Have your say in the future of CA!

Year 1 of the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan is nearly complete, and it is time to review progress and look to planning for Year 2! Share your feedback on Year 2 Strategies by May 13! Collaboratively developed throughout the 2020-2021 school year through online surveys and feedback sessions from 547 individuals, the Strategic Plan sets out three ambitious goals for Calgary Academy:

  1. Learners are successful
  2. Learning is engaging and innovative
  3. Community is nurtured and celebrated
Despite the challenges that COVID-19 presented to this school year, Year 1 has much to celebrate – and it isn't over yet! But the work isn't done yet! Please review the draft Year 2 Strategies and provide your feedback using the survey below by end of day, Friday, May 13. The second round of feedback will be reviewed and incorporated into the final draft strategies before they go to the Board for approval on May 31. Summary of Notable Changes
  • Amending of several strategies to recognize additional time needed to design or engage new initiatives
  • Adjusting "scope and sequence" to "progression" for competency development in learners
  • Moving the K-12 Leadership Model from Goal 3 to Goal 2
  • Clarifying the review of Academy, Collegiate, Blended+, and Early Years program will extend into year 2, and be completed through close collaboration with the school community.
Complete the survey here!

All Shook Up May 2-6

Calgary Academy proudly presents the Senior School drama production of All Shook Up!, a jukebox musical that intertwines Elvis Presley and Shakespeare in a light-hearted musical love story. Take the music and rebellious ethos of Elvis Presley and add in a storyline based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, with just a dash of Romeo and Juliet for extra spice. The production launches May 2 and continues until May 6, and is the Senior School's first return to the stage in over two years. Creative Director Leeanne McLim is bursting with pride at the upcoming performance.

What you are about to see is not just a labor of love on so many levels, but also a lesson in leadership, mentorship, community, and learning from each other. The product of this show truly represents the heart of what we do at CA.
The production has been supported by an extensive creative team, including: Student Choreographer: Anne Marie S. Anne-Marie is one of our graduating students this year from CA. She is also one of our lead performers, Dance Captain, and student choreographer. She joined the Senior School play way back in Grade 9 for Calgary Academy's production of “The Wedding Singer”. Since then, Anne-Marie has been the cast Dance Captain and performer for not only that show but also “The Addams Family” where she was also given the opportunity to choreograph. This year, Anne Marie is one of two student choreographers for the show, working collaboratively with her best friend of 10 years (Allison). This dynamic duo teamed up and worked together to create the dances you will see today. Anne Marie is grateful for this amazing opportunity and would like to thank the team for giving her this chance to explore her creative potential. Student Stage Manager: Kaia W. Kaia’s first experience as a stage manager happened during her final project in Grade 11. She was handed the task of being a stage manager in an extremely difficult group where she had to take on the role of director, stage manager, and at times an actor. At the end of her final project, she was taking over the entire show. This led Kaia to believe that being a stage manager is something that she would like to continue to do. Kaia is now in her final year of high school working as the stage manager for the senior high production of “All Shook Up”. Through the months of work into this play, it has been a roller coaster of emotions, but all in all, it has been such an amazing experience and truly something to look back on for years to come. Leeanne McLim Ms. McLim’s dance and theatre obsession began many moons ago when she kicked her heels up and sang her heart out on many professional stages across Canada and the US. McLim had many opportunities to work with professionals in the capacities of directing and choreography over the past 20+ years. When she is not teaching at CA she is a dance teacher, choreographer, and performing artist for various studios and theatre companies throughout town. Currently, she is the drama teacher for grades K-12 at Calgary Academy. She has been working with the Educational Theatre Association of Canada to bring opportunities that will shape lives through theatre education. Jamie Lafond Mr. Lafond began his career as a practicing artist in the 1980s working in video and performance art. For the last 30 years, he has turned his focus to abstract and referential painting. Jamie has been the resident Art teacher at Calgary Academy for the last twenty-five years and has worked on props and sets for the many theatrical productions during that time. Charlotte Nixon Ms. Nixon teaches Grade 10 humanities at CA, but she has been a theatre kid since her first performance of "Charlie Brown's Christmas." She was five and she played the wobbly tree, so being an assistant director is a step up from her acting days. Ms. Nixon is very excited to be part of the production team and cannot wait to share this year's school play with family and friends. She hopes you enjoy the show. Hayley Jonason Ms. Jonason began her journey of dance at the young age of three. Since then, her love for the performing arts and dance has grown immensely. Throughout her junior high and high school years, she was active in musical theatre, being cast in leading roles and choreographing musical numbers. By 17, she began her dance teaching career and was able to share her passion and creativity with her students. This is Ms. Jonason's first time working with the Calgary Academy Senior High Production. She has been extremely lucky to join forces with hard-working and dedicated student choreographers and believes that collaboration is key to bringing together an amazing show. Jane Conrad Ms. Conrad can't remember a time in her life when music, theatre, and the arts haven't played a role in her life. Over the years, she has participated in community choirs and theatre projects where she increased her confidence and skills as an amateur artist in several productions. When she became a Humanities teacher, she looked for ways to volunteer in the dramatic creative process, co-writing student productions, and lending her abilities wherever she could. Most notably, Jane enjoys learning from her students and colleagues in a spirit of collaboration and mutual respect. Andrew Rigby Mr. Rigby is thrilled to be a part of All Shook Up this year! As a student, he fell in love with participating in drama, band, choir, and improv throughout high school. As an adult, Mr. Rigby has participated in community theatre productions and searched for any opportunity to remain involved in the arts. This is the first time he has collaborated as an acting director for a production. He is honoured to have worked with an extremely flexible and dedicated team and cast. Becky Funk Ms. Funk’s life has revolved around music for as long as she can remember. Her passion for her main instruments - piano, flute, piccolo, and voice - has been a driving force that has enabled her to travel around Canada and the globe, and to form relationships with other inspired creatives. Although music is a defining aspect of Ms. Funk’s involvement in CA’s music theatre program, her favourite part is the community that is created amongst the staff and students. She is grateful to be a part of this musical family. All Shook Up! is inspired by and featuring the music of ELVIS PRESLEY Book by JOE DIPIETRO All Shook Up is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized performance materials are supplied by Theatrical Rights Worldwide 1180 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 640, New York, NY 10036 (866) 378-9758

