April News


Advancing Through Science

 posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Three SJR students fared well at the Manitoba Schools Science Symposium. Held on Sunday, April 26, 2015, this event attracted 458 students in Grades 4-12 from 65 Manitoba schools who presented 356 projects. SJR student Justin Lin (Grade 10) won Best Overall Intermediate Project for his project on Effects of Statins on Scleraxis-Mediated Collagen Expression in Fibroblasts. Justin also won the Gold medal at the Intermediate level and will be going to Fredericton, NB to compete in the Canada-wide Science Fair.

David Gwun (Grade 10) also won the Silver medal at the Intermediate level while Alice Yu (Grade 12) won the Gold medal at the Senior level and won Best Biotechnology – Senior for her project on Target delivery of BMP4 siRNA to hepatic stellate cells for treatment of liver fibrosis.

Congratulations to all SJR students who took part in this competition.



It All Adds Up!

posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2015

           2 SJR Teachers
         10 different sports
      1,000 student athletes
    10,000 hours of practices  
60+ years of Excellence in Coaching

Mr. Ray Grynol and Mr. Craig Campbell were honoured at the Manitoba Coaching Awards Ceremony this past weekend. Our SJR teachers were recognized for 37 (Mr. Ray Grynol) and 30 (Mr. Craig Campbell) years of coaching in various sports. 

The amount of energy and enthusiasm shown by these exemplary coaches cannot be measured in hours or calories or wins and losses. The many championship teams produced by these coaches are only a minor indicator of the impact of these gentlemen. Their legacy lies in the countless athletes who have learned to love sports. Their impact is evident in the values and attributes that were instilled in their students. Mr. Grynol still runs his annual soccer tournaments and Mr. Campbell presently has the biggest girls’ rugby team in SJR history.

Congratulations to our coaches and their respective teams. A generation, or maybe two, of SJR students have benefited from their commitment and caring.




SJR Students Celebrate AAA Hockey Season

posted: Monday, April 27, 2015

The annual Winnipeg AAA Hockey Awards Banquet was held on Thursday, April 23, 2015.  Eight SJR students played AAA hockey in 2014-2015 and were recognized in the league’s yearbook.  These students are Austen McIvor and Matt Shatsky (Grade 8), Alec Borger and Jordan Kozak (Grade 9), Stelio Mattheos and Tyson Gauthier (Grade 10), and Zach Lamothe and Mark Wilson (Grade 12).

Austen and Matt’s team, the Winnipeg Monarchs (Bantam 2), was awarded the Dianne Woods Memorial Cup for their city championship win.

Alec’s team, the Winnipeg Warriors (Bantam 1), was awarded the Dick McCullough Memorial Cup for their city championship win.  The Winnipeg Warriors (Bantam 1) went on to represent Manitoba at the Western Canada Bantam Championships, held in Winnipeg in April. They were bronze medal winners at the “Westerns”.

Zach, Mark, and Stelio’s team, the Winnipeg Wild (Provincial Midget), was recognized for finishing the season in first place in the Manitoba AAA Midget League. Zach was awarded his team’s AAA Scholarship.  These scholarships are provided to graduates of the Midget hockey program in support of their post-secondary education.

 Congratulations, boys, for successful seasons on the ice.



Re:CONNECT to Bring About Change

Photos by: Michael - Grade 12 and Ji-Eun - Grade 10

posted: Friday, April 24, 2015

Each year, staff and students at SJR organize a TEDxYouth event entitled TEDxYouth@FortGarry. On Wednesday, April 22, 2015 learners from Middle School, Senior School and from outside the SJR community came together to engage in our theme of Re:CONNECT.

The learners entered into deep and transformative conversations with seven amazing speakers who spoke of connecting with the self, with the other and with the biosphere. As Upper Fort Garry has been a gathering place for peoples in Manitoba for over 12,000 years, TEDxYouth is purposefully designed to be a new meeting space for ideas and solutions for the challenges which lay ahead for our learners. These types of learning experiences speak to a shift in a pedagogical understanding at SJR, a reliance on brain-based research and the fostering of meaningful dialogue.

Some of the speakers included:

Atticus McIlraith and Winnipeg Harvest’s David Northcott spoke on the importance of donating baby formula to food banks. At a young age Atticus has become a social justice advocate and started the The Annual Atticus McIlraith Baby Formula Drive.  His efforts have helped to raise over $10 000 in baby formula and monetary donations. Atticus is often heard to say “No Baby Should Ever Go Hungry”.

