Adopt-A-Family 2021 Recap

Thank you for making this year’s Closer to Home initiatives our biggest year yet.  CA’s annual Adopt-a-Family/Cool Kids Care initiative in support of Closer to Home Community Services has now wrapped for another year. For over 20 years, the CA community, including staff, students, teachers, and parents have supported Closer to Home to bring altruism and our REACH principles to life, helping this important community organization. This was our most successful year! The total raised for this year’s Closer to Home Adopt-A-Family initiative was $15,960 – surpassing the original goal by almost $2,000! Closer to Home will use these donations to buy gift cards for families to use for groceries or presents during the holiday season.

“Our families really do understand that there are people out of work right now, there are people struggling to put food on the table, worried about where are they going to get their next month’s rent.  Adopt-A-Family helps to take a little pressure off those people during a season that should be full of joy,”  said CA Director of Learning, Sarah Hoag.
To celebrate Adopt-A-Family coming to a close this week, the International Travel Studies (ITS) Morocco students set up a hot chocolate and candy cane station to spread good cheer and to thank their fellow CA community members for their contributions. The leadership of the students throughout this initiative was integral in generating a greater understanding throughout our community about the importance of donating and giving back to those less fortunate.
“This initiative is so important every year, but especially this year when many people are struggling to buy necessities. Calgary Academy has continued this yearly tradition since 1997 and this year is the biggest year yet, and we feel so proud to have been able to give back to 18 families in 2021,” said ITS Student, Levi L.
Thank you again for supporting local Calgarians during this holiday season. Happy Holidays!

Junior Drama Production Tickets for Sale

We are excited to present our Junior Drama Production, Bibbity Bobbity BAAM!, on the evenings of Dec. 7-10! To purchase your tickets, please login to your PowerSchool Parent Portal and choose Rycor – Calgary Academy’s Form & Fee Management System. Once in Rycor, if you have multiple students, click on their name to purchase your tickets. If you are unable to access Rycor or your PowerSchool Parent Portal, please contact PowerSchool Support at powerschoolsupport@calgaryacademy.com Due to COVID-19 restrictions, seating capacity and tickets per performance are limited to 50 attendees and a maximum of four (4) tickets per family. Please note: All attendees will need to be masked and the seating will be socially distanced. Proof of double vaccination is required and must be presented at the ticket desk upon arriving for the show for all ticket holders who are not CA students are over the age of 12 years. If one of your guests will be in a wheelchair or need additional space, please advise when you request tickets so we can ensure space allocated for you. Please note this will mean that the number of available seats will be reduced for that performance. About Bibbity Bobbity BAAM! Bibbity Bobbity BAAM! chronicles the life and times of Petal, A.K.A. The Fairy Godmother, before she became the infamous figure she is today. Petal is a preteen Pixie determined to win her fairy wings from her teacher, Master Merlin. However, through a series of unfortunate events, including accidental poisoning, a transforming reptile, and one epic night of partying, Petal finds herself kicked out of fairy school and without her magic. Will it all work out or will Petal lose everything she has ever dreamed of? Bibbity Bobbity Baam! is a fast-paced, high energy comedy that mashes every fairy tale into one