Anniversary Events

After a rollercoaster first half of the school year with multiple event postponements, Calgary Academy is thrilled to announce updates to its anniversary celebrations.

40th Anniversary Reunion – Saturday, May 14

The Reunion is a go! This free, family-reunion style event will feature activities for all ages, a homestyle BBQ, and the opportunity to reconnect after two long years of physical distancing. Current and past students, families, and staff will be joined by alumni, board members, and community partners for a large, outdoor celebration of 40 years of Calgary Academy. Activities include:
  • Dunk tank
  • Bouncy castles
  • Carnival games
  • Photo booth
  • Public unveiling of the 40th Anniversary Mural
  • Archive
  • Student work displays
There will be a door crasher draw for the first 200 attendees. Mark your calendars as you do not want to miss this event, and check out the Reunion Event Page for more information!

40th Anniversary Stories

We've been hard at work unveiling stories from CA's past. You can watch the films on our Youtube Channel. We will be publishing more stories throughout the remainder of the school year!

40th Anniversary Mural Project

The Mural Project launched in February has had a number of important milestones over the last month. Local artist Carl White has been hard at work and we are excited to unveil the finished project after Spring Break.

40th Anniversary Gala

The 40th Anniversary Gala has officially been moved to September 2022. Watch this space for more information in the coming months.

Summer School 2022

Back for a second year, Calgary Academy is pleased to offer a number of in-person 30-level Summer School courses for students looking to get a head start on their Grade 12 year. Open to students in the public as well as Calgary Academy, this four-week program is taught by experienced CA teachers and offered from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. daily. These courses do have a provincial Diploma Exam requirement. For more information and to sign up, visit summer.calgaryacademy.com.    

From Languishing to Flourishing

The Arlette Parent Speaker Series continues in March, with special guest Dr. David Tranter – Professor, Faculty of Social Work – Lakehead University. Dr. Tranter will be speaking virtually about the key strategies that all of us—parents, caregivers, and educators—can use together to further create a caring and connected school community in a post-pandemic world. From Languishing to Flourishing: 10 strategies to support student recovery and resilience is a free, virtual event is open to all Calgary Academy parents and friends. To sign up for the event, click here!

