Crash Course in Politics

By: Christina, Grade 11

posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This week, the Senior School is embarking on a three-day change to their regular class schedules. The change, called Mini-Mesters, allows classes to take place over a longer period of time, giving students more time for an in-depth study into particular subject matters.

For our Canadian History block during our Mini-Mesters, Ms. Mary-Ellen Campbell’s and Mr. Karl McCready’s classes were able to meet people who were involved in politics. Members from the Green, Liberal, NDP and Progressive Conservative Parties led these discussions.

Each party had their own room and students rotated through the four stations. Our group started with the Green Party. They briefly discussed some of their platforms, but spent most of the time encouraging us to get involved. Most of their discussion was centered on the environment, as expected.

Next our group switched over to the Liberal Party. The speaker they had come to talk to us was very charismatic and captivating. He had lots of energy and got everyone hooked with his humor. He mainly focused on the Liberal ideologies during his discussion. Our attention was captured through a story about how our speaker’s family was taunted by rebels in the Philippines. The Canadian immigration system, which he was promoting as a Liberal, is what saved his life. 

The next stop was the NDP Party. They discussed lots about their history and the start of their party. They even included an interesting political comic where the Liberals and Conservatives are represented by cats. 

Lastly, we visited the Conservative party. The man representing the Conservative Party talked to us about his own life, where he used to be a teacher and related it back to being a politician.


It was really interesting to listen to the different Parties present their own views in relation to the others. It was a quick and effective way for students, most of whom will be voting in the next election, to learn the basics of the political beliefs of each party and to see who we could see fit to represent us.







Mapping our Community

posted: Thursday, January 22, 2015

This term in Junior School, Ms. Lauren Menzo’s Grade 1 class started an inquiry unit into maps as part of their Social Studies component ‘My Environment’. The students each chose one building from their community, did some research on it and then built a model of that building at home to bring to school. This project has helped to inspire curiosity and a great deal of enthusiasm among the students for the  communities in which they live.

The students brought their architectural recreations to school and, as a class, chose the buildings or landmarks which they felt were important parts of the community and help to make up the city of Winnipeg. At first, some of the students were unsure how all the buildings would come together to make a map but as they continued through their exploratory unit they were very excited to see the completed project. As one student said, “it was a hard thing to make the building look right, but so nice to see it all come together.”

This unit helps students to understand what communities are and, by plotting buildings and landmarks on a map, assists them with spatial recognition and helps them to understand that it takes different communities, buildings and spaces to make up the city in which they live.




Law Class Visits the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Written by: Hannah, Grade 11 student

posted: Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On Tuesday, January 13, 2015, Mr. Henderson’s law class headed downtown to Winnipeg’s newest museum, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

As human rights are something that we have explored in law class, it was the perfect trip. At the museum we had a chance to not only see and experience the magnificent new museum right in the midst of our city, but we also learned something in the process. We did a variety of different activities such as participating in an interactive game that explored our own opinion on a human rights case to do with freedom of religion. Among the many exhibits at the museum, our law class had the chance to explore the gallery called “Canadian Journeys”, which featured a variety of different human rights cases in Canadian history including exhibits on residential schools, missing and murdered aboriginal women, forced relocation of Inuit, as well as Japanese during World War II and the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike.

I strongly suggest a visit to this amazing museum here in our city of Winnipeg.




Teachers vs. Students Spelling Bee

Written by: Mrs. Barbara Cahoon, Director of the Centre for Learning

posted: Monday, January 19, 2015

On Friday, January 16, 2015, members of the Middle School Spelling Bee Club challenged a group of Middle School Teachers to a Spelling Bee competition. The contestants were required to spell a variety of challenging words including herpetology, diatribe, keelhaul, contrapuntal and ephemeral. Both teams did an excellent job of spelling some very difficult words, but in the end, the team of teachers was victorious.

The students have been meeting since October to hone their spelling skills in weekly Spelling Bee Club meetings. In February, 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!




Junior School Student Inspires Others

posted: Friday, January 16, 2015

Grade 2 teacher, Allison Thomas was so inspired by her former student, Ayesha, who has been regularly volunteering at the Siloam Mission since she was in Grade 1, that she decided to have the Siloam Mission as their major philanthropy project for the year.  

Ms. Thomas wanted her current class to have the same enthusiasm for making change happen for homeless people that Ayesha has while understanding the importance of giving back to their local communities. On Wednesday, January 14, 2015, the Grade 2 classes along with 12 parent volunteers had an opportunity to go down to the Siloam Mission. 

While there they sorted blankets, decorated sugar cookies as a treat for the patrons and received a tour of their facilities.  Prior to their visit, the students collected substantial donations of hygiene items and new blankets to donate.

Thank you to Ayesha’s mother, Tejel, who worked alongside Ms. Thomas to arrange several aspects of the trip. 