Knights Athletics Update

Fall sports for Knights Athletics have come and gone, and it was a tremendous return to play for our student-athletes! We were able to have eight volleyball teams (totalling over 100 student-athletes), a cross country team of close to 40, a golf team of over 50, and even two Senior School boys playing football with the Springbank Phoenix. Overall, more than 40 per cent of our students in the Junior and Senior Schools were involved! The athletic season started with our Grade 9 Girls Volleyball Team winning their ice-breaker tournament at Menno Simons. It was a great start for this team, who went on to win bronze at the league level. The Grade 8/9 Boys Volleyball Team finished the regular season in first place before hosting playoffs, and the Grade 8 Girls Volleyball Team finished their season by winning their final game! The Grade 7/8 Boys Volleyball Team grew throughout the season to become a very cohesive group, and the Grade 7 Girls Volleyball Team played more games in more gyms than anyone in the league. The future is strong with this fantastic group of student-athletes! The success of the Golf Program continued this year, with student-athletes from grades 7-12 eagerly rushing to the Knights Bus at the end of every day. We sent five Senior School and eight Junior School student-athletes to the league championship, and they represented the Knights in very fine fashion. The Cross Country Team had a tremendous year, sending Erik Brunner of the Senior School to Provincials in Red Deer, where he placed 6th in all of Alberta! In addition, we had such a dedicated group of runners once the season finally ended that the student-athletes convinced the coaches to start a running club. They have been coming to school early to run well into the cold months of Fall. Good work runners! A fun update: We have received our new Knights Bus! It will be getting decked out in Knights colours soon and you will get to see it driving student-athletes around for the winter sporting season. Also, we are having our main gym floor updated! When you come to the school to watch a basketball game in the new year, you will get to experience a fully updated floor, complete with our Knights logo in the centre! Basketball season has now begun, and try-outs are wrapping up. Games will start at the beginning of December, and we are working on a process to get fans into the building in the new year. Stay tuned!

Adopt-A-Family 2021

The holidays should be a joyous time to celebrate with loved ones, eat great good, and look forward to the year ahead, but for many, the holidays are a time of financial stress. During this ongoing time of uncertainly around the world and here in the Calgary community, many families are struggling to make the holidays feel special. For over 20 years, Calgary Academy has come together for the annual Adopt-A-Family and Cool Kids Care initiative to support those who need it most. In partnership with the non-profit organization, Closer to Home, CA proudly donated over $13,000 in gift cards last year, allowing recipients in the Calgary community to use those cards to shop for their families for the holidays.

“The staff each year at CA unanimously say, ‘absolutely, we must do Adopt-A-Family.’ This is part of who we are, and this is our tradition. When the chips are down, that's when our CA families seem to step up the most,” said Sarah Hoag, Director of Learning, who started Adopt-A-Family in 1997 to help students understand how other families in Calgary live.
adopt a family 2021 families This year, Kindergarten-Grade 6 students will be matched with a child in the Calgary community through the CA initiative, Cool Kids Care. In the past, students would go as a class and purchase gifts from stores in the city, but now, all donations are being made online. This way, gift cards can be purchased directly, and the partner family can buy exactly what their child wants. For Grades 7-12, each class will participate in Adopt-A-Family and students donate based on what their partner family has requested. Typically, senior high school students volunteer to lead the project with Sarah, but this year, CA students are leading the organization of these initiative as part of their international travel studies volunteer requirement of their trip.
“What excites me about Adopt-A-Family is seeing altruism at its best in action. It makes me so proud to be with an organization that doesn’t just say were altruistic, but we live itThe sense of pride that students have when they bring gifts in for people they don’t know, fills my soul. At the end of the dayit’s about the students understanding the importance of altruism,” said Sarah. 
To support a family during this holiday season, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/CalgaryAcademyAAF2021

QUEST Council

Since 2001, junior school students have participated in a formal student leadership group, called QUEST Council. Now in its 20th year, Calgary Academy's QUEST Council  prepares students for today and the future with the skills they need to succeed after graduating. Leadership is a lifelong skill that involves learning how to communicate effectively, listen to others and accepting others despite a difference of opinion. Erin Ellis, then principal and now Director of Learning Supports at Calgary Academy started the QUEST Council in 2001. Erin got the idea through a teaching practicum that she had and wanted teachers to look at initiatives to create leadership within peer groups. The goal was to strengthen leadership by involving more students in different activities and providing them with the opportunity to lead those activities. At the beginning of the year, teachers talk about QUEST in their classrooms and if a student wants to run as a representative for QUEST Council, they make a speech stating why they would be a good fit for the role. Two class representatives are elected for the lower and upper elementary grades.

