2022 Legacy Award Fundraiser

In 2020, the Legacy Award was created by our graduating class to raise funds for one deserving Grade 12 student as they leave CA and embark on the rest of their lives. To raise money for this year’s Legacy Award, sales have begun on a limited edition 40th Anniversary Tote Bag. The bag will feature CA's new mural designed by local Calgary artist, Carl White, that commemorates our legacy. While the mural has not been officially unveiled, totes may be pre-purchased to support the 2022 and future Legacy Awards. Only 300 bags will be printed, so pre-order yours below!

In its 40th year, Calgary Academy graduates its largest, most resilient class

There was a lot to celebrate at Calgary Academy’s Class of 2022 Graduation on May 27, 2022. After two years of drive-in graduation celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 grads gathered at BMO Centre for a ‘normal’ graduation, (and, safe to say, ‘normal’ has never felt so extraordinary!) CA honoured 96 students, the largest graduating class in its 40th year as a school. To have these three momentous milestones line up this spring, said CEO Dr. Greg Bass at the grad ceremony, “I think [is] kind of poetic.”

The pandemic hit halfway through the Class of 2022’s Grade 10 year. “All they’ve known for high school is COVID,” Mike Ross, Assistant Principal, Senior School, pointed out. These students weathered online learning, losing all their extra-curricular activities, and so many more once-taken-for-granted high school experiences.

Academics, mental health, and a sense of community all took a blow. But the students persevered. And when the Class of 2022 returned to school, “They were hungry,” said Ross. “Some of the changes we’ve seen in the kids are incredible.”

The Class of 2022 is passionate. Whether it’s politics, art, athletics, drama, or people, ”They care,” said Ross.

To create connection when cohorts were strictly separated, Grade 12 students initiated a letter writing program and became pen pals with Grade 2 and Grade 3 students.

The drama students were determined to put on their first live drama performance in two years. Through the Omicron wave early in 2022, when clubs were not allowed to meet, the cast rehearsed over Zoom and Teams. In May 2022, they performed the Elvis musical, “All Shook Up” live and in person, and in front of their families and peers.

Every single Grade 12 student will graduate this spring. Nearly everyone plans to write their Diploma Exams. Ninety-three percent of the 2022 graduating class plan to go on to a post-secondary program, (the provincial average is 65 percent.)

In addition, this group of young adults has developed a wise-beyond-their-years gratitude for the quieter things. “Simple things like having a locker, being surrounded by peers and teachers, or just being in the building became special," reflected Matt Medlicott, the 2022 Valedictorian in his commencement speech. These students have been through a lot together, and you can sense that in their bond as a class.

“I want to thank my friends and peers for rising to the occasion time and time again, finding new ways to connect and not lose sight of our collective goals.”  - Valedictorian, Matthew Medlicott

Calgary Academy opened its doors to students in the fall of 1981. The school wanted to fill a need for students struggling in the public school system–to offer more personalized, student-centred learning where anyone could thrive. The school rented a few classrooms and started out with 44 students and 12 staff members. In 1987, the first graduating class of seven students donned their caps and gowns.

A lot has happened since then. But the heart of the school’s mission remains the same. Medlicott reflected on the great meaning of what Calgary Academy offered to him and his peers:

“We are all here because at some point we struggled. When I first came to the school, many of my grades were just a few percentiles of passing. At the time, I could hardly imagine achieving more than what I had, let alone becoming Valedictorian.” - Valedictorian, Matthew Medlicott

Indeed, students often find more than they expect both in the school and in themselves. Originally, Calgary Academy thought the school would be a place for students to regroup before re-entering public school. “But people wanted to stay,” said Ross. “They love the support and the relationships we can offer.”

That support never waned during the pandemic. Like the students, teachers faced unprecedented challenges and unfamiliar circumstances. They looked for unique opportunities–like inviting Mayor Nenshi to participate in a virtual science class, or teaching students how to apply Math 30-1 in the real world. “Our teachers really stepped out of the box,” said Ross.

CA can’t wait to see what this extraordinary group of humans does as they step into the world. “This class has been through the most adversity of any graduating class in a long time,” Ross said. “To see them come out the other end and become the people they are has been really impressive. If they can make it through the last few years, there's not much that we can throw at them now that they’re not ready for."

“We all overcame so much more than what was asked of us and I'm confident we can overcome any adversity we confront in our future.” - Valedictorian, Matthew Medlicott

Congratulations, Class of 2022!

