SMUS’s Club Hub: Buddy Reading Club


SMUS students have access to a wide variety of extracurricular opportunities that interest them. We offer more than 100 fun and rewarding clubs or councils that provide students of all ages with leadership experience, skill development, and a chance to contribute to life on campus and in our greater community. The SMUS Review is currently highlighting these extracurricular activities and the passionate students who get involved.

Today, we meet Jared (Grade 9) and Will (Grade 2), who are partners in the Buddy Reading Club.


What is the Buddy Reading Club?
Jared –It’s a club where we help the Grade 2 students learn to read or get them excited about reading. Sometimes it’s a little more interest-based; last time Will showed me something on the map that he was really interested in. I’m mostly there to help if he has words he doesn’t know how to read, or I ask him questions about what he just read to ensure he’s getting his reading comprehension right.

Will– We bring books to school, but after school we take a bus to the Senior School and there we
have a buddy. Because I’m particularly interested in science, I was paired with somebody who likes reading about science and physics and things like that. I read to him and he helps me read a bit more quickly because sometimes I’m a bit slow.

How has the experience been so far?
Jared –It’s been really good. My buddy’s really interested in science, which is good because it’s also an interest of mine. He’s showing me some books on physics and on the periodic table, which is neat. He knew all the elements.

Will– It’s really fun because you can interact with new people and you always are able to make new friends there.

What kind of science books are you reading?
Will– Periodic table and physics books, because those are two of my favourite types of books. But they’re good ones. I have two on the periodic table, one on technology, and one on physics.

What do you like about reading?
Will– That you can learn new things and consider what happens in each story. But sometimes it’s a bit annoying when you get to such a good part, but you have to stop reading!

What is your responsibility as the Senior buddy?
Jared –I mostly listen to what he’s reading, or one SMUS-BuddyReadingClub-WJtime he was reading a graphic novel so I was looking at what the image is showing. I also ask him questions on what he thought just happened or if he understood it fully. I make sure he’s not just reading the words, but he understands what he’s reading. He’s a very good reader already, just certain words are long for him.

What is the best part of being in the Buddy Reading Club?
Will– You can be with some of your good friends that are a bit older than you. And I just love reading. It’s just so fun because it’s a nice way to pass the time, a nice way to relax, and it’s hard to not like it if you’re in my family, because everybody in my family likes reading.

Would you recommend other students participate in the Buddy Reading Club?
Jared –Yes, it’s a great way to connect with some younger kids, and if you enjoy working with younger kids and teaching, it’s a great experience. I really like that you can help some of the younger grades and get a good connection with the Junior School. I like to get to know some of the kids.

Will– Yeah, because it’s just really fun. And it’s hard not to enjoy.

What do you gain from being in the Buddy Reading Club?
Jared –It’s helping to develop some leadership skills, as well as learning how to behave around younger kids. It’s a great way to get service hours and give back to the school community. And since he really likes science, I hope I’m helping him continue with that and stay interested.

Learn more about all of the clubs, councils and extracurricular activities at SMUS’s Junior, Middle and Senior schools.

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Athletics Week in Review: March 4

The Senior boys basketball team took part in the Island AA tournament February 26-28 at Kwalikum, registering three comprehensive victories to capture the title. In its opener, SMUS easily handled Ladysmith, running out to an early lead en route to a 69-40 win.

Next up was Brentwood, with provincial qualification on the line. In a dominating defensive performance, the Blue Jags held their up-Island rivals scoreless for more than 14 minutes in the middle section of the game. The 64-22 victory then led to a final match versus the host Condors.

Kwalikum, in its semifinal, had provided the shock result in the competition, recovering from a six-point halftime deficit to beat Lambrick Park 43-39. However, any thought of a similar upset the following night just was not going to happen, as SMUS, despite some early foul trouble, gained a 21-10 first quarter lead. From there it was smooth sailing, as the Jags followed through strongly to triumph 73-36. Go to for full, in-depth accounts of the three games.

Balance, in terms of offence, defence and rebounding, proved the key to success. Jason Scully was named MVP, with Graeme Hyde-Lay and Jake Wilmott tournament all-stars. However, the considerable contributions of Matty McColl, Callum Montgomery, Max Pollen and Liam Catto were as important and crucial. Also, David Lee, Alex Caton, Lucas De Vries, Alec Keech and Angus Catto chipped in effectively during their time on the court.

By claiming the championship, its third Island title in the past four years, SMUS now enters the BC AA finals as No. 1 seed. The team will meet Mount Elizabeth of Kitimat in opening-round play on March 11 at the Langley Events Centre.

The Junior boys took part in their provincial event in Langley this week too. In Round One, the team rode the hot shooting of Ben Keep and Jasper Bosley, in addition to some timely buckets by Gabe Kingsley-Nyinah, to stun heavily favored No. 5 seed W.J. Mouat 66-61.

Then, in the round of 16, SMUS battled powerful Rick Hansen Secondary on even terms for three quarters, before falling 59-44. Bosley and Jamison Schulz-Franco performed well.

More inspired play by Keep was then a key factor in the best win of the season, as the team overcame a double-digit deficit to dump Lord Tweedsmuir 63-57. Bryn Haydock provided some key rebounds and steals, while Triumph Kerins potted four important baskets to help spark the comeback.

Again giving away a great deal in terms of height and weight, SMUS then fell to Sentinel and Vancouver College to finish 12th in the competition. This, however, given the team’s No. 28 starting point, represented the greatest jump in seeding of any team in the tournament.

Certainly, the entire squad can reflect positively on the season as a whole. The significant improvement shown, from early November to the end of February, suggests that SMUS can remain among the province’s elite squads in the years to come.

