The Importance of Human Connection

The weather is quite cold, but the clear skies this week make for beautiful sunsets!

Just yesterday, Mr. Anderson, the Director of the Senior School at SMUS, wrote an article for the community about hidden achievements from our students during this strange time. I thought we could start the blog with some of his words today, as they give some insight into the remarkable human connection that still persists here at SMUS:

“As you know, we have the good fortune of being in-class, in-person, and I am constantly reminded of the importance of this human connection as I walk about the campus.

I see classes engaged in science labs, deep discussions and interesting debates, I see groups of students gathered in our library study rooms poring over assignments, I see clubs and councils thinking creatively about how to engage with the student body in different ways and I even get to see our students enjoying their down time during recess and lunch. To be honest, once one is within the walls of the school, it almost feels normal.

Of course the “almost” in that sentence hangs there for us, and so we continue to look forward to a time when we can all more easily celebrate the successes of our students in person. Until then, know that we appreciate all that they do and we continue to be amazed by their progress in all facets of school life. You should be proud!” – Mr. Anderson

You can read the rest of this article here.

  • Grade 11 Boys at school….AND cleaning their rooms, for the most part.

Eric and Emma also both stepped-up without being asked and cleaned the microwave! Pretty awesome!

With clear skies, the Grade 11’s of Bolton House have already started the outdoor activities again including Spikeball, Rugby, and Soccer. Here are a few pictures, and make sure to check out Subaig’s awesome header goal below

Other than the sports fields, as Mr. Anderson mentioned, Clubs and Councils at SMUS are in full swing. I took the time to sit down with Grade 11 student Adam, and learn more about a new club at school which he created with some friends this week.

Mr. Fryer: Thanks for sitting down with me today Adam. Can you tell me a little bit about the club you and your friends started?

Adam: We started as mostly an athletic performance club, attempted to focus on physical skills, but then started realizing we were talking more about wellness and mental wealth. We didn’t have a great name in the beginning, but after some feedback we settled on “Let’s Talk”, which creates a chill environment and allows for everyone to share their thoughts in a stress-free environment.

Mr. Fryer: That’s great. And this Thursday is Bell “Let’s Talk” day to bring attention to mental health initiatives, so I think the name is a good one. What are some things your club talks about?

Adam: We basically talk about how to reduce stress by doing several activities as a group. Our next topic will be about how physical exercise helps with mental well-being and stress. We are also going to talk about Movember and why these things are important to talk about out loud.

Mr. Fryer: That’s great! Thanks for sharing. Why is this club important at SMUS?

Adam: We think this club is important because there is nothing similar to our club at the School and we think that Grade 11 is a stressful year, so this could help people bond and share their experiences (how to make friends, how to get rid of stress, etc.)

Mr. Fryer: I think talking about it with others is a great idea! What are some other future topics you will be exploring?

Adam: We might look at siblings relationships, or mental health, but mostly we are asking club members what they want to talk about and going from there. For example, with COVID right now, that is something that a lot of students are talking about. When we don’t really have a topic, we might look in general about mindset and how that relates to overall health.

Mr. Fryer: Well, thanks for your time Adam and well done!

Hitting Our Stride!

We have made it through our second week of classes and the diligent efforts of the boys have ensured that we have arrived safely and in good spirits. Term 3 has only 2 weeks left in it so the work load is picking up, but the Bolton Boys continue to impress with their dedicated work habits. In addition to the academic work, many boys have been busy with sport as well. Ping pong is a popular event, as is pool in the common room.

Robbie and Richard dueling it out on the felt!
Sahan battling it out on the table top.

The rugby team has been unable to train on the fields because of all the rain so they have been running up Mt.Tolmie and doing other forms of fitness to get ready for the season. But all work and no play is no fun, so a bit of spikeball helps!

Subaig spiking and Simon … well Simon swinging hard!
Louis lighting it up…

As the boys are not supposed to be in each others rooms until we have established the health of our community after our return from the holiday, the common room has been busy with exciting Mario Kart races on the nintendo…

An epic Bolton vs Timmis battle!

… quiet conversation looking over the field…

The birthday boys trying to decide who is older!

… and the culinary delight of “Oreo Soup”!

Yes, it’s true, Oreo Soup.