“The idea is for students to be leaders in their classrooms, taking their classmates’ ideas for spirit days and team building activities to the QUEST Council and then implementing the ideas in the school,” said Nicole Mitchell, Elementary Teacher.   
[caption id="attachment_6323728" align="alignleft" width="1024"] QUEST Council Halloween Sprit Day[/caption]   The representatives and two teachers meet as a QUEST Council once a week during lunch hour to brainstorm ideas and make plans for upcoming events and holidays. The Council is divided into four houses, Windsor (yellow), Lancaster (purple), Berkley (black), and Dunvegan (orange). Classes are split up among houses, meaning that each castle has students from Grades K-6, which allows students to get to know students in other grades and build new friendships.
“QUEST promotes positive school culture and community by engaging students in upcoming events and encouraging them to be leaders in their communities. Students show a lot of enthusiasm which contributes to a positive class environment,” said Jessica Taylor, Elementary Teacher.  
Students who are involved in QUEST Council develop leadership skills including the ability to listen to other’s ideas and make decisions, public speaking skills and develop confidence in themselves as young community leaders. There are so many benefits for students who get involved in their communities at an early age. QUEST’s kickoff looked different this year, as the school had to creatively gather students together virtually and build connections even while separated in their own classrooms. The event included introductions, a land acknowledgement, and a fun activity for each classroom to participate in. QUEST Council is connected to the REACH principles which are foundational to CA. QUEST representatives must always show respect for their peers and their ideas. Enthusiasm and altruism are present in many activities as QUEST organizes school-wide events like food drives, creating cards for veterans around Remembrance Day, or collecting food for a rescue foundation. Prior to COVID-19, QUEST would visit senior’s homes and volunteer at the Mustard Seed.
“QUEST improves the overall school energy and spirit, resulting in students being proud to be at CA,” said Nicole Mitchell, Elementary Teacher.
The next event is a PJ and hot chocolate day on Friday, Nov. 19.

The Calgary Academy Garden

Due to the beautiful weather this past season, the Garden produced a large harvest that we are excited to share with the greater community. The Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 4 students planted the 2021 school gardens last spring, planting root vegetables, potatoes, and carrots. Ms. Stam's Grade 9 class dug in, offering a helping hand with the harvesting. Students enjoyed taking part in this hands-on learning activity, playing in the dirt, enjoying fresh air, and witnessing the magic of the growing season.

“The purpose of the garden was to provide opportunities for children to understand and experience how food is grown, and to make connections to Alberta curriculum outcomes in meaningful and experiential ways. Each year, different groups of students take part in planting, tending to, and harvesting the gardens,” said teacher Bev Seguin.
students holding carrots The school community will celebrate the harvest with a vegetable soup prepared by the Castle Café chefs. Students and staff can purchase a vegetable chowder for lunch on November 17 during our Community School Garden Fundraiser. Half the proceeds will go to the Calgary Food Bank and the other half will go back into the school gardens for the spring planting in 2022. Students can pre-order lunch in their LunchTime Account, and several choices will be available including soup/sandwich, soup/salad and soup/bun.  

“All the profits from the soup go back into the school gardens and to the Calgary Food Bank. This way, our gardens are sustainable and have yet to cost the school any additional costs. The collaborative approach to these gardens incorporates all aspects of our REACH principles, as it is truly a school-wide effort,” said Bev Seguin.

Introducing SCOCA

The School Council of Calgary Academy (SCOCA) serves as an advisory and consultative body to the school Principal, focusing on the views of the school community at large. All parents are automatically granted membership and are welcome at the meetings, along with student and staff representatives. Elections for the parent executive occur every spring. There are six SCOCA meetings a year: Oct., Nov., Dec., Jan., March and the AGM is in May.