Proof of Vaccine Requirement for Adults

Through this pandemic, Calgary Academy’s goal has always been to provide a safe and predictable environment for our students and our staff while delivering the best educational experience for our students. Effective Monday, October 18, anyone entering the Calgary Academy school facility require proof of vaccination. This process applies to any adult entering the Calgary Academy building, including, but not be limited to, coaches and referees for athletics events, parent volunteers, parents coming in to meet with our staff, special guest speakers, board members, and invited guests. This would not relate to someone dropping off something quickly or touching base with front office staff for a student need. Visitors and guests must email info@calgaryacademy.com with their proof of vaccination attached, ahead of their visit to the school. The proof will be noted, and the vaccination record deleted from our files. Only the proof being noted will be kept so that guests do not have to provide each time they come in. They will just need to check in with our staff to ensure they have already provided proof. Guests who do not provide evidence of vaccination ahead of time may show their proof when they arrive at school with their government provided QR code. Our front desk staff will take note of the individual’s name, vaccination confirmation status, relation to the school (parent, contractor, coach, etc.), and a contact number. No other information will be retained. Those who choose not to present vaccination proof, either by emailing it in ahead of time or showing it when they arrive, will not be able to remain on premises (beyond a quick drop off as referenced above) and will be required to leave. Families visiting the school for the purposes of admissions are not required to send in their status ahead of time, and Admissions staff will check proof of vaccination directly.

Golf Tickets Still Available!

We are less than a month away from our 40th Anniversary Golf Tournament, and tickets are still available. Taking place September 27 at Bearspaw Golf Club, and there is still time to join the tournament! Past and current parents, students and alumni, staff, and many friends of Calgary Academy will come together for a great afternoon of golf – and the proceeds from this event will go towards the purchase of a new school bus. Our 50/50 draw in support of student bursaries is now live! Get your ticket here: www.rafflebox.ca/raffle/capa. Our evening reception will feature remarks from one of our founders, Jim Gray, our CEO Dr. Greg Bass, and a keynote from gold medal winner Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski, who overcame an incredible bike crash just one month before the Tokyo Olympics and yet went on to win as part of the Women’s Eight Rowing team. Golf Tournament Chair Liz Thompson explains the reasoning for selecting Kasia as the keynote for the event:

Kasia felt like a natural fit for guest speaker at the tournament because her story is one of facing adversity. She has continually met challenges head on to over come them and realize her dream – just like Calgary Academy has over its 40-year history, and just like so many of our students do!
To learn more and register, please visit events.calgaryacademy.com/event/golf-tournament. If you have any questions, or are interested in donating a silent auction item or sponsoring the event, please reach out.  

Grade 12 Seminar

Written by Sheena Rorison, Teacher: “Seminar was inspiring for me.” “It is an experience I will take with me forever in my life.” “I gained friends that I haven’t even talked to before.” “It has been something that has let me come closer to my peers in way I did not think possible." These are words written by our Grade 12 students when reflecting on this year’s seminar experience. A longstanding tradition here at Calgary Academy, seminar is an extended capstone project that the entire graduating group participates in. It is a week-long event where students work with a variety of peers, build communication and transferable skills and places them into an environment that is similar to what they will be exposed to once they graduate. As the years have passed, the idea of seminar has shifted to a focus of finding a topic that resonates with the specific graduating class. As such, seminar’s theme does not develop until the Grade 12 teachers get to know the students and find out what they need and what would impact them. This year group is unique in that it is a very small graduating class. They are also a group of hard-working, driven students that are dealing with a lot both professionally and personally. As we got to know the students, we realized that the theme of seminar needed to be centered on wellness and building connections with one another. Even though the group was tiny, they were not close, and we felt a strong disconnection between them. As such, we felt that it would be important to work on building deeper connections with one another and helping them realize that they do share things in common with one another and that they are not alone. The theme evolved into storytelling with a focus on respecting the sharing of stories with one another. We began with a day called “A Taste of Seminar” which involved various wellness activities, such as a makeshift coffee shop, team building exercises and yoga. The pivotal moment of the day was the talking circles that each of the four Grade 12 teachers did. In groups of 10, each teacher shared a very personal and intimate story from their life with the students. It was raw, emotional and more powerful than we were anticipating. In being vulnerable in front of the students, our hope was that we would start breaking down the walls that they had up with each other, and we can begin building a community of trust, comfort and acceptance. As the weeks progressed, we used time in Special Projects for the groups to gain each other’s trust to the point that they participated in their town talking circles. They were then using one of their group member’s stories in a digital story where we would then compile all the stories into a final collaborative piece that they could watch together. The final piece of eleven stories was presented to them on the Thursday night of seminar week at Kananaskis Lodge (a popular feature of seminar is our overnight trip to the mountains). The stories were personal and moving and they resonated with their fellow peers so much so that they all shared hugs and went swimming as one big group afterwards. We were pleased with the response from the final video and the connections that we felt have been made during the seminar experience, but we were in no way prepared for what occurred the following day after breakfast. On the final day, before leaving the hotel, we decided to open the floor and ask if anyone would like to stand up and share a story of their own to the group, face-to-face. The response was both overwhelming and inspiring. Slowly, one by one, students gained the courage to stand up and recount a moment in their lives that was deeply personal. It soon gained momentum and what we believed to be an activity that would be around twenty minutes turned into two beautiful hours of students sharing heartbreaking, raw, emotional stories that they had never shared with anyone. The group laughed together, cried together, shared hugs with one another and connected with each other on a deeply intimate level. It also helped them realize that they are not alone and that others may be battling similar issues in their lives. As teachers, we often strive to teach that perfect lesson, like the ones you see in the movies, where the lesson is impactful, emotional and resonates with each of the students. That morning, in Kananaskis, the 42 of us were lucky enough to witness firsthand a moment that was as close to what you see in those movies, think “Freedom Writers” 😉.  We were so honoured and thankful that students trusted us enough to share their stories in this experience. Initially, we were concerned that we did not have enough time with the students to build a culture of trust and vulnerability. However, on that Friday morning, what unfolded exceeded even our greatest expectations.

