October News


The Great Pumpkin Returns to SJR

By Tim Hooper, SJR Chemistry teacher
Photos by Jen, Grade 12 student

posted: Friday, October 31, 2014

The Great Pumpkin once again arrived in the Chemistry Labs in a continuation of an SJR Halloween tradition. Students in the Senior School Science program were treated to an adaptation of the Old Nassau Clock Reaction, complete with a compelling Halloween story that is personalized for each class.

During the reaction, the Great Pumpkin appears (orange-red), decays (black) and disappears (colourless). Students were amazed by the sudden appearance, change and disappearance of colour during the reactions.  Afterwards, the demonstration was linked to course outcomes in reaction rates and chemical reactivity.





















SJR Debaters Travel to Hong Kong

Written by Peirce, Grade 12, PR Prefect

posted: Monday, October 27, 2014

Three public speakers have returned last week from the International Independent Schools Public Speaking Championships in Hong Kong. Grade 12s - Deborah, Peirce, and Peter -  took part in three categories out of several events ranging from debating to interpretive reading.

While in Hong Kong, the competitors had many chances to experience the attractions and culture that the city has to offer. Highlights include taking a cable car ride to see the Tian Tan Buddha, shopping the markets in Stanley, and walking The Avenue of Stars.

Once the competition began, the three SJR students proved successful and earned spots in four different category finals. Peter ended up placing third overall, and qualified to compete at the World Independent Debating and Public Speaking Championships in April 2015. The group looks forward to future competitions and other opportunities to improve their talents.



Grade 3 Students Look to the Future

posted: Thursday, October 23, 2014

To enrich their learning experience this year, Grade 3 students are hosting a year-long Career Fair. As part of this project, each student in Grade 3 is asked to choose a person with a career that they are interested in to come and speak to the class. The students are responsible for organizing all the details of the visit, from contacting this individual and explaining the purpose of their visit, to preparing an introduction about their presenter to the class as well as a thank you card.

Abby from 3CB invited her grandfather, Mr. Sheldon Bowles, a fantastic writer, to share his writing experiences with her classmates. Together, the students went on a ‘writing’ journey where they learned about imaginary characters that came to life. Some even saved Ms. Brown from a naughty wizard!

All the students had a wonderful time during Mr. Bowles’ visit. One student, Jude, told Mr. Bowles, “You did a really good job today. Thank you for coming. You were super! I couldn’t wait for you to share today. It was so much fun!” Christopher thought Mr. Bowles had a “great imagination!”, while Justine said: “You inspired me to make my own friends in my head.” For one of the students, Nadia, the visit from Mr. Bowles was also inspirational. At the end of the experience, she told him: “You made me want to write a book!”



SJR Student and Teachers Receive National Award

posted: Monday, October 20, 2014

At a ceremony held on Friday, October 17, 2014, the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, announced the recipients of the 2014 Government of Canada History Awards. Among the 100 students in Grades 10 and 11 from across the country that were honoured with this national award was Alice Yu, a Grade 11 student at St. John’s-Ravenscourt.  SJR teachers Heather Ragot and Matt Henderson also received the award in the category of high school teachers.

Alice at the urging of her teachers Matt Henderson and Heather Ragot, submitted an essay based on one of five challenging questions. Her topic, The Coming of Age, spoke about Canada's contribution to WWI. Alice cites in her essay that “Canada was thrust into the war as a country with little warfare experience and came out with one of the most respected military units in the world.”

When asked about the award, Alice noted "I remember working on the essay back in April and being really proud of what I had written. Then this school year, Mr. Henderson came up to me one day at lunch and said, 'Congratulations! You've won a Government of Canada Award’. And I felt really happy and honoured."

Only 20 teachers from across Canada were honoured to receive the Government of Canada History Awards for Teachers. Heather Ragot and Matt Henderson submitted their project, Three Day Road Redux. The objectives of the learning experience focused on the understanding of specific structures of narrative through the reading and writing of fiction while commenting on their own experience in a colonial or post-colonial society. The experience sought to develop empathy in the students while allowing them to experiment with writing and open their consciousness to a variety of stories within Canadian history.

