Head Lines

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Towards the end of each academic year at TCS, I get the pleasure of hosting “House Chew and Chats.” In short, the graduating students are all invited to attend a session, by house, with me in which I provide the food and they provide the conversation. Actually, they provide their perspective on the strengths of Trinity College School and areas that we could improve or enhance. It’s similar to what some businesses might call an “exit interview.”

Given the circumstances we find ourselves in today, I could not provide the food.(And I know we all miss the food from Osler Hall!) But, thanks to technology, the conversations took place and nearly 85% of the graduating class participated. Here are a selection of the comments the soon-to-be grads made about our school:


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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

One of the many (yes, many) advantages of spending more time at home is that it affords the opportunity to get to know yourself better. Seemingly, much of our pre-COVID lives was spent at, or travelling to, or preparing for a host of social situations involving other humans. Whether you were prepping for that next meeting, travelling to visit friends, being at work (or school), or organizing your next vacation, most of our lives involved social situations. Our bodies were vehicles to transport our brains and personalities to connect with other people’s bodies, brains and personalities.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

5 senses. 4 virtual platforms. 3 kids. 2 trains. 1 house.

When you spend your first ever evening in Port Hope, your conversations at dinner, and later your sleep, will be suddenly interrupted by the piercing sound of at least half a dozen screaming train whistle blasts followed by up to five minutes of trembling, earthquake-like rumbling, created by heavy train cars being pulled by an all powerful locomotive. On your first visit to Port Hope, it is likely that nobody told you about the two train tracks that run south of the TCS campus.

As your kids will tell you, it only takes a few days before you tend not to take notice of either sound again. Yet, the trains keep running.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The past several months have seen all of us spending more time at home. And, while acknowledging the seriousness of our circumstances and challenges from a health and economic perspective, I have found and rediscovered some interesting and enjoyable pursuits.

My favourite is birdwatching.

Actually, while I am “nesting” at home at The Lodge on campus with family, I have two recent additional companions: a pair of gorgeous reddish-orange chested robins have joined me on the back patio. Initially, they were frantically building their own nest but they have now “settled down” to join me for morning coffees, late afternoon tea, and perhaps even a sun-setting libation to end an otherwise online kind of day.

I look forward to seeing them, always.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2020

It’s human nature that when you can’t have something (chocolate, for example), you tend to want it more. Or, if you have something you don’t want (say, a cold), you pledge to yourself that you will better appreciate what you had before.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Many of the customs of birthdays have interested me. To begin with, I always thought the parents should be the ones who are celebrated, not the offspring. I also feel that the Happy Birthday tune and tempo (“Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday, dear...”) really does not match the spirit and energy of the occasion. It’s a rather slow rhythm with pretty unimaginative words. A little more pep at the very least, I believe, word work better.

That said, one aspect of birthdays fascinates me more than anything else. And, it centres on trying to imagine what the world, community, family, or school would look like if a particular person had NOT been born. For example, what if Winston Churchill or Mahatma Ghandhi had not been born? Similarly, what if Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Socrates, Einstein, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Marie Curie, or Shakespeare had never been?

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

Think of what you would do if you did not have a cell phone, computer or television since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic? And, what would your kids do? For the past several years, parents and educators have lamented the amount of screen time that distracts youth and is seemingly responsible for any host of unsocial adolescent behaviours!

Phones have been blamed for everything from destroying the traditional family dinner table conversation to delaying maturity. Computers have been targeted as the cause for teenager sedentary lifestyles and a replacement to “real” friends. And, televisions make your vision worse and your brain mush. I admit, even in past blog posts I have shared statistics and research on some of the negative implications of our kids’ high tech lifestyles.

But look at technology now!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The first headmaster of TCS, the Revd. Charles Badgley, was appointed in 1865. His first three years were spent in the original parsonage in Weston, Ontario. He then oversaw the transition of the School to Port Hope in 1868. He only lasted as headmaster for two more years. The incoming headmaster and clergyman, Charles Bethune, is quoted as saying, “...to be a schoolmaster is the last thing I should care to undertake.” At the time, he shared, confidentially, that he intended on holding the position for only two years.

And, who could blame him! Only 32 boys arrived that September in 1870. The School was in debt and its assets only barely matched its debt, thanks in small part to the fact that it owned a cow valued at $40. Bethune’s wife and children lived two kilometres away (which in those days, would have been a substantial distance). There was little in the way of school facilities other than a house to live in and a schoolhouse to walk to – a kilometre away! 

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Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Many of us at TCS are aware that our beloved school moved to Port Hope from Weston, Ontario, in 1868, only three years after its founding and one year after the formation of the Dominion of Canada. There were many circumstances that led to its relocation, but, when it comes right down to it, there is just one major, ecological explanation. Read on…

In 1868, TCS had grown in numbers since inception and there simply was not enough space at Reverend William A. Johnson’s parsonage to accommodate the boys. He looked at a number of towns, but was approached by two representatives from the town of Port Hope (keen to have a reputable educational alternative in town to attract more families and businesses), who offered to pay the rent and taxes for a wooden two storey building, on 10 acres, on a hill, on the east side of town; accommodation would be available for a matron, four teachers and up to 30 boys. The deal was too good to refuse.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

As we are all now confined to our homes, I thought that I would share a few fun historical facts about where I find myself every day and write my weekly blog: The Lodge.

In 1868, when Trinity College School moved from Weston (in the northwest part of Toronto) to Port Hope, the School was located on the spot where The Lodge sits now. At the time, the 10-acre site belonged to Thomas Ward, a lawyer. His home was large enough to provide space for 30 boys, four teachers and a matron to sleep in. The classrooms were about a kilometre away (down what is now known as Ward Street) in a brick building that the boys walked to and from over the course of the school day.

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