Alumni Spotlight: Sean Thornhill

Creativity. Adaptability. Passion. Grit. These qualities are essential for any top chef but are also needed by top chefs during a global pandemic. Calgary Academy Alumnus Sean Thornhill (’09) lives these qualities, and has spent the last year adapting, adjusting, and re-adapting to the ever-changing restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The path to his current role as Sous Chef at Rouge Restaurant has been anything but straight forward. Despite a resume that reads like a wish list for fine dining in Calgary (Q Haute Cuisine, Teatro Ristorante, and the Fairmont Palliser), his path to second-in-command at one of Calgary’s top restaurants has been a crooked line, repeatedly thwarted by COVID-19. Having just accepted a dream job when the pandemic shut down restaurants in March of last year, Sean found himself like many other out of work professionals in the hospitality industry – wondering what was next, and for how long. So, the chef turned into an entrepreneur, and Sean established Evoke Catering. While restaurants were closed, private, in-home catering and cooking lessons were a creative, safe alternative, and the people of Calgary were hungry for fun, safe, fine dining.

“The more events I did, the more people wanted to get involved. It started with a baby shower and grew all summer. Things were going really well until November, when in-home gatherings were restricted in response to soaring case numbers.”
Undeterred, he quickly pivoted to smaller cohort dinners, patio dining, and online cooking classes. Nearing the holiday season, and knowing holiday parties wouldn’t be happening, he decided to reach out to Calgary Academy to see if he could make someone else’s day.
“After speaking with a friend who was new to teaching, it hit home for me that it wasn’t just doctors and nurses having challenging times managing an environment where they are responsible for other people’s safety.”
One quick email to school Principal Timothy Carlson, and suddenly Sean was producing individually wrapped artisan chocolates as part of a holiday gift to staff arranged by the school.
“A large part of my childhood involved CA, and I remember learning to think in abstract, solution-oriented ways. That’s definitely helped me bend my business to the current situation. I can’t offer in-home dining during the busiest time of year? Okay, then what else is there? For me, this was the perfect place to put my time and energy, to make one day of the month brighter for others.”
Not surprisingly, Sean’s persistence has won out. In the spring of 2021, Rouge Restaurant called him about the role of Sous Chef, and he’s been cooking up a storm there ever since – even though they are already back to take-out and patio-only dining. The Calgary Academy community is so proud of all you’ve accomplished Sean, and thank you again for the delicious chocolates!

Summer School Launch

We are delighted to announced the launch of a high school summer course program for summer 2021 for school-aged students looking to get a jump-start on the upcoming school year. Throughout the month of July, students from Calgary Academy and the broader community may enrol in intensive summer programs for English 30-1, Chemistry 30, Biology 30, and Social Studies 30-1. Each course will run for 4.5 hours per day in either in the morning or the evening. These courses will be taught by expert Calgary Academy teachers in-person and on site at the Calgary Academy school. All students must have the pre-requisite course in-progress or completed prior to registration. To learn more or to sign up, please visit summer.calgaryacademy.com to learn more.