Congratulations to Alice Yu, Heather Ragot and Matt Henderson!


Richardson Senior School Opens

posted: Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 marked the official opening ceremony of the new Richardson Senior School – made possible through a lead gift from the Richardson Foundation and members of the Richardson family – and the Riley Fitness Centre, made possible through the generosity of the Riley family. Over 100 alumni, staff, faculty, current students and families as well as past parents gathered for a reception and official ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate this momentous occasion.

The event began with a few words from the Build Our Tomorrow Campaign Co-Chairs, Edward Kennedy ’77 and Gerry Price, followed by the presentation of Distinguished Service Awards to key individuals involved in success of the campaign. Jim Keefe, Head of School, then invited all guests to gather in John Schaffter Hall where they heard speeches from faculty and students: Heather Ragot, Senior School English teacher, spoke about the transformation that not only the classrooms, but also the teaching methods and educational possibilities have undergone as a result of this project. Head Boy and Head Girl of Senior School, Kunal and Emma, spoke about the students’ experiences in the new Richardson Senior School, describing their initial reactions to the big, light-filled classrooms, the spacious student lounge and the impressive Riley Fitness Centre with all of its state-of-the-art equipment. 

Derek Riley ’72 and Hartley Richardson ’72 then each said a few words on behalf of their respective families about their long-standing connection to the School. Mr. Riley’s father, Derek Riley Sr., from the class of 1940, was also in attendance to celebrate the opening and to see the new facilities. Hartley and Heather Richardson, Jim Richardson ’68 and Shirley Richardson then officially opened the Richardson Senior School with a ceremonial ribbon cutting. With the buildings officially opened, guests were invited to tour the new facilities and see for themselves the fantastic results of this project.

To view more photos from the official opening, please visit our Flikr album at: http://bit.ly/opening_senior_school




SJR's Redevelopment Earns Power Smart Designation

posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Project overview

A portion of St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, originally built in the 1950s, has been replaced with a new 34,000 sq. ft., three-storey learning environment featuring 12 classrooms, a student lounge, biology labs, and various breakout study areas. Another 5,200 sq. ft. addition includes a modern fitness centre with cardio and strength training spaces. The entire redevelopment updates the school’s facilities and helps prepare students for the transition into post-secondary education.

Power Smart designation

Manitoba Hydro has developed design standards that new or renovated buildings must meet or exceed to be considered Power Smart* facilities. The standards relate to energy efficiency requirements and recommended best practices. They are intended to help owners and engineering/architectural teams develop designs that will qualify their buildings for the Power Smart designation.

The St. John’s-Ravenscourt redevelopment achieved this designation by surpassing the minimum requirements of the Power Smart New Buildings program. The facility is officially recognized as a Power Smart building and will be presented with a permanent plaque at its grand opening ceremonies.

Benefits of Power Smart for Business programs:

- technical support and guidance during the design and construction of the building;

- financial assistance to help offset the capital costs of energy efficient technologies;

- reduction of energy bills and operating costs;

- reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; and

- recognition as an environmental leader through the Power Smart designation on construction site signage and a building plaque.

Energy efficient features of the St. John’s-Ravenscourt redevelopment:

- high levels of roof and wall insulation, plus high-performance windows;

- condensing natural gas boilers coupled with water-to-air heat pumps for space and water heat;

- demand control ventialation with heat and energy recovery of ventilation air;

- T5 fluorescent and LED lighting systems with occupancy sensors; and

- direct digital control system to optimize and control the building’s operations.

Power Smart programs impact

 Estimated annual electricity savings 214,000 kWh
 Estimated annual natural gas savings 5,560 sq. m
 Estimated annual greenhouse gas emissions reduction 175 tonnnes CO2e 
 Equivalent positive environmental impact 19,000 trees not harvested

reprinted with permission from Manitoba Hydro



Piecing Together Our History

Written by Jessica, Grade 12, Student Council Secretary

posted: Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Last week, Senior School participated in a fun scavenger hunt to celebrate the opening of the new Senior School! The event was organized by Student Council as a way of encouraging School spirit, while also getting students acquainted with the amazing new facility. During Advisory period, all advisories paired up and gathered in the gym where they received an envelope containing instructions and clues. These clues led the students to different locations within the new Senior School where Council members were waiting to give them a set of puzzle pieces. Upon receiving their puzzle pieces, the students returned to the gym to assemble a puzzle with their advisories.

