Inspiring Alumni - Jay Cross '80

Inspiring Alumni - Jay Cross '80

"We need fresh ideas; we need openness; we need people to think about working together to face the challenges in our world. We need to invest in children - it's in our biology to want to help others. Teach the young to serve and seek out solutions to problems they see."

Dr. Jay Cross '80, who is now celebrating more than 20 years as a professor at the Cumming School of Medicine and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary (U of C), recalls that he never considered a career in the sciences - not initially, at least. 

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Tomorrow Begins with Empowered Teachers

What do we do well? What can we do better? How do we ensure academic excellence, rigour, and deep learning remain at the core of what we do? And how do we gauge how STS is meeting its mission and value-driven goal of continuous improvement across multiple fields?

One metric we can look to is the commitment and willingness of STS teachers to reflect on and improve their pedagogical practice through onsite and external professional growth and development opportunities made possible by the school. 

Distinguished Alumna | Dr. Dana Lougheed '90

The Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) community is proud to celebrate Dr. Dana Lougheed ’90 as the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award —the highest honour bestowed by STS upon its alumni.

This award, established in 2003 to recognize eminent alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to our School, is given in recognition of a former student who has stimulated new ideas or developments, shown exceptional dedication, creativity, or leadership, and who truly represents the spirit of STS — Nil nisi optimum.

Inspiring Alumni | Rosalind Jackson Roe ’16

With a career that has taken her around the world, Rosalind is thrilled to be returning to the Alberta stage in a role she was –- quite literally –- born into. “I’m playing Rosalind in the ( Prime Stock Theatre Company’s) summer Shakespeare production of, As You Like It. It’s extraordinary to arrive at her; she’s who I was named after.” Rosalind will also appear in Prime Stock’s production of Henry IV, Part 1, as Worcester.

Inspiring Alumni | Dee van Zyl ’18

“The healer heals, but they also need to heal themselves. I think that the recognition can help.”

Dee van Zyl ’18 is bravely forging her own path in the wake of an immense personal tragedy and using her artistic talents to bring healing - and a vital awareness - to an underrepresented sector of society.

Inspiring Alumni | Ben Mercer ’95

Ben started Landform Inc., where he creates public spaces that allow residents to embrace the joy and beauty of the outdoors. He's proud to have built it from the ground up and admits that he learned as he went. "I attribute my success to a lot of luck and never walking away until the job is done right. Not being satisfied with less than my best effort was instilled in me at STS."

He says that STS’s Outdoor Education program played a huge role in cultivating his love of the natural environment, and he is forever grateful for the writing and speaking skills gained at STS for preparing him to be a business owner. "The essay composition skills practiced in the classroom served me very well through University, and I continue to rely on them to this day."

Inspiring Alumni | Ben Campbell '02

Ben Campbell '02 didn't expect to follow in his grandfather's footsteps. "Growing up, I wasn't a farm kid at all. I hardly knew anything about the family agriculture business."

As Alberta's Outstanding Young Farmers Program Award recipient for 2022, he has become a leading advocate for responsible ranching. "I consider myself an environmentalist and a conservationist. One of the main reasons I got into cattle wasn't because I wanted to be a rancher but to protect the environment. It's a healthy lifestyle for cows and produces healthy meat for people."

Imagining Beyond What is Possible

Genuine, unyielding curiosity, skill and determination, paired with achieving what seemed impossible, characterized Apostoli’s own MYP Personal Project – the inspiration behind establishing this award. After joining the Jazz Band in Junior High, he developed a particular affinity with the bass guitar. What he loved most was that it was not the highlight of the combo; it didn’t stand out or demand to be acknowledged. It was the backbone, the steady strength or heart;" without it, nothing worked, and the song would fall apart.

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".

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.”

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.