Can we call it the ‘home stretch’?

After a beautiful month of May, June has officially arrived. AP exams are now over, SATs are a thing of the past, for some, and final exams are looming for others. Although the month of June has recently been known as “Junuary”, thanks to its January-esque weather patterns, we started off with a beautiful weekend. Many students ventured down to a local fair called the Oak Bay Tea Party. It’s an annual summer event that occurs on the first weekend of June and offers a chance for rides, games, and deep fried oreos!

We can’t ignore a whirlwind of events that provided all sorts of excitement to cap off May. Our Junior and Senior Boys Rugby Teams qualified for the provincial championships in Abbotsford. Each team fought hard and we ended up with a pair of silver medals. It was a tremendous effort and plenty of fun was had on and off the field.

‘Twas the season for provincials and the Tennis Team was in Vancouver for their tournament. Collingwood has been the reigning provincial champs for the past 12 years and the SMUS team was runner up last year. Needless to say there was a lot of hype and excitement when the team departed, and even more raucous when they came back victorious!


Speaking of victories, Bolton has been the House Cup Champions for the past two years, and heading into our final inter-house competition, it was a tight race. The boys were fired up for “House Olympics” last weekend, which was followed up by the official announcement of this year’s House Cup Champion at the annual ‘Smoscars’ banquet. While sitting on the edge of our seats, Mr. Driscoll confirmed it was a three-peat! Bolton were the champions again! If I had a nickel for every time one of the boys said “Let’s go” after the announcement, I would be a wealthy man! With the nerves settled and smiles all around, it was now time to feast, and Ryan Ho proved he is a contender for top eater in the house!

The middle of the week also brought some fun in the sun. The Modern Languages Department hosted a snacks and dancing event in the quad, called “Mod Squad in the Quad” and it was extremely well attended by the student body. Mr. Daum was particularly pleased about making a roommate pairing of Xavier and Toby, who showed off some serious skills during the dance class!



Feels Like Summer!

We are coming to the tail end of an amazing May heat wave and the temps have been in the low twenties with no rain for a couple weeks. But rain is on the horizon, so everyone has been working hard to get their vitamin D while they can! Below are a few of the Saturday activities that were on offer this weekend.

Several students went to Westhills Stadium to take in the Women’s World Sevens Rugby Tournament. We saw ten games and were fortunate enough to see Canada play twice. They played amazingly well and beat Brazil and Ireland to eventually finish second in their pool. Many of the SMUS Girls Rugby Team were in attendance and some played in a representative midday match-up against Rugby Canada youth players.


Some other students participated in a neighborhood clean up and strolled around picking up garbage within the residential blocks surrounding the school.


Another crew of students went to Thetis Lake for a hike through the woods. The wild flowers are coming out and it was a beautiful day for a trek.

One of the last events of the day was a cheesy bread fest. Laurent, Antonio, and I have been talking about making a Hy’s Steakhouse Cheesy Bread clone for a couple months now and it finally fell into place. After careful ingredient selection, we put our taste buds to the test and were quite pleased the the results. Our bread was very close to the irresistible quality at Hy’s Steakhouse and after making enough to feed a small army, we shared our wares with the house and the rest of boarding.

A Couple Bolton Boys in Africa

Some SMUS Senior School students traveled to Tanzania over Spring Break to engage in some service work through the Me To We program. Bolton Boys, Toby and Joel, were the lone boys on the trip and by all reports represented Bolton and SMUS exceptionally well. I had a chance to chat with them about some of their experiences.

What was a highlight of the trip?

Joel – The safari was amazing! Seeing zebras, elephants, monkeys, wildebeest, giraffes not trapped in cages at a zoo, but in their natural habitat was a wonderful experience.

Toby – The culture is very special. The hospitality of the people is amazing. They are so enthusiastic and open. I also loved that they called me Jumbo! The kids were also so much fun and I really had fun playing with them. They are all so happy and made me feel so grateful for what I have because they have so little.

What service aspects were meaningful for you?

Joel – experiencing a long stay in a rural community was humbling. It makes me appreciate what I have and not take anything for granted. A long stay also gives you a different perspective of the community. Everyone is so kind and welcoming and always extremely helpful. It is important to me to try to connect with my African roots and it is always an eye-opening experience when I visit.

Toby – I constantly reflect on the walk for water. We went with some mommas and carried a 20 L jug for a mile and to think they do that several times a day then walk over three miles to the market to get their food. We are so lucky to have such easy access to water and food. The experience also made me not want to consume as much as I do. I really want to try reduce the amount of waste I produce and lessen the impact I have on the environment.

