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UCC volunteers earn Harold A.D. Roberts Award

The Harold A.D. Roberts Circle Award is presented annually in recognition of substantial contributions made or special service provided by members of the UCC Association, either through short-term involvement or long-term commitment.

It’s named in honour of a man who graduated from the College in 1915 but continued to serve it for more than eight decades. Just as Roberts (who was known by many as “Mr. UCC”) went above and beyond the call of duty, so have this year’s inductees into the circle with their efforts to improve the UCC Association and the College.

This year’s four honourees received their award at UCC’s volunteer reception on May 16.

Lisa Assaf

Lisa Assaf is the mother of Mohamad Assaf ’17 and Zain Assaf, who is in Year 9. She’s co-chaired the Blues Booster Club (BBC) with fellow 2018 Harold A.D. Roberts Circle Award recipient Carita Sheehy for the past two years. Assaf was also BBC vice-chair for a year and a BBC team parent coordinator and parent representative before that. She was a Prep class rep and a Year 12 rep who organized graduation wear. Assaf has also served on the Association Day, Winterfest, Varsity Day, Believe in Blue and UCC Syrian refugee committees. She’s the current communications chair for the Parents’ Organization (PO).

“It is this incredible dedication and selfless voluntary service — giving back to the community in so many positive and inclusive ways, as well as being generous, enthusiastic, resourceful and committed — that they both highly deserve to receive the Harold A.D. Roberts Circle Award,” says parent Jody Howe of Assaf and Sheehy.

Bob Dameron ’75

Bob Dameron had a large contingent of people who nominated him for the award on the strength of his contributions as a class president. Primarily because of his initiative and energy, the class of ’75 has established a mental health and wellness fund that will soon top $50,000. The fund has sponsored professional development for faculty and staff members in the area of identifying young people in crisis, and this year it underwrote a student-led conference on mental health issues. Dameron is now getting his class geared up to provide significant financial backing to UCC’s new strategic directions.

“It is quite heartwarming to see how one Old Boy can galvanize his class towards supporting such an important contemporary issue,” says Rodger Wright ’75 of Dameron’s efforts on behalf of mental health.

Jody Howe

Jody Howe’s son Jason is in Year 11 and she’s been an active volunteer at UCC for more than 10 years. She was vice-chair and chair of the Prep Parents’ Organization (PPO) and went on to head the PO after that. Howe was on the Association Council and has volunteered her services for Association Day, Festive Marketplace, Grandparents Day and the BBC over the years.

“Her commitment to UCC is reflected in the various roles she has taken on with enthusiasm and dedication,” says Piera Morra, a 2013 Harold A.D. Roberts Circle Award recipient. “Jody listens, thinks and then acts — all positive attributes when one oversees large groups such as the PO and PPO.”

Carita Sheehy

Carita Sheehy is the mother of Cameron ’17, Matthew ’20 and Ryan ’15. In addition to her many contributions to the BBC, she’s taken on 20 different responsibilities over the years — including spearheading “New to Blue” parent handbooks for incoming families. Her other responsibilities have included serving: as TUBS chair; on the PPO and PO; with the fine wine auction committee for the Believe in Blue gala; as a class and house rep; on the Mother’s Day project; on the Association Day, Winterfest and Varsity Day committees; and doing communications for Festive Marketplace.

“They have shown initiative, drive, passion, leadership and dedication beyond words with everything,” Howe says of Sheehy and Assaf.

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Kevin Olds, Derek Poon, Blair Sharpe and Evan Williams to retire

Kevin Olds, Derek Poon, Blair Sharpe and Evan Williams are esteemed members of UCC’s Quarter Century Club, and their years of combined service to the College total 120(!).

These highly esteemed teachers, mentors to boys and friends to colleagues have given far more to the College than can be expressed in words. Each, in his own unique way, has had an impact on boys, colleagues and the College as a whole. Anyone who’s had any dealings with Kevin, Derek, Blair and Evan have benefitted greatly from their professional and personal skills that have contributed to the UCC we all know and love today. Please join us in congratulating them on their well-deserved retirements.