Connor Wielgosz and Cole Wielgosz brothers who started The Water Cycle Project, a year-long initiative targeted at water issues after learning how water issues are affecting everyone worldwide. They are channeling their energy into making a difference world-wide, hoping to bring the world one step closer to providing everyone access to clean, sanitary water.

Philippe Burns spoke about how “We are all Winnipeg” and the process he has undertaken in joining youth together to help raise awareness of the issue of racism. He described some of the challenges in reaching out to people, ways to overcome these challenges and how best to reach people who can help.

SJR students, Julian Polimeni, Wilson Ho and Connor Stadnyk who are all interested in the sciences and took part in the Experimental Lakes Area pilot project for high school students. Recognizing that school can at times become boring for students they realized that through reconnecting the material to its source and interacting directly with the topic allows students to not only learn, but also gain a greater understanding while maintaining a high level of interest.

Nilufer Rahman and Saira Rahman topic was Arctic Mosque, and how growing up as Muslims in Canada has been both a struggle and a blessing. They stressed that when we connect, we can break down walls, overcome fears and pave the path towards compassion, justice and peace.



I Gotta Feeling!

Photos by: Stuti - Grade 9, Gagan - Grade 12 and Jen - Grade 12

posted: Friday, April 24, 2015

This year's Rock Show celebrated 25 years of SJR's Rock Show tradition! With over 82 students performing 29 songs in three outstanding shows, with 23 hard-working crew members, this was musical entertainment at its very best.

Highlights included Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb', Stevie Wonder's 'Sir Duke', Whitney Houston's 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' and many, many more! Congratulations to all those involved in this year's impressive event!



Learning & Leading

By: Rebecca Powell, Senior School Teacher

posted: Friday, April 24, 2015

The SJR Leadership Diploma Program students have had a busy week. The Grade 11s attended a Canadian Student Leadership Association Conference (CSLA) at Maples Collegiate. Our students were fortunate enough to share the day with wonderful like-minded students from all over the city. They were challenged to focus on controlling themselves and not others, as well as how to make a positive impact on those around them while at school.
The Grade 12 students, as part of their year-long Impact Project, continued to spread the word about The Blue Dot Movement. Sisler High School students invited our Leadership students to present at the Sisler Environmental Conference. A big part of leadership is influencing and inspiring others. Carter Russell, Evia Beldavs and Cassandra Patterson did just that. They spoke to students from across the city about how they can make a difference within their schools and communities. Once again, they connected with new schools and have been asked to visit more schools to deliver their message at an assembly or through delivering a workshop.
Thank you to CSLA, Maples Collegiate, Sisler High School and the many students who we were honoured to meet and spend time with during the last few days.



For the Love of Reading

By: Joyce Riddell, Junior School Teacher Librarian

posted: Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Last term the Junior School conducted a Book Drive that turned out to be a great success.

We collected 18 cases of books to send to a school with a need for literacy support for classroom libraries and home reading programs.

SJR partnered with Norquay School in Point Douglas, MB which has just added 2 new classrooms, so the need for additional books was great.

In the collection, there were 4 cases of board books. Upon checking with the principal at Norquay School, we learned that they have a nearby daycare, Eagle Wing Early Education Centre, which serves their community.

The books were delivered during Spring Break to both locations and the reception was very enthusiastic! Staff in both facilities are very pleased to introduce the new resources to their students.
A huge thank you to the Junior School students and their families for supporting literacy in the wider community. Many thanks to Library Pages for their enthusiasm for the project and their help gathering the donations from the classes and help packaging the books for delivery.



Guest Speakers Welcomed

posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

On Thursday, April 16, 2015, the Grade 8 students had the opportunity to hear some unique stories from visiting speakers. The aim of these talks was to help the students understand the novels they are studying from a new perspective.

Mr. David Alexander Robertson, the author of the graphic novel 7 Generations, spoke to the students who are currently reading his novel, as well as those reading In Search of April Raintree by Beatrice Culleton. Mr. Robertson, an Aboriginal author, presenter and publisher living and working in Winnipeg, spoke to the group about his journey of self-discovery (mirrored by the hero in his novel and the heroine in In Search of April Raintree) in identifying with his Cree heritage. 