I also learned how there is not just one story of Africa. I had certain expectations of what I would see over there but it is a huge place with so many people and many different stories.

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A New Year Cleanse and More!


The boys are back in town! It is great to have the house full again after what sounded like an enjoyable holiday break for many. There were lots of enviable trips to hear about and it sounds like everyone is recharged and ready to bear down for the remainder of Term 2.

Below are a few miscellaneous items to share from before the break. Laurent showed off some magic to his homeroom peers. Mr. Shaw looks like he is preparing his surprised face knowing that Laurent has developed quite a significant talent in the art of magic.


Biology 12 students were studying anatomy and created anatomically correct gingerbread men to help get into the holiday spirit!


Gr. 10 students designed and built mousetrap cars in physics class and raced them to glory. Events included, distance, speed, and an obstacle challenge!


This past Friday night may have seen the start of a new trend. Misha spearheaded some pizza making and Garry was quick to help out with the cooking. The pizzas were all made from scratch, then hand tossed was shared with other Bolton and Timmis students. The boys are currently coming up for a name for their cooking night and are going to try making something different each weekend. It sounds like fried chicken may be next on the menu!


Yesterday saw the third annual Bolton House Penguin Swim. The event is a spin off of the well known traditional Polar Bear Swim that is known as a way to cleanse the body at the start of a new year. Bolton adopted the Penguin Swim as a wonderful way for the Bolton Brothers to bond after the break and show some strength of will. This year saw four intrepid brothers, Will, Toby, Javier, and Antonio, who were able to outlast all others. This year also saw the highest number of participants to date and the most amount of guys going in past their waist; several were even seen having a casual little swim! Well done boys!

The Arrival:


The preparation:


The Moment of Truth:

The aftermath:

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The Winners:

Some Final Thoughts:

Christmas Fever Begins

By Mr. Shaw

The stress levels have dropped in the house since the release of report cards and the guys are anticipating the Christmas break.

The senior boys volleyball team returned from Provincials with an 11th place finish overall. Joel said the trip was a lot of fun. It was the first time the boys have made it to the Provincial Tournament and we were very excited to be there.

Interview with Neme

Mr. Shaw – How is your year so far?

Neme – Good! Everything is going really well for me.

Mr. Shaw – How do you like living in Bolton House

Neme – I love the atmosphere. It is very comfortable here. Mostly because of the great Houseparents.

Mr. Shaw – What has been the highlight of the year so far?

Neme – My grades because I have been studying more. I also scored three goals in soccer this year.

Mr. Shaw – What do you enjoy the most about living in Victoria

Neme – Probably the food. The Keg is my favourite restaurant.

Mr. Shaw – Are you excited for the Holiday?

Neme – Yes, I am! I’m going to Mexico and to Whistler

Mr. Shaw – What are your goals for the New Year

Neme – Get accepted to University first. I would also like to start working for my dad.

Mr. Shaw – What will your focus be in University

Neme – Engineering if my grades are good enough

Mr. Shaw – Why are you interested in engineering?

Neme – I like it. I’m not sure what I want to do yet, but I would like to own my own business.

Mr. Shaw – If you could meet a celebrity who would it be?

Neme – Bill Gates because he is rich and a smart business man. I would like him to give me some business tips.

Interview with Jesus

Mr. Shaw – What do you like most about living in Bolton House

Jesus – The people! The atmosphere is really good.

Mr. Shaw – How was your first term overall?

Jesus – It was really good. My highlight was making several really good saves during the soccer season.

Mr. Shaw – What do you enjoy most about living in Victoria?

Jesus – It is very clean and there is no pollution here.

Mr. Shaw – Are you excited for the break?

Jesus – I’m going back to Mexico to spend time with my friends and family.

Mr. Shaw – What is your favourite class this year?

Jesus – Math because that was my best grade.

Mr. Shaw – What are your goals for the new year?

Jesus – Improve my grades

Mr. Shaw – If you could be one type of food what would it be and why?

Jesus – Pizza because the box is square, the pizza is round, and the slices are triangles.

Last night, was the annual Christmas Gala and the boys looked fantastic in their formal wear! Mr. Fryer commented that all of the boys looked SO GOOD. It was a fun night of food, friends, fun, dancing and Santa. We don’t think any Bolton Boys will be on his naughty list this year.