As the hoop season draws to a close, spring sport is set to get underway. Congratulations to both Lucas De Vries and Jonas Robinson, who are representing Canada West U17 in rugby matches against Canada East. The remainder of the SMUS senior squad took on Brentwood this week, and, led by scrum half Carson Smith, ran in six tries to record a comfortable 36-0 victory. The team has further exhibitions against Spectrum, Sardis and GNS, before departing March 14 for a two-week tour of Spain and Portugal.

Finally, in Senior girls soccer action, the Blue Jags fell 3-0 to a powerful and well-drilled Stelly’s unit. Taylor Noel and Claudia Wheler both played strong games. The team moves on to a March 5 exhibition versus Reynolds.

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Grade 8 Girls End Basketball Season on High Note


by Coaches Lisa Hyde-Lay and Charles Ford

The SMUS Grade 8 girls basketball team enjoyed a very successful season this year. In the Victoria Middle School league, the girls went undefeated in pool play and only lost one critical game in the City finals.

In late February at the Independent Schools Association (ISA) tournament, the Blue Jags went undefeated and took home the trophy!

The girls headed to the Vancouver ISA tournament in high spirits and with high expectations as the Number 2-seeded team. They came out strong against West Point Grey Academy (WPGA) and quickly overwhelmed them with stifling defence from Isabella Leong, Tate Robinson, Zoe Lott and Olivia Lupin. The tempo was set early and WPGA never had a chance to recover. The Blue Jags had little time to rest before playing their next game against the Collingwood Cavaliers, a tournament favourite who recently won the Vancouver North Shore Division 1 championship. The Blue Jags stepped up to the challenge and turned in their best performance of the year. In the playoff game against Crofton House, the girls had to dig deep and overcome some setbacks due to illness and a sprained ankle, which severely limited their numbers.

Throughout the weekend, the team was anchored by the strong leadership and stellar play from the starting five. Point guard Leong handled the ball with confidence and sparked the SMUS offence with quick cross-overs and consistent drives to the hoop. Fionnuala McKenna added solid, consistent defence and posts Georgia Haydock, Marika Shafonsky and Meredith Selwood were aggressive on the boards, and put in the hoops as required. The girls came together as a team and achieved their goal of winning the ISA championship! This was the first time the SMUS Grade 8 girls have won this title since 2009. Leong was named the team’s most valuable player at the tournament.

“I could not be more proud of this team. I saw a group of young women facing great odds, come together and persevere. There were plenty of opportunities to quit, settle, or lay down. They fought and fought and fought some more until the task was completed,” said Coach Charles Ford. “After the final game I saw players and parents crying tears of joy. It’s moments like this that help us all understand why we do what we do, and I’m glad I was given an opportunity to be a part of it all.”

As icing on the cake that was this season, in the community Night League tournament last week, the girls battled their way to another gold-medal victory.

Congratulations to the Grade 8 girls on a fantastic season. Vivat!

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100 Days of Learning and Service at the Junior School


It’s been 100 school days since the first bell rang in September at our Junior School. Since that time, our youngest have grown as students and citizens, learning through fun, interesting and unique opportunities. And with 100 Day upon us, the Junior School used it as an opportunity for both learning and service.

Since last Friday (the official 100th day of school), the students have been collecting non-perishable food as part of our annual All Souped Up for 100 Day fundraiser, to benefit the Mustard Seed Food Bank. While the school aims to collect 1,000 cans of food (100 per classroom), the students outdid themselves this year, collecting a total of 2,141 cans, which were collected by the Mustard Seed at the end of this week. (That equated to 1,875 pounds of food!)

Teachers use 100 Day as an opportunity to learn new math concepts or, for the younger grades, counting. Kindergarten students have counted each day of school this year, and got to celebrate when their chart reached 100 days. They also counted every single one of their donation items, and were able to learn how to count beyond 100!

Student Reflections

“We’re donating food to the Mustard Seed for the people who don’t have enough money to buy food. On the 100th Day it was my birthday.” – by Drew, Kindergarten

“We counted how many days we have been in Kindergarten.” – by Haley, Kindergarten

“The Mustard Seed is a food bank where they sell food for free because some people don’t have that much money so they give it away for freeSMUS-JS-100Day-Ns to help them so they don’t need to pay. I feel good because I was helping other people.” – by Zeus, Kindergarten

“Today we put cans in the buckets for the food bank, and I brought three bags of cans, I’m guessing. I think we came past 100 cans.” – by Helen, Kindergarten

“So on the hundredth day of school it’s special because we have something called the Mustard Seed, and what we do is we help a lot of people with not a lot of money by giving them food such as soup, sauces, and canned fruits, vegetables, pasta and beans. This helps them a lot so they can stay healthy with our food options/contributions. And the food donation doesn’t just help our less fortunate community members with nutrition, it helps them save money to afford other things.” – by Bryn, Grade 3

“We do the soup drive to give soup and other types of food to people that need it. Each class tries to bring in as many soup cans as they can and then we add them all together. We then load all of the soup cans into the truck. The Mustard Seed comes to school to collect all the cans that have been donated. The Mustard Seed is the place that takes all of the cans that we bring in and gives them to people who need it.” – by Maggie, Grade 3

“It’s a big week! We are collecting cans for the Mustard Seed. The Mustard Seed is a great organization that gathers food from the community and gives it to people that don’t know where their next meal is going to be. At SMUSm we are trying to get as much canned food as possible. I am trying to convince my parents to buy a case a day. If I bring twelve cans a day in the week I will have brought in sixty cans of soup! I am glad to help my community.” – by Sienna, Grade 3

“On the 100th day of school we talk about something called the soup drive. Then we start bringing in the cans to help the Mustard Seed. Then at the end of the day, we count all of the cans together and end up with a big number. We try to get as many cans as we can so that we can help the Mustard Seed. The Mustard Seed is a place that people give cans of food, and the people who work there give the people who do not have much food the cans.” – by Mia, Grade 3

“Near the 100th day of school kids bring in cans for the Mustard Seed. The Mustard Seed gives cans of food to people that maybe can’t afford to buy food. The 100th day of school is when kids have been in school for 100 days.” – by Jenna, Grade 3

(photos by Kyle Slavin)

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Pink Shirt Day a Big Piece of the Kindness Puzzle at SMUS


It wasn’t just the cherry blossoms, blooming flowers and Legally Blonde posters showing off their pink pride this week at SMUS, our students also donned pink socks, wristbands, hair ties and more to spread a unified message against bullying.

