Preserved Stories Blog

Discussion continues regarding DJ vs MC question, live music, and projected attendance at MCHS 2015

In a previous post, I’ve shared views from Speaker #7 concerning the DJ vs MC question. Stephanie Shaar (Speaker #7) has mentioned that it’s just as well to mention her by name, as it makes it easier to keep track of who said what when you have a name rather than a number.

I sometimes find it useful to identify people by Speaker Numbers. Among other things it ensure that I do not need to devote extra time to getting permission to quote a person directly.

Painting at reception desk at Old Mill Toronto provides Artist's Impression of Old Mill at early stage of its history. Click on image to enlarge it. Jaan Pill photo

However, there are indeed also clear advantages to getting that permission to name people when sharing messages online. It’s easier to keep track of a discussion thread when you know the name of the person who’s made a particular comment.

Anyway, the reason we share some discussions online – with or without names – is that (1) the web enables us to do this, and (2) transparency is a useful part of the planning process for a reunion.

The online discussions that we are involved in are helpful when the final decisions are made, by the organizing committee that regularly meets – face to face as contrasted to online – at a Boston Pizza in Kitchener west of Toronto. We’re making good progress in setting up a system for keeping track of comments and suggestions.

Summary of Stephanie’s comments (in her previous role as Speaker #7):

Stephanie Shaar has referred in a previous post to a speaker who spoke of the close link between a DJ and having fun. She also commented that a more balanced approach comes with a comment that MCs and DJs each possess their own roles, and can appear at different stages of the evening; the presence of both would help ensure an evening that is both smoothly run, and fun.

Stephanie also noted that a DJ helps set the mood through music, and encourages a party atmosphere. She noted it would be a good idea to have not just a series of MC but also a series of DJs – “or at least, while the theme is the 60’s, the DJ should be thoroughly knowledgeable of music from the 50s through to the 70s.”

Étienne Brûlé at the mouth of the Humber River in 1615, 400 years ago as of 2015, accompanied by First Nations guides. Pen & Ink drawing, circa 1933, by C.W. Jefferys. Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1972-26-1395. Copyright: Expired.

She added that MCHS grads experienced evolving social and cultural influences: The 1960 grads who began grade 8 in Sept ’56 would have, among their influences: James Dean, music e.g. Everly Brothers, Crickets, duwop. The 1974 grads began grade 7 in ’69. The British Invasion, hippies, etc. had passed through; AC/DC and KISS were playing.

Stephanie added: “While the ’74s were at their grad, the 60’s grads were by then in their 30’s, many with school age children of their own.”

Stephanie has discussed some other items as well, which will go into the mix as the planning process goes forward.

Summary

By way of summary, the intention is that, in the course of the evening, those who like to talk in a quiet setting will have the opportunity to do so; and those who like to dance to loud music (who might also have been among the talkers earlier, during the mix and mingle stage of things) will also have the opportunity to do so. There are some options regarding quieter spaces for those who want to talk without loud background noise. We will explore those.

During the buffet dinner, a key meet and greet portion of the event, we would not have loud music. Also, an overall theme established early in the planning, is: “Keep it simple.”

Storytelling and live music

Stephanie has noted that she has attended live storytelling sessions in Montreal. She noted that she finds finds ‘interestability’ is related to the speaker’s topic and presentation quality. That is a topic that we will continue to explore, as we develop the agenda for the reunion.

Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl: Veronica Foster. Source: Libraries & Archives of Canada PA - 119766. Veronica Foster, who performed as a musician at Old Mill, Toronto around the 1950s and 60s, was actually a non-smoker, her daughter informed me some time ago. She only smoked for the photo session where this photo and others were taken.

Live music has also been discussed. Jaan Pill has mentioned some potential sources of live entertainment that he knows about, including a young singer who specializes in songs from past eras; a 50s and 60s live music band; and a dance group that does live performances of dances from previous eras. We’ll address these topics in future posts.

Comment from John Kovacs concerning the DJ vs MC question

John Kovac has helped us tremendously with regard to strategic thinking through previous comments. Along with Lynn Berry, who had commented about this topic earlier, John convinced us to expand the scope of the 60s reunion, so that students who began at MCHS in the 1960s but graduated in the 1970s would not be left out. John also convinced us, in a Comment at a recent post, to re-configure the Preserved Stories website so that there is a banner for the reunion across the page, and so that information about registration and other details is easy to find. Work on the re-configuration is proceeding smoothly. The MCHS 2015 site will be accessible at www.MCHS2015.com

John’s comment regarding MC vs DJ

Re : the benefits of a M.C. vs a DJ . I believe that someone got it right about the role of a DJ, and I don’t think the DJ has an investment or familiarity of the activities, as one of the Alumni – especially someone from the organizing committee.

An M.C., in fact can be more than one person ( 1 Male , 1 Female ) or as they do at Awards Shows, 1 or 2 M.C.s and several guest presenters.

The guest presenters will straddle the graduating years, so no one feels left out or overwhelmed.

[End of text from John Kovac.]

View from the Bloor St. West along the Humber River Bridge, close to Old Mill, looking south toward Lake Ontario. Jaan Pill photo

John Kovac has also shared with us some names of possible DJ candidates; we will convey that information to the Toronto-based entertainment subcommittee and the MCHS 2015 organizing committee.

We’ve also discussed projected attendance figures with John Kovac and Gary Lambertz. For the current post, I’ll close with a question from Gary.

Projected attendance

Question from Gary Lambertz:

I was just wondering about the size allocated to the number of people that this event can hold. What I don’t understand is that Human nature, being what it is, will always wait till the last minute to register and I fear that more people will do so. You might be surprised at the amount of people that will do so! What alternative would there be to hold this event if 200 >500 were wanting to go? I for one am planning on going, but I want to get a group of my class together to make the trip. Hope that by June I will have that done.

[End of text]

Reply from Jaan Pill:

With the buffet dinner as the setup, we’re looking at 140 people for Brûlé Rooms B & C at Old Mill, Toronto. In a scenario that we don’t anticipate, but would need to envision, if there was a huge demand by people to attend toward the last moment, then there would be a way – one can envision this, but we don’t anticipate it – to increase the number beyond 140 to somewhere in the range of 200. In that case, the buffet scenario would be jettisoned.

