Macdonald House

June 2011. 

Dear Parents and Students, 

     As the Director of Residential Life & Housemaster of Macdonald House, it is a pleasure to welcome you on behalf of our Assistant Housemasters, Resident Dons, duty masters, advisors and other staff & personnel of Macdonald House.   I am particularly excited about this coming school year in the residence as we continue to improve and enhance our ‘Residential Life Curriculum’.  Our theme in the residence throughout this year will be ‘Making a Difference’.  All of the Housemasters will work hard in order to ensure your son gets involved in one of the many activities we will be offering as part of our ‘Residential Life Curriculum’.  Throughout the year your child will be exposed to not only exciting academic experiences and fun activities in the residence in the evenings, but he will also be exposed to critical life skills with an emphasis on lessons in character development.  As part of the Residential Life Curriculum, the newly developed leadership roles in the residence will capitalize upon the strengths of students and teachers, and help to create a team environment which includes all members of the SAC community:  Duty Masters, Resident Dons, parents, faculty, and the school administration.  Macdonald House will be a safe place for all students to thrive in, where we will provide opportunities, patience, time and a caring staff to provide for nurturing and successful experiences.  We believe that character education is a critical ingredient that is necessary in our boarding environment to help our students acquire good moral judgment and the enduring habits which are at the heart of good character. Some Residential Life Curriculum activities that we would love to see you attend and participate in include (please mark these dates down on your calendar):

1.      Tuesday, September 6th:  New Boarders arrive between 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. and check-in at Macdonald House.  A special ‘orientation’ session has been set up for all new families beginning at 10:30 a.m.   A specific Macdonald House formal question/answer session will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Ketchum Auditorium for all Macdonald House families as part of the new family orientation schedule.  Macdonald House families should refer to the Macdonald House website for more information http://kilby.sac.on.ca/houses/macdonald/  

2.      Wednesday, September 7thReturning boarders arrive by 9:00 p.m.  Please feel free to come by the Macdonald House library for a brief chat and chance for us to meet before the school year begins.

 3.      Friday, September 16thAll boarding grade 9 students will board a bus to Haliburton Forest for part of their GLS10 credit course.  Return time will be Sunday, September 18th by 6:30 p.m.  Please refer to GLS 10 course website for more information http://kilby.sac.on.ca/faculty/dgalajda/gls10/ This is ONLY for grade 9 boarding students.

 4.      Tuesday, December 20th:  Our 11th Annual Macdonald House Holiday Banquet held in the Great Hall, 7:00 – 9:00 pm.  A formal ‘Open House’ for all boarders and their families, bringing back the tradition of the 1930s!  Experience a snapshot of your son’s boarding life:  enjoy a formal meal in the ‘Great Hall’, laugh at some house skits, and view our comprehensive and fun slide show highlighting all the exciting events of Term One!  In addition, we will present our Macdonald House ‘Gold, Silver and Bronze’ House awards during the evening.  Be sure to mark this date down on your calendar for your family – you won’t want to miss it!  We hope that our international families will be able to attend this special evening, it would be a great way to finish off the first term and perhaps it would allow you to take advantage of some holiday shopping before accompanying your son home for the holidays which start on Wednesday, December 21st.  Please do not book an early flight – all students should be present until after school on Wednesday.

 Getting your son involved and helping him achieve his potential is something we strongly believe in.  This coming year we have put into place several Macdonald House leadership activities.  The Macdonald House Council, a group of students voted by their peers to take an active role in the planning of residential activities, is one such important leadership position.  Council members elected this past June include: President – Blair Xu, Vice-President – Andrew Ladouceur. Riley Fischer, Alex Lee and Ryan Shin round out the senior grade 9 leadership team while Arthur Chiu (grade 8) and Mihai Ciuciureanu (grade 7) are grade reps.  Another vote for new council members will be held on Monday, October 17th.  There are many other leadership positions available that we would encourage your son to get involved in while in Macdonald House.           

     In addition, we are always looking for some parent volunteers for various activities around the residence.  If you are interested in helping out, please let me know and I will put you in touch with our Parents Guild Residential Director, Mrs. Lander.