Meanwhile, the Grade 8 students currently reading the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi had the opportunity to hear a unique viewpoint on the setting of the novel from their guest speaker, Mr. Jack Moslehi. Mr. Moslehi was born in and spent some time living in Iran in the late 70s. He spoke about his experience living in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, and was able to personalise the context of the novel for the students in a very relatable manner.

The third guest speaker was Mrs. Roberta Mitchell, who spoke to the students studying The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Mrs. Mitchell’s daughter Lisa was born with Down Syndrome, and she shared with the students the challenges that Lisa faced in her life. Mrs. Mitchell fought to have Lisa included in regular classrooms all the way through to her graduation and she and Lisa paved the way for other children in Manitoba schools to be included in regular classrooms. She talked to the students about the importance of inclusive education and was able to make connections between Lisa and the main character of the novel, Christopher, who is on the high functioning end of the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

All three talks gave students an opportunity to understand the novels they are reading in a different way. Thank you to the speakers for giving their time to us!



Off the Record

By: Christy Donald, Middle and Senior School Art Teacher

posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

SJR is thrilled to have the McGarry Guild Gallery back in action after a brief hiatus during the building of the new Richardson Senior School. We are pleased to announce the first show, Off the Record, a collection of Surrealist collages created on re-purposed record covers. 

Inspired by Diana Thorneycroft's sculptures at Gurevich Fine Art Gallery earlier this year, and the Salvador Dali exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, students in Grade 10 Visual Arts experimented with Surrealism and collage techniques as they brought new life to Mr. Ray Grynol’s retired (and generously donated) record collection.

Students were challenged to keep the integrity of the original record cover while experimenting with the Surrealist devices (Scale change, Levitation, Metamorphosis/Transformation, Juxtaposition, and Dislocation) through the medium of collage.

This show will run until Friday, May 8, 2015.

We hope that you enjoy the strange surreal scenes they created!



History Comes Alive!

posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2015

On Tuesday, April 14, 2015 the Grade 5s had a very memorable and animated visitor. As part of their unit in Social Studies on The British in North America - The Seven Years' War and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, Mr. Frederick Carsted, former SJR Senior School Science teacher and historian stopped by in an authentic reproduction of a British cavalry uniform. Mr. Carsted spoke about the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and explained his uniform.

The students were delighted to receive a wooden musket and learn how stand at attention properly. He then loaded his real musket with powder and fired it!

This is a lesson that won’t soon be forgotten.



The Court of Canadian History

By: Mr. Matt Henderson, Senior School Teacher

posted: Friday, April 10, 2015

On Wednesday, April 8, 2015, performers from Kingston, Ontario's Salon Theatre dropped by SJR to give a performance of their new production, "The Court of Canadian History" to Grade 11 Canadian History students. This play puts Sir John A. Macdonald, first Prime Minister of Canada, on trial for his part in the expansion of Canada to the West.
The participatory experience focused on the ethical dimension of history and asked students to judge Sir John A. Macdonald on his opening of the west and his controversial decisions. Louis Riel even dropped by as a key witness.
Through it all, students had to use their knowledge of the treaties, métis resistances, Confederation, and immigration to assess Sir John A. Macdonald's legacy and historical significance.



School of ROCK

Mr. John Einarson Remembers

posted: Thursday, April 9, 2015

At my very first teaching interview after graduating in the spring of 1978, what excited my potential employer was the fact that prior to my decision to become a high school history teacher, I had played in rock bands for several years. That set me apart, bringing my rock experience to students. What I anticipated as a potential liability -- given preconceptions of the rock-band lifestyle -- proved instead to be my ace in the hole.

Throughout my 30-year teaching career, I taught guitar, ran a guitar club and organized rock-music events. I was the rock 'n' roll teacher.

When I went to university prep school St. John's-Ravenscourt, known for world-class debaters and mathematicians (and later hockey star Jennifer Botterill ’97) in the fall of 1990, it was suggested I consider organizing a choir. Huh? Instead, I organized an official school rock band.

The concept was to audition potential musicians and singers, select eight or nine to be the band, prepare a set list of suitable songs and rehearse after school once a week for a performance at the annual Spring Sizzler or school dance. Thus began what would become the school's Rock Show program.

For the first five years, the plan pretty much stuck to that single-band concept. One year, the rock band served as accompaniment to the drama teacher's production of The Who's Tommy, learning the entire rock opera by ear (only the keyboard player read music). I noticed, however, auditions at the start of each school year were drawing larger numbers of students as the program became more popular. It was becoming tougher to reject so many of the eager and talented students who sought to join.