It’s pretty hard to predict how the numbers will go. It’s a good point that you make: People tend to leave things until the last moment. I’ve noticed that with national conferences that I’ve helped to organize in years past. The last day before the deadline for registration sometimes sees a major flurry of registrations coming in.

Something I’ve also noticed, however, in the past decade or two, is that the idea of face to face meetings doesn’t have the same sense of urgency for some people that it had in the past – say in the past as in the 1990s when the Internet was just starting to make its presence known. I’m really keen about the value of a face to face event such as a reunion, and there still are many people who share that enthusiasm, but with social media and the like, some people don’t have the same enthusiasm, perhaps, for getting together in person, that people had in the past.

20 guest rooms are available at Old Mill Toronto at reduced rates for MCHs 60s Reunion attendees. Free parking for reunion attendees has also been arranged. Jaan Pill photo

The other aspect is that we’re dealing with demographic changes as they relate to the MCHS Sixties/Early Seventies generation. People are getting older. Some people are on limited income by way of pensions. Some people have the means to travel and stay at hotels, and pay $150 for a reunion fee, but the proportion of people who can do that may be diminishing.

What I’ve shared is based on my experience and is also driven by informed speculation and guesses.

My sense is that our first task, as an organizing committee, is to get the 140 figure met. That’s the first priority. Howard Hight and Diana Redden are focusing on that through the excellent Newsletter. All of us who have any connection with the MCHS 2015 website and MCHS-related Facebook pages are publicizing the event through those particular means.

Word of mouth advertising – talking with fellow graduates in our circle of contacts - is also a key means of ensuring that people know about the reunion, and that a given percentage of them will be motivated to register and send in their cheques.

We’ll have the opportunity to see which way things are trending, in terms of attendance, in the next few months. It’s really important to discuss these things. I much appreciate your question. I look forward to the continuation of such conversations as we get closer to the event.

[End of text]

 

Posted in Malcolm Campbell High School 2015 Reunion, Newsletter, Toronto | 7 Comments

Should I attend my high school’s 50th reunion? What’s in it for me?

The source for the cartoon is an earlier post:

Timely cartoon – on the topic of High School Reunions

I’m currently working on the FAQ for the MCHS 2015 menu for the re-configured Preserved Stories website. The draft of the FAQ can be accessed here.

What’s a good answer to the question, “What’s in it for me?”? Here’s a draft version of the start of an answer, that I came up with. I’m a 1963 graduate of Malcolm Campbell High School.

My answer (yours may differ)

The reunion is on Oct. 17, 2015 meaning that for me, it’s a 52nd year high school reunion.

Jaan Pill (After)

Jaan Pill (Before). Source: 1962-63 Malcolm Campbell High School yearbook

For somebody who graduated in 1965, it’s been exactly 50 years since they walked out the door of our high school.

For many of us who will be at Old Mill, Toronto to attend our high school reunion, it will be 50 years (give or take a few years) since quite a few of us have seen each other.

One day the bell rings signifying the end of the school year and out the door you go.

Fifty years later, you meet again and take a close look at the yearbook photo, printed on the name tag of the person that you’re talking to, and you say, “Hey, I remember you! You were in my class, sitting two seats to the left of me! I know you!”

What’s in it for me?

We all have our own answer, unique to our own life experiences, in response to the question.

Here’s my answer, for anybody who may wish to know.

A recent post talks about the day in the 60s when a memorable Phys Ed teacher arrived at the staff parking lot in a dark blue Type E Jaguar, an engagement present from her fiancé. Source: Wallpeers.com

Here’s the benefit that I have in mind. Above all, the reunion offers me the chance to meet, in person, at least a few people that I haven’t met for 50 years. This is a unique and wonderful experience, in my view.

The reunion also offers an opportunity for me to meet people a bit younger than I am, who started at Malcolm Campbell High School in the 60s but who graduated in the early 70s. The bond I share with them is that we went to the same school. We walked down the same hallways. My hope is that the early 70s graduates at the event will feel as strong a sense of ownership of the reunion as will those of us who graduated in the early 1960s.

There’s a gap of ten years. Does that count as a generation gap? As a cohort, in what ways are we similar and in what ways are we different? Thats the kind of question that occurs to me at once, when I think about having conversations with 70s graduates at the MCHS 2015 reunion.

Insights and reflections

Not everybody spends their time thinking about insights and reflections about what people have learned over the past 50 years. When I work on a project such as a high school reunion, I try to put aside my own tendency to engage in any kind of introspection. There’s a task that we need to accomplish, and for me much of the task involves looking outside of myself.

However, a reunion has some broad, overarching themes – often expressed as taglines – and a moment or two devoted to insights and reflections – about the meaning of life and related topics – may be helpful, I would say, in development of the requisite themes or narratives for a high school reunion.

In that department, for anything to do with taglines and messaging, the many experts on the organizing committee include Howard Hight of Boston and Diana Redden of Vancouver, whose Newsletter #4, sent to members of the MCHS 2015 database, has recently been distributed.

Insights

I’m keen to find out what insights emerge among people when they organize a reunion and relive old times.

Whatever insights, if any, that will emerge for me will be much broader, and more fully textured, than the insights I’d be able to arrive at on my own, without spending time with other MCHS graduates.

Diaspora

What also comes to mind, as I write this, standing up at an improvised work station at my home office, is that MCHS graduates in many cases represent a Diaspora.

We grew up in Montreal, attended school there, and then in many cases we moved on – to Toronto, to Boston, to Vancouver, to Australia. On the other hand, some classmates stayed in Montreal. Their experiences over the past 50 years are also of much interest to me.

With regard to my improvised work station at my home office, a good reference is a Jan. 19, 2015 CTV article and video entitled: “Sitting for prolonged periods increases risk of death, disease: study.” The reunion will give us many opportunities to walk, mill about, mix and mingle, stand and talk, dance, and in other ways keep us moving. Maybe during a break we can bring in a retired Phys Ed teacher to run us through some old-time gym class warm-up routines.

