BLOG

Community

Positive Change Through Immense Tragedy

Parents held their children a bit tighter, classmates forged bonds never to be broken, flowers sold out across the city, and there was a far-reaching, palpable, deep sorrow. More than 20 years later, members of our STS community – alumni, current and former employees, classmates, and of course, more than anyone, the families of the children lost – are still profoundly affected by this event.

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. 

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.  

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. 

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 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. 

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.

New Hybrid Program Connects High School Students with Innovation and Entrepreneurship

For Immediate Release

December 6, 2022 (Calgary and Okotoks) — Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) and Platform Calgary are joining forces to create unique learning opportunities for students.

A new hybrid program centered around immersing high school students in Calgary’s growing tech scene will give STS students access to a specialized curriculum and mentorship experiences during weekly classes held at the Platform Innovation Centre in downtown Calgary’s East Village. The program will play an integral role in establishing our city as a hub of innovation by inspiring the next generation of innovative thinkers and entrepreneurs.

Designing for a Sustainable Future

The future is not what it used to be — but it can be what we make it. As educators, one of the challenges of crafting a truly exceptional education stems from the fact that our students and new graduates are stepping into a very different world than what we may have experienced. The concept of Gig Economies or temporary contracted positions, while not altogether new, has seen a recent surge in popularity, and ensuring that every student of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) has the tools and resources they need to thrive in any number of diverse environments is more important than ever before.

Built on a Strong Foundation of Philanthropy

Like the bricks and mortar that form our buildings, or the trees and pathways that provide our connection to the natural world, every donation you make not only shapes our campus, but upholds our legacy of creating good humans, thought-leaders, and global citizens.

Romance and Rigour

Having taught visual arts at STS for 16 years, Mike reflected on the wide variety of opportunities that STS offers, and that became the focus of his inspiration. The drawing he submitted provided the seed of an idea that became Romance and Rigour, an eight-foot diameter wooden relief carving featuring an array of independent pieces, all coming together to form a circle.

The Gift of Community

We started a wonderful Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) tradition a few years ago of giving every new student their first STS school tie as a welcome gift. The gifts are beautifully wrapped, and hand-delivered by employees and parents to each new student’s home. Not only is this our way of showing our appreciation for new students choosing STS, but also the tie symbolizes STS’s rich history and a common bond that literally ‘ties’ all STS family members – past, present, and future – together.

STS Family Fall Fair and Homecoming Celebration 2022 | A Great Success!

The STS community came together on Saturday, September 17, 2022, for the Family Fall Fair and Homecoming Celebration which took place outside in our beautiful courtyard. This STS tradition, put on in partnership with the STS Alumni Association and POSTS, brought together alumni, alumni parents, and alumni staff and their families, along with our STS families.