Pink Shirt Day is a day when British Columbians come together raising awareness of the strong anti-bullying message, and raising money to support anti-bullying and violence prevention programs.

Mrs. Dariol Haydock, assistant director of the Middle School, says students really take this message to heart.

“They really embrace it. But for us, this is part of our dialogue every day. We talk about mean behaviour every day. We frame it around the school’s pillars. Most weeks in assembly I’m asking kids, ‘Which one of the four pillars does this fall under?’ ‘That’s courage, that’s honesty, that’s respect, that’s service.’ It’s just part of their vernacular,” she says.

She points to a quote hanging on her wall that reads: “Character education is not one more thing on the plate, it is the plate.”

“That says it all,” Haydock says about why SMUS puts so much focus on kindness and good behaviour; it all reinforces the messaging of Pink Shirt Day. “At this age group, the conversation around character education has to be constant. You have to be talking about it all the time. Kids need to know that it’s not okay just be a bystander, you have to be an upstander.”

A lot of the focus on kindness and anti-bullying messaging in the Middle School surrounds being kind online, and using social media to bring good. SMUS-PinkShirtDay-09

“The students are concrete thinkers. So when you say, ‘How does it feel?,’ they get it. They don’t want to see
anybody hurt. A lot of them are starting to get a real sense of empathy,” Haydock says. “I think the older we get the more we realize how much kindness matters in life. If students realize it’s very important at the school, it just helps them in all areas of their life.”

To mark Pink Shirt Day, SMUS students pledged to be kind in their own personal ways, they completed random acts of kindness, and Senior School peer coaches handed out pink wristbands to students and staff.

In 2013, Grade 6 Legacy Builders students starred in a video promoting the no bullying culture in the Middle School on Pink Shirt Day.


Read more about SMUS’s four pillars below:

Service, respect, honesty and courage: four very simple words that form the strong supporting foundations of our school’s culture.

Our school is extremely aware of the Global Village, and does its best to take care of it. With numerous service initiatives, including building schools in Kenya and several other local service objectives, our school allows us to branch out into the community, and lend a serving hand. The school puts a heavy emphasis on the necessity of serving others, and ensures students know that by having many service initiatives available to them.

Our school community is built on relationships between students, staff and the community as a whole. Two key ingredients of these relationships are respect and honesty. We have a trust between the students and the staff, and it creates a very special bond that brings the two closer together than a professional relationship.

Honesty goes hand in glove with respect, and the trust bond between the students and the staff allow both to recognize these convictions in each other. Not only are the staff looked up to for their professionalism, they are also looked up to for a much stronger reason: students feel they can trust the teachers and that the teachers have the students’ best interests at heart. By trusting the students, teachers show that they acknowledge the trust bond, and that they also respect their relationship with the students.

Service, honesty and respect are all needed for a community to live in harmony, and are also necessary character traits for an effective leader. However, these characteristics are nothing without the one trait that binds them all together: courage. Courage is what is needed to carry out tasks involving service, honesty and respect, and is often the difference between a good leader and a great leader. Courage allows us to voice our opinions, to be brave enough to stay honest in times of distress, and to maintain respect for others, even when we may doubt them. In times of trouble, the great leaders stay courageous and keep their minds on the task at hand.

(photos by Kyle Slavin)

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SMUS’s Club Hub: Outdoor Leadership


SMUS students have access to a wide variety of extracurricular opportunities that interest them. We offer more than 100 fun and rewarding clubs or councils that provide students of all ages with leadership experience, skill development, and a chance to contribute to life on campus and in our greater community. The SMUS Review is currently highlighting these extracurricular activities and the passionate students who get involved.

Today, Grade 11 student Sara Owen-Flood writes about her experience participating in the Outdoor Leadership program.

by Sara Owen-Flood

Over the February mid-term break, Outdoor Leadership students participated in Winter Camp. After a detailed gear check the week before, my peers and I travelled on touring skis or snowshoes to a camping spot in Manning Park. We learned how to camp on the snow in tents, build snow kitchens and we were able to tour the area. On the trip, I was able to meet new people I would have never otherwise met. I strengthened old friendships and built new ones. We were introduced to ski touring and equipment, as well as winter camping techniques, which helps all the students prepare for the counselor roles we’ll take on during the Grade 9/10 outdoor trips this fall.

Outdoor Leadership is a practical, hands-on and experiential course that is unlike anything else offered at SMUS. It encourages students to push themselves past their self-imposed limits.

Outdoor Leadership is a Grade 11 credit course outside of the timetable. Over the years, it has provided students with the opportunity to develop their outdoor knowledge through multiple out trips, training sessions and mentorship. As Senior School students, we are given the chance to use our outdoor knowledge to help guide younger students on their outdoor trips. When not on camping trips, Outdoor Leadership involves evening sessions and wilderness aid certification. As an Outdoor Leader, one develops skills in a wide variety of outdoor activities. We set individual and group goals, which we work to achieve and often exceed. We strengthen our leadership, individual responsibility and self-discipline skills. During these experiences, true character emerges. The program deepens students’ appreciation and respect for the natural environment.