Student reactions:

When I was helping at  the Siloam Mission I felt so good that I was actually helping the homeless.  I felt so bad about the people who were homeless.  I learned you should connect your life to people who are not like you.” – Natalie

My reaction was a little shocked.  I learned that they were going to add 110 more beds.  That’s so many!” – Alexander

I learned that if you are homeless you have to fit ALL you own in ONE backpack."  – Caitlin




A Musical Journey Through Time

posted: Thursday, January 15, 2015

On Wednesday, January 14, 2014 the Senior School drama, music, history, global issue and Grade 10 geography classes had the chance to experience and learn about the Winnipeg General Strike from an informative and entertaining musical perspective when the composer and some members of the cast of Strike! the musical visited SJR.

The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike is arguably one of the most significant events in labour, racial and political history -- not just in Canada, but globally. The General Strike, while not successful at the time, created a social democratic movement that led to the introduction of many of the programs and statutes we deem to represent Canadian values and principles of today: pensions, healthcare, minimum wage, employment insurance, etc. The Strike speaks to class conflict and the disparity between Winnipeg's North and South ends -- trends which continue to exist today.

Strike! the musical is an explosive retelling of the Winnipeg General Strike and was written and directed by local composer Danny Schur. Matt Henderson, Senior School teacher, had the chance to see a presentation from Danny Schur at a Special Area Groups of Educators (SAGE) conference in the fall. He felt that the musical and accompanying presentation would resonate with our students as a backdrop and context to the texts that they study, such as Great Expectations, A Street Car Named Desire and Lord of the Flies.

Within the Grade 9 and 11 curricula, there are countless connections to the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. For Grade 9s, the movement speaks to issues based on human rights and to notions of identity and citizenship. For the Grade 11s, the Winnipeg General Strike provides an opportunity for them to truly reflect on how Winnipeg and Canada have changed over time and yet, in many ways, remained the same. Learning about Winnipeg’s history is critical to understanding ourselves, our communities, and to becoming global citizens, recognizing that we are only human because of our connection with other people.

The students were captivated as Danny Schur , the composer, took them through the journey of events that led to the Winnipeg General Strike. He spoke of the hardships that most citizens endured during this tumultuous time, conveying to them a personal and relatable side to the story. Through performances from the actors and commentary by the composer the students learned about the the real-life story of a Ukrainian immigrant everyman, Mike Sokolowski, and New York Jewish leader, Moishe Almazoff, the real-life person shot in the heart by the Northwest Mounted Police on Saturday, June 21, 1919 -- a day in history later called ‘Bloody Saturday'.

A special thank you goes out to the SJR Parents’ Association who made the event possible by funding the performance of Strike!

Danny Schur created and produced the musical Strike! which is in the process of being made into a movie. He is also creating musicals based on Louis Riel and Nellie McClung. To learn more about the musical Strike! please visit: www.strikemusical.com



The Right to a Healthy Planet

Photos and text by: Michael, Grade 12 student

posted: Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The SJR Senior School hosted a Blue Dot movement assembly in the Reimer Gym on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 lead by the Student Council and the Grade 12 Leadership Diploma Program students.

The Blue Dot Tour, led by David Suzuki, is an environmental movement with the aim to amend the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to include the right to a healthy and safe environment. This would mean all Canadians would have the right to clean water, air and safe food, as well future governments could only improve upon environmental regulations and standards.

The Blue Dot movement plans to achieve their goal by petitioning municipal governments to extend this right to its citizens and then in turn the Municipal governments would inspire the Provincial and the Federal government to then amend the Charter.

The Leadership students kicked off the assembly with a short film from the David Suzuki Foundation about the importance of having a safe, healthy environment and the way all Canadians can unite to keep Canada strong. After the video, Head Boy, Kunal, gave a rousing, passionate speech, with some allusions from Do not go gentle into that good night, to Senior and Middle School students on the importance of taking action on environmental issues.

With his firey conviction he urged the students to sign the Blue Dot petition that would be presented to the Winnipeg City Council at a meeting in April to extend the right to healthy environment to Winnipeggers and inspire other levels of government to follow suite.

The assembly was a fun event for SJR Students, but also an educational and inspiring assembly for the students to encourage them to take upon themselves responsibility for their planet.

Read more on the impact this movement has had on SJR students.




posted: Monday, January 12, 2015

December brought about many practices, games and tournaments.


All teams are half way through their season and developing well.

The 5/6 House League (Kindergarten & Grade 1) continues to enjoy their weekly practices and games on Saturday morning. While games were played on half-ice before winter break, they are now using the full-ice area for practices and games. This has proved to be somewhat tiring for a few!

