Looks like we’ve pretty much made it through January! With its false starts and hiccups, it was not the smoothest of starts to 2022, but with your patient endurance (…and us “paddling hard” beneath the surface of the water!), we proceed. Thank you to everyone who was able to schedule a virtual meeting their child’s teacher today. Our opportunity to discuss the progress and possibilities for each student is always a welcome chance to set goals and hear your feedback.
Along with today’s newsletter, you will receive a link to the School’s Annual Report, published by the Board of Governors, and which provides a high-level summary of our efforts, achievements, and challenges during the last fiscal year (2020-2021). Even amid an unprecedented pandemic, our small school continues to move forward with plans to ensure we offer the best to current and future students. Thank you for helping us to remain true to our mission, vision, and values during the past two years!
The pandemic has been a relentless “companion” for all families and schools, as we have worked to keep the children whole during weeks and months of shifting sand. As you all appreciate, one of the biggest challenges has been the impediments posed by our inability to meet and collaborate in person with all of you. We hope this obstacle will be removed from out path in the near future as we undertake our next cycle of strategic planning and stakeholder consultation. We envision that this several month-long process will begin in the spring and help us deliver a vibrant, future-forward plan for the coming generations of Matthews Hall graduates. Please watch for more details as our plans are confirmed.
And now, a word about one of my favourite topics – dogs! If you ask many students, they will tell you that “Mr. A” is an animal lover with a particular fondness for pooches. In fact, if our school had a sprawling rural campus, I might even lobby for a school dog and I am sure that plan would excite many of our students! In the early years of my career, my Headmaster was accompanied to school every day by his trusty and well-beloved golden retriever, Molson. Every person on campus knew her and she was a calm and noble friend to students and staff alike. Molson was so much a part of campus life that she became part of the school family and was included in the official portrait alongside the headmaster when he retired (….that unique and impressive portrait still hangs in the school’s portrait gallery and is often a topic of conversation!).
Why all this about dogs? Because, I think, they have so much to teach us! A CAIS colleague of mine from one of our Quebec boarding schools certainly agrees and suggested to us in December that dogs can be serious and legitimate “life coaches”, if we let them.
He claims we can learn important lessons from them like:
uWhen your loved ones come home, always run and greet them!
Never pass up a chance to go for a joyride!
Take naps and don’t feel guilty!
Run, romp, and play daily!
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body!
….and avoid biting when a simple growl will do!
My personal favourite, and one to which we can all relate – when someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them!
If you are considering adding a dog to your “pack” at home, your plan has my highest recommendation. After all, the outside of a dog is good for the inside of a child.
And this has never been more true than during these last two years!
Ric Anderson, Head of School