I was intimidated when I first heard of Outdoor Leadership, as I believed extensive knowledge and experience in the outdoors would be needed to succeed. Fortunately, I was proven wrong, as no prior experience was required to participate. I decided to sign up because I wanted to improve my outdoor skills and develop as a leader. Since I did not participate in the Experiential Program in Grade 10, this seemed to be a great opportunity for me. Anyone who has a passion or interest in the outdoors and a desire to SMUS-SS-OutdoorLeadership-02further leadership abilities should consider joining Outdoor Leadership.

What I enjoy most about the Outdoor Leadership program is the challenge and the caliber of the experience. It is a practical, hands-on and experiential program that is unlike anything else offered at SMUS. It encourages students to push themselves past their self-imposed limits. With each experience I have been able to succeed in ways I would never have previously thought possible. I am able to gain skills and confidence by overcoming the limits I once placed on myself. The skills one learns in this program are valuable beyond the outdoors; they can be adapted to everyday life. As well as the exercise and new experiences, Outdoor Leadership focuses on leadership, teamwork, and hard work, emphasized through planning and goal-setting. I am very glad to have joined the program and I look forward to the experiences that lie ahead.

For a visual look inside the Outdoor Leadership program, take a look at this video in which Gareth and Celine talk about their experience.
Learn more about all of the clubs, councils and extracurricular activities at SMUS’s Junior, Middle and Senior schools.

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Beyond the Blonde: Meet SMUS’s Lead Actors


After months of hard work, our Senior School presentation of Legally Blonde: the Musical opens tonight! Students, staff, parents and volunteers have been at it since the fall, getting everything ready for the show’s four performances February 26-28.

The main role of Elle Woods, made famous by Reese Witherspoon in the 2001 film, was double-cast at SMUS, with Grade 10 student Sierra Dunbar and Grade 11 student Josie Tamburri both playing the part.

Interestingly enough, despite sharing the lead role duties, Sierra and Josie come from nearly opposite performance backgrounds. Josie is a longtime performer (a competitive dancer, singer and SMUS musical alumnus), while this will be the first time in five years that Sierra performs on stage (not since being in a musical as a Grade 5 student).

The SMUS Review sat down with the two lead actors to talk about their experience in the musical.

Tell me about Legally Blonde: the Musical.
Sierra – Elle is seen as a ditsy blonde, and that’s what everyone thinks, including the guy she thought she was going to marry, who says, ‘You’re not very serious in life. I can’t be with you.’ So the show is more about Elle trying to prove everyone wrong, and showing you can be beautiful and smart.

Had you seen the musical or the movie before getting the role?
Josie – Oh yeah, Legally Blonde‘s been a favourite movie of mine ever since I was a little girl. I was blonde-haired and I loved California, it was the absolute most perfect movie for me. There’s a blonde woman who was independent and smart; even from a young age I could tell she was a force to be reckoned with. And I went to see the musical last summer in Vancouver at Theater Under the Stars. As a person who loves theatre and singing, and I love Legally Blonde, it was the best combination ever!

What is the character of Elle like?
Sierra – Elle starts off at UCLA; she’s sorority, she’s homecoming queen, she’s majoring in fashion merchandising and she doesn’t seem to have a SMUS-SS-LegallyBlonde-Ssense of direction. As the musical goes on she develops; she becomes more serious, she starts to work harder to prove people wrong. She really grows as a character through the musical.

Josie – She’s all about love. She loves to shop, she thinks she can do anything because of love, she thinks she can get into Harvard because she’s in love. And then she starts to realize that she needs to put effort into showing she’s a serious person. She breaks stereotypes, and by the end of the show she is so different, but also still maintains her Elle personality. This is one of my dream roles. I have a few roles that I have to play before I’m older, and Elle is definitely on the very top of my list. I’m in my element, I’m in pink, I’m in glitter, I’m blonde, I’m singing and I’m dancing.

How do you two play the role differently?
Sierra – Josie had seen the musical before, so I think she went in knowing what she wanted to do, and I had no clue. I’ve definitely learned a lot from her and the Elle she created and the twist she put on it. You really can never have two people play a character the same way.

Josie – I feel like my Elle is a bit more dramatic. I’m definitely not afraid to be loud or to make myself look like a fool. Sierra does an amazing job because she’s a more sincere and kind Elle, where I’m the more melodramatic one. I love watching what she does because I get to see another side of Elle from her perspective.

What’s it like for you being on stage in a lead role?
Josie – I’ve been dancing since I was almost 3, and I’ve been singing for five or six years now, so being on stage is nothing new to me. I love being on stage; I’m a true performer. Broadway is the goal one day; it has been ever since I was young. The stage is my home. Theatre brings out the most amazing things for people. I find myself awkward in social situations, but the musical gives me confidence to be who I’m not afraid to be.

Sierra – I hadn’t done a proper musical since fifth grade, and I did that mostly because it was mandatory. For me, that’s meant just getting comfortable on stage has been a challenge. But everyone has been super supportive; the cast was really patient with me, and having everyone around be so supportive made it much easier. At the beginning, working on the character of Elle, it was tough because she’s so girly and squealy and outrageous, so I need to be really crazy on stage.

What has the experience been like performing in a SMUS musical?
Sierra – I was quite scared at the beginning, but as time went on and rehearsals became more frequent, you get so much closer to the cast just by working with each other. Working with Josie – we spend every rehearsal together, we sit together in chorus – we became really good friends. The best part of being in the musical, I think, is all of the people you meet. For me, working with them has given me more confidence in the arts, and I definitely want to go on with the musicals again.

