A North Toronto student reveals what goes on when the camera’s off during a virtual class.
I can almost guarantee that every student has heard teachers say, “when I can’t see your faces, it feels like I’m speaking into a void,” pretty much every single day in class since the start of school in September.
For years, I have been on a mission—to wrestle a dragon to his knees—if not to defeat him entirely.
My dragon resides in the N.T. archives, in two shoe boxes and one rather large carton of posed and casual pictures, taken by former members of the Pentagon staff from the 1960s to the 1990s. How little did those students know or care that they were leaving me such a task, when they blithely left behind unidentified, random photos and went on to graduate from N.T.
Approximately 1,500 masks were delivered to North Toronto last month for students and the 2020 grads. The masks are a gift from the NTCI Foundation, which recognized the NT community needed a little boost in the face of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The limited edition red and grey masks were produced by Soft-Masks, which is owned and operated by NT alumnus and Foundation board member Lisa Cain (’82) and her business partner Sue Fisher (’84). The masks, which are hand sewn in Canada, feature high quality adjustable elastics and are made from 100% cotton fabric.
North Toronto’s teachers have never been less than dedicated. But for the last nine months, that dedication has meant so much more. Teachers have not only had to adapt to the new normal brought on by Covid-19, they’ve also had to adapt to uncertain schedules, virtual learning, and ever-changing software. Mark Kinoshita (’82)—NT grad, physics teacher, and member of the Foundation Advisory Board—shares his perspective on teaching at NT in the time of Covid-19.
Adapting to adapting
It was a long March Break.
When the Ontario government initially closed schools for two extra weeks in March, it made sense to quarantine students and teachers for 14 days after returning from vacation. We never expected that break to extend to September.
Covid-19 is not the first pandemic that North Toronto has had to contend with. Spanish Flu, which infected almost a third of the world’s population between February 1918 and April 1920, hit home for the school that had grown from five to 204 students over the course of its first decade.
This is a historic time for staff and students at North Toronto.
Many of the events and rites of passage that we took for granted are not happening. Iconic events like Maytime Melodies, the prom, track and field season, athletic banquet, face-to-face student council election campaigns and voting, graduation ceremonies, and end of school parties are all not possible. Staff have had to quickly engage students in different modes of learning while still coping with their own personal lives.
Dan Levy (’02) can add one more (red and grey) feather to his cap. In addition to his many hard-earned successes, he’s lived up to the words of his school song.
In September, Schitt’s Creek won a record-setting seven trophies at the Emmy Awards. Levy, who co-created the series with his father Eugene, personally took home trophies in three categories: acting, writing, and directing. Not bad for someone who says he started to find his voice in an OAC1 English class taught by Anne Carrier at North Toronto.
Renowned Canadian journalist Christie Blatchford was a force to be reckoned with.
Born in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, she had already started high school when her family moved to Toronto, where NTCI was her school of choice. After Grade 13, Christie studied journalism at Ryerson, and was named the leading journalism graduate.
Loyal friend, trusted colleague, brilliant musician, stellar editor, beloved wife and mother—these are all phrases that describe Barbara Kamienski, a much loved and respected member of the North Toronto Foundation Advisory Board who lost her battle with cancer in June 2019.
Born in Winnipeg, Barbara was nine when she moved to Toronto with her mother. She soon distinguished herself at John Fisher Public School where, through the itinerant music program, she began her life-long love affair with the French horn.