We also celebrated an exciting double birthday on Saturday. Both Junya and Josh T. turned 17 today and what makes this even more special is that they are from the same city! Could they be twins? Let’s find out.

Who is older?

Josh – Junya born at about 3am and I was born at around 4 pm, so I guess he is about 13 hours older than me.

Junya – I think I am by a few hours.

Were you born in the same place?

Josh – No, different hospitals, but in the same city. My cousin was born in the same hospital as Junya though!

Junya – No, same city, different hospitals.

What is your favorite color?

Josh – Such a difficult question…grey – it goes well with everything!

Junya – Black – because it looks cool!

What is your favorite animal?

Josh – I don’t really like animals.

Junya – Cats. I have two cats named Snowy and Creamy. Creamy is brown.

Are you right handed or left handed?

Josh – Right handed but I can sort of play badminton with my left.

Junya – Right. I play hockey left handed though.

What is your favorite flavour of ice cream?

Josh – When I was a kid there was a Milk tea flavour that was amazing. Not sure if they still have it. 5 year old me liked it a lot.

Junya – Strawberry.

Chocolate or chips?

Josh – Chocolate, chips are way over rated.

Junya – Chocolate, I don’t like chips.

Whose smarter?

Josh – Junya. He seems more level headed and rational.

Junya – Probably him, I don’t know how he does academically.

Best birthday gift?

Josh – A birthday letter from a friend back in Hong Kong.

Junya – Staying with family and being able to spend time with them on my birthday.

Since you are older and wiser, Junya, do you have any advice for young Josh?

Be nice to everyone.

Well, there you have it. Not quite twins, but they both refer chocolate, both play a sport left handed and both value family and fiends over material possessions. That they both said the other guy is smarter makes me think they are both pretty awesome guys! Happy birthday to both boys.

A rousing rendition!

The second half of January awaits. We hope that restrictions might start to ease a bit within the boarding house and we really appreciate the effort of the boys to keep our community safe.

2021 – Bring It On!

This week, we welcomed the Bolton boys back to their Victoria home! After a flurry of suitcases and unpacking sessions, they had a chance to settle back into their rooms, catch up with their roommates and slowly but surely gear up for their academic classes. There were lots of winter break stories being shared, and there seemed to be a general sense of excitement and renewed commitment in the air.

Eric X and Joshua M wasted no time rekindling their roommate fire, joining forces on their homework assignment during one of the first prep times of 2021.

Eric X and Josh M in their element.

The amazing roommate duo of Robert and Hanson decided to shift their collective focus to the common room, where they dusted off the pool cues and got right down to business.

Robert setting up the break.
Hanson looking as professional as ever.
Robert and Hanson in the common room.

Joshua T and Kira from Timmis House decided to collaborate on their studying one night, showing everyone what a productive prep session looks like!

Josh T and Kira busy with their studying.

Our guys were also busy making the most out of their time at school, starting with Adam K, Subaig and Chris who got to work on the squash courts.

Chris and Subaig in action.
Adam K planning out his next shot.

Ryan C showed us skills in Strings class…

Ryan C focused on his music.

While Hanson and Robert rolled up their sleeves in Chemistry class and showed off their lab skills.

Hanson keeping an eye on the hot plate.
Robert collaborating with Judy from Timmis House. They seem to be looking for the “meniscus”.

This January, we had the great fortune of welcoming two new Bolton buds to our house.

Joshua Then – Welcome to Bolton!

Joshua joins us from New Territories, Hong Kong, and is eager to settle into our Bolton House family and become involved with school activities. He describes himself as a “history nerd” who also feels right at home playing his bass guitar in rock bands and reading up on cars, which are one of his biggest passions. Below, we ask Joshua some fun questions to get to know him better!

  1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Some kind of mountain range like the Swiss Alps, where I would be able to enjoy a slower-paced lifestyle than in a large, bustling city.
  2. What is your favourite movie? It’s tough to choose one, but I have to go with Sing Street. It came into my life exactly at the right place at the right time.
  3. Whom would you want to be stranded on a deserted island with? To be honest, probably Darrell, my current roommate!
  4. What is your favourite type of food? Definitely my grandma’s homemade Korean food – my favourite dish of hers is called 된장찌게, a soybean-based spicy soup.
  5. If you could join any past or current music group, which would you want to join? The Velvet Underground.
  6. (Bonus Question) Favourite car? BMW E24 6-Series
Josh’s favourite car
Sahan Parikh – Welcome to Bolton!