Josie – The calibre of the performances here is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. We have really great teachers and staff and volunteers who put together amazing sets and costumes and props. And we get to perform at the Mac, which is awesome. It gives students who really love to perform a chance to shine and have a great opportunity.

Had you participated in a SMUS musical before?
Josie –  Ever since I’ve been coming to SMUS I’ve been immersing myself in any kind of musical outlets. I came in Grade 8 on an off year, so I just did chapel singing, singing in assemblys, choir, band – anything musical I was a part of. And in high school I do as much as I can SMUS-SS-LegallyBlonde-Jevery year: choir, band, musical, arts council, acoustic concerts. I was in The Secret Garden and Spamalot.

Sierra – For Spamalot I did hair and makeup backstage, so I saw a whole other side of it I’d never seen before. And I went to see Guys and Dolls in Grade 8 before I came to the school. I was blown away! It’s still just so overwhelming thinking about how much effort everyone puts into the show; no one does a musical like SMUS!

What’s your favourite musical number to perform?
Sierra – Probably “Legally Blonde”. It’s a really nice ballad between Emmett and Elle. It’s the only song without chorus, so it’s just the two of us. It’s super raw, and it’s just a really pretty song.

Josie – “What You Want”. It’s a huge number, but it’s so funny because this is when she tries to get in to Harvard and she convinces them with passionate love and her ethnic dancing, which is really fun to do.

How are you feeling ahead of opening night?
Josie – There’s a big part of me that’s very nervous and another that’s excited. I’m the one performing on opening night, I’m the first one people will see. I’m fine with the lyrics and the dancing, but the musical’s underscored with so much music that I have to be perfect with my lines, every single word, because if I mess up I might not give the conductor his cue, so that’s nerve-wracking.

Sierra – So nervous. I walk around the halls and that’s all I think about: what am I going to do on stage; how am I going to do all my costume changes. I just want that all to go smoothly.

Why should people come see Legally Blonde?
Sierra – It’s not a musical where you’re going to leave feeling heavy or pondering big life questions. It’s a happy and uplifting musical. It’s so much fun; there’s a lot of humour in it, and lots of great singing and dancing.

JosieLegally Blonde is the most empowering, yet still hilarious musical you will ever come across. It’s just a musical where anyone can go and watch it, and come back and be happy that you did. It shows that you don’t have to live up to the stereotypes you’re given: if you’re a blonde Californian who wants to be a lawyer, or if you’re someone from Victoria who wants to be on Broadway, even though you’re in high school – anything’s possible as long as you strive for it.

Tickets for all four performances of the show are available online.

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Athletics Week in Review: February 25


The pressure was on this past week as basketball swung into playoff mode.

At Junior boys level, SMUS traveled to Brentwood to compete in the Island Tournament, with four berths to provincials on the line. In opening round action, the Blue Jags, after taking some time to get rolling, dispatched Wellington 63-43, with Ben Keep, Jasper Bosley and Gabe Kingsley-Nyinah all scoring in double figures.

Given this result, the team advanced to the semi-finals against Nanaimo. This low-scoring slug-fest was decided in the final 30 seconds, when, with the shot clock running down, an Islander guard nailed a three-point bomb to confirm the outcome.

The defeat relegated SMUS to a crossover meeting versus Claremont the following morning, with the winner of the game still able to qualify for provincials. Happily, with Keep notching 25 points and Bryn Haydock making several huge fourth quarter plays, the Jags prevailed 59-46.

SMUS now moves on to the 32-team BC Junior Tournament, to be held at the Langley Events Centre February 25-28. The team opens against WJ Mouat. Games will be streamed online at

Back at home, the Senior boys entered South Island play, securing a 61-41 win against a stubborn Shawnigan side. Graeme Hyde-Lay (22) and Jake Wilmott (16) paced the attack. The following day, on the back of an excellent defensive performance and 21 points from Jason Scully, SMUS knocked back Lambrick Park 61-47.

With the victories, SMUS retained the BC No. 1 AA ranking, in advance of the Island Tournament February 26-28 in Kwalikum. The Jags meet Ladysmith in the first round.

The news wasn’t as good for the Senior girls, who, in dropping Island games to Mark Isfeld and then Carihi, saw their season come to an end. A bright 31-15 start versus Isfeld, fueled by Chloe Keeler-Young and Leah Sparkman, was undone by a poor close to the first half, with the Ice then riding the shift in momentum to a 68-51 win. In consolation play, but still with a chance to gain the third Island berth to BCs, SMUS, despite a solid defensive effort, never got untracked offensively in a 48-35 loss.

The Blue Jags now set their sights on the 2015-16 season. While Sarah and Emma Loughton graduate this spring, eight players return, with guard Mia Roberts well on the mend from knee surgery.

The recent spectacular weather can only mean that spring sports are about to get underway. Indeed, in prepping for a March 14-31 tour to Spain and Portugal, the Senior and Junior boys rugby ​teams kick off the exhibition season on March 3 versus Brentwood.

(photos by Darin Steinkey)

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Grade 1 and 11 Students Become Fairy Tale Heroes


Once upon a time there lived a group of young princes and princesses learning about fairy tales in their Grade 1 class. Her Royal Highness the Queen, Alison Galloway, taught them about elements commonly found in fairy tales (royalty, talking animals, magic, “Once upon a time…”), and how to tell a story (with a beginning, middle and an end) about a hero solving a problem and coming to a happy ending.

One beautiful morning, as the birds chirped away outside, Queen Galloway said to the princes and princesses, “I want you all to create your very own fairy tale… in English and Spanish.”