     As Director of Residential Life, my primary concern is the well being of your son in all aspects of his life - at school and in the residence.  In order to ensure constant monitoring and a nurturing program with increased structure, I have assigned each Housemaster, including myself, 25 boys each to closely supervise.  That means your primary contact regarding your son’s day-to-day progress in the residence is either myself or one of our Assistant Housemasters: Mr. MacPherson or Mr. Brennagh.  You will be made aware of who to contact when you arrive at the College.   A Resident Don, will supervise grade 6/7 study hall and evening programs for your child.  In addition, a team of Duty Masters has been selected who will not only help in study supervision, but they will add to our evening residential program with clubs and activities ranging from board games, chess, fitness training, model rocket building, trivia challenges, floor hockey, indoor soccer and astronomy, just to name a few.  Monthly ‘interhouse’ competitions go a long way into building House spirit! Your son also has an ‘advisor’ from a pool of selected teachers who will have the most contact with him on a day-to-day basis.  The advisor is the teacher who you should contact for any ‘academic concerns’.  Once again, you will be made aware of your son’s advisor when you arrive at the College.  I have also assigned each House Captain and Head of House (a House Captain is a grade 11 student looking to expand his leadership skills and help with the running of the residence, and will act as a ‘Big Brother’ to your son) three to five students to mentor during the term.  The House Captain will assist your son in the residence on a daily basis.  The House Captains and Heads of House will arrive at the school by Sunday, September 5th for training sessions.  A close working relationship has also been established between the Housemasters of Macdonald House and the Health & Wellness Centre.  Together we hope to ensure the well being of your son in every facet of his life here at SAC and in particular, in Macdonald House. 

      Communication on a daily/weekly/monthly basis can be found on our house website at http://kilby.sac.on.ca/houses/macdonald - this website is a communication tool between the Housemasters, parents and students and we encourage everyone to log-on on a regular basis.  I will post information, weekly activities, as well as more information about daily Macdonald House routines (please refer to our on-line handbook), residential information, study information, ‘what to bring to school’ (be sure to look at this page before you arrive in September), pictures of the residence, basic questions you may have, etc.  In addition, you can ‘see your son in action’ on a weekly basis with the many photos of daily Macdonald House routines and activities.  Please visit our website this summer and view some of the important information provided there.  This website will be updated and maintained throughout the year, so if you need information please log-on at and visit us!

     Finally, as a new boy, when you first arrive at Macdonald House you will be assigned a room and roommate(s). Returning boarding students have chosen their rooms and in some cases, their roommates, the previous June. While reactions to different rooms and roommates may vary from student to student and parent to parent, we would ask that all give their new environment a chance to develop. Through experience we have found that new friendships quickly develop, most problems quickly resolve themselves, and most students are very happy in a relatively short period of time. Your support and co-operation would be most appreciated in this area.  In addition, you are NOT guaranteed the same room for the year.  In some cases, moves may be required to make a better environment within the residence for all Macdonald House residents - depending on various circumstances (new boys arriving during the year, etc.)   Again, we would ask for your co-operation and understanding in this matter, the Housemasters will do their best to ensure everyone is dealt with in a fair manner.

 As you are aware, the school expects ‘new boys’ to arrive at Macdonald House between 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 6th.  At this time they will be taken to their room by the House Captains or members of the Macdonald House Council.  Feel free to ask them any questions you may have about residential life.  At the end of the ‘new families’ orientation session, we will meet for an important information session that we strongly urge you to attend. 

     I look forward to meeting with all of you on September 6th or 7th.  May your summer be a pleasant and relaxing one.  If you have any concerns for which you would prefer to see me in private or set up a meeting when you arrive, please email or call.  My office phone number is (905) 727-1219 or you can contact me via e-mail at david.galajda@sac.on.ca

 Sincerely,

David Galajda

Director of Residential Life & Housemaster, Macdonald House

 

Director of Residentail Life:                              Mr. David Galajda at david.galajda@sac.on.ca

Assistant Housemasters:                                   Mr. Jeff LaForge  at jeff.laforge@sac.on.ca

                                                                                          Mr. Paul Totera at paul.totera@sac.on.ca