For the 1995-96 school year, I decided instead of one band, we would organize a revue centred on a musical theme and use everyone who came out and demonstrated a minimum proficiency. Young & The Restless: A Tribute to the Music of Neil Young proved to be a resounding success, selling out the school's theatre for two nights running. Some 35 players and singers organized in various lineups performed 27 Neil Young songs with a slide-show backdrop of Young photos and album covers. The expanded concept was a winner.

The following year, The Summer of Love 1967 included more than 50 performers tackling flower power and psychedelic classics over three sold-out shows. By this point, the school parents association had bought amplifiers, a synthesizer and a drum kit, which were set up in my classroom for after-school rehearsals a couple of days a week.

For Oh What A Feeling: 40 Years of Canadian Rock, strings and horns were added for several songs as the participation numbers continued to grow.

In 1999, we moved into the gymnasium to mount Woodstock, complete with stage announcements (done by students) throughout, the appearance of farmer Max Yasgur, a rainstorm and a rain chant. The Rock Show, as it was now titled, returned to the theatre for the next three years, but by then, five nights was required to meet the demand for tickets. The number of students participating was approaching 100.

For 2001's California Dreaming, the theatre was transformed into the Whisky a Go-Go, complete with go-go dancers in elevated cages. The following year, it became the brick-walled Cavern Club for The British Are Coming. Rehearsals were now running four days a week in addition to my full teaching load.

We Will Rock You in 2003 saw a return to the gym, where the shows have remained to this day. Production has expanded, with elaborate staging, lighting, lasers and even giant video screens for live highlights. A crew of some 24 students handles the various production and staging needs. We even sell T-shirts. It's the full rock-concert experience, minus the intoxicants.

The annual Rock Show performances have become the highlight of the school year. For the 1,500 or so students who have passed through it, the Rock Show remains their fondest high school memory.

"No one remembers that English class or assembly 10 years later, but everyone remembers the Rock Show," notes alumnus Elise Menec ’08. "It's an unforgettable experience."

"I cannot believe I had the chance to perform shows in which most musicians only dream of performing: the lights, sounds, stages and setups that one could only find by paying big bucks for some big band rolling into town. I had the opportunity to experience what a rock star experiences without leaving my high school," says former student Dylan Grymonpré ’08.

"I have yet to meet anyone outside the SJR community who had a high school activity as uniquely innovative as the Rock Show," says alumnus Dean Smith ’02, who enjoyed the distinction of playing Johnny Rivers, Roy Orbison, Bill Medley and Ike Turner during his Rock Show years.

"There is no other program in the school that connects so many students from so many different social spheres. That is, perhaps, its greatest accomplishment. The Rock Show unites the school as a whole. It has bettered the lives of countless students."

Productions of The British Are Coming and 2010's Across the Universe were both invited to perform at the Manitoba Museum. In 2011, several Rock Show participants were fortunate to perform with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the Centennial Concert Hall for the Rock Owes the Classics concert.

Over the years, the productions have featured the banjo, mandolin, oboe (I Got You Babe), French horn (After the Gold Rush), flute, ukuleles, bagpipes, dancers and even a champion whistler. As vocal demands became more complex, Bonnie Wallace came on board to arrange harmony vocals.

The 2008 production of I Know It's Only Rock 'n' Roll featured real rock concert pyrotechnics. A local fireworks company hired to operate the explosions assured us the curtaining we were using behind the stage was fire-resistant. The students were over the moon at the thought of flames shooting into the air and ear-splitting explosions. However, a visit from the fire marshal three days prior to the show revealed the curtains were not up to the fire code, and under no circumstances could flames be used near them.

There was no such curtaining available in the city on short notice. We would have to rent appropriate fire-retardant curtains (nine metres high by 15 metres wide) from a theatrical supplier in Montreal and fly them in at our expense. A call was made to one of our participant's parents who, without hesitation, told us to bring the curtains in and bill them. The shows went ahead, to great excitement.