The young royals said in unison, “But how will we manage such a difficult task?”

A group of knights, made up of Advanced Spanish 11 students led by Emperor Clayton Daum, heard the cries of the Grade 1s and came to their rescue.

“My knights will partner with these princes and princesses, and work with them to scribe outlines of their own fairy tales, including the setting, the characters, the problem and the solution,” Emperor Daum said. “Then my Spanish-speaking knights will flesh out the fairy tales, writing the complete story in Spanish and then English.”

The junior monarchs were all excited about their new friendships with the smart knights. Each brave knight took a prince or princess under their wing, and together they brainstormed their own stories. Then, as the sun set on the day, the knights returned to their castle to write and illustrate the royals’ stories, vowing only to return when their work was complete.

Many days and many nights passed, and the royals grew anxious. One morning in Februrary, the town crier rushed into Queen Alison’s castle proclaiming, “The knights are en route; they have finished writing the fairy tales!”

Excited for the arrival of the Grade 11 knights, the princes and princesses dressed in their finest robes and dragon costumes to celebrate their partners’ return.

It was a joyous celebration, as each knight entrusted their golden fairy tales, written in both languages, to the monarchs.

Now each prince and princess was the proud heir to a unique fairy tale, which they co-created. Each monarch also gained valuable writing experience (and they learned a bit of Spanish in the process). And the knights gained an enriching leadership opportunity, to complement their skills in their own quests for nobility.

The princes, princesses and knights all remained friends, and they lived happily ever after.

- The End -


Below is one of the co-written fairy tales, The Adventure or La Aventura, by Matthew (Grade 1) and Josh (Grade 11).

The Adventure

Once upon a time there was a boy who was six years old. His name was Matthew and he was very strong. He lived in a castle in the forest. Matthew was the king of the forest and protected all who lived in the forest.

One day, Matthew was watching Star Wars in his grand theatre, when suddenly he heard a noise that was very loud. It was the sound of a castle being crushed in the distance. Matthew was very smart and knew who had done it. It was his evil twin, Tom. Matthew had to stop Tom before he crushed his castle!

He went into the forest to search for Tom. The forest was very dark but Matthew knew every part of the forest so he did not need his vision. He used the force.

A little while after, Matthew heard a noise behind a tree. “Who goes there?” said Matthew, “show yourself!”

Tom jumped out from behind the tree and said, “I’m going to crush your castle, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me!”

Then Tom ran towards Matthew’s castle to destroy it. Matthew chased after Tom and ran very fast. Matthew was faster and stronger than Tom.

Tom arrived at the castle and was about to destroy it, but suddenly Matthew grabbed his arm and asked, “Why do you want to crush my castle?”

Tom thought about the question. He just thought that because he was the bad guy, he always had to crush castles. Tom had no reason to destroy castles. Tom realized that he didn’t like destroying castles because no wanted to be his friend. Tom said, “I destroy castles because I have no friends, and I have no friends because I destroy castles!”

Matthew said to Tom, “If I become your friend, will you not destroy my castle?”

“Yes!” Tom yelled happily. Matthew and Tom became best friends and lived happily ever after.

by Matthew and Josh

La Aventura

Érase una vez un chico que tenía seis años. Se llamaba Mateo, y era fuertísimo. Él vivía en un castillo en el bosque. Mateo era el rey del bosque y él protegía a todas las personas del bosque.

Un día, Mateo estaba mirando al Star Wars en su teatro grande, cuando de repente el oyó un ruido ruidísimo. Fue el sonido de un castillo que se ha aplastado en la distancia. Mateo era muy inteligente, y sabía quien lo ha hecho. Era su gemelo malvado, Tom. ¡Mateo tenía que parar a Tom antes de que aplastaba su castillo!

Él fue dentro del bosque para buscar a Tom. El bosque era muy oscuro pero Mateo ya conocía todas las partes del bosque entonces no necesitaba usar su visión. Él usó la fuerza.

Poco después Mateo oyó un ruido detrás de un árbol «¿Quién va allí?» dijo Mateo, «¡muéstrate!»

Tom saltó desde detrás del árbol y dijo, «Aplastaré tu castillo, ¡ y no hay nada que puedas hacer para pararme!»

Entonces Tom corrió al castillo de Mateo para destruirlo. Mateo persiguió a Tom y corrió rápidamente.

Mateo era más rápido y fuerte que Tom. Tom llegó al castillo y estaba para destruirlo pero de repente Mateo agarró el brazo de Tom y dijo, «¿Por qué quieres aplastar mi castillo?»

Tom pensó sobre la pregunta. Él sólo pensó que como que era malo, él siempre debía aplastar castillos. Tom no tenía una razón para destruir castillos. Tom se dio cuenta que no le gustaba destruir castillos porque nadie quería ser su amigo. Tom dijo, «Yo destruyo castillos porque no tengo amigos, y ¡no tengo amigos porque destruyo castillos!»

Mateo dijo a Tom «¿si me pongo a ser tu amigo, no vayas a destruir mi castillo?»

