officer, Cst. Sandra Murner to learn how to safely escort SJR students across the road.  Patrols are on duty at every Junior School recess to assist the students in safely crossing the road to the playground. This program has been in place for over 12 years at SJR and is a volunteer program, and as in past years, every student in Grade 5 has volunteered. Each student is assigned to patrol one day of the week. When the students are outdoors, they patrol for one or two recesses on their day. When there is indoor recess, they help supervise the Kindergartens to Grade 3 students in their classrooms at all three recesses.


There is a Patrol Captain in each Grade 5 who assists the teachers in ensuring the patrols are at their posts and performing their duties correctly. They also assist the patrols when they need a "sub" and help organize the coverage of classrooms on indoor recess days.




And the Winner is...

posted: Tuesday, September 16, 2014

In case you missed our Facebook post here are the results and a slideshow from the 2014 Terry Fox Run.

On Friday, September 12, 2014, SJR held its annual Terry Fox Run. Every student participated along with faculty, staff and parents. We are proud to announce that the house winner for both Middle and Senior School this year is YOUNG HOUSE!!!  Way to go.



Challenge Accepted

posted: Friday, September 12, 2014

Former Head of School, Stephen Johnson, challenged SJR’s Head of School, Jim Keefe, our Head Girl and Head Boy, Emma and Kunal, to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.



Democracy in Action

posted: Monday, September 15, 2014

With the upcoming City of Winnipeg Election on October 22, 2014 students at SJR in Grade 9 have decided to become actively involved in our democracy. In conjunction with their colleagues at Vincent Massey Collegiate (VMC), students in the course Canada in the Contemporary World are in the process of creating media outlets, such as the CBC, BBC or Aljazeera, in order to house their writing and begin thinking on how and why we participate in a democratic process. As such, groups of three will create websites and begin to produce NEWS articles, opinion pieces, and reflection videos on the current campaign. Additionally, each student will have to spend eight hours of their own time volunteering for a candidate in an effort to understand how grassroots democracy manifests itself in their community.

Every school day 6, our SJR and VMC students will come together at St. Paul's Church on Point Road to work together, listen to candidates, and pick the brains of local journalists. Keep on the lookout for the launch of some pretty impressive media sites!



Challenge Accepted

posted: Friday, September 12, 2014

Former Head of School, Stephen Johnson, challenged SJR’s Head of School, Jim Keefe, our Head Girl and Head Boy, Emma and Kunal, to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.



From the Mouths of Kindergartners

posted: Friday, September 12, 2014

Yesterday was the first full day of our all-day kindergarten.  When asked “What is the best thing about Kindergarten?” the students had lots to say:

“Getting to ride the bus, I LOVE all the tiny bumps.”             “FUN, FUN, FUN!”

“It is soooo awesome.”                “I was scared, but I’m not anymore.”

“I like the snack time the best.”                              “I get to play with Lego, it’s over there and it’s fun.”




What is History, an SJR Class Project

posted: Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our federal government, the media, and even Peter Mansbridge himself are incredibly excited about the recent discovery of one of the Franklin ships .

But is this discovery historically significant? This is a question we have been tackling in Canadian History this fall. How do we determine if something is significant, and more importantly, what is history? To help us with the latter question, we have asked historians from all over the world to offer their insight into this timeless question. Each week, students will be blogging with these historians and each other in an effort to figure what we mean by history. What is a history and what is the doing of history?

Have a look so far at the arguments from our first two historians: Dr. Desmond Morton '56 and Dr. Cian McMahon from UNLV:

Please feel free to weigh in and check back each Monday for another entry.


Bridging the Cultural Divide

posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Imagine yourself leaving the comforts of home and travelling to a new country where you know only a few people or, perhaps, no one at all. You arrive and find yourself amongst 34 other students from nine countries, all feeling the same uncertainty about what’s to come. Within minutes, however, your apprehensions fade away as you are met with warm smiles and understanding that reminds you that you are not alone.