It’s good for your health

I take an evidence-based approach to life, and I can tell you that the research indicates that my decision to work on the reunion project, and my participation in the reunion, is good for my health. If you want a reference to the research, links at the following post are helpful:

Volunteer work is good for us

The research also indicates, as I recall, that about two hours a week is the ideal amount of time to devote to volunteer work. Any additional hours will not contribute much to your well-being, according to the research. I often devote a bit more than that amount of time to volunteer pursuits, which means that in my case my health benefits may not be that great, but the payoff is that I’m learning many new things. I feel I’m like a student. I have some things to learn and I’m willing to put in the time to learn what I seek to learn.

Working on the reunion is also good for a person’s mind

When I speak about learning new things, I speak about the fact that we can more accurately speak of the mind/body as contrasted to speaking of the mind and body as entirely separate entities. That’s what the research and associated frames of reference indicate, from what I’ve gathered.

For further reading

Some great resources – with regard to learning new things, staying actively engaged, and taking care to keep up to date with what people 50 years younger than me – the current generation of high school students! – can teach me about social media and information technology are:

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success (2013) and

Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending (2013).

The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter (2014)

Me, Myself, and Us: the Science of Personality and the Art of Well-being (2014)

Social: Why our Brains Are Wired to Connect (2013)

Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation (2014)

Jitterbug Contest

I’ve been hearing that there is interest, among some of us, in the staging of a Jitterbug Contest at the reunion. There’s been talk as well about a Spot Dance as a way to distribute prizes at the event. In case you don’t recall what a Jitterbug Contest or Spot Dance is, we can organize a Pre-Reunion Dance Workshop at the Old Mill pub – the Home Smith Jazz Bar – just before the reunion.

We have lots of events being planned for the days before and after the event, and in the hours on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015 leading up to the 6:00 pm start of reunion; the event will continue until 1:00 am on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

I look forward to your own thoughts about these topics.

 

Posted in Malcolm Campbell High School 2015 Reunion, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

We seek your suggestions regarding design and features of the MCHS 2015 website

Update

For an update on the site re-configuration, click here.

[End of update]
 

We are re-designing our website to make it easier for potential MCHS 2015 attendees to find their way – quickly and easily – to relevant information about the 1960s reunion that is taking place at Old Mill, Toronto on Oct. 17, 2015.

By 1960s reunion, we mean that the reunion is open to any Malcolm Campbell High School student who attended in the 1960s – including students who graduated from MCHS in the 1970s or graduated from another high school after attending MCHS in the 1960s.

View looking south from Old Mill Road in the Kingsway residential neighbourhood. One of the three main entrances to Old Mill is the entrance where the cars are parked. Jaan Pill photo

View of Old Mill from Bloor Street West. You can click on the image to enlarge it. Old Mill Subway is in foreground. Jaan Pill photo

We welcome your suggestions

Any suggestions you may have, regarding the re-design, will be much appreciated.

We are now developing the navigation system and texts for the menu pages, which will be accessible through a menu across the top of the home page at the Preserved Stories website.

You can check progress on the re-design by visiting the home page of the site.

Menu items

Currently, we have the following menu items across the top of the page, under the old banner (which will be replaced with the new MCHS 2015 banner):

Left to right:

Home

This will, as I understand, be replaced by the Reunion Home page – with an Introduction created for the page by Howard Hight of Boston and Diana Redden of Vancouver. They are currently writing a draft of the text.

Registration

That’s the next menu item as you move from left to right across the menu.

Updates

This will have the most recent updates related to the planning process, and details regarding the buffer dinner menu, hotel accommodations, events on the day before and after the reunion, and so on.

Stories

We have (as of Jan. 19, 2015 – it may be updated in the days that follow) posted a draft of a text for this page. We welcome your comments. How is the length of the text, from your perspective. Is it too long? Too short?

Would it make sense, from your point of view, to break down memories by year with sub-menus? That is, would it make sense to arrange stories by 1961-62; 1962-63; 1963-64, etc.?

If you’ve been reading previous MCHS 60s posts, can you think of menu items that might be useful, as a way to organize information by themes? Any suggestions that occur to you will be of interest to us.

FAQ

As we’ve noted previously, this page will address questions such as:

“What do I get for $150? How can I help? What’s in it for me? What if no one is there who remembers me? Who cares about a reunion? Why does it matter? Why a reunion in Toronto and not Montreal? What if I don’t like loud music? What if I don’t want to dance?”

Do you have suggestions for what kinds of FAQs are especially important? Any other suggestions – such as your concept of what the best answer is for any of the questions – will be of interest to the organizing committee.

Facebook

In the text that we’ve entered for this page, we’ve mentioned three Facebook links, where we currently post information. Any suggestions you may have regarding additional links, that people may want to know about, would be much appreciated.

Please let us know, as well, if you have any suggestions on how we can use Facebook to publicize our reunion, in ways that we may not yet have thought of. As well, if you have suggestions regarding any other social media platforms – such as Twitter – that you would recommend we use to publicize the reunion, and to generate conversations, please let us know. If you would like to help out with the social media end of the publicity and marketing of the reunion, please let us know!

 Length of texts

The post you are now reading is about 700 words long. Is that a good length for a post? Should it be shorter? Or longer? What works best for you, as a site visitor?

 

Posted in Malcolm Campbell High School 2015 Reunion, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Please read the conclusion from the Jan. 15, 2015 Review of the Toronto District School Board

I have discussed the Jan. 15, 2015 Review of the Toronto District School Board in previous posts.

You can access the review here:

Review of the Toronto District School Board

Previous posts include:

“Trustees mistrusted within schools”: TDSB governance review – Jan. 15, 2015 CBC article

Message from Trustee Pamela Gough regarding Jan. 15, 2015 Review of the Toronto District School Board

Community self-organizati0n

My own involvement, which has turned out to be quite productive, with local politics began with the sale of Parkview School by the Toronto District School Board some years ago.