SCOCA is a conduit between parents, teachers and the administration with the goal of having open communication, facilitating feedback, and ultimately building community through activities and events happening in and around the school, said SCOCA Chair Carolyn Whitelaw. 

Carolyn has been involved in the CA community since day one, she jokes. “I came in and asked right away, so what do you need?” When Carolyn and her son joined Calgary Academy, at the time the school didn’t have formalized parent volunteer opportunities, but Carolyn took it upon herself to get involved and help wherever she could.

Being on the SCOCA board is a centralized way for parents to get involved while also creating a sense of community, a safe place to voice opinions, and a way to provide feedback.”  

The SCOCA Board is always looking for volunteers and it is not a huge time commitment. As a board member, parents can volunteer as a scribe, create bulletin boards, or help with events such as Dig Pink, drama productions, and staff appreciation lunches. The biggest area of focus for SCOCA this year is creating what Carolyn calls the ‘CA neighborhood.’ The 40th Anniversary will also be a major area of focus, requiring parental involvement and support, most notably the upcoming Gala (February, 2022) event that will need many parent volunteers. SCOCA will also be busy with Athletics this year, especially with the large number of student athletes. Each SCOCA meeting has standing reports and agenda items; however, each month is different based on what is happening at the school. Every meeting features a report from Principal Tim Carlson, on what events are happening within the school and a COVID-19 update. Meetings include two SCOCA reports – one from the chair, and then a volunteers report. Additionally, student representatives from Calgary Academy Student Executive (CASE) provide a standing update. There are also regularly updates from President & CEO, Dr. Greg Bass, Board Chair, Gary Purcell, and CAPA President, Aaron Lane. Overall, SCOCA provides parents with a great opportunity to get involved in the school community and  make a difference in shaping the future of Calgary Academy. To learn more about volunteering with SCOCA please read the Volunteer Handbook. 

40th Anniversary Golf Tournament Recap

Over 100 golfers attended the Anniversary golf tournament at Bearspaw Golf Course on September 27. The event raised funds for the Calgary Academy Parent's Association (CAPA) and the purchase of a new Knights Bus. one person is ling up their putt It was an excellent day on the golf course celebrating CA's 40th and enjoying a competitive round of golf. The weather was beautiful despite a bit of a breeze. The golf day included various contests such as longest putt, closest to the pin, and beat the coach. Students from Calgary Academy’s golf team, led by coach Sean Chursinoff, also attended the event. To make the day even more fun, some alumni played in the tournament that were also once on Calgary Academy’s Golf Team and coached by Sean. In the evening, Tokyo gold medal Olympian, Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski, shared her incredible Olympic story at the banquet. Like so many others, Kasia has a connection to CA – her sister graduated from CA! Kasia's story and her Olympic journey is one of humble beginnings and a relentless focus on excellence. When she at first did not succeed as an alpine racer, she shifted her focus and her sport to rowing, eventually making the national team. A month before the postponed Olympics in 2021, Kasia was in a severe bike crash, resulting in a broken collarbone and over 50 stitches. She had only a month to rehab her injuries, and she had to requalify for the team. She did so, and went on to compete with her team, eventually bringing home gold in rowing. She left the room with a challenge to be better every day, and to focus on the opportunities each crisis presents, not the overwhelming odds. olympia kasia speaking The 50/50 raised $6,850 with half going towards CAPA and half going towards the winner. The funds raised would not be possible without the generosity of the CA community. CA would like to give a huge thank you to all who attended, volunteered, donated, sponsored and contributed to making the event a huge success. Alumni, parents, students, and friends joined the special day out on the golf course, and everyone could not be more grateful to the amazing CA community. We look forward to getting together again at our next 40th anniversary event. Stay tuned!

International Acclaim for CA Drama Teacher

CA Integrated Studies teacher and Theatre Director Leeanne McLim has been appointed as the Alberta Chapter Director for the International Association for School Theatre. The International Association for School Theatre “brings together young people, artists and teachers from different countries in different settings to experience, create and learn about theatre.” The organization is committed to racial equity and addressing persistent underrepresentation across the arts.