«¡sí!» gritó Tom. Mateo y Tom eran mejores amigos después y vivieron felices y comieron perdices.

de Matthew y Josh




Student Reflections

“I loved when our buddy helped us make the setting of the story. He drew flames and cheesy lava!” – by Ethan

“My buddy was a boarder and I really liked it when he showed me his house. It was so cool.” – by Anderson

“I learned that you can write fairy tales in any language.” – by Sophie

“My buddy taught me how to say goodbye in Spanish. I would like to take Spanish 11 when I am at the Senior School.” – by Sahvean

“The best thing about the Senior School was eating with my buddy in Brown Hall. I had pork, carrots, crackers, watermelon and hot chocolate but I’m still not full! I still have crackers in my pocket for later.” – by Rayan

“I really liked coming up with a fairy tale with my buddy. I liked writing the beginning, middle and end.” – by William

“It was a great experience working with the Grade 1s.SMUS-FairyTales-FF-01 I don’t have any younger siblings but I wish I did. I used to get nervous spending time with little kids because I sometimes do not know what to do when they don’t cooperate. I sometimes felt I lacked the ability to get along with young kids. Therefore, I really cherished the opportunity to work with the Grade 1s. It is definitely an important skill to work with kids. It not only requires patience, but also some tactic. We did not manage to stay on task the whole time, but we had a lot of fun. I am impressed by their sweet character and creativity. I am sure this experience enriched both the Grade 1s and the Grade 11s.” – by Flora F.

SMUS-FairyTales-JW-02“Teaming up with the Junior School Grade 1s was an incredibly uplifting experience and I think it really lit up everyone’s day. It was exciting to watch their fantasy worlds come to life as they created the plot for our fairy tales. Their imaginations and expressions were so refreshing to be around in the middle of a busy day and I think it really took everyone’s mind off the stress and problems of our day – I know it did for me! It was also a great leadership opportunity for the Grade 11s to teach the children different Spanish words and phrases, and also a chance to be the student and let them teach us. I was amazed at how thrilled they were to be in charge while teaching us the different steps in writing a good fairy tale, and also how enthusiastic they were to learn new things.” – by Jennie W.

SMUS-FairyTales-FS-01“I really enjoyed the time with the Grade 1 students. They were all very cute and friendly. For me it is unusual to take a leadership role, because normally we are still considered the ‘young people’, not the teacher; this time it was the opposite. We tried to do everything correct because we wanted to be good role models for the Grade 1 students. When they came out of the bus I thought they would be more nervous, but they weren’t at all. My student, named Mikaela, directly started a conversation with me and told me what she liked and asked my name. I felt responsible for her during the time she was with me. This was sometimes kind of scary, because you were afraid that something would go wrong. Overall I am glad that SMUS gave me this opportunity, because I got an experience I will probably not get again in that way. Moreover, to know how to be a role model is a valuable quality and useful for your future life.” – by Flora S.

Teacher Reflections

“The students get a lot out of this partnership. They get one-on-one attention for them to talk about specific parts of the story. They’re the experts on fairy tales, the Grade 11s are the experts in Spanish. Our job is to make sure the stories fit the fairy tale model based on what they’ve learned in class. It gives them a sense of purpose for learning the elements of fairy tales. The experience also really inspires them; when the Grade 11s leave, all Grade 1s want to do is write their own fairy tales. They’re so gung-ho, because now they have an understanding of how to write a story. And they loved going up to the Senior School to see the Grade 11 classroom because that is where they’re going. I think for the older ones, it’s also great to come down to the Junior School and see how far they’ve come.” – by Mrs. Alison Galloway

“The obvious benefit for my students is they get to write in Spanish. More importantly, they get to have a neat connection to a group of kids they don’t otherwise get access to. Students I’ve talked to, and students who’ve done this in previous years, say this is the most memorable part of the class. They really like the opportunity to take on that leadership role with a group of students who are super keen and, for the most part, very easy to work with because they’re so excited about the topic. It gives my students a really neat opportunity to be a leader in a setting where they’re guaranteed to be successful, which is nice. I think they also really take pride in the finished product, because they know it’s not just going to me, but it’s going to their Junior School partner.” – by Mr. Clayton Daum

Next week, Ms. Lynn Porteous’s Grade 1 class will partner with Ms. Kim Tait’s Grade 9 drama class on a fairy tale unit with a very similar venture. But instead of writing the co-created fairy tales in Spanish, the Grade 9 students will perform the stories for the Grade 1s!

See more photos of the Grade 1 and Grade 11 Advanced Spanish classes writing fairy tales at the SMUS Photo Gallery.

(photos by Kyle Slavin)

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Hands-On Learning Through Exploration


Our Middle School Exploratory Program is a great way for students to expand their interests; where the thrill of learning something new becomes priority No. 1 in the class. Students in Grades 6-8 participate in four different Exploratory courses during the school year. They have a say in what gets added to the timetable, too, as they put forward ideas and suggestions, based on their passions.

Through further exploration of arts, athletics, games, science, technology and more, Exploratory gives students a chance to build practical skills they may not otherwise get in a typical classroom setting.

Below is a list of the Middle School’s exciting Exploratory offerings this term.

Ancient Languages
Ancient languages, such as Latin and Greek, are extremely beneficial for building language skills for modern languages. Also, 60% of all English words come from Latin or Greek roots, so one’s comprehension and understanding of the structure of the English language is also improved.

Winston Churchill once said, “I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honour, and Greek as a treat.” Students are being initiated into the world of those who have had the traditional “Classical” education.

Bananagrams is a popular word game that combines elements of Boggle and Scrabble. SMUS-MS-Exploratory-BananagramsThe game is played individually yet simultaneously, as players build interlocking puzzles similar to those in Scrabble. Bananagrams can be played by students at any reading level and has been touted as both educational and creative!

Students benefit from this Exploratory offering because Bananagrams promotes literacy skills and inspires laughter and socialization. Among the skills they learn are: word recognition, visual processing, memory recall, language development, sequential thought, spelling and vocabulary building.

Card Making
During this Exploratory students research design ideas, purchase materials and then craft some beautiful greeting cards. Last term students batched their cards, sold them and donated the money to a local non-profit. This Exploratory engages students in creative work with very few restrictions, and it is a casual way to interact with students.