Sahan joins us from Nairobi, Kenya, and is looking forward to integrating into the boarding community and exploring the city. He is an avid participant in the Duke of Edinburgh program, and is currently working towards his Silver Award after having completed his Bronze Level. He also competes in Model United Nations competitions and has a passion for animals. Here, we get to find out more about Sahan through a quick and fun interview!

  1. What is your favourite subject in school? Environmental Science – I want to study environmental law in the future.
  2. What is the tallest building you have been to the top in? The Burj Khalifa.
  3. What is the best gift you have been given? My mom gave me a family photo when I came here to SMUS.
  4. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? 1978 – My dad was born in 1974, and I would like to experience what my dad’s childhood was like.
  5. What is your proudest accomplishment? Leaving home and moving to Victoria, BC to attend SMUS.
The Burj Khalifa, which Sahan has been to the top of

In the coming week, the Bolton boys will be into the full swing of their classes. They will also be participating in after-school sports, including the likes of ping pong, rugby, basketball and yoga. While the weather has not been the sunniest, the members of our boarding community are finding time to reflect on the year that has passed and to look ahead with optimism to the year that is to come. Send us happy thoughts and until next time, take care!

Bolton & Timmis House
Our beautiful campus on Sunday morning

On the 6th day of Christmas….

We are now officially into the start of Term 3 (for 4 more days!) and the Christmas break is set firmly in our sights with only 4 sleeps to go! We would like to thank the boys for all of their discipline and hard work in keeping our community safe and healthy through the first 4 months of school, it has been a challenge to say the least!

This past week was a very stressful one with many end of term papers, tests and assignments due. Here are some of the Bolton boys in Mr. Fryer’s math class writing one of those tests! The boys handled themselves marvelously, but are certainly ready for a break.

Leo looking very relaxed!

It was also a chance for the Bolton boys to connect in their advisor groups, eat some delicious snacks and hone their culinary skills. Nachos are a delicacy if you make them fancy enough! First up was Mr. Danskin’s crew…

…followed by the assembly line production of Mr. Shaw and Mr. Fryer…

…and Mr. Bell wrapped things up on Sunday.

Saturday was our final trip to help Farmer Jim with his winter fertilization. A fresh load of manure awaited this hardy crew! What a nice Christmas gift to give our local farmer!

Hanson was busy on Friday with the Technological Alliance competition. You had to use a balloon to carry your “vehicle” across a distance unaided by anything but the balloon’s energy. Hanson was clearly enjoying himself with the many varied attempts (and failures)!

And finally, a bit of Christmas cheer from the Sun Center electronic menu. Happy Holidays to all!

‘Tis the Season of Giving! Adam, Dylan and Jonathan, along with Delaney, Alana and Kira from Timmis, are lending a helping hand to Farmer Jim! For their efforts, they were rewarded with freshly squeezed apple juice!

Mr. Bell and his advisees are looking for their Michelin Stars after these delicious nachos! Pro Tip: when in doubt add more cheese! Nothing better than celebrating their accomplishments in the first half of the school year and talking about plans for the break with a side of nachos!

We had our annual secret Santa celebration in the common room and the boys were excited to open the gifts they received from the Timmis girls.

Nearing the End of the Second Term

With only three days left in the second academic term at SMUS, the Bolton boys are not yet “snug in their beds for a long Winter’s nap” and “dreaming of sugar plum fairies”. Instead, they are continuing to work hard to meet their academic goals. Soon enough, the Winter break will be here, which will provide a well-deserved moment of pause.

Last weekend, the Grade 11’s competed hard in an inter-house competition of Floor Hockey and minute to win-it challenges! Here are some photos from the competitions:

A big part of the boarding experience involves students being divided into advisor groups, with one houseparent being assigned five or six of the Bolton boys to check in with, both academically and socio-emotionally. Over the next week or so, advisor groups will take turns in the common room making nachos and connecting! Here are some pictures from Saturday’s session.

Recently there have been more Provincial Health restrictions, meaning that students living at SMUS are staying very close to home in an effort to stay safe till Winter Break. The extra down-time has allowed students to connect with each other while decorating for the Christmas Holidays.