Kevin Olds

Kevin joined the College in 1989 to teach physics in the science department. He later transitioned into a mainstay computer science teacher over the past 15 years. He was among our pioneers in building the infrastructure of our computer science program and has developed tremendous programs that include providing laptops for children in developing countries with the One Laptop Per Child program, the computer science club and the highly competitive robotics club. Kevin held roles as chair of both the science and computer science departments and was the College’s webmaster for four years.

Kevin was an adviser in Howard’s House for 15 years. He coached U15, U16 and junior varsity football, and has overseen junior house soccer, senior house soccer and house softball programs. Kevin has been tirelessly devoted to all things computer-related, and the College stands on the ground he’s built to launch us into the future in the area of technology.

Derek Poon

Since joining UCC in 1984, Derek has had a tremendous impact on the UCC community. He’s served as a teacher, faculty chair of physical education, volleyball and tennis coach, associate and senior house adviser of McHugh’s, assistant head of the Upper School’s Middle Years and head of Intermediate Division. He’s served on numerous committees and leadership groups, supported the development of a wide variety of programs and activities, and has ensured our awareness of standards and boundaries protocols.

Derek’s deep institutional knowledge, calm demeanour and common-sense perspective are hallmarks of his leadership style. Through his various responsibilities he’s earned widespread respect and appreciation from our students, parents, faculty and staff alike. The qualities that we’ll miss most, however, are the genuine warmth, good humour and sincerity he’s shared with us all.

Blair Sharpe

After teaching at Rosseau Lake College for seven years, Blair joined the UCC faculty in 1989 to teach geography, history and English. His charisma and unique teaching style resonated with the boys. He’s taught exclusively in the English department for the past 23 years and captured the attention of his students. Blair brought books and stories to life with vim and vigour, always making the content relevant to the boys in the current world and times in which they lived.

In advising, he was a junior master in Seaton’s House for his first seven years, and then an adviser. He became senior housemaster of Mowbray’s for 12 years, then switched to being an adviser in Jackson’s until the fall of 2017, when he assumed the role of a Year 8 form adviser. Blair coached junior varsity football briefly and, for his entire 28 years at the College, coached junior varsity hockey and junior varsity rugby, winning several Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association championships. Blair also founded and led the fishing club and was the faculty and staff common room president for seven years.


Evan Williams

Evan joined UCC’s science department in 1987 with a deep passion for teaching science, and chemistry in particular. He served as an adviser in Wedd’s House for his first 10 years, followed by a brief stint in Howard’s, and then was the senior housemaster of Martland’s for five years. He had stellar years coaching junior varsity volleyball, hockey and varsity lacrosse teams, winning several CISAA championships. He supervised the guitar club, joined student trips and was an International Baccalaureate (IB) examiner and IB workshop leader among other school initiatives.

In his current role as dean of students at the Upper School for the past 10 years, Evan has overseen all aspects of daily schedules, assemblies, student government, student discipline and the advising program. In essence, he guided the day-to-day goings-on at the College.

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Welcome new Director of Constituency Relations

The Advancement Team is delighted to announce that Kathryn Champion has been appointed the College’s Director of Constituency Relations. In her new role, Kathryn will lead the Association Team and oversee alumni engagement as well as work closely with parents and senior volunteers. Kathryn joined UCC in 2013 as Acting Manager of Events and was appointed Manger, Stewardship and Donor Relations in 2014. Over the past five years she has worked with many members of the Old Boy community and is looking forwarding to continuing to engage them through the Young Alumni Network, Common Ties and the Association Council.  Kathryn’s deep commitment to the College, its students and its alumni position the Association Team for even greater success. Kathryn can be reached at 416-488-1125 ext. 2202 or kchampion@ucc.on.ca


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New Prep and Upper School Structure and Appointments

