Building a School in the Dominican Republic


As many of you know, I had the wonderful opportunity to help build on to a school in the Dominican Republic.  It was a life changing experience, and I learned many new things.  It was such a joy to be part of a team of leaders from all across North America who not only believed in, but clearly practiced, service leadership.  Each morning, we loaded up two mini buses and headed to Rio Grande, a rural community just outside of Constanza.

The first thing I learned was how to mix cement (6 wheel barrows of sand, 4 of gravel, cement powder, and mix with water) and lay brick to build walls.  We made human chains to pass along buckets and buckets of heavy cement to pour and form a staircase to the second floor, and human chains to pass along heavy bricks.

Building on to a school was one thing, but the more important thing was the joy of building relationships because relationships changes lives, not just in the Dominican Republic but here as well in Canada.  Education provides opportunities for a better life, but it is the relationships that are formed that is most important.  If children feel safe and cared fore, learning will improve!

Education is the key to success, and we are so fortunate to have free, good education.  Because of the school, the children had opportunities to learn and develop their potential.  For instance, Christopher, a grade 3 boy in this rural community, had the highest math score in the country last year!

I also was reminded you don’t have to have a lot of “things” to be happy in life, and that people all around the world all smile in the same language. We went to build a school, but we did more than put up brick walls.  We had the joy of building relationships as well as building hope! It truly was an honour and a privilege to be part of this mission.  Thank you Berkshire Broncs for helping fundraise for this worthy cause!

Forces & Motion at Science World

The grade 1 and 2 students in Ms. Johnson’s, Ms. Labuda’s, Ms. Han’s, and Ms. Rakhra’s/Ms. Nijar’s class boarded two school buses and headed to Science World in Vancouver.  They learned about force and motion and explored different questions. What happens when a bat hits a baseball? Why does a rolling ball eventually stop? How do we walk, jump or run? One word… physics!

The students then worked in small groups.  They made a ramp using a few objects and tested to see if a circular block would roll down the ramp. Later, they made predictions and then tested to see how slow or quick the block would roll if they put different materials onto the ramp (i.e. carpet and plastic liner).  The students enjoyed exploring all of the hands on activities at Science World. A fun day had by all!


Math & Physics

The MACC students in Mr. Allinger’s class have been working on simple machines and lessons on forces in the first term.  Waley, currently attending the University of Pennsylvania and one of Mr. Allinger’s former students, came in each day this week and extended their knowledge base by teaching the students about acceleration.  They worked on a series of lessons involving physics and higher level math.

The class had to estimate how long it would take for a ball to roll down an 8 meter ramp they built.  They had to figure out the gravitational force and use trigonometry to solve the task.  After going through the math, they came up with 3.6  seconds but added 30% because of friction for a total estimate of 4.7 seconds.  When they tested their hypothesis, the result was 4.1 seconds; therefore, there was less friction than they had anticipated (only about 15% instead of 30%).  The students had fun learning and pushing the limits with their mathematical thinking.

Christmas Concert 2019

On Thursday, December 19th, we enjoyed a wonderful Christmas concert organized and led by our music teacher, Mr. Brion.  We started with Patrick T. playing two piano pieces (“Super Smash” and “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”) followed by Ms. Peter’s/Ms. Mahal’s class on violins playing “Away in a Manger” and “Ode to Joy”.  The grade 6 mandolin boys were on mini accordions and yukeleles playing a “Ukrainian Bell Carol” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings”.  Ms. Russel’s and Ms. Mazinani’s grade 3 and 4 students sang “Deck the Hall” and “Good Old St. Nick” with solos and three santas.  Thien H. did a lovely piano solo (Canon in D Major) followed by the grade 2 and 3 students in Ms. Callegari’s, Ms. Younger’s, and Ms. Heinrich’s classes singing a rocky rendition of “Christmas Shopping Blues” and “La Fiesta de la Posada”.  The grade 1 and 2 students in Ms. Labuda’s, Ms. Johnson’s, and Ms. Han’s class sang “Making Christmas Cookies” and “Run, Run, Reindeer”.  The concert ended with the Kindergarten children from Ms. Cuthbert’s, Ms. Eaket’s, and Ms. Nijjar’s/Ms. Rakhra’s class singing “Days of the Week” and “There Was a Little Baby”.  All the children did very well, and we are very proud of each one of them!

Hat Fashion Show

Mrs. Lintott worked on an ADST (Applied Design and Skills Technology) project with the grade 2/3 students in divisions 11 and 12, and ended the unit with a hat fashion show.  They used plastic screw drivers, saws, and screws from the MakeDo kits to create hats made out of cardboard.  They had great fun displaying their creations in a hat fashion show where one partner modelled the hat and the other partner read a script describing their lovely creations.


Run Gingerbread Man Run

The Kindergarten students in Ms. Eaket’s and Ms. Cuthbert’s class enjoyed the story of the Gingerbread Man and decorated their own Gingerbread cookies after rolling out the dough, cookie cutting them out, and baking them.  When Sydney brought the principal a cookie to eat, he said, “Eat the feet first; if not, he will run away!”  Ms. Eaket’s students went on a hunt around the school because their Gingerbread Man had run away. “Run, run as fast as you can!  You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”  They had fun painting life-size gingerbread men and decorating the halls with them.

Christmas Art

The Kindergarten and grade 1 students in Ms. Nijjar’s and Ms. Rakhra’s class had fun painting their reindeers.  Each one was unique!  The Kindergarten students in Ms. Cuthbert’s class made some fun gingerbread collages.  The grade 2/3 students in Ms. Heinrich’s class enjoyed creating a penguin using construction paper.