We are the Baer family: Danny, Michele, Cora and our newest addition….Felix 😊
I (Danny) am very excited to be returning for my fifth year in Bolton House!
Michele and I are educators, with experience teaching and counselling both locally and afar. Upon graduation from the University of Victoria, Michele and I took the opportunity to spend two years working at a boarding school in Wuhan, China. After completing our teaching contracts abroad, we returned to Canada to continue our careers working with young learners in Victoria, BC. Michele works as a community health educator with a local non-profit organization, and is also a houseparent in Winslow House. In addition to my work as a school counsellor at the SMUS Senior School, I also work for the local Saanich School District as a school counsellor and teacher.
In our free time we enjoy camping and fishing in various locations around Vancouver Island, as well as chasing our daughter Cora around local beaches and playgrounds.
We look forward to sharing our love of the outdoors with your son. It’s going to be another amazing year!
Yes it is true! Bolton managed to hold on to their lead during the final and nail-biting House Olympics and managed to keep the F. West Cup for Inter-house Athletics, first presented in 1914. Barnacle House actually did best in the Olympics but they were unable to overtake us in overall house standings. Above you can see us celebrating and below you can see action shots from the games. Over the year the boys played with strength and honour and as you can see have bonded like brothers.
Afterwards the hard working students of Timmis and Bolton enjoyed some cold freezies together.
Later that night we all changed out of our sweaty house shirts and into our fancy duds for the annual SMOSCARS, a fun awards night and our last community dinner. We were, of course, awarded the house cup, Joel took the Award for the Social Butterfly on campus and Ranon won the “Master Chef” award to a resounding cheer from all of boarding. After the presentations we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and posed in front of the Selfie-serve Photo-booth.
Over the ensuing week there has been lots going on on campus. Derry (’17) returned from Paloma University in great spirits and ran a workshop for this year’s grads about what college is really like. He stopped by at Bolton House and chatted with a bunch of us. Here he is with Mr. Baer and me. We also had out first departure for the year with Bryan heading back to China. Bryan has been with us since grade 8 and has made a big impact in the house over his five years. Antonio said a nice speech about him in a house meeting and he received his traditional Bolton Mug. We will miss you Bryan!
We also missed our rugby players as they headed off to the mainland for their provincial championships. Both the junior and the seniors played very hard and both teams came home with bronze medals. Congratulations to Andres, Logan, Jack, Mohammed, Bolu, Laurent, Mr. Danskin, Mr. Daum and Ranon for his hard work earlier in the season.
Next week we will report on the Grade 10 Pursuits and the Grade 9 ADST outings. Otherwise this weekend the rest of us stayed in town and enjoyed the Oak Bay Tea Party Fairgrounds. Other went out and enjoyed the amazing weather. Pine spotted a fawn near the school and stayed with it until he knew it was safe. The little thing was just resting – something we will all be able to do once the summer is upon us.
We were hit with out first real bout of summer weather this week. Classes started happening outside, as you can see with Gedeon and Harry enjoying a business lesson. Many Bolton boys participated in the Link Leader water-balloon contest. Below you can see Matthias, Adrian and Patt playing. Patt actually emerged the victor of the whole tournament and a great time was had by all.
This lasted all week but sadly this weekend the rain returned. During Saturday activities Justin and Jack braved the storm with a brisk hike along the sea shore. Nokia more sensibly painted pottery indoors. An even bigger group of boys signed up to watch the new Avengers movie and were positively energized on the drive home.
It was a rare quite week as we head into the last full month of classes. Some students are enjoying the calm before the academic storm. Others are already studying for upcoming exams. In all spirits are high and we are ready for the final push. Go Bo!
At this week’s house-meeting I was very clear with the boys: our time together is limited and if there is anything they still wish to accomplish this year at SMUS, they had better take immediate steps to do so. These months are so full that time will fly and we will soon all find ourselves saying goodbye. For some, they may wish to up their grades. For others, there may be a fellow student that they would like to become better friends with. Others still may have a dream of making a lasting impact on the community by implementing a change for the better.
