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Inspired by Possibility

Inspired by Possibility

The story of STS has always been one of courageous vision and action. For over 100 years beginning with our founding schools, we’ve looked for fresh possibilities for a well-rounded, inspiring education – and made them a reality.

In 2009, the Board of Directors of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) dared to imagine a campus rejuvenation project that would embody – and inspire – the spirit of STS for generations to come. They saw an expansion that would:

  • bring our elementary students under the same roof as our older grades for mentorship and connection; 
  • offer warm, comfortable and flexible spaces for a wide variety of learning styles; 
  • provide best-in-class spaces for art, design, and the performing arts for all grades; 
  • create an environment to foster and reflect the student-led, vibrant and collaborative learning at STS. 

Building community 

At the heart of STS, we're a community. A community built upon our shared values, including responsibility, kindness, respect and service. Our students, alumni, faculty, staff and families actively live these values through acts of service, every day. We intentionally support one another, and our students to actively participate in community, whether that be in their classroom, in the hallways, at school events or in the broader world. 

So for all of us, building something of significance to benefit our community for years to come seemed a natural - and challenging - thing to do. The decade-long process of realizing 65,000 square feet of new facilities is a brilliant example of how our community works. 

The volunteer parent board had the bold ambition to say yes. Our faculty collaborated on research. They sought to understand how a newly-designed space could optimize teaching and learning. Staff, parents and faculty, together with professionals, imagined a space that serves — and grows — the STS learning community. 

"We believe the most important factor for STS is the teachers. The knowledge, effort and caring for each student makes STS a great school. It is vital that the School's facilities enable teachers to use best-practices and the students have an environment that promotes learning. While we also donate our time and money to other worthy causes, such as health and social service programs, we think it is very important to help STS at this important time.” - Mike Jackson, Campaign Co-Chair and Board of Governors member

100% Donor Funded 

The vision was clear, and the Inspiring Possibilities Campaign was launched. Our goal? $27 million in donations. 

It seemed a daunting number, but philanthropy is part of the fabric of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School's community. Certainly, we need donations to sustain the best education environment possible, but we also strive to develop a commitment to citizenry, including philanthropy, in our students. So, in keeping with tradition, we appealed to our larger community to step up.

Alumni wanted to give back. Staff and faculty donated. Parents of current and past students showed their connection to our perpetual community by supporting the Inspiring Possibilities Campaign.  

"Our campaign was successful because of a strong, engaged community making STS a philanthropic priority. Our community never ceases to inspire." - Todd Worsley '88, parent and member of the Board of Govenors, and Advancement Committee Chair 

With dedication and hard work, over 700 parents, alumni, faculty and staff joined together to raise $27.3 million – well above the campaign target. With astounding generosity, our community made sure that STS remains at the forefront of education for decades to come.

Beyond the new facilities, $800,000 from the funds are earmarked to help our faculty pursue extraordinary professional development

And, in keeping with our practice of philanthropy, $1.9 million was dedicated to scholarships and bursaries for deserving STS students to break down financial barriers and welcome the best and brightest to STS.

Mission Accomplished 

Chris Shopperly ’80 was the Chair or the STS Campus Rejuvenation Committee. He, like the rest of us here, felt gratified to see the vision become a reality almost 10 years later, when the facility opened:

"Our new expanded new facilities offer an array of unique and interesting spaces including the Learning and Arts Commons with towering timber-framed spaces ending in dramatic curtain walls which, coupled with a multitude of large windows in all of the teaching spaces, creates extraordinary connections to the outdoors for our students and teachers. Now that our community has begun enjoying the new building, countless unimagined learning opportunities are revealing themselves and we are realizing that STS has created something very, very special. It has been an honour to have served as Chair of the Campus Rejuvenation Committee throughout the imagining and construction of our new facilities.” 

Continued greatness 

What makes STS great? Yes, we have our inspiring facilities, an incredible natural campus where learning beyond the classroom is a daily activity. Our academic program is outstanding, and our students excel in sports, arts and co-curriculars such as Speech and Debate or Model United Nations. But all of that happens because of one thing that is stronger than anything else here. Community. A community that dares to imagine, and act — together. 

Expansion Timeline: 

Campaign launch: September 2015
Campaign ended: February 2018
Ground breaking June 2016
Construction completion, December 2017
Students move-in, January 2018
Final landscaping, playing fields, paving, and play space completion, Spring 2018

Discover more about the process, design and result of the Inspiring Possibilities Campaign.