Each boarding house at SMUS was responsible for decorating a festive tree to be placed outside the Sun Centre dining hall. For Bolton House, Mr. Daum got a crafty idea, with each Grade 11 constructing a candy cane out of paper! Its such a simple, yet eye-catching idea – check out how to make your own candy cane here!

Here are some photos from the crafting process – you can see all the candy canes above Mr. Fryer!

… aaand the final product! The tree looked great in the Sun Centre stairwell! Special thanks to Kevin and Richard for getting the photo ornaments ready and for putting up the tree 🙂

You can definitely tell that everyone is in a festive mood right as you walk into our building these days! We are greeted every evening by Mr. Claus himself and our hand-sanitizer guardian, Mr. Penguin.

We’ll end the blog this week with some of Mr. Daum’s photos from the other morning. If you look closely, you can see the double rainbow!

Bolton Alum in the news

Diego Olivares, a Bolton boy from 2010 – 2015 was featured recently in the news in Jalisco, Mexico for his organization of a new art exhibition, “Expo first / 01. New cultural perspectives in Jalisco”. The article link is below if you want to check it out.

Diego in 2015 as Bolton Boy

We are so proud to see our Bolton boys out in the world where they are making a difference in so many ways.

A Week of Remembrance to Remember

This week we celebrated our first Remembrance Day ceremony apart. While it did not carry the gravitas that comes from having a thousand people in the gymnasium sharing in a moment of silence, our video ceremony did allow our community to pay homage to the many individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of goodness so many years ago. The entire video is below if you would like to watch it. Ryan C. is one of the performers in the strings piece.

This week also saw the end of term 1 sports. Volleyball had their final play day and several Bolton boys featured prominently showing off their skills. Look at the ups!

Long weekend plans were severely impacted by the new restrictions put into place on the mainland, so many boys had the opportunity to try something new and get off campus. Flying Squirrel, a local trampoline park, got things off with a bounce on Thursday…

Leo throwing it down!
Diego almost throwing it down!
But the follow through was outstanding!
Joshua asserting his dominance!
Darrell doing battle!

And a couple more shots of the boys in action… or taking a break from the action.

We also rented out the entire IMAX theater just for our students and watched a Batman movie which everyone enjoyed on Friday night. Even the big bear was staying safe with his mask on.

Saturday morning provided an awesome opportunity for Dylan and Richard to challenge themselves on a high ropes course at Wildplay in Langford. It was fun, terrifying and a great way to spend a morning! Other boys participated in a yoga class, stand up paddle boarding, a west coast hike and a trip to the arcade for some old fashioned video game fun.

And finally, here is Will showing us how a Bolton boy dresses on Mondays in his #1 dress! Very sharp!

We now enter the final four weeks of classes and Christmas is just around the corner. We are regularly reminding the boys to be safe, to wear their masks, to wash their hands and to look out for each other. We are so proud of all they have accomplished in the first two and a half months and look forward to supporting them further heading into the break.

Welcome to November!

Although the temperature is starting to drop, the sun is still shining which means there is more time for some outdoor activities!

Try Given! Kevin, Joshua and Leo show off their break away speed and flashiest tries during rugby practice. Eric may need some work on his tackling though 😉 !

All hail the champs! Lewis, Richard, Joshua, Eric, Diego and Timmis girl Alana among the winners of the Candy Cup!

Talk about your stellar student-athlete! Joshua takes a break from the volleyball court and rugby field to excel in the classroom!

This week was full of festivities to celebrate Latin America Week!

A salsa lesson in the quad!
What party is complete without a pinata! Richard goes for the final strike!

When the clouds come in, the boys will be ready with board games galore!

Hanson and Cyrus are all smiles in a tight battle of Backgammon!

Spooky Scary Halloween!

The end of October means the beginning of a new “mester”, lots of colourful leaves on the ground, school photos, and of course, Halloween!

The week leading up to Halloween Saturday was a busy one, with Jonathan, Joshua, Ryan C and Eric X getting us in a starry mood with a fancy rendition of “City of Stars” at Boarder’s Chapel. Who knew that these boys were so musically talented!

Midway through the week, the boys donned their best #1 uniforms and got their hair ready for Photo Day. Robert, Jason, Joshua, Eric X, Ryan C, Leo and Frank took some time to show off their regulation grey socks…

LeRoy decided to step things up a notch and stepped in front of the green screen to dazzle us with his impeccable style. Good thing that the school photo doesn’t go as far down as the shoes though!