The College’s organizational structure has been recently renewed to align with UCC’s new Strategic Directions and our vision, mission and values. Effective July 1, the following appointments will take effect:

Naheed Bardai has been appointed as Head of Upper School. Naheed is currently the Head of our Middle Division, a role he has held for three years and is a member of the College’s Senior Leadership Team. Prior to joining UCC, he spent 10 years with The Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, Kenya, as the Principal of Senior School and Diploma Program Co-ordinator, along with roles as the Dean of Students and teacher/Head of the Humanities Department. Naheed holds degrees from Western University’s Richard Ivey School of Business (Honours Business Administration), the University of British Columbia (Bachelor of Education), Institute of Education, University of London (Master of Arts in Comparative Education) and Columbia University (Master of Education in Private School Leadership). Naheed is an International Baccalaureate (IB) examiner, site team leader, Diploma consultant and part of the IB’s Theory of Knowledge curriculum development team. In addition, he was a Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Future of Learning Institute.

Tanya Sweeney has been appointed Head of the Preparatory School. Tanya brings to the College significant international leadership experience. She has spent the past six years at the American International School in Hong Kong where she is currently finishing her term as Assistant Head of the School and Elementary School Principal. Tanya also spent six years in Kuwait serving as Elementary School Principal of two schools, Al-Bayan Bilingual School and the American Academy for Girls. Tanya began her educational career in Canada with teaching positions at Somerset Academy in Markham, Ont. and as a Kindergarten and Intermediate arts teacher with the Thames Valley District School Board. She holds degrees from Western University (Bachelor of Music Education), Brock University (Bachelor of Education) and the University of Toronto (Master of Education). In addition, Tanya holds an Ontario Principals’ Certification from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and is a Past Chair of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Accreditation Teams

Scott Cowie has been appointed Dean of Student Life and Wellbeing. Scott will oversee the College’s whole-school approach to co-curricular programs including Athletics, CAS, Horizons and Norval. In addition, Scott will lead all aspects of the College’s wellbeing programs and services. Scott has been an invaluable member of UCC’s faculty since 1999 and has held leadership roles including English Department Chair and most recently Senior Division Head. His co-curricular roles include coach of both varsity rugby and football and College Film faculty adviser. Scott will also be a member of the College’s Senior Leadership Team.

Reporting to Head of the Upper School Naheed Bardai, Fiona Marshall has been appointed Assistant Head, Student Affairs. Fiona will oversee all aspects of student leadership at the Upper School such as our House system and Advising program as well as behaviour expectations. Fiona will be returning to UCC from Branksome Hall, where she was an Instructional Leader and member of the Academic Leadership Team this past year. Prior to that Fiona was at UCC for seven years and held positions including Senior House Adviser and chaired the Humanities and Social Sciences Department.

Also reporting to Naheed Bardai, Deirdre Timusk has been appointed Assistant Head, Operations. In her new role Deirdre will oversee the Upper School’s daily activities including assemblies, special events and programming, and guest speakers, as well as take on new strategic projects. Deirdre has been at the College since 2002 when she started as a teacher in the Upper School. She has been a member of our Senior House Advisers Committee, chaired the Math Department and was most recently Director of CAS. Recently she dedicated her talents to co-founding the CIS Ontario Women’s Network and hosting its first event at UCC.

Reporting to Head of the Preparatory School Tanya Sweeney, Gareth Evans has been appointed Assistant Head, Middle Division. Gareth will oversee and support all activity for students and faculty at the Prep in Years 6 to 7. Gareth started at UCC in 2005 and brings more than 20 years of experience to his new role including Senior House Adviser in Boarding (Seaton’s House), Middle School Athletics Director, and Year 8 Chair. Gareth shared his enthusiasm for UCC this past year when he became a Senior Admission Counsellor.