While the vast majority of Rock Show alumni have gone on to vocations far from laser lights and Marshall amps, a few have pursued music or theatre-related careers. Heather McGuigan ’00, who recently starred in Nova Scotia's Neptune Theatre production of Mary Poppins, enjoys a successful musical theatre career. James Richardson designed many of our productions and now does the same for a large cruise ship line. Scott Ord ’09 and Blair McFarlane ’09 are record producers/engineers in Los Angeles. Keyboard player Wendy Ip ’92 served as musical director for legendary singer Ronnie Spector, released two CDs and worked with Gene Simmons of Kiss. Lindsay Nelko ’04 danced in our shows and is now a choreographer on the popular U.S. television show So You Think You Can Dance. But vocational preparation was never the goal of the Rock Show program. It was, and remains, all about giving students an opportunity to develop and express their love of rock music in an extracurricular context.

"The things you learn and take away from Rock Show, you will never forget," states alumnus Devon Bate ’08, who played guitar, keyboards and sang in the shows.

"I owe so much of what I've become to my experiences over four years in the Rock Show," notes former student Becca Lang ’08. "It gave me confidence and motivation. I am so lucky to have had the chance to play amazing music with friends. Every one of us got to be a rock star for a few days each year."

"The years I spent in Rock Show were the most wonderfully exhausting, educational, frustrating and ridiculously fun moments of my SJR years," says alumnus Jessica Lee ’03, whose rendition of To Sir, With Love complete with string section in 2002 remains a highlight.

"We learned co-operation, appreciation for music and the joy, friendship and admiration it brings. What Rock Show does for the growth of students has lifelong impact."

As former head boy Ricky Muller-Moran ’08 notes, "Rock Show is the single most important event of the school year. Along the way, I have learned how to work better with others and how to take responsibility for my part of a project. But most of all, I had tons of fun."

Over the years, we've endured fire alarms, power outages, a potential flood (1997) and last-minute substitutions because of debating tournaments, hockey or basketball playoffs. We've even had students performing while wearing casts or using crutches. Regardless, the Rock Show endures. The program also survived my retirement from teaching in June 2008 after the administration persuaded me to continue running the Rock Show. The program was given its own permanent rehearsal room. This year's production, I Gotta Feeling, marks the 25th year of Rock Show and will feature not only a more contemporary set list, but also a retrospective glimpse at 25 years of productions in video clips on a giant digital screen.

Every year, I insist it's my last, and yet each fall I'm back.

In a school built on tradition, Rock Show has created its own tradition. As for me next year? Ask me on April 22.

There will be three shows:
Sunday, April 19 at 1:30 p.m. - special Rock Show Alumni Matinee and Reception.  Tickets: $35.00
Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Reimer Gym, at SJR.  Tickets: $15.00
Tickets for can be purchased by contacting the School at 204.477.2408.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2015 A1



A World of Knowledge

posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Last term, Grade 7 student, Mitchell Barnes, competed in the School’s Geography Challenge contest against the class champions from each Grade 7 and Grade 8 core class. In a very close contest Mitchell answered the most correct responses, winning our School championship. Having a Grade 7 take this title is rare and a testament to Mitchell’s knowledge.

He then competed in the Provincial Championships, which is done online, and as a result of his amazing knowledge of geography, Mitchell has been invited to participate in the National Championship which will take place May 2-4, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario.

This is quite an achievement for Mitchell; he is the only student from Manitoba, and one of 20 from across Canada, that was selected to go to the National Championship next month in Ottawa. The event is comprised of three rounds; Round One will be a written test, Round Two consists of geographic field work, from the results of Round One and Round Two, five student finalists will participate in the final round, Round Three and prizes will be awarded for first, second and third places. This event is hosted in a game show-like format.

At a special Middle School Assembly on Tuesday, April 7, 2015, Mitchell received a medal and a certificate for being the Level II Geography Challenge School Champion by his teacher, Mr. Christian Jones.

Congratulations Mitchell and best of luck next month on Ottawa.


A Challenge of Worldly Proportions

By: Mrs. Alison Carrey, Middle School Teacher

posted: Monday, April 6, 2015

Middle School students took part in our annual, friendly competition, The Great Canadian Geography Challenge. For the Level 1 contest (Grade 6 students), the top two students from each core class moved on to the final round. Mr. Christian Jones asked the questions, and students responded with a game-show style buzzer system.

Questions ranged from the easier, “Which city is the capital of Japan? Answer: Tokyo  ” to more difficult questions like “Lesotho is completely surrounded by this country? Answer: South Africa.” The Level 1 winners were Vishwa (first place), MacKenzie (second place) and Blair (third place). Congratulations to all the finalists!