On Thursday night, our superhero nurses from the Health Centre came around the boarding house to administer flu shots. There were definitely a few of us who were a bit worried about the needles, but we all stuck together and we managed to vaccinate ourselves just fine 🙂

And then… the first Full-Moon-Halloween-Saturday in 76 years came around.

Things started off pretty normal during the early afternoon, with Darrell, Richard, Ryan C, Eric X, Joshua and Timmis girls Emma and Jenny heading down to Farmer Jim’s farm to move some horse manure and enjoy some delicious apple treats. Everyone worked extremely hard and got some much-needed exercise!

The Sun went down, however, and evening time rolled around. The big full moon brought with it a whole bunch of zombies, dinosaurs and more during our very successful (and spooky!) trick-or-treating session in the Bolton and Timmis hallways.

Eric L became zombie-fied for the night..!
Hot costume item of the Halloween season – masks.
Sam from Timmis didn’t so much “hand out” candy, as much as “throw” candy.
One of the stops in Timmis House!
Eric L the zombie is coming to get you…
Too late – you’re toast!
One of the stops in Bolton House.
Scary masks all around..!

And if the costumes and haunted houses weren’t spooky enough, we had quite possibly the flukiest pool shot of the century happen on this night too!

We now shift gears to November and the fall season. There are lots of new sports being offered and lots of new courses, which will be sure to keep all of our Bolton boys busy and entertained! Until next time, stay positive out there 🙂

Term Two Off to a Great Start!!

We have officially begun our second term of classes and the boys deserve a huge amount of credit for helping to keep the school safe and operational. They have adjusted remarkably well to the new expectations and are still finding a way to have fun.

Things kicked off (literally) last Sunday with our first official round of Bolton Housegames. With the need to stay in cohorts, things look a bit different this year as we are only allowed to play inter-house games. So, to keep things exciting, 3 teams were drafted by the houseparents made up of 9 players each. These 3 teams will compete in all future Housegames and points will be accumulated with a new Bolton Trophy presented to the winners in June. Uniforms (team headbands) were selected after some Bolton trivia questions were answered by each team…

And here they are:

The Fried Shawskies (Mr. Fryer and Mr. Shaw) Team Blue

The Disco Bells (Mr. Danskin and Mr. Bell) Team White

The United KimDaums (Mr. Kim and Mr. Daum) (Team Hodgepodge)

Photo coming next housegames, sorry! But here is Hanson in action as the team photographer!

The first round of housegames included full field soccer and a campus scavenger hunt. The action was fierce and exciting with some beautiful goals, talented footwork and exciting saves. There was also some teamwork, some impressive dance moves and some unique photos!

When all was said and done, the Disco Bells emerged as the early leaders with 26 points, followed closely by the United KimDaums with 21 points. The ball did not bounce their way, but the Fried Shawskies were still able to gather a respectable 13 points. There is much action yet to be played so these early standings mean little. Check back after the next long weekend for the newest results!

The rest of the week was spent in preparation for the end of term exams and projects, but the boys still found some time to look good on their way to dinner!

We also had an opportunity to welcome back a former Bolton Head of House, Timmy Qi, who now attends Cornell and is in his final year of Architecture school. At the start of this school year he delivered a brand new vacuum to Bolton that he purchased with his internship money from the summer. This fulfilled a promise he made 5 years ago when he was elected as Head of House. It was wonderful to hear how much his time at SMUS and in Bolton House impacted his path in a positive way and he shared his love for the house with the current boys. Here is is presenting us with the vacuum in September…

… and here is the result of the new vacuum being put to good use in this week’s room cleans which saw some guest judges from Timmis House come to inspect the boys’ rooms! Needless to say room cleans were particularly good this week!

And just because the classes were transitioning into a new term, doesn’t mean anything else had to change. Here are the brave souls taking on the wet and very cold weather to hone their rugby skills…

… while LeRoy put his inner quarterback skills to the test on a lovely evening.

Next weekend is Halloween and I’m sure it will be an exciting week for everyone. We got an early start on it this weekend by decorating the foyer and carving pumpkins. Roberto made his first one ever!

The boys are doing a great job on all fronts and we are very proud of all of their efforts during the first term. We expect nothing but more of the same in the second!