Also reporting to Tanya Sweeney, David Girard has been appointed Assistant Head, Primary Division. David will oversee and support all activity for students and faculty at the Prep in SK to Year 5. David started at UCC in 2002 as a Year 5 Form Teacher and was also a coordinator of both the Primary grade level and our After School Program. Since 2005 David has provided stellar leadership in his role as the Prep’s Dean of Students.


Tom Babits has been appointed Director of Community Service, Clubs and CAS. Currently Head of the Primary Division, Tom shifts to the Upper School effective Sept. 1. Reporting to Dean of Student Life and Wellbeing Scott Cowie, Tom replaces Deirdre Timusk following her appointment to the role of Assistant Head of Upper School, Operations. In addition to his community service, clubs and CAS responsibilities, Tom will also oversee the Norval Outdoor Education program and maintain a teaching load.

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Thank you for supporting the 2017-2018 UCC Fund!

Thank you to all the Old Boys who have made a gift to the 2017-2018 UCC Fund.

Old Boy support of annual giving grows each year, reflecting your continued commitment to the vision and mission of Upper Canada College. Your participation is what counts — and your gifts made a difference.

From creating amazing art to saving a species of fish, this two-minute video tells the stories of six Makers and Innovators at UCC. Music by Rupert Davies ’18.

Stay tuned for the launch of the 2018-2019 UCC Fund in the fall.

Please contact Associate Director of Annual Giving Joanne Weedmark at jweedmark@ucc.on.ca if you have any questions or would like more information on supporting Upper Canada College.

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Association Day – Save the Date

ASSOCIATION DAY – Saturday, September 29

It’s that time of year again!

The Association team is delighted to invite all Old Boys, students, parents and friends to join us as we celebrate everything that makes UCC great. A-Day 2018 will be a fun-filled celebration for the entire family featuring many new activities as well as great ones you’ve known and loved in the past. The theme of the day is “Makers and Innovators”.

Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • The fun-filled NEW and IMPROVED Kidzone with exciting new attractions thanks to the generosity of the Atkins family
  • Varsity football and soccer against TCS, and varsity volleyball against Crescent — Go Blues!
  • A-Tunes, UCC’s very own musical talent show, back by popular demand on the main stage under the clock tower
  • The Jon Wookey ’08 Memorial Organic Farmers’ Market with a fresh look and location
  • A silent auction with an amazing selection of items
  • The ever-popular dunk tank
  • Arts Booster Club info tent
  • Blues Booster Club info tent
  • Freshly popped Kernels Popcorn and Chapman’s ice cream
  • The BBQ and Snack Shack with delicious, new nut-free items
  • The Michael Evan Jurist ’03 Memorial Tennis Tournament
  • Delicious Kona Coffee from Hawaii (Dakine Coffee Bean, Terence Fitzgerald ’58)
  • Hospitality Terrace (19+)
  • Allan Harris Old Boys Soccer Tournament

Got a group? Got talent? You’ve got to perform!

A-Tunes @ A-Day needs you!!

This year, our very own UCC talent will be featured on the main stage at A-Day from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Old Boys, students, faculty and staff are all encouraged to participate. So dust off your old guitar, call up your buddies and come and belt out a few tunes on A-Day! 

Interested? Please contact Peter Gray at pgray@ucc.on.ca to register your group.  A full listing of A-Day activities will be available online by July 15.

Sponsorship Opportunities:

There are many ways to show your support on A-Day. Sponsor an area, or donate items to the silent auction like gift cards, clothing, etc. Do you have season tickets you won’t use? Donate them to the College for a gift-in-kind tax receipt. For a full list of sponsorship opportunities please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Events Manager Maria Karakoulas at mkarakoulas@ucc.on.ca or 416-488-1125 ext. 2231.

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UCC hosts the Synapse Conference, founded by Year 12 UCC student Surya Pandiaraju

On April 24, UCC hosted more than 150 high school students from across the GTA for the Synapse Conference on mental health and neuroscience.