“I love how international SJR is – not just its Boarding program but the Day students as well,” Miguel explains.  As a new Grade 11 boarding student from Mexico City, the diversity at SJR was one of the main reasons he chose to come here.

The Boarding program offers a rewarding and enriching experience for the students; helping them to build and foster life-long friendships and connections. In an ever-growing and quickly evolving world, SJR cherishes the opportunity of creating a residential environment where students of all backgrounds can live and learn in harmony with one another.

At SJR, the Boarding program places great emphasis on creating a family atmosphere where each student feels they are part of a safe and caring environment. After arriving and settling into their new rooms, the boarders take part in a multitude of fun ‘get to know you’ activities.

Over the past week, the boarders have participated in group activities such as bowling, a basketball tournament, various ice-breaker games, an off-campus pancake breakfast, a BBQ and a special advisory activity where the boarders devised a variety of challenges in which to compete against each other.  The family-like environment encouraged by the Boarding program is further boosted by SJR’s New Head of School, Jim Keefe, who, along with his wife Sally and their two daughters, Lucy and Laura, has attended many of the recent boarding events.

When asked how boarding life has been so far, a huge smile spreads across Grade 9 student Sky’s face as she answers, “Great! Everyone has been so kind and helpful!” Sky arrived in Winnipeg over the summer from Hangzhou, China. Earlier in the week she was delighted to see a traditional Chinese dessert, Mooncakes, on offer in the dining hall.  Mooncakes are a Chinese delicacy traditionally eaten in celebration of the Chinese Harvest Moon Festival and which are now regularly eaten on happy occasions.  Having a culinary taste from home has really helped her feel like her culture is truly accepted and embraced at SJR.

Miguel, meanwhile, is really enjoying the independence that the Boarding program teaches and encourages.  “I have a lot more responsibilities, like learning to do my laundry. It’s AMAZING here!”

The SJR Boarding program embraces the real life classroom program. Staff and peers help guide new boarders to learn life skills.  The structure of daily routines helps students to learn key time management skills that are crucial to developing good study habits. All boarding students in Grades 8-10 have to attend nine of the weekly study sessions, in Grade 11 they have to attend four of the nine sessions and by Grade 12 they have learned how to manage their study time independently, making the transition to university very seamless for them. 

For SJR boarders, their time in residence will be spent gaining the skills, values and experience they need to succeed – all while making great friends and finding a second home here at SJR!  



SJR Student Hits the Right Note.

posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

On July 4, 2014, SJR student, Sarah Shing, played a concerto at the National Finals of the Canadian Music Competition at Laval University in Quebec City, where she received a score of 90%. This is a remarkable accomplishment for the eight year-old pianist, her many hours of practice certainly paid off! Sarah is now beginning her fourth year of study with Caron Whitlaw-Hiebert, and she has been accepted into the Enrichment program at the University of Manitoba Preparatory Studies Division.

SJR is looking forward to many more assembly performances by this exceptional young musician!





The Culmination of a Year’s Work is Drawing to a Close.

posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The construction lights are coming down, the furniture is unpacked, books are awaiting placement on the shelves and the fitness equipment is all ready to be used. Our new Senior School and Fitness Centre are set to open soon. 

Enjoy your sneak peek…







See What's 'Brand' New at SJR

posted: Friday, September 5, 2014

SJR is taking a new, targeted approach to our communications in an effort to more effectively reach our target audience Our new ads demonstrate how a well-rounded education that includes co-curricular activities, athletics and arts all contribute to nurturing the whole healthy child; teaching students a life skill which is carried over into their professional lives.

We are asking our students to ‘Rise to the Challenge’ and strive to fulfill their potential each and every day. We are asking our faculty and staff to ‘Rise to the Challenge’ and create a supportive teaching and learning environment that is scholarly and challenging.

If you haven’t already seen the new bus backs that are on our Beaver Buses or had the chance to view or ad in the latest Macleans article we invite you to explore the new website and new marketing material to discover our vision for yourselves!