“Theatre has the power to change hearts and minds in the work toward social justice. Diverse organizations are more productive and impactful, and I am excited to be a part of this,” said Leeanne.

Leeanne McLim holding a fake leaf

 

Leeanne’s role is focused on building the Educational Theatre Association of Canada, bringing lifelong learning opportunities to students at CA and advancing theatre arts education. 

 

“Learning from this group of talented professionals will be an invaluable resource for me as an educator that will absolutely help me to build better relationships within my classroom, outside of the school, and with fellow fine arts teachers, but also to help create inclusive networks with like-minded people, who also share the passion for using the arts as a gateway for people to reflect on and improve upon core values in life,”said Leeanne.

This year is Leeanne’s fourth year at CA, teaching drama for Kindergarten to Grade 12 and directing the Junior High Productions and Senior High Musicals. Last school year, she directed the virtual Senior High spring drama production, “Check Please.” Leeanne McLim under a fake leaf Leeanne has had years of training and education; she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts and her Bachelor of Education degrees from the University of Lethbridge. She also obtained a Diploma in Musical Theatre Arts from MacEwan University. Prior to Leeanne teaching, she worked as a professional performer in both the theatre and film industry throughout Canada and the U.S. Her passion for teaching dance, drama, and voice began 25 years ago when she taught at private studios and as an artist in residence throughout Canada. Outside of her work at CA, Leeanne choreographs at a competitive dance studio and various theatres in Calgary and has received several awards for her choreography. Having a CA teacher appointed to a globally recognized role will help students at CA make connections with other drama students across Alberta and increase the number of leadership opportunities for them to further their abilities. This is well-deserved recognition for an incredibly talented teacher, we congratulate her on this accomplishment and thank her for representing CA so well.
“It is time our students recognize their significance and the significant impact they can have using theatre as that vehicle to speak out about important issues and social change. Our students have important ideas. This is their chance to be a part of and learn from those discussions.”
Learn more about the International Association for School Theatre.

CAPA: 40th Golf Tournament

There are less than two weeks to go until the 40th Anniversary Golf tournament taking place at Bearspaw Golf Club on September 27. This event is a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones while out on the course engaging in some friendly competition. Olympic Golf Medalist Kasia Gruchalla WesierskiAfter the tournament, participants will come together for a special meal and speeches from the CEO, Dr. Greg Bass, founding Board Member Jim Gray and keynote speaker Olympic Gold Medalist Kasia Gruchalla- Wesierski. The night will be spent remembering the past 40 years, sharing stories from the present and looking forward to the future of Calgary Academy. You don’t want to miss the stories, prizes and history making at this event! Most importantly, all funds raised from this golf tournament will go towards the Calgary Academy Parents’ Association (CAPA) Bursary Fund and the purchase of a new Knights Bus. CAPA is an organization of Calgary Academy parents who raise bursary money to support families of Calgary Academy children. CAPA is volunteer-run charity. Since 1986, it has raised more than $5 million to help children who demonstrate financial need.

“The CA golf tournament is more than just a round of golf.  It’s a collective recognition for a community coming together for an amazing school that delivers incredible results to young minds looking to find their path in life! We have seen these amazing results with all three of our kids at this school,” said Aaron Lane, CAPA President. 
Knights Bus In addition to supporting CAPA, the funds raised from the golf tournament will also go towards the $100,000 purchase price of a new bus, which will enable students to travel to high-engagement learning opportunities like field trips, community events, and athletics opportunities.   CAPA 50/50 Cash Raffle Logo Lastly, a 50/50 draw will be held in concert with the tournament to help raise funds for student bursaries. You can support this cause by purchasing 50/50 Cash Raffle tickets here and spread the word to your family and friends.     Take Actions: