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.”
In the Speech program there are many different categories of public speaking but the category that challenges even the most seasoned of public speakers is probably Impromptu Speaking. The Impromptu category is completely unprepared. After you are given a topic you’ve never seen before with only two minutes to prepare, you deliver a speech for up to five minutes that is essentially created as you perform it. As a young public speaker, this category terrified me, and I avoided it at all costs. However, encouraged by my dad and my coaches, I worked at the skill, and naturally, it improved over time. The differences between me at the beginning of my STS journey, and who I am now are many.
In July, twenty STS students headed off to Geneva to attend Swiss Summer School in the picturesque mountain town of Gstaad. After landing in Geneva, the group wasted no time and headed from the airport to the waterfront to see the Jet d’Eau. Then they strolled over to the old town to visit St. Pierre Cathedral and tour the downtown district.
After the end of a grueling series of IB exams several weeks ago, sixteen Grade 12 students and three teacher supervisors (Mr. Bennett, Mr. Boulianne, and Ms. Grant-Watt) flew off to New York City to cram as much culture into a two-and-a-half-day period as possible. We saw the MET, an off-Broadway comedy called The Play That Goes Wrong, the New York Stock Exchange, the UN headquarters, the 9/11 memorial, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State building, Time Square, Fifth Avenue, and more. All the while taking breaks to eat at some of the most amazing food I have ever tasted, no matter if it was pasta in Little Italy or Texas-style family barbeque. It was a hectic rollercoaster, but even if our abused feet would say differently, none of us would have traded a single moment.
From April 28 through 30, STS hosted the Zone 5 High School One Act Play Festival, providing an invaluable opportunity to connect with the larger high school fine arts community. In addition to hosting, STS also produced two plays for the competition, Bluebirds by Vern Thiessen and Mirror Game by Dennis Foon.
"What drew us in was the global application of the project. Since we have honeybee farms so close to our campus, learning that they could also be found in South Africa, and that they faced similar issues was very interesting. In other preliminary research, learning about the economic benefits and support honey farming could provide for strengthening quality of life was something that drew us in. Knowing that the premises of this project could be seen only a few kilometers away, and the initiative supporting not only the environment but also people’s wellbeing was key in our choice to take on this project."
STS Middle and Senior School Speech students have been enjoying great success this year, winning various medals, trophies, and awards including placing second in Impromptu Speaking at the World's Debating and Public Speaking Championships on April 17.
On Thursday, February 24, 26 STS Grade 11 students accompanied by three STS faculty met at the Calgary International airport for the 2022 B.C. Universities Tour. Over the course of three days students toured multiple universities including Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, the University of British Columbia – Okanagan Campus (UBC-O) in Kelowna, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Capilano University in Vancouver, Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, and the University of Victoria (UVIC) in Victoria.
On March 3-6, three STS students, Sophia L. ’23, Raza S. ’23 and Alia N. ’22 participated in the IISPSC which was hosted by King’s Edgehill School in Halifax, Nova Scotia; however, because of COVID-19, the tournament took place virtually. This year, six countries, 42 schools and 120 students participated making this tournament the largest of its kind in the world. Three students only can enter from North American schools and international schools are represented by six students. Each student must choose three categories to perform from a total nine.
Each year recent STS graduates come together to share their stories about the rewards, surprises, and challenges of university life with our Grade 12 students. This year ten young alumni from around the world were brought together virtually for STS’s Tales from Undergrad Years session on February 17, 2022. Grade 12 students filled the C.A. Smith Arts Centre to listen to each alumna/alumnus guest speaker share their unique and varied experiences as freshman.
As many of you may know, February is Black History Month! This month is all about recognizing, amplifying, and celebrating Black voices both in the past and the present. Three Grade 11 students, Bolu K. ’23, Anaya T. ’23, and Tanusri B. ’23, have created a working group to share some of the messages and themes of Black History Month with the school community.
Students of Mr. Saccucci and Mr. Peterson’s Grade 10 English classes have been focused on a new unit, ‘Words Have Power’, the focal points being The Book Thief, The Zookeeper’s Wife, and Life is Beautiful, each a key example of historical moments when words had power.
The theme this year is “February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day.” I find this a very valuable statement. Take the time to learn about the many accomplishments and important stories of the Black people of Canada. The Government of Canada website includes lots of information to get started with. After discovering these, keep them in your heart not only during this month but remember them every day!
Last week our Grade 11 and 12 students had the pleasure of hearing from 17 alumni at our annual “Spartan Talk” sessions. Held in a virtual format, students had the opportunity to attend one of four alumni panels; Allied Health, STEM, Fine Arts and Humanities, and Law, Finance and Business. Alumni shared with students their journey from STS into their current roles.
Grade 10 students have been spotted in many different classrooms of late, steadfastly recording collaborative podcasts under the careful direction and guidance of Mr. Boulianne. The collaborative production of podcasts is a fresh pedagogical approach that allows students to debate and argue questions of interest raised in the Historical Globalization unit.
You could see the desire to win was so great on the girl’s faces as well as the people on the bench. They knew they were tired but the comeback that they had was so immense that winning this set was in reach. The serve went over and the ball got battered around between the two sides. Then the ball was smashed just out of bounds by one of the Saint Joseph’s girls. This meant that the Spartans won the set 32-30. The amount of sheer joy and excitement on the players and the coaches faces was priceless. This seemingly impossible win from a 10-point deficit propelled our girls to win the next set and by default, the game.
The new STS climbing boulder and climbing wall mats are getting a workout as are the students and faculty who are using them. Mr. Straub has continued his creative route setting, building an expanding range of climbing and bouldering routes that engage climbers regardless of age or ability, now on an increased number of surfaces.
Both Grade 7 and 8 Social Studies classes recently participated in peer assessment activities in class. Peer assessment helps students to evaluate other students’ work in accordance with the Middle Years Programme (MYP) rubrics. Students were asked to locate evidence in student work that reflects the various strands in the MYP Rubrics.
Last week Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School students and employees took part in numerous activities for the 37th annual celebration of Marti McKay Week. Founded in 1984, Marti McKay Week promotes the creative arts, honouring the memory of Marti McKay, an STS student and gifted poet who passed away in 1981.
On October 8, 12 STS teachers across all three grade divisions attended a workshop at Dodginghorse Ranch on Tsuut’ina Nation. Facilitated by Sonya Dodginghorse, teachers engaged in meaningful learning, collaborating, and sharing that focused on Indigenous culture and diversity awareness.