The 7/8 House League (Grades 2 & 3) teams are both playing well. A combined team of players from both teams played in the Fort Garry North Hockey Association tournament during the winter break. Though they lost all three games, players were excited to receive backpacks, Jacob Trouba posters and a variety of swag from local businesses in their player packages. Both teams are also registered and excited to play in the Waverley Heights Winter Classic tournament in early February.

9A2 has moved up to in the division and is now called 9A1. After winning all but one game in the first half so convincingly, Hockey Winnipeg decided to move the team up. They have played one game in A1, and unfortunately lost 5-1, this was their first loss of the season. The team will be travelling to a tournament in Buffalo, MN for the weekend of February 13-15.

High School Girls continue to play well, they are currently placed 3rd in the B-division. SJR hosted the Annual Take It To the Limit tournament in December and placed 3rd. Tournament was expertly run by parents of the players. Thank you to all who contributed to make this a successful tournament.

SJR1 & SJR2 are both in development stages and showing terrific progress both on and off the ice. Coaches Landreville and Landreville have done well to bring their teams along so far.

Middle School In-House Club teams have had great success so far. They have had a number of practices and are playing full-game scrimmages every second week, with hired referees and authentic Eagles jerseys.

Unfortunately, our Middle School Girls Breakfast Club team has not had the same success. Though the girls have been enthusiastic, it has been difficult for several to attend the early morning sessions considering their already busy schedules. There has been a core of four or five girls who have attended almost every session.

Indoor Soccer

The three High School teams are coming near the end of their regular season and approaching the playoffs.
High School Boys are playing as a split squad of two balanced teams, there has been a good deal of development, particularly for the younger less-experienced players....even though it may not show in the league standings.

The High School Girls are a smaller squad with only a few experienced players. This has led to lots of fun and growth for this team.


All teams were selected in December and are now into their seasons.

The U13, U14 Boys’ and Girls’ teams are practicing twice each week and playing in a number of tournaments throughout the season. They do not currently play in a formal league, though this is something to look into for future seasons. All tournaments are listed on the Athletics Calendar.

Our JV Boys’ and Girls’ teams played their first games this week. For some student-athletes, it was their first game ever. Both head coaches told me they have identified a number of things for the teams to work on in upcoming practices. Work in Progress!

Varsity Girls’ team is a very strong AAA team this year. They have won all of their exhibition and league games so far. The team had originally planned to be in Montreal this week to attend the Eastern Independent Schools tournament. Lack of numbers of available players did not allow for the team to travel so far. Instead they will be taking a bus tour on January 16 and 17 to exotic location of Swan River in northwest Manitoba for a short three game tournament. In December, they played in the St. Norbert tournament and placed well.

The Varsity Boys’ team are an even stronger AAA team, playing Tier 1 with AAAA teams. They have won most games in exhibition, dominating some games to the point of starters not playing most of the second half. The coach has purposely selected tournaments with some of the strongest AAAA team in the province to give his team a challenge throughout the season. The boys have responded well individually and as a team.

Indoor Track and Field

Indoor Track and Field will start this month.

We have 18 Senior School student-athletes signed up to participate in Athletics Manitoba's Indoor Series. The team will be training twice each week and competing on four qualifying meets in January and February, and a Championship meet in March.

For the first time, we will have a Middle School Track and Field team competing in the Athletics Manitoba Track Attack Series. This is open to all Grade 7 and 8 students. Registration is currently taking place. There are four meets and SJR will compete in three of them. See the calendar for more information.


Both clubs will re-start next week. The Grade 2 and 3s will continue with development of movement skills, under the tutelage of Coach Rock. Grade 4 and 5s will work on sport-specific skills, focusing on basketball as the primary winter sport. SJR Boarding staff member Kirsten Mundle ’06 will be coaching this club.


Though the season is still a few months away, training session are being run in Reimer Gym every Sunday for both Middle School and Senior School, run by coaches Steve Baria ’98 and Sean Storm ’06 both whom are Ultimate gurus.

Our Varsity Co-Ed team has recently been offered a bid to play in the annual Canadian High School Ultimate Championships to be played in Burnaby, BC in early May...very exciting news for their coach, Dean Wright.





What Makes a Newspaper a Newspaper?

posted: Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Last term, the Grade 4 students spent three weeks working on an inquiry unit about newspapers. They explored different types of articles and sections that newspapers typically have.

The students broke into groups and designed their own winter newspaper.  Each publication featured local news, national news, editorials, feature stories, advertisements, comics and games. Students made use of the School’s Chromebooks, a laptop-like device that is designed to primarily work with apps and data that reside “in the cloud”. By using a Chromebook, each student was able to use Google Docs to simultaneously write and edit their newspapers.

After the newspapers were printed, students sold their them to family and friends, with a donation of choice given for each paper sold. The Grade 4s sold about 120 newspapers which earned the class $232.40. All money raised has been donated to the Christmas Cheer Board.