Of course this is particularly on my mind and Jenn and I move into our last term of boarding life since I started in 1998. We are setting our own goals of things we hope to accomplish in this time but it is nice to know that since we have had this plan for the past four years we have been able to put a good deal of plans into action in past years. During that house-meeting the conviviality of the boys and overall kindness and support was so evident. I really do feel like we are leaving Bolton at a high point with an amazing group of boys.
With that being said – we still want to win house-games! >:) The boys took advantage of a lovely afternoon this Saturday and broke out into some serious training routines. Will lead the trivia team in on-line trivia practice – their brains are primed! Mr. Danskin trained the soccer-baseball team on the finer points of this unique hybrid sport. We invited back houseparent-emeritus Mr. Guzek to drill the boys on the technique and art of Ultimate Frisbee.
We also had some memorable visits from Bolton Alumni this week! Timmy journeyed back from Cornell to walk down memory lane and the halls of Bolton. He was a boarding lifer and Head of House in his day and spoke very fondly of his time here. Although only a couple boys would have remembered him it was great to see him and catch up, for them and for the houseparents. A more recent departure from the school was Diego from last year who came back to visit us during his Spring Break from Mexico. There were lots of hugs and reminiscences with the boys. Below, he is posing with Stanley, who welcomed him back.
On that note, the Bolton House Alumni Toast is happening again this year! On May 5th at 1:30, past Bolton students and houseparents, will join the current community to talk about the house, toast our founder, reconnected and network. Last year we had 26 alumni join us and this year we hope to have even more. This event is an example of some of the legacy pieces I have tried to implement over the years before leaving. The house motto, as well as the accompanying awards of Brotherhood, Honour and Strength are two other examples. Really, each year, the greatest accomplishment is helping these great young men have another successful year – so please brace yourself for a flurry of activity communicated in these blog posts as we try to document all that goes on in their lives.
Last year during the school production of Ragtime, the stage was seemingly overrun by Bolton boys. Will, Joel, Christian, David and Bolu were amazing and dedicated and we thought that it was good luck there there were so many members of the house to applaud.
It turns out this is now a bit of a trend! Will and Joel have returned to the stage joined by Laurent, Garry and Matthias, all with speaking roles, and Jerry joined the pit orchestra too. The show was super entertaining and we were so impressed by the dedication, hard work and talent and humour we saw in all the performers. The big question remains – what makes Bolton so musical?
The musical’s run is over now but earlier this week, as the cast was in dress rehearsal, the Senior Art Show opened. Alan, Antonio, Bryan, David, Jom, Ranon, Stanley, Tuan, Tung, Vincent, Turay, Mohammed, Nemesio, Gedeon, Jack, Mikhail, Matthias, Joel, Justin, Andres, Dionisio and Georg all had art in the show. The opening was a hit with 125 people in attendance and many more saw their art during the intermission of the musical.
As all this was going on there were many other activities on campus. Some got their heart rate up in spin class. Some explored downtown, looking for the tastiest dessert. While others gave up some free time to volunteer cleaning campus and organizing the art room.
Enjoy Spring Break! We will see everyone back soon!
The past week was very busy and very convoluted but rich with experience and very rewarding for the Bolton boys.
On Tuesday Grade 9 participated in their CHEW activities and the Grade 10s had of day of experiential learning. Activities ranged from flying to skiing to cooking. Here is Dat learning to cook.
At the same time the Grade 11 and 12s participated in our annual Career Day. Students had the choice of several workshops with adult members of the SMUS community. Workshops ranged from law to science to the arts. Here are Jom, Tung, Antonio, Bryan and Joel listening to presentations from a visual artist, an animator and and architect.
On Wednesday many students were busy all morning in rehearsals for the Large Ensembles Concert. The grade 10s, meanwhile had to write the Provincially mandated Numeracy exam. At the same time a group of keen photographers went to a lecture by a National Geographic photographer, Ami Vitale. Below you can see Georg and Dat meeting her after the talk. If that was not enough, SMUS hosted the First Tech Challenge (below you can see Antonio doing his part for the SMUS team).
That night was the actual Large Ensembles Concert. The strings, choir and band sections wowed the crowd with their performances. Bellow you will find Dat, Xavier, Patt, Pine, Turay, Jack, Harry, Garry, Adam W, Mr. Butterfield and Logan.