May 2022 AGM Agenda

  1. Welcome/Call to Order
  2. Approval of the Agenda
  3. Chair Report - Carolyn Whitelaw
  4. Reports:
    • Student Council Chairs (CASE)
    • President/CEO - Dr. Greg Bass
    • Board Chair - Gary Purcell
    • Principal Report - Tim Carlson
    • CAPA Update - Aaron Lane
    • 40th Celebration Update - Lindsey Meredith
    • Strategic Plan Update - Lindsey Meredith
  5. Next Meeting - September 2022
  6. Thank You/Adjournment
Meeting Link

Dungeons & Dragons Bringing Clubs Back to Life at CA

Strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma. These are the characters traits that the student players involved in Calgary Academy’s Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) club must decide how they want to exemplify before they embark on their collaborative storytelling adventure. Andrew Rigby, a Grade 10 teacher at CA, has been trying to create a D&D club since March 2020. Amidst online learning and gathering restrictions, September 2021 finally marked the beginning of the club two years in the making. While he originally anticipated low numbers of student participation, the club is now one of the biggest at CA, boasting 35 members from Grades 9-12.

“There was so much more interest in the club than I ever could have anticipated. I expected maybe 10 students, but when I showed up to the first meeting, it was packed full of people wanting to be part of the club. I was not prepared for it to be as big as it is, especially for its first year.” – Andrew Rigby
While D&D has been around since the 1970s, it continues to be one of the most played games around the world. Players choose one character to portray throughout the game, which can traditionally last anywhere from two to six hours, as they embark on quests alongside the gamemaster who upholds the rules. While its roots are in fantasy, Andrew can see that there are many transferrable skills that students gain outside the game.
“What I love the most about D&D is the idea that creative problem-solving leads to creative outcomes. Anytime you see a student pushing the boundaries with projects in the classroom, it boosts their confidence. While that confidence is important while playing D&D, it inevitably impacts them as a person outside the club as well, including how they react in high-stress situations.” – Andrew Rigby
Andrew has five groups of students who alternate playing at lunch over two weeks for an hour. While clubs were put on hold at CA until recently, the interest in D&D has shown that students are eager to get back to the social aspect of school that was lost.
“D&D is a great opportunity to simply have fun in an accepting and inclusive environment with friends and rebuild the soft social skills that have been lost over the last two years. One of the best things as a teacher to see is how much room students have for creativity. The idea that creative possibilities are endless in D&D also translates into the real world, and it’s incredible to see students igniting that magic outside the game.” – Andrew Rigby

Two Unexpected Things that Go Together: Equestrianism and Blended+

Meet Tai! She is a Grade 10 Blended+ student with a passion for equestrianism outside of school. Riding horses since she was eight years old, Tai started competing in the sport of dressage just three years later. A precise form of riding that requires an immense amount of training for the rider and the horse, dressage involves a series of tests and movements that are signaled by the rider and intended to look effortless to spectators. Dressage involves lots of practice and concentration to compete at high levels, and the Blended+ program has allowed Tai to continue riding at least four times a week and competing while keeping up with her school studies. As a self-motivated learner who needs flexibility in her studies to continue her passion, Blended+ has been the perfect fit for her lifestyle, aligned with the program’s motto of “Learn Your Way”.

“The best part of Blended+ is the supportive community. The friends I have met here have had the most impact on me, as well as the teachers who are so supportive and help you as much as you need to succeed.” - Tai C.
Blended+ has given her the flexibility to juggle training during the day when her dressage coaches are available. The program also makes it possible for her to stay on track, balancing both schoolwork and training, making it so she never falls behind.
“The change in my confidence is probably the biggest difference for me. Before I started at CA, I was struggling with all the demands of school and training. I felt overwhelmed and then struggled with my confidence. After starting at CA, I was able to feel successful again. Blended+ has ticked all the boxes for me and I can’t say enough good things about it. I am so grateful for the success I have achieved this year.” - Tai C.
Tai hopes to continue Blended+ until she graduates high school. While she won’t be competing this year, she is hoping to begin training with a new horse and get back into competing in 2023. Good luck, Tai! Applications are now open for Grades 9-12 students starting this September. Do you think Blended+ is right for your child? Visit blended.calgaryacademy.com

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Continues at CA with Invico’s Support

Calgary Academy (CA) first opened its doors in 1981 and is celebrating 40 years in the community. What’s the secret to CA’s growth and success? Two crucial elements are its entrepreneurial spirit and the community of generous donors, helping CA continue to offer many things for students to achieve their dreams.

