Walking the Path

Walking the Path

The outdoor world provides an awe-inspiring, engaging and exacting place to ‘be in the now’. The experiences we have there can yield learning and significance far beyond the particular place, time, and group of people; watching the clouds float slowly overhead on a warm summer afternoon, the endless, mesmerizing pattern of flames in a campfire, the first site of distant, snow-covered peaks as we crest the top of a backcountry pass, the intensity of focus while paddling a rapid or pulling the crux move on a climb. “Be here” they say, “part of this moment’s value and beauty is in the fact that it is fleeting, get preoccupied with the past or the future and you’ll miss it.”

Upcoming Events

Friendraising and Flourishing

The STS Alumni Association was first established under the Societies Act of Alberta 38 years ago, on May 9, 1984. In addition to regular meetings, the Association’s responsibilities during its first five years included annual events such as the Christmas Reunion and a Polo Tournament, with the Golf Tournament and Grad Luncheon being introduced in the early 1990s. The Alumni Association was dissolved as a separate entity in 1998, at which time it was restructured under the umbrella of STS with Jack Hay serving as inaugural Alumni Coordinator.

The Chernoff Commons

Long before the first shovel broke ground on our campus in 1970, a group of visionaries shared a bold idea — and made a commitment to see it become a reality. The Chernoff’s incredible donation, made as part of our Inspiring Possibilities campaign (2013-2018), is a beautiful reflection of these same values. On behalf of the entire STS community, past, present and future, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Chernoff family for their vision, faith, and support. You have left a legacy that will bring joy and inspiration for generations to come.

Inspiring Respect, Compassion, and Friendship through Art

At Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS), we believe we all share a responsibility to help create a more equitable and inclusive society, and as our Head of School, Carol Grant-Watt says, “do good for the world”. As a school, we have a unique and powerful opportunity to create meaningful opportunities to learn, teach, and connect people.

Place a Dream as the Goal

On a recent visit to the School, I stopped by the impressive Nil Nisi Optimum sculpture at the front entrance and found the words ‘Place a dream as the goal.’ It resonated immediately with me, particularly with regards to the founders of our predecessor Schools, as well as to those of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS).

In each case, family initiative, influence, and resilience brought about the desired results. Strathcona School for Boys opened with eight boys in 1929, just six weeks before the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression. Likewise, St. Hilda’s gained Anglican Church patronage that enabled it to open with 40 students in 1905.

Connecting Stronger Than Ever

Parents and guardians of STS students, you are the reason why the Parents’ Organization of STS has and will continue to flourish. Every contribution you make on a daily basis, whether it is one hour in a classroom, helping with our special events, donating to our fundraising efforts, being on hand to help at a track meet or field day to simply ensuring that an important message or update is shared with the community, creates ripples of generosity that have helped shape our School into the iconic institution it is today. 

A Kindergarten Poem

Over the years my family, the trees, grew taller and my friend the school grew bigger, and bigger over the years. The Aspen Lodge, outdoor buildings, and entire wings popped up like building blocks for young children to play with.

Cultivating Deep Relationships with Our Campus

Research findings demonstrated that even our youngest students could articulate a deeper connection to the campus, a need to steward it, and that the spaces themselves could be known and understood through different perspectives. It is probably no surprise that teachers and students alike reported increased levels of wellness during these experiences as well.  

The Gifts of Speech

Speech taught me how to harness my natural “motor mouth,” but most importantly, speech afforded me the ability to connect with older students who I knew would support me. Because of speech, I learned to be comfortable in my own skin, “motor mouth” and all. I learned how to deal with difficult social situations, how to approach teachers and adults, how to manage co-curriculars and school work, how to win, and most importantly how to lose. Many of these lessons came from my coaches, peers, and older students whom I looked up too, which makes these memories very special. Even now as I graduate, I am still in contact with those older students whom I formed connections with and I still find myself turning to them for advice about the transition to post-secondary school. 

Innovative Program Offerings

At Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School, one of the ways we view innovation is as a means to add value to our excellent programming. In the Senior School in particular, new programming offerings for the 2023-2024 school year will add value by increasing student choice and enhancing the student experience. Specifically, students can look forward to electives that complete course pathways in Musical Theatre 25/25, Outdoor Education 20/30, Sports Medicine 30, Personal Fitness 20 and Computer Science and Entrepreneurship II. 

We Are Spartans

Why does the Spartan name continue to evoke such powerful emotions two and a half millennia later? The legacy of these legendary warriors has traveled far beyond the battles in which they fought, and their reputation for discipline and total devotion to excellence on and off the field continues to inspire students, and especially athletes, the world over. Sparta’s fame was not built on having the largest army in ancient Greece, but rather the best trained. Formal education began at the age of seven and continued through adulthood as each member was elevated to their fullest potential. Even now, those elite individuals in any industry or walk of life are often referred to as "Spartans".

Exploring the World Beyond the Classroom

The outdoors are experiential in nature. Just as every living organism grows in relation to its environment, the same is true of a child exploring the world beyond their classroom. The more our students and teachers learn about the outdoors, the more we all realize just how many vital lessons the beautiful and diverse landscape of the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) campus has to offer.

Launching Into the Future

Change is the one constant we can rely on; the world is always in flux. In 2019, blindsided with a new pandemic reality, systemic and societal change demanded that educators and institutions pivot again, and again, to navigate the unknown. Educators manoeuvred through curricula on-line, off-line, and everywhere in between and aspired to be the glue that held learning communities together while navigating an ocean of change. While the pandemic continued on wave after wave, strategic vision planning at STS emerged, morphed, and caught traction despite pandemic struggles and triumphs. The moral imperative for all educators, tapped us on our collective backs; the need for continual improvement beckoned. The need for change, an updated vision, and a new STS strategic framework, was stirring to life.

On Wellbeing and Resilience

Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) places the wellbeing needs of students at the center — and it begins with teachers. Walk into any Kindergarten to Grade 12 classroom and you will notice authentic and meaningful connections established between students and teachers. Why? Because at its core, every educational encounter is a relational one that is anchored in trust-building. STS teachers understand the critical role they assume in providing a safe space for students to take well-supported risks in the classroom and on the field. Raising a hand to ask a question in calculus class and trying out for a new co-curricular activity are made possible when students trust the adult overseeing the experience cares about their learning experience. 

The Pinnacle of Deep Learning

Students and parents at STS have continued to show strong support for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP), the culmination of the IB educational continuum. Through this Programme, students have the opportunity to go deeper and ask insightful questions, to add to their own perspectives through problem solving, and develop independence and confidence by applying themselves to a wide variety of academic challenges. Not only does this add to their enjoyment of school now, but this leads to success in post-secondary studies and a drive for life- long learning.

The Right Thing to Do

There are times in your life when you see a piece of art and think “Wow, that is amazing!” That’s exactly what the Nil Nisi Optimum sculpture concept did for Justin and me, and we just knew that the right thing to do was to support this amazing legacy piece for the 50th Anniversary of STS. 

During the unveiling on April 8, we were blown away by the passion, leadership, and empathy shown by the artists who built this structure. Justin and I had the opportunity to hear how the artists had poured their hearts and souls into this beautiful work of art: everything from the logistics and fabrication to the shipping and implementation. We could feel the love that went into this piece. 

Learning with Saa'Kokoto | STS's First Nation Elder-in-Residence

A teacher, historian, storyteller, and visual artist - Saa’kokoto is providing STS students with a deep understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture. His lessons carry a wealth of first hand experience, drawn both from his years as a business leader in his community and as an ambassador of his culture. “I learned a lot about the people, the land. I come from the largest First Nation in Canada which is Kainai west of Lethbridge, and we have two elementary schools, a middle school and high school, and our own college. In my last term in office, I taught a course there at the college and it was accredited through the University of Lethbridge. It was on governance - (a concept) that I could share.” 

Leaving A Legacy

Nil Nisi Optimum and Romance and Rigour are the result of a request for proposal put forth to the STS community in honour of this landmark occasion. We received an overwhelming response from our local artists and sculptors, and the final designs were selected by a formal committee review.

Nil Nisi Optimum was dedicated during a special event held in April 2022, and the official unveiling of Romance and Rigour was one of the highlights of June’s Big Birthday Bash weekend. These events were made even more significant by the fact that these installations were created by three STS alumni and our very own beloved Elementary Art teacher.

Celebrating the Past

It is such a privilege to write on behalf of my Dad, Sandy Heard, and the Heard Family. They all are so proud of what Strathcona-
Tweedsmuir School (STS) has become. My Mom, Lois Haskayne, fondly remembers her years at Strathcona School for Boys and STS, especially her relationships with the teachers and our childhood STS friends that we still have today. There were five of us Heards attending Tweedsmuir and Strathcona, and we moved into the Headmaster’s house when STS moved to the country. We were called the Heard Birds: myself, my sister Janice, Mark, Cynthia, and Rod. 

Learning Purely for Myself

For me, International Baccalaureate (IB) Music was special because it was a subject I chose purely for myself. It offered me a place in school where I could explore a passion and take a break from the stress of Senior School.

Now, that’s not to say it wasn’t difficult. It’s a subject that requires a lot of time to complete assignments and create work. Still, I think out of all my subjects, music is the best representation of what IB means to me because it continuously challenged me to test my limits.

Nurturing the Spark

Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) is a unique and special place as it is one of only a few K-12 continuum International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in Canada. The IB framework is an integral part of our school’s identity and the Flourish 2031 Strategic Plan. The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is the framework that the Elementary School uses to teach the Alberta Program of Studies. The heart of the PYP is inspiring students to take action in their community in order to leave the world better than they found it. The Primary Years Programme is where students are introduced to their schooling journey and it is where teachers instill a love of learning and encourage curiosity.