View of Parkview School, photographed from top of Aquaview Condominiums, November 2012. Click on image to enlarge it. Click again to enlarge it further. Jaan Pill photo

Aerial view looking east along Lake Shore Blvd West from near Long Branch Loop, Ontario Archives Acc 16215, ES1-814, Northway Gestalt Collection. Click on image to enlarge it. Click again to enlarge it further.

I have been involved with community self-organization for many years. By that I mean working with people in a community to get things done, that otherwise would not get done. That involvement had been primarily at the Greater Toronto Area, national, and international levels. Until the Parkview story came along, and a clearly defined threat became apparent to the local community where I live, I had no interest in local matters. Who cared? I would have cared less. Since that time, I’ve learned many new things, have developed quite a wide circle of contacts and have learned, from people wiser and more experienced than I am, the value of strategic thinking as it relates to community self-organization.

This serves as a preamble to the following text, from the above-mentioned TDSB review by Margaret Wilson. I share the text as a way to bring attention to the contents of the full report, which I encourage you to read in its entirety.

Please read the conclusion and recommendations (below) of the Jan. 15, 2015 Review of the TDSB by Margaret Wilson

In conclusion, I wish to thank all those who willingly assisted me in this review. The road to 5050 Yonge Street is paved with good intentions on the part of those who work there. But in conducting the review, I was deeply disturbed by the acute level of distress which was apparent among many of the professionals who spoke with me. I have not included in this report all the evidence I found of the culture of fear: It would be too easy to identify some of the individuals who gave me information. Many staff members feared that they would be fired if they could be identified through what I wrote. Some were in tears. Several senior staff, in mid-career, were concerned that their professional reputations would be damaged because of their association with the TDSB. Yet invariably, they were proud of the work they were doing in support of the Board’s students. They deserve better than a culture of fear. It remains questionable whether the trustees and senior administration can pull together as a whole. The present level of cooperation is so poor, and so hampered by institutional habits and structures, that the effects go beyond undermining public confidence: They also undermine the Board’s focus on student achievement and well-being. The Minister’s concerns were justified.

Recommendations

I recommend that the Minister immediately direct the Board to:

1. Reform its promotion procedures and policies for all levels of staff (with the exception of the Director of Education) so as to remove individual trustees from decision making. The reformed policies should be consistent with the ministry’s Operational Review Guide for Ontario District School Boards, 4th edition (September 2010).

2. Develop and implement a professionally sound policy for the performance appraisal of the Director of Education.

3. Develop and implement a policy clearly delineating the governance role of the Board of Trustees, the responsibilities of the Chair and committees and the day- to-day operational role of the staff.

4. Revise the terms of reference of all committees, including advisory committees, to be consistent with the governance role of the Board. The terms of reference should ensure that the roles and limits of committees are clear and that any staff supporting them are assigned by, and report to, appropriate Board staff.

5. Bring its trustee perquisites and privileges and costs thereof into conformity with those of the other large boards in the Greater Toronto Area.

6. Develop procedures which ensure better Audit Committee oversight of international and non-core projects and partnerships with outside organizations, and direct the current TDSB Audit Committee to review, and provide to the Board of Trustees, the contracts, transactions and documents related to the Confucius Institute, the relationship with the school in Vietnam, the Neo City Café litigation and contract and the Central Tech litigation and legal costs.

7. Limit trustee participation in the Audit Committee to members of the committee and those trustees invited to the committee for specific agenda items.

8. Present a three-year plan for the effective and responsible stewardship of the Board’s capital assets to support the delivery of appropriate education programs to students. This must include a detailed work plan on how to significantly reduce unused spaces and address the condition of existing school facilities.

9. Amend the director’s contract to comply with the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010 and respect the advice provided by the Minister in January 2014 and December 2014.

I also recommend that the Minister:

10. Assign a committee of three to five advisors to make recommendations on governance and electoral representation options for the Board. The consultation should examine the possibility of structural and procedural changes to address the culture of fear, and governance structures to enable trustees to focus on broader policy issues in balance with responsiveness to local concerns. The committee should consult at a high level with representatives of the Board, the senior staff, the employee unions, parent organizations, the City of Toronto, Toronto-based universities and colleges and representatives of the business community. The committee should consult a cross-section of public school supporters to assess their support for the current governance and electoral structure of the Board and any alternative structures which might better support student achievement and well-being.

[End of excerpt]

You can access the full review here:

Review of the Toronto District School Board

You can access part of a previous TDSB report, the Falconer Report on School Safety, here.

The Falconer report warrants a close read in the context of the “climate of fear” narrative as it relates to trustees and senior management in the Jan. 15, 2015 review.

Much has been written.

Much documentation has been published.

Much depends upon the decisions that are made over the next few weeks.

I for one will be following this story with much interest.

Comment and Updates

Based on decades of experience as a volunteer working much smaller, non-profit organizations involving volunteer Boards of Directors, I believe a basic point is worth underlining. Key decisions need to be made through a Board resolution and a recorded vote of Board members. Otherwise, the key decisions end up being made on the fly. It’s a convenient way to go but in the long run you get situations like what has occurred with trustees at the Toronto District School Board. Over the years, all manner of decisions have been made that in the end have created all manner of headaches. If TDSB trustees lack the capacity to follow procedures involving resolutions and recorded votes, they should not be involved in decision making on behalf of the Toronto District School Board.

I enjoy reading about the theory of education. On that theme, a most interesting and relevant Jan. 15, 2015 Wired article that I came across recently is entitled: “The Real-Life Teachers of Spare Parts on What’s Wrong With US Schools.”

My current reading includes: Introducing Vygotsky: A guide for practitioners and students in early years education (2009).

I also like to keep up to date on research about full-day kindergarten:

Full-day kindergarten children score highest in vocabulary, self-regulation (Global News, March 28, 2014)

 

Posted in Long Branch, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Speaker #7 adds a comment regarding “DJ or Master of Ceremonies?” at MCHS 60s Reunion in Toronto

View of Brûlé Rooms. On the occasion of our Sept. 22, 2014 site visit, tables were set up in classroom style. For the Oct. 17, 2015 reunion, we'll have round tables set up, with room for a buffet as well as a space for dancing.