In an attempt to teach the students more about the history of SJR, each puzzle piece contained a photo of SJR throughout it’s almost 200 year history.

Although it was a very tight race, Mr. Ward and Mr. Campbell’s Advisory team ultimately came out on top, winning a pizza party for their Advisory. Overall, SJR’s first School scavenger hunt was a rousing success and a great kickoff to an exciting new School year in a new building!



The Learning Never Stops

posted: Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sometimes a family’s schedule requires an early start to their day or they need to have their children stay a little late. SJR offers an Extended Day Program to students in Kindergarten - Grade 5, where the fun and learning never stop! Parents are provided a social, fun and safe environment all while adhering to the School’s Mission, Vision and Values. This program stresses socialization, education and recreation while reflecting the interests of the children in the group. Activities include group games, arts and crafts, homework support and healthy snacks every day.

Recently, during an early dismissal day the students filled their afternoon building a fort in the woods and then undertaking a fun hike on our beautiful campus where they collected twigs for an art project. A highlight for the students was rolling down a hill, playing tag and enjoying the beautiful fall day with their friends!









How About a Little R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

posted: Monday, October 6, 2014

During the 2013-2014 School year the Junior School Leadership students (student council) decided that they would make respect posters as part of the "Respect Week" at SJR. They went around to all the classes and had each Grade design one letter of Respect and each student signed their name.

These posters were then hung up in the Junior School Atrium for all students, faculty, staff, parents and visitors to witness the importance of them. Every day our students walked beneath the banners, they are a constant reminder to treat each other with respect and kindness.

Due to the success of this project last year, Junior School decided to ask the students to make new posters. Noticing how the display of the panels from last year were looking worn Ms. Cheryl Kives enlisted the help of Mr. Mark Zubin, Evening Facility Coordinator and Ms. Calla Grabish, School Archivist, to determine what could be done. It was decided that the original panels would be encapsulated in mylar that was sealed only on three sides and adhered to a metal backing. This will allow for the removal and addition of new panels annually. The result is definitely eye-catching.




What is Democracy?

Written by Robert, Grade 9 student

posted: Thursday, October 2, 2014

Over the past few week some of our Grade 9 students from SJR have been meeting with students from Vincent Massey Collegiate for a joint project based around Winnipeg’s municipal election.

The project includes writing two articles, one opinionated and one factual, and also producing a video. As a part of this project, students were given the opportunity to attend a public Q & A panel with several candidates for the mayoral election, and regional representatives.

Mayoral candidates who meet with us included Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Brian Bowman, and David Sanders. Three councillors attended, including Jenny Gerbasi, Norm Miller, and Shane Nestruck. The panel began by talking about what democracy is; how it affects us, and vice versa.

After the candidates talked about democracy, the questioning was passed to the floor where SJR student asked about the legal voting age in Canada. The question received a variety of responses from the panel, which led on to the question: “What makes you a citizen of Canada?” The group will be talking about this question more as the year progresses.





Let's Get Ready to Rumble

posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2014

SJR has a new generation of "Rockys" in the making! Students from the Grade 11, Sports Development class participated in an intense workout at Pan Am Boxing Club on Tuesday, September 30, 2014.

This course is designed to introduce students to a variety of fitness training methods that will develop each individual’s athletic skills. The boxing circuit challenged not only each student’s fitness and conditioning, but also their mental focus to persevere through fatigue. This experience was the first of several trips that will introduce students to different training methods and techniques provided at different training facilities across Winnipeg.

Active healthy living is part of SJR’s Vision, Mission & Values. The importance of physical activity is an essential part of meeting the growth and development needs of our students, helping them to establish patterns for active healthy living that they will carry into adulthood.

The students learned just how challenging (and tiring) the boxing technique is, but they enjoyed every minute of it!