CA thrives in a culture of innovation and is always finding ways to leave a positive impact on its students. With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the education sector by moving classes online and cancelling diploma exams, CA pivoted and launched a summer school program in 2021. Over 80 students attended, and it was instrumental in helping them complete their courses and get the extra help they may need as they continued into the next academic year. CA also launched Blended+ in Fall 2021 for Grades 9-10 to help maximize the impact of online, in-person, and off-campus learning. After a successful pilot year, the program is accepting applications for Grades 9-12 next year. CA focuses on helping students achieve more than just academic success. It also provides an altruistic community where students are given opportunities through various in-class projects and a variety of extra-curricular clubs and activities to do great work within Calgary and beyond to give back. Throughout the school year, students, faculty, and support staff alike are immersed in various fundraising and community events, including Dig Pink, a community garden,  Adopt-A-Family, an annual Legacy Award fundraiser, School Council of Calgary Academy (SCOCA) fundraisers, and the International Travel Studies (ITS) program. It is because of this entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to offering alternative solutions in a traditional sector, and giving back to the local community that CA has attracted the attention of others in the surrounding area that share its commitment to disruption. One such example is Invico Capital Corporation, a Calgary-based investment fund management firm, which was founded in 2005 by Allison Taylor and Jason Brooks. Invico is another example of a local success story that has served as a disruptor in a traditional industry and prides itself on a culture of innovation with entrepreneurial roots. Starting from humble beginnings, Invico has steadily grown to become one of Canada’s leading private investment fund management firms managing over $1.5 billion in private capital. The company is a proud supporter of gender and racial equality and has a workforce that is comprised of majority women, which positions it as a rarity in the world of finance. The firm also offers unique opportunities for investors that provide access to niche sectors, like energy and film and media, and strives to ensure their needs are met in a constantly evolving marketplace. Further, Invico is a staunch advocate of community involvement and has donated to various charities and ventures within the city, including the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business Capital Expansion Project, and volunteered with various student organizations throughout Calgary. It is with this in mind that CA is pleased to share that Invico has helped to finance a new bus that will allow students to experience off-campus learning excursions.

“We are incredibly excited to give back to Calgary Academy, a local institution that is providing a unique solution in education that not only helps students reach their academic goals, but also builds their confidence and self-esteem. All three of my children have attended CA, with two currently enrolled, and I know that CA has granted them the opportunity to achieve in education in a way that will positively impact them for the rest of their lives.” - Jason Brooks, President of Invico

"Bigger capital expenditures like a new bus are often difficult to find room for in budgets and Invico is pleased to support the school so more funds can remain in the classroom. Jason and I see a lot of Invico in CA’s origin story and continued growth over the years, and we believe the school has a very bright future ahead of it.” - Allison Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of Invico, and whose daughter currently attends CA

Aided by the support of businesses like Invico, CA remains a place of hope, growth, and achievement and will continue to innovate and enhance its curriculum to help prepare students for a bright future.

Teaching in Blended+: Halfway There!

Over the course of the inaugural Blended+ year, students in Grades 9-10 have been finding their stride in the newest program at Calgary Academy (CA). Students in Blended+ are encouraged to “Learn Their Way”, whatever that may mean to them. Whether they learn best in the classroom working collaboratively with their classmates, independently completing their lessons online, or immersed in off-site learning in the community, the opportunities for flexibility within those facets are what make it unique. This flexibility is combined with shared experiences on campus and off-site to build a connected community of learners. There has been no shortage of positive impacts in the classroom - and not just for the students, but the teachers as well. Charles Brodeur and Kim Petersen are the Blended+ teachers and have a combined total of over 40 years of experience as educators. All that experience has been put to the ultimate test designing – and delivering – an education program unlike anything delivered at CA before. They have worked tirelessly to make this program come to life.

“The flexibility that Blended+ has created for students to take control of their learning was a major draw for me to be a part of the program, but I had no idea just how flexible it would turn out to be. We have as many different schedules and plans as we do students in the program. The wide range of learners that are benefiting from this flexible and adaptable structure has been incredible to witness.” – Kim Petersen
Charles explains that in Blended+, students make choices about when, where, and with whom they learn, and daily instruction is heavily focused on providing self-directed learning skills. Developing and practicing these transferable skills as a core part of the program will set students up for success. Kim agrees, saying, “Our students are learning to take more ownership of how they are using their time within a highly supported program, and as a result, will become better prepared for life beyond high school.” When asked how teaching Blended+ has impacted him, Charles says that the program has helped him to truly appreciate the uniqueness and identity of each student. No matter what ways they learn best, he’s seen firsthand the impact of positive work ethic and commitment to their studies, regardless of strengths, needs, and interests.
“This program is about completely rethinking the school experience and redesigning it in the best interests of our students. It’s very exciting to be at the forefront of something so innovative in its design.” – Kim Petersen
Blended+ is currently accepting applications for Grades 9-12. If you think Blended+ is right for your child, visit blended.calgaryacademy.com to learn more.