The conference’s four goals were to decrease the stigma surrounding the discussion of mental health and illness; elucidate the connection between neuroscience and mental health; educate Toronto teens on cutting-edge neuroscience research; and allow students to meet researchers and other peers in a community of like-minded individuals.

Speakers Dr. Jeff Daskalakis (father of Taso Daskalakis ’17), Dr. Brandon Walters, Dr. John Cunningham and Pete “Furious Pete” Czerwinski all talked about mental health and the brain on both a personal and neuroscientific level. At workshops hosted by representatives from the national mental health network Jack.org and post-secondary students, participants engaged and reflected on mental health awareness in their communities and assessed what could be done to improve it moving forward.

“Having been exposed to a variety of messages about mental health awareness over my time at UCC, I strongly feel that stories of personal encounters with mental illness resonated with my peers and me the most,” said Year 12 student Surya Pandiaraju, who founded the conference and co-chaired it with University of Toronto Schools student Rachel Sava.

Thank you to the following UCC community members for generously supporting this initiative:

Lead Sponsor
Dan Andreae ’72

Speaker Sponsor
Members of the Class of 1975

Event Sponsors
Kevin and Melanie McCreadie
Schwartz Family: David, Barbara and Zachary ’05

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Dr. Jean Twenge kicks off inaugural Power Speaker Series and speaks at annual Parent Luncheon

Named in honour of Jim Power, UCC’s 18th principal, the inaugural Power Speakers Series on May 3 in Weston Hall featured smartphone-use guru Dr. Jean Twenge. The professor of psychology at San Diego State University led a data-driven presentation called “iGen: The Smart Phone Generation”, comparing three decades of generational differences. Twenge proposes that smartphone use strongly correlates with increased unhappiness and a lack of preparedness for adulthood.

Twenge started her talk by sharing an anecdote about a conversation she had with her 11-year-old, who was complaining that she was the only person in her class who didn’t have a smartphone. Twenge noted that this was very likely true, as the current average age for getting one’s first smartphone is, surprisingly, 10.

Over the last 20 years, Twenge showed, teenage behaviours such as driving, dating, drinking, and having part-time jobs plummeted around 2010. As well, indicators of unhappiness and anxiety, such as getting fewer than seven hours sleep and lack of face-to-face interaction with friends and family, have risen steadily in the same time period. The common factor? Around 2010, smartphones became ubiquitous.

Twenge noted that the news is not entirely dire — and encouraged parents to live by the motto of making smartphones a tool they use, not a tool that uses them. She suggested some leisurely screen time was good for teens — up to two hours per day. But she also urged parents to enforce limits like banning smartphones in bedrooms, and insisting that all phones be put away one hour before bedtime.

At the annual Parent Luncheon on May 4, Twenge spoke on the same theme. Both events were sponsored by the Prep Parents’ and Parents’ Organizations.

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Common Ties continues to provide programming, events, and irreplaceable connections

The Common Ties Advisory Committee steers UCC’s Common Ties mentorship program to ensure it meets the needs of all constituents and continues to support the annual Common Ties events and programming. The current committee chair is Michael Carmichael ’97.

It’s been a busy year for Common Ties as we embarked on adding a new career path — entrepreneurship — which complements our already existing finance, legal and real estate events.  On June 6, we held the inaugural entrepreneurship networking event where Christian Lassonde ’93 discussed the risks, rewards, challenges and benefits of entrepreneurship through the lens of both a founder and venture capitalist. We’re anticipating hosting more events about emerging and growing fields as we look to future trends in the business world.

While we live in a time of unprecedented access to people and opportunities through online networks, Common Ties offers the irreplaceable connection that comes from a one-on-one interaction with someone who shares your values and can relate to your experiences. There are many ways to get involved:

  • Become a Mentee or Mentor: Click here to register for UCC’s alumni mentoring online platform.
  • Join the UCC Alumni LinkedIn Group.
  • For more information or if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Manager of Alumni Relations and Common Ties Samantha Kerbel at skerbel@ucc.on.ca.

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