At a previous post, we’ve outlined the discussion at hand:

DJ or Master of Ceremonies? That’s a key question for the MCHS 60s Reunion & Celebration of the 60s organizing committee

By way of highlights, these are the initial points that have been made:

Speaker #1

Instead of a DJ, the thought was that a person is needed as a Master of Ceremonies.

One of the key things we noted: When people are talking at the buffet time, that’s not when we want loud 60s music drowning out the conversation. What an excellent point! One that would not have occurred to me, were it not for today’s meeting. At another stage, of course, we can have music based on a playlist and music for those who want to dance.

Speaker #2

If you are all in agreement that the newsletter provides a focused source for communication to the classmates, then should we use it to communicate out to them. How about a pointed summary of the topics covered today. How about any resolutions and seek opinions.

Bear in mind, the newsletter is the only medium we have to contact them. Each time let’s add on the latest list of whom we have on our list. How many have committed to coming. And most importantly how many have paid.

Speaker #3

We talked a little bit about a Master of Ceremonies for the reunion, a name came to mind. Check him out.

Speaker #1

You mentioned: We talked a little bit about a Master of Ceremonies for the reunion, a name came to mind.

For sure, the idea of a Master of Ceremonies instead of a DJ is something that we talked about in Kitchener on Nov. 26. I think it’s a great idea to explore the idea.

I’d like to start by sharing the idea with the rest of the organizing team. For such decisions, it’s great to get discussion and input from all possible sources. Let’s see what the rest of the team thinks of this idea.

Speaker #2

You asked for other opinions. Not being one to not have one, here goes.

My feeling is that folks are looking forward to this gathering for the opportunity to meet again with old friends and acquaintances. It is an occasion to eat, drink, talk and dance.

The concept of a DJ fits into that mold. A Master of Ceremonies makes it feel like an awards dinner or Rotary Club dinner. By that it takes on a formality beyond the expectations. Just a thought.

We really need to ramp up the fun aspect of this………….

Speaker #1

That’s a good point. Your input is a key consideration in the ongoing conversation regarding such decisions.

Speaker #4

I agree with Speaker #2′s thoughts.

Speaker #5

I agree with MCHS Grad No. 2′s comment.

Speaker #6

Thanks for sending the various comments about enlisting the help of a Master of Ceremonies at the reunion.

Here’s my personal input – if there isn’t someone “in charge” of making announcements, presentations, comments, possible humourous anecdotes, possible silly quizzes, this role may fall on YOUR shoulders, or one of the other organizers. Actually, if it’s arranged beforehand, possibly several of the organizers may wish to volunteer to be in charge of an aspect of the evening (ie, the slide show) and act as an “intermittent” M.C. I’m thinking that an M.C may be helpful BEFORE the DJ starts the loud music and people start to dance.

To me, a DJ essentially introduces songs, takes special requests, and mixes the music, but doesn’t say too much. There will be time to socialize with old friends, before, during and after the dinner, and these interactions could still occur even when an MC is making announcements, etc.

These are my thoughts, but whatever you and the organizers decide, I’m sure it will be a great evening.

[Conclusion of comments from six MCHS 60s graduates]

Old Mill Toronto features an inner courtyard (middle of photo) where MCHS 60s alumni would have the opportunity to meet on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2015 prior to the 6:00 pm start of the reunion. Jaan Pill photo

Home Smith Jazz Bar. This is another place where people can meet on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015 prior to the opening of the Brûlé Rooms at 6:00 pm. Jaan Pill photo

Speaker #7 has joined the discussion, and has commented:

I hear no 2’s point about DJ & fun. That being said, I believe a more balanced approach comes via no 6′s remarks ie that MCs and DJs each possess with their own role, and appear at different stages of the evening; the presence of both would help ensure an evening that is both smoothly run, and fun.

Given the attendance of people from potentially 14 different grad years, comprised of diverse ages * – then an MC(s) to show slides, recount anecdotes, foster bonds, etc – will help enable this gathering of 200+ [actually our upper limit, with a buffet setup and depending on the placement of a screen, for the two rooms is 130 to 140] diverse grads to experience some kinship early on in the evening; a DJ helps set mood through music, and encourages a party atmosphere.

Would it be a good idea that No 6’s suggestion re: several MCs also be considered to extend to more than one DJ? – or at least, while the theme is the 60’s, the DJ should be thoroughly knowledgeable of music from the 50’s through to the 70’s

* and may I note in passing, the grads experienced evolving social & cultural influences: The 1960 grads began grade 8 in Sept ’56; some influences of the time: James Dean, music eg Everly Brothers, Crickets, duwop. The 1974 grads began grade 7 in ’69. the British Invasion, hippies, etc had passed through; AC/DC, KISS were playing.

While the ’74s were at their grad, the 60’s grads were by then in their 30’s, many with school age children of their own.

Speaker #7 also noted:

Some musings (from Speaker #7):

- Entertainment and music

Chatting vs ‘younger folk’ wanting loud dancing music. What is our Old Mill set-up – other than our reserved banquet room, is there access to other quieter rooms, corners, lobby, etc where people can chat if they find the music too loud (for any with hearing aids, the background noise could really be bummer when trying to decipher conversation).

[There are some options regarding quieter spaces for those who want to talk without loud background noise. We will explore those.]

- MCHS2015.com

Again, didn’t ‘catch’ all: are Preserved Stories and MCHS2015 combining? If not, re: colors for MCHS2015 – (with pride we wear the) ‘Scarlet and Silver’ would be appropriate?

[We will add a touch of Silver to the MCHS 2015 banner that will run across the top of the Preserved Stories home page.]

- Steve Shein

Tx for forwarding me including me in the email – I didn’t totally ‘catch’ everything, but the idea to contact Steve Shein was a stroke of genius!

- Storytelling

I’ve attended live storytelling sessions in Montreal – find ‘interestability’ related to the speaker’s topic / presentation quality.

TED talks are well prepared, as are Moth ones I’ve heard – perhaps these are pre-screened and storytelling isn’t? don’t know.

I think anecdotes and stories / slides are a great idea – laughter will get our endorphins flowing!