The rest of the week was similarly full of activities. The musical boys kept practicing (note Laurent, Garry and Matthias on the balcony) and Justin and Matthias kept playing Basketball. Mohammed presented as part of Middle Eastern Week and Xavier worked on his chemistry.
Other students had yet another field trip, this time with Mr. Shaw to the aquarium. Below you can see Adam W inspecting a Puget Sound King Crab.
Saturday Activities kept everyone very busy today. See photos of Dio helping to clean Mt Tolmie, Tommy, Adam L and Alejandro helping with service work in a school garden, Leo and Hemmesh on a photography trip, Alan life drawing (and modeling!), and Tung and Henry volunteering at a local hockey game.
Matthias played yet more Basketball and posted a great victory. Here he is with Mr. Hyde-Lay and in action.
In all it was a crazy week but very rewarding. Tomorrow students start studying in earnest for a week of mid-term exams. But we will save that story for next weekend.
We just keep finding more and more fun things to share witrh you as we close 2017! First, here are the Photo Booth photos, taken by David and his Photo Club. It is clear the students had a great time dressing up and hamming up!
Similar frivolity happened during the whole-school Christmas Assembly.
The students also enjoyed being served by the faculty during the annual Shergold Pancake Breakfast, a fun event in memory of Chuck and Stephanie Shergold. This is especially close to our hearts in Bolton as Chuck was the Senior Houseparent in Bolton when he and his daughter passed away. They are further remembered by the new Bolton Award for Strength. His wife, Wendy went on to lead Bolton House for many years. We celebrate them with laughter and love, the way they lived their lives.
And in the holiday spirit, we also contributed to make things nicer for those less fortunate. Here is Gedeon carrying some hamper gifts to give to a single-parent family in our neighborhood.
This is just a little extra post that shows some of the great energy that we have in the Bolton Timmis Common Room. For the students it is like their own living room, except it is full of their friends, has a pool table, and a kitchen and karaoke.
Thanks to our Head of House Ranon who filmed the magic.
Winter weather may be blowing in but the campus is heating up as we slide towards the Holiday Break. The Grade 10s recently had their second round of experiential activities. Below you can see Jack leading a beat for his group, all of whom built their own Cajon box drums. This performance was in the Senior School assembly. Click here to hear their music and see them play. Also below you will see some of Dio, Andres and other Bolton Boys preparing their ornament to contribute to the Bolton Christmas Tree. This tree was then on display at the SMUS Christmas Gala (more on that later). Finally, on the heals of an amazing Bolton House Chapel, many boys returned to chapel during the day to present for Intercultural Council’s North American cultural week. Below you can see Joel, Will, Jack and Matthias adding their own personal touches to the event.
Last week Bolton’s own Mr. Butterfield (in addition to the other music teachers) conducted the annual Small Ensembles Concert. Below you can see Dat, Logan, Jack and Laurent adding their musical talents to the evening.
The big event everyone was getting ready for was the Parent’s Auxiliary Christmas Gala, held in the stunning and historic Crystal Gardens in downtown Victoria. The past weeks have been frenzy of shopping trips in preparation for this formal affair. On Thursday, our Head of House Ranon, led the boys through some dinner etiquette. With brave Fernanda joining the meeting from Timmis House, both she and Dio enacted proper dinner manners and how to hold civilized conversation. Laughs were had and life lessons were learned. Some other basic life lesson came up in preparation for the big night. Dio honed his ironing skills, Logan learned how to replace a button and Adrian learned that it is easier to iron a tie before you put it on!
With the boys and girls in their finest, we all headed off to the big event. There was an amazing dinner, dancing, and overall a lot of fun.
Justin arrived a little late to the party, but with a big smile on his face. He was held back because his basketball team was in a tournament – but arrived victorious after running the tournament undefeated and taking the gold medal!
David set up and manned the photo booth for the event and will be soon posting images from that where you should be able to see your son in his finest with his friends. Stay tuned!
On Sunday we were all able to relax a bit. We closed the weekend enjoying an excellent chapel hosted by Timmis, our sister house.