Comic Book Creation
The students learn and apply various drawing techniques, page layouts, and improve their creative writing, while combining their artistic talents, writing skills and sense of adventure. They also sharpen their writing skills by working through the writing process (draft, edit, repeat!), as well as character and story development. All of this done in a format – comic books – that they are already familiar with and enjoy.

This Exploratory benefits students because it allows them the opportunity to be as creative as their imaginations can take them, while, at the same time, reinforcing lessons and concepts that they have been previously taught.

SMUS-MS-Exploratory-CrossStitchCross Stitch
Students discover the basics of counted cross stitch by working through a simple project they can call their own.

In addition to simply learning how to cross stitch, this Exploratory teaches students fine motor skills, how to follow instructions, how to make a plan to complete a project and stick to it, an appreciation of fine arts, and allows them to spend some quiet time in their very busy school lives. A lot of the students really enjoy cross stitch and turn it into a hobby!

Fitness and Conditioning
This is a fun fitness and conditioning program that prepares students for sport and for life. From learning how to properly use exercise equipment to improving form in their sport of choice, this Exploratory class gives students the knowledge and skills to stay healthy and reduce the risk of injury. By learning about the importance of posture, balance, better movement and muscle endurance over strength, students have fun while staying active.

Floor Hockey Champions
Fast-paced, fun hockey. It’s Canada’s game, and it provides students with an opportunity to learn the values of teamwork, while improving their own hockey skills through drills and games.

Students in this Exploratory love it, as they play with a thick, felt puck that closely simulates the real game. They get lots of exercise, learn hockey skills and, for those students from places around the world, this is a great introduction to the game. This Exploratory is almost always full and “extra time” is always played at the end of the game. The Floor Hockey Exploratory “season” culminates in a Stanley Cup game!

It’s All Greek to Me
In this Exploratory, students find creative ways to connect, explore and have some real-time conversations with youth living on the other side of the world. Students learn about global literacy by building their global citizen profiles through the pen-pal blogging system that has been set-up between our students and students in Greece. Students gain an understanding of a different way of life through their interactions with kids living in Greece.

Grade 8 students will have an opportunity to visit Kyparissia, Greece at the end of this school year, and will meet the kids they are speaking to, as well as participate in cultural, service and leadership opportunities.

SMUS-MS-Exploratory-JazzJazz Café
This Exploratory is for the jazz purists, hip cats and wannabes who want to play some serious and authentic jazz music. The class allows students to take their playing to the next level, and learn jazz and swing music by finding their inner jazz musician!

Jazz Café gives students the opportunity to learn how professional jazz musicians learn: identify a few standards they like, listen to seminal recordings,​ learn and imitate them by ear, and try to put together a combo to play them.

Kendama and yo-yos are making a huge comeback around the world. Students get a firsthand chance to experience why people are trading in the video games for these traditional toys.

Kendama aids in the development of hand-eye coordination and concentration, and helps students to build self-esteem. It also creates opportunities for children to be the experts and adults to be the students, if parents ask to learn how to play. This role reversal is rarely encountered in educational settings, and is an opportunity to model positive learning behaviours, such as perseverance, deference to experts, humility and the joy of new skill acquisition.

Movie Magic
Film directors often use special effects to shape reality in their creations. In Movie Magic students learn a few of the techniques used in digital video filming and editing to create their own special effects. A number of these will be shared with the audience during the Middle School production of The Wizard of Oz.

This Exploratory is an introduction to some of the tools and skills used to create video graphics. Students learn basic aspects of video production including camera use, lighting, green screening, audio and video capture, video editing and creating digital effects. Students are being exposed to, and increasingly choosing to communicate with, video content. It can be a springboard for those who might want to go further into the world of video production.

SMUS-MS-Exploratory-MSExplorersMiddle School Explorers
Each Explorers session provides students with wilderness and outdoor training, including reading maps, GPS work, outdoor cooking, tarps, tents, packing for trips, insects, local plants, birds and animals, and survival tips and tricks.

Students learn how to tie knots, cook using small alcohol stoves made from tuna cans, lashing of poles to build structures, fire starting at camp and other camping skills. Students also learn how to work as a team to accomplish tasks at camp. These skills are helpful when camping and make one feel more prepared to go out in the woods. This, in turn, provides more of an appreciation for nature.

Students can have fun exploring hands-on science experiments and solving mysteries! This is a fantastic exploratory for all students who love biology, chemistry, environmental science, math, physics, space science, engineering or technology.

Students work in teams to complete a range of timed challenges, from building an alien lung to creating the cheapest water filter to landing a “solar probe” safely. This Exploratory is a wonderful way to engage students in science exploration, and extend and expand their knowledge and skills. Students have an opportunity to continue on and compete at UVic in the All Science Challenge in May.

Set Painting
From planning, to sketching and painting the sets for The Wizard of Oz production, these students do it all!

Students have worked on a variety of skills, including measuring, planning, working with new materials, cutting shapes for the sets, painting, working in groups and working on large-scale projects, which is not normally available in class.

Not only do they acquire new skills and experiences, but when they see their work on display during the musical they are proud of their accomplishments. Having student artwork on display in a public space is beneficial for developing confidence, and working in groups allows them to see how much they can accomplish by working together.

Students work on a variety of woodworking projects over the course of the term. This Exploratory teaches basic skills using hand tools. The students learn to cut, saw, plane, sand and paint using hand tools. They start with easy wood projects, such as wood puzzles, and as their skills improve they move onto tool boxes and bird houses.

The students enjoy learning manual skills that contribute to the creation of a product. They take a lot of pride in completing a wood project and finishing it with paint or varnish.

Click here to learn more about the full Middle School program. And head back into the SMUS Review archives for a great video from 2012 that looked at the Exploratory Program. 

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