I have a friend who’s been listening to Moth for years, attends live Ted and storytelling – I’ll ask him for comments, if you like…

[End of comments from Speaker #7. Yes, we'll be interested in comments from the friend regarding Moth.]

Nov. 26, 2014 organizing meeting in Kitchener. Left to right: Peter Mearns, Lynn (Hennebury) Legge, Jaan Pill, Gina (Davis) Cayer, Scott Munro, David Dodds. We've also had several online discussions since the November meeting. Next meeting is Feb. 4, 2015.

Here’s an update regarding the MCHS 2015 website, which is now near final stages of development:

MCHS2015.com will take over some of the available real estate at the Preserved Stories website. The banner that’s now at the top of the home page will be replaced with an MCHS 2015 banner and the current static pages – the menu items that are placed horizontally across the top – will be replaced with the following static pages:

1. Reunion Home page

That’s the reunion home page as distinguished from the Preserved Stories home page. Howard Hight and Diana Redden have prepared an impressive text – they also write the Reunion Newsletters, which served as our primary source of communications about the reunion. They write skilfully – with a remarkable and commendable level of intensity and emotion. Each time I read their texts I marvel at the energy and clarity that characterizes their work.

2. Registration page

Provides details about the reunion and how to register.

3. Updates page

Shares back stories and updates regarding the planning process.

4. Stories page

Includes Biographies, Histories, and Class Stories.

5. FAQ page

Some questions that come to mind: What do I get for $150? How can I help? What’s in it for me? What if no one is there who remembers me? Who cares about a reunion? Why does it matter? Why a reunion in Toronto and not Montreal? What if I don’t like loud music? What if I don’t want to dance?

6. Facebook page

Provides a link to the MCHS 60s Reunion page.

 

Posted in Malcolm Campbell High School 2015 Reunion, Malcolm Campbell High School 2015 Stories (Before & After) | 2 Comments

Message from Trustee Pamela Gough regarding Jan. 15, 2015 Review of the Toronto District School Board

The following message is from Trustee Gough’s office:

Sent on behalf of Trustee Pamela Gough:

Yesterday, the Minister of Education announced the report of education consultant Margaret Wilson, who had been instructed to investigate problems in governance and administration at the TDSB. I am enclosing the link to this report below.

I would like to make clear that Ms. Wilson, when referring to the problems of the board as they relate to trustees, made it clear that not all trustees interfere with the machinations of the board as she describes. Many TDSB  trustees, myself included, work hard on behalf of their communities and respect the limits of the trustee role under the Education Act.

You may have read that on Monday, January 12, the TDSB board voted to maintain a salary increase of $17,000 for the director of education that was unilaterally given last year by former Chair, Chris Bolton, despite a clear order from the Minister of Education that the director’s salary not be increased, in keeping with the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act. I did not support this motion, and spoke out on the responsibility of the board to comply with the law at all times.

I take the findings of the Wilson report very seriously and intend to work with my colleagues to implement the recommendations within the timelines required.

On Tuesday, January 20, I have called a ward council meeting for 8:45 am at Second Street JMS to discuss this matter, and other items of education interest locally, with the Ward 3 school council chairs or their representatives.

[Review of the Toronto District School Board]

Pamela Gough, MSc., MT (OISE/UT), OCT
Trustee, Ward 3, Toronto District School Board
Email: pamela.gough@tdsb.on.ca
Tel: 416-393-1972
Website: http://www.tdsb.on.ca/Leadership/Trustees/Ward3
Twitter: @pamelagough

[End of text]

Ward fiefdoms

As I’ve noted in a previous post, the Jan. 15, 2015 Review of the Toronto District School Board warrants a close read.

The post is entitled: “Trustees mistrusted within schools”: TDSB governance review – Jan. 15, 2015 CBC article.

The report’s reference to “ward fiefdoms” brings to mind the history of the British empire.

 

 

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Passing of a classmate: John W. Scott (MCHS 66)

Howard Hight of Boston writes:

Dejan (Danny) Ristic another MCHS classmate and a former neighbour of mine, sent me a notification about the passing of another MCHS classmate.

This is what Danny sent me.

Dejan (Danny) Ristic writes:

John Scott was an MCHS 66 grad…. He was a weather radar engineer and helped create Environment Canada’s Doppler Weather Radar Network.

Dejan

Forwarded message from Dejan Ristic:

Subject: SCOTT, John William – June 10, 1949 – January 14, 2015

Dear Friends,

John Scott. John was an avid photographer, the 1965-66 MCHS yearbook notes. He was a member of the Annual Board; his responsibility was Photography.

It is great sadness that I wish to tell you of the passing of a dear friend and colleague. Many of you know John’s passion for his work in the field of weather radar at King Radar and with the National Radar Program.

John passed away on January 14th 2015 at the Markham Stouffville Hospital after a courageous battle with cancer.

Visitation and a Memorial services will be held on Sunday, January 18th at 3pm and service at 4pm respectively at the ‘Low and Low Funeral Home’, 23 Main Street, Uxbridge.

Ron

Ron Ruff [Ontario]
Instrumentation Technologist
Radar & Upper Air
Monitoring and Data Services Directorate
MSC

————————————————-

http://www.lowandlow.ca/notices.htm

SCOTT, John William
June 10, 1949 – January 14, 2015

Uxbridge Chapel

Passed away peacefully with his family by his side at Markham-Stouffville Hospital on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at the age of 65. Dearly beloved husband of Marjorie and awesome Dad to Bill (finance Amy) and Emily. John will be missed by extended family and friends. A Memorial service will be held at the Low & Low Funeral Home, Uxbridge (23 Main Street South, (905) 852-3073) on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 4 p.m. Family will receive friends from 3 p.m. until time of service. Reception to follow. If desired, donations to Uxbridge Cottage Hospital would be greatly appreciated by the family.