Rotary Club of Calgary at Stampede Park Donates $5,000 to CA

For 40 years, Calgary Academy has been fortunate to have many generous donors. These individuals and organizations have helped provide funds to further innovation, helping give students the best chance at thriving in their learning. Recently, CA was presented with a $5,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Calgary at Stampede Park that will purchase 150 individual whiteboards and markers for classrooms. This purchase will support students to brainstorm, draw out ideas, and collaborate more effectively with their classmates.

“We see firsthand every day the resilience of our students. Children adapt and find creative ways to learn no matter what. Calgary Academy is one of those schools that continuously provides flexible and dynamic environments for students to learn in their own ways, and we are excited to be able to continue that thanks to this incredible donation.” - Patricia Lisevich, Director of Philanthropy at CA.
Donna Kennedy, Project Research committee member at Partners of Rotary Club of Calgary at Stampede Park, presented the cheque to Tim Carlson, Principal from CA.  While the chosen organizations go through a careful selection process, Donna also has a personal connection to the school. Her grandson is a current Grade 4 student at CA, and she has seen first-hand the positive impact CA has had on his life.
“We go out, and we look for organizations that we think would be a good fit for us, and this year, Calgary Academy’s name came up as an option. I’ve seen how my grandson has started to thrive since coming to CA, so this donation to the school was a natural fit. Seeing the hopes that he has now because of Calgary Academy has been incredible.” – Donna Kennedy
For more about the Rotary Club of Calgary at Stampede Park, visit https://www.rotarycs.org

March 2022 Agenda

  1. Welcome/Call to Order
  2. Approval of the Agenda
  3. Chair Report - Carolyn Whitelaw
  4. Reports:
    • President/CEO - Dr. Greg Bass
    • Principal Report - Tim Carlson
    • CAPA Update - Aaron Lane
    • 40th Anniversary Update - Lindsey Meredith
  5. Next Meeting - AGM on May 2, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.
  6. Q&A
  7. Thank You/Adjournment
  8. Arlette Speaker Series - From Languishing to Flourishing, Dr. David Tranter

Taking Blended+ to the Slopes

Earlier this month, Calgary Academy snowboarder, Sascha E., competed in the Air Nation Freestyle Nationals at WinSport and walked away with not one, but two, medals – gold in Senior Nationals and bronze in Junior Nationals. A Grade 10 Blended+ student since last fall, Sascha has been practicing snowboarding at least five days a week for the past five years. It has taken a lot of dedication to become a decorated competitive snowboarder at such a young age and Sascha was looking for a school program that would allow her to continue competing while not falling behind in school. Previously in the Academy program, Blended+ seemed like a natural fit. The most important facet of the program is that she has the autonomy to design her own schedule around her snowboarding practices and competitions that take place all over the world, while still having access to high levels of teacher support.

“Not having to be physically at school all day every day has allowed me to focus more on snowboarding while still getting my schoolwork done. Blended+ gives me the flexibility to practice the hours that I do and get my schoolwork done from anywhere at any time. This is really helpful when I am traveling.” - Sascha E.
Since starting in this program, Sascha has seen a positive shift in the way she learns, which has been integral to continuing her snowboarding passion outside of school.
“I have seen a change in myself and in the way I get my work done. It has given me the opportunity to travel more and get to more competitions, but it also means that I don’t fall behind on my schoolwork because all the classes are recorded, and I can watch them any time to get caught up.” - Sascha E.
blended+ student snowboarding What would Sascha say to a student considering Blended+? “If you are worried about starting Blended+, don’t be. The teachers have been great and there is a lot of support to allow you to be successful.” Sascha will be competing in three more competitions coming up this March, including the World Junior Championships in Switzerland, 2022 PIPE FEST at WinSport, and NorAM Freestyle Stoneham in Quebec. Good luck, Sascha! Applications are now open for Grades 9-12 students starting this September. Do you think Blended+ is right for your child? Visit blended.calgaryacademy.com.