Odds & Sods

Mike Walsh, a former SMUS rugby coach, used to split players into teams at the start of practice by saying, “blues vs odds and sods”. It was never an honour to be on the odds & sods team because it meant you forgot your practice jersey! As a blog title, it refers to the series of random events contained in this post.

In the spirit of remembering people who have graced our school, during the school’s annual Remembrance Day assembly, we honored those who served Canada by fighting and giving their lives in various wars. As part of the assembly, the name of each school alumnus and staff member who lost their life in WWI or WWII is read out, the senior school orchestra plays, the senior school drama troupe performs, and the middle school choir students sing. It is a somber occasion full of emotion and reflective thought, and considered to be one of the most impactful assemblies of the year.

Remembrance Day is also a stat holiday in BC and marks a four-day long weekend for the school. We all part ways after the assembly and many students head home or are placed in homestays throughout the community, while others flew down to Disneyland for what is now a bit of a standard trip.

Each week there is one chapel service and one assembly, and this week showed a host of Bolton Boys taking the mic in various form and highlights.

Saturday activities were also on the docket again this weekend. I was up at UVic doing a spin class with some students, including fellow Bolton boy, Finn. We happened to walk by the squash courts at just the right time to see Stanley win his squash game!

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There were several other activities including helping out at a local community kitchen, bowling, an Imax movie, and nacho making!

After each long weekend or major holiday, there is a Sunday of boarding house games, community dinner, and a chapel service. This weekend’s house games are a combination of basketball, handball, and minute-to-win-it games. The basketball crew hit the school courts to get a little practice in prior to tomorrow’s games. 

Tomorrow’s community dinner is hosted by Bolton! The boys have identified that this time of year can be particularly stressful knowing that report cards will be coming out soon. As such, the planning committee (below), headed up by Mr. Fryer, have opted for a relaxation type theme where students can wear whatever they find cozy to dinner.

Tomorrow is a huge day! Stay tuned for some exciting photos and thrilling results!

Cleaning Machines!

Bolton has adopted a new system for room clean inspections. Traditionally, it has always been the houseparent on duty who has pestered the boys to clean their rooms on each respective day. This method has led to varying levels of buy-in from the boys, and not always the cleanest of rooms. We’ve also tried consequences and rewards, but neither positive nor negative reinforcement seems to do the trick. The various strategies implemented over the years have only had temporary success, and sadly, we haven’t found a permanent solution to ensure the perfect room clean.

Enter new Bolton houseparent acquisition, Evan Fryer. Being the ideas man that he is, Mr. Fryer came up with an interesting new approach. Our sister house, Timmis, has been awarding “Silver Dustpans” to the cleanest rooms each week, a strategy that has worked for them. Mr. Fryer suggested that the Timmis “Silver Dustpan” award winners get an additional reward of inspecting the boys rooms and selecting a “Timmis Trophy” award winner among the rooms for that particular day. Genius. The boys have bought in.

We have now had two rotations of Timmis Trophy room inspections and the progressions from week one to week two have been exciting to see. And the improvements haven’t just been in the overall cleanliness. The boys have tried some novel approaches to enticing a vote from their Timmis sisters. The first week saw some air fresheners being implemented to good effect, while week two raised things to the next level: soft welcoming music, various snacks, and other mood setting techniques.

Despite losing to Iker and Adam for the Timmis Trophy on Tuesday, one of the big innovators was Will Barry. I got a chance to ask Will about his thoughts around our new inspection system:

What do you think of the new room inspection system?

It is a fun and clever way to motivate people to clean rooms. Obviously, an important reason to clean our rooms regularly is so they don’t get disgusting. So if we are preparing for life after boarding, students are learning how to maintain a clean room, promote wellness through organization, and to respect our personal space. The new system builds on what is established by creating a new motivator: people are coming over and we are “hosting”! So this new system certainly encourages that other aspect of why we need to clean our rooms.

What strategies have you used to get the vote from the Timmis inspectors?

I have always had a clean room, so I decided to work on ambiance and hospitality. I hung a welcome sign, played some nice music, offered brownies and juice, and even had the fireplace channel going on my computer.

Any tips for the Timmis girls if the Bolton boys get a chance to do some inspections?

In the end, all the shallow, bribery based strategies didn’t help me win. I think a truly organized room is what is needed to get the win. If someone really takes the time to clean and organize all areas of their room, that will be what shines through. Oh, and also remember to flush your toilet.

As per usual, Saturday activities were in full effect. Trips to the pool, Halloween shopping, a virtual reality arcade, community leaf raking, Japanese cultural experience, and a hike were all enjoyed by many of the Bolton Boys.