Low & Low Funeral Home

23 Main Street South, Uxbridge, ON L9P 1J4
(905) 852-3073

John William Scott

1997: ARMP – King Radar Cloud Physics Research Division

1996: ARMP King Radar Cloud Physics Research Division

1993: ARMP King Radar Cloud Physics Research Division

1992: ARMP King Radar Cloud Physics Research Division

1987: ARPP Radar Cloud Physics Research Division

31st Conference on Radar Meteorology, 6-12 August 2003, Seattle, Washington / sponsored by American Meteorological Society

Areal-Time [A Real-Time?] Integrated Display of Coincident Single-Station Sferics and Radar Observations Internal Report APRB: 99 P 25

King Weather Radar : operations manual and user’s guide. 1986

Microwave radiation power density measurements near and around the Toronto (King City) radar 1984

A real-time integrated display of coincident single-station sferics and radar observations. Report ARPB ; 99 P25 1978

 

Posted in Malcolm Campbell High School 2015 Biographies, Malcolm Campbell High School 2015 Stories (Before & After), Newsletter, Toronto | 5 Comments

“Trustees mistrusted within schools”: TDSB governance review – Jan. 15, 2015 CBC article

A Jan. 15, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “TDSB [Toronto District School Board} governance review reveals 'culture of fear': Trustees are mistrusted within schools, according to an external report on the troubled board."

The report, which can be accessed at the article, is worth a read.

The report brings to mind a Nov. 27, 2012 post entitled:

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP report regarding the Toronto District School Board

As a former teacher, who worked for both the Toronto and the Peel public boards, here's my take: The concept that a good way to run a school board is to have all key senior staff filled by management personnel who have worked their way up from the classroom is not a sound concept. There has to be a better way.

Erving Goffman: Total institutions

Every public or quasi-public institution, as is the case for every corporation, as is the case as well with judicial and quasi-judicial bodies (such as the Ontario Municipal Board), warrants close scrutiny by independent other bodies. The alternative is to perpetuate the kinds of culture and the kinds of practices that are associated with what the Canadian social theorist Erving Goffman terms "total institutions."

Senior management positions require experience in the wider world; restricting the selection of senior management to former teachers, who've worked their way up within the closed world of a school board power structure, is not the best possible way to go. I've never heard a good rationale for such a hiring practice. I say this as a former teacher, and with full respect and admiration for the great work that a majority of teachers do in their classrooms, frequently under stressful and demanding conditions.

Teaching conditions

The demanding conditions include the threat or reality of being assaulted. I refer to a Jan. 16, 2015 CBC The Current podcast entitled: "Students assaulting teachers in class, a common occurrence in Canada."

A Jan. 22, 2015 CBC The Current podcast is entitled: "'Universally ignored': Educational assistants also face violence in classrooms."

As a teacher, I learned the value of vigilance in the face of threats to personal safety. Eventually, I took an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation, which I learned about through a Globe and Mail article, to enable me to stay at ease in the face of the standard stressful situations. The latter course is among the best things that came out of my teaching career.

Peter Mearns is owner of Bolton Lock and Security Ltd. Jaan Pill photo

The above-noted CBC stories remind me of a war story from the 1963-64 school year, from a previous post, from Malcolm Campbell High School in Montreal:

“We shared our usual round of war stories – including an anecdote from Peter Mearns about the time that a husky and very tall student got mad at the French teacher, who taught the class that Peter Mearns was in. The student walked up to the teacher with the intention of having a fight with him. The teacher, experienced in such matters, hit the student first, spending him tumbling to the floor. When the student got home, if I recall the story correctly, the father staunchly sided with the teacher as was the standard practice, way back then, regarding such matters.”

Trustees

The issue of the trustees is a separate issue. I support the conclusions of the above-noted Jan. 15, 2015 report.

The report is not that long, and it warrants a close read. We need to make things work better.

A Nov. 24, 2014 TVO YouTube video regarding the TDSB provides good background information related to the above-noted report.

The Jan. 15, 2015 report, which is beautifully written, brings to mind an earlier post:

Ethnography offers the opportunity to practise journalism, filmmaking, and screenwriting

Ward fiefdoms

The report’s reference to “ward fiefdoms” is absolutely fascinating and ties in well with a person’s understanding of world history including the history of the British empire.

Freelancing trustees and school programs

The report notes (p. 15):

  • TDSB trustees, as individuals and as committee members, become directly involved in curriculum and program development. For instance, there do not seem to be any constraints on a trustee who wishes to involve the Board in a pet project. The Confucius Institute (CI) was the favoured project of a former chair of the board. Over a three-year period of development, the Board knew next to nothing about the CI and the agreement which had been signed between the institute and the TDSB. It was not until June 18, 2014, that a trustee seminar was held on the relationship between the institute and the TDSB. At the seminar, print answers were provided to questions that had been submitted by trustees.

 

Posted in Malcolm Campbell High School 2015 Stories (Before & After), Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

W.O. 09-20003 QEW Improvements from Evans Avenue to Cawthra Road – Public Information Centre #3 – Jan. 22, 2015 meeting

I’ve been following the QEW Improvements from Evans Ave. to Cawthra Road process for some time. I much enjoy keeping up to date with the project. I’ve attended many of the meetings.

I like the way the public is informed and has the opportunity to offer feedback in an informed and structured way.

The meetings I’ve attended have been well facilitated. All of the communications have been handled capably.

Current plans include replacement of the Ogden Avenue pedestrian bridge over the QEW. I’ve discussed the history of the bridge -which I find of much interest – at previous posts.

I’m pleased to share the following text, which is from the following notice:

QEW Improvements Evans Ave. to Cawthra Rd – PIC 3 Public Letter

The map below (from a previous post) shows the study area

 

January 12, 2015

Re: Notice of Public Information Centre #3

Queen Elizabeth Way Improvements from Evans Avenue to Cawthra Road

Preliminary Design and Class Environmental Assessment Study

W.O. 09-20003

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has retained MMM Group Limited to undertake a Preliminary Design and Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) Study for improvements to the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) from Evans Avenue to Cawthra Road.

The study limits extend approximately 3.5 km through the City of Mississauga (Region of Peel) and the City of Toronto.

The purpose of this letter is to notify you that the third and final Public Information Centre (PIC) for this project has been scheduled and to invite you to attend the event to review and comment on refinements to the overall technically preferred alternative presented at PIC #2, the preliminary design and the potential mitigation measures.

PIC #3 will be held as follows:

Public Information Centre #3

Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015
Location: Le Treport Wedding and Convention Centre, Salon B
1075 Queensway East
Mississauga, ON, L4Y 4C1
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The study is following the approved environmental planning process for Group “B” projects under the Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Transportation Facilities (2000), with the opportunity for public input throughout the study. Upon completion of the study, a Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR) will be completed and made available for a 30 day public review period. Newspaper notices will be published at that time to explain the review process and identify the locations where the TESR will be available for viewing.

We look forward to your attendance at the PIC. Members of the Project Team will be available to discuss the study and respond to questions or concerns. All comments received will be reviewed and considered.

Additional details about the study can be viewed on the study website at www.qewdixieea.ca. The displays presented at PIC #3 will also be available on the study website after the PIC.

Should you require further information about this study, please feel free to contact either of the Project Team members listed below.

Sincerely,

Jim Dowell, P. Eng.
Consultant Project Manager

Moin Khan, P. Eng., Project Manager
Ontario Ministry of Transportation
1201 Wilson Ave, Building D, 4th  Floor
Downsview, ON M3M 1J8
Phone: (416) 235-5271
Fax: (416) 235-3576
e-mail: project-team@qewdixieea.ca

Jim Dowell, P. Eng., Consultant Project Manager
MMM Group Limited
2655 North Sheridan Way
Mississauga, ON L5K 2P8
Phone: (905) 823-8500
Fax: (905) 823-8503
e-mail: project-team@qewdixieea.ca

cc: Moin Khan, MTO, Project Manager
Sarah Merriam, MTO, Environmental Planner
J.A. (Sandy) Nairn, MMM Group, Consultant Environmental Planner

 

Posted in Mississauga, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Ruth MacLeod recalls the day in the 1960s when a memorable Phys Ed teacher arrived at Malcolm Campbell High School in a Type E Jaguar sports car

Updates

You can access a great Oct, 21, 2011 photograph, posted at flickr.com, of Soryl and Gibby Rosenberg, by clicking here.

We owe thanks to Gina Davis Cayer for letting us know about this link. It’s a beautiful photograph.

A Jan. 12, 2015 Guardian/The Observer article is entitled: “The Teenage Brain review – a science-based bid to understand an ‘alien species’: A neuroscientist’s attempt to produce a parental study aid on teenagers is accessible and well-paced.”

[End of update]

 

As we work on the launch of the separate MCHS ’60s Reunion website, which will be at MCHS2015.com, I’ve been thinking about some of the stories that we’d like to highlight on the static page, at the new website, that will be devoted to “Stories.”

Type E Jaguar sports car. This is a convertible version. It turns out, according to a Comment below, that it was a hard top, not a convertible, that Mrs. Rosenberg drove into the parking lot one day in the 1960s. Source: www.larevueautomobile.com (La Revue Automobile)

Here's a hard top version of the Type-E Jaguar from the 1960s. Source: wallpeers.com

One of the stories concerns a vivid recollection, by Ruth MacLeod in a comment at a previous post, about the day – with “all of us much agog in the windows overlooking the staff carpark,” in Ruth MacLeod’s words - that a Phys Ed teacher, Miss Soryl Shulman, turned up at the school driving a new Type E Jaguar sports car.

If anybody remembers what colour it was, please let us know.

Details regarding the colour of cars are of interest.

Update from Graeme Decarie

In a comment at a blog post that shares this story, Graeme Decarie has shared with us a further update:

“It was Miss Soryl Shulman. She married Gibby Rosenberg, a very nice guy. I think she’s back in Montreal now, just back from a month or so in some jungle, building bamboo huts for the homeless. She keeps very busy. Gibby spent a year sailing around the world by himself. He started sailing before they married, working himself up from a Y flyer to a huge yacht, always aiming at the trip around the world.”

Jan. 10, 2015 subcommittee meeting

MCHS Ring. Barbara Sayfy photo

I’m also very pleased to share with you a photo of an MCHS Ring that Barbara Sayfy has shared with us. She’s on a Toronto-based MCHS ’60s Reunion subcommittee that met on Jan. 10, 2015 at the Old Mill Toronto restaurant.

Noreen McMillen, Barbara Sayfy, Heather Anne Liddell, Scott Munro, and Jaan Pill attended the Jan. 10 subcommittee meeting. We’ll have additional Toronto-area MCHS grads attending future meetings. The next meeting is on Feb. 28, 2015 at the Yellow Cup Café in the small plaza across from Cloverdale Mall. All Toronto-area MCHS ’60s grads (and retired ’60s teachers) are welcome to attend our subcommittee meetings. We also welcome MCHS grads from “out of town,” as the expression goes, at our Toronto meetings. Please contact me for details.

Productive meeting

The January 2015 subcommittee meeting was incredibly productive.

We covered many points involving details of a kind that people think about when the planning for an event is really well under way.

We also spent quite a bit of time on content for the reunion evening, and on learning about each other’s respective stories as they relate to MCHS.

I’m really pleased that Howard Hight of Boston suggested that we get involvement from a group of volunteers right at the host city. The subcommittee was formed as a follow-up to his great suggestion.

Brûlé Rooms

1960s Austin-Healey Sprite. See Comment at the end of this text. Source: cargurus.com

A number of us visited the Brûlé Rooms– people were very impressed. It’s a great setting for our Oct. 17, 2015 MCHS ’60s Reunion and Celebration of the ’60s. Preparations were under way in Brûlé Room C for what looked like a wedding reception.

I recorded the meeting and will share notes, as time permits.

In the hallway we came across an old-style coin-operated phone, which I wouldn’t be surprised is still in operation. That’s a nice touch for those of us who remember using such phones.

Our next meeting of the MCHS 2015 organizing committee, which meets in Kitchener, is on Feb. 4, 2015. Any person who attended (or taught at) MCHS at any point in the ’60s is welcome to attend any of our organizing meetings.

 

Posted in Malcolm Campbell High School 2015 Stories (Before & After), Newsletter, Toronto | 7 Comments