Achievement

  • Stratford Hall student stars in Beauty and the Beast at the Vancouver Playhouse

    June 13, 2019

    With new show Beauty and the Beast, Karen Flamenco Dance Company celebrates 10 years  

    Read More Author: article by Janet Smith, photo by David Cooper Body:

    With new show Beauty and the Beast, Karen Flamenco Dance Company celebrates 10 years
     
    An ambitious new production of Beauty and the Beast, a thriving children’s program, an expanded studio, and a new weekly venue to showcase flashing ruffles and clacking castanets: Karen Flamenco has a lot to celebrate on its 10th anniversary.

    Reflecting, artistic director Karen Pitkethly says watching her young students develop in the past decade stands out. “To me, that’s the most rewarding thing,” she tells the Straight over the phone. “I have girls who have studied with me and now I trust them to teach and perform, and I bring in a choreographer once or twice a year to set a piece on them. They’re young and vibrant and they have really intense choreographies, and the girls can pick it up.”
     
    She’s been able to develop the Karen Flamenco Dance Company out of those young talents. Its members are seen regularly at the company’s recently launched Teatro Intimo del Flamenco shows on Saturday afternoons at Granville Island’s Improv Centre. A mix of theatre-style seating and bistro tables gives it the feel of a traditional Spanish tablao setting for live flamenco dancing and music.
     
    “It’s what we were missing,” Pitkethly explains of the shows hosted by local actor Gerardo Avila. “It gives us a venue to present the company in a way I’ve always wanted to: as a whole company, but in an intimate venue.”
     
    It’s another big step for a company that started on a small scale with its Mount Pleasant studio 10 years ago. Demand for the kids’ classes at the facility has grown so much that this year marks the first time Karen Flamenco’s child students (about 90 of them, some as young as three) outnumber the adults training there.
     
    Pitkethly thinks word of mouth has been a big part of it. “Definitely, flamenco is way more popular in Vancouver; any festival or outdoor event has it,” she adds. “Overall, I feel flamenco is getting younger, too. Just the agility and the way it’s been transforming, there’s a lot more athleticism involved. The last time I went to Spain, the studios are young—there’s a surge of youth happening in Spain as well. And of course, you can see them on YouTube, and it’s catching on.”
     
    Over the years, Pitkethly, who once taught ballet, has also attracted young fans of the form with interpretations of popular shows such as Grease, West Side Story, and Pinocchio. In each case, Pitkethly gives the stories a flamenco twist, with live music, demystifying the historic Spanish-born art form for local families.
     
    The upcoming production of Beauty and the Beast will continue the tradition—though it’s brought more than the usual challenges, Pitkethly admits. Belle, played by Aysha Majeed, can easily have extra ruffles on her iconic blue dress and white apron, but what about the hit cartoon and Broadway musical’s anthropomorphized teapots and candlesticks?
     
    “I had it on the back burner because I wasn’t sure how we were going to portray these household items,” she says with a laugh. The solution was traditional flamenco costuming with accessories like a candlestick fascinator.
     
    Interspersed are such surprises as a tap-dancing Beast, narration and magic acts by Avila, and Disney hits like “Be Our Guest” with a flamenco flair. It’s all done on an unprecedented scale—all thanks to the expansion of the company and school, not to mention flamenco itself, over the past decade. “Each year, because the school is growing, the show tends to grow,” Pitkethly says. And so, it follows, will the sounds of pummelling feet here on the West Coast.
     
    Karen Flamenco presents Beauty and the Beast on Saturday and Sunday (June 15 and 16) at the Vancouver Playhouse.

    Category: Achievement Content Image (field_content_image:delta): 0 Date: Thursday, June 13, 2019 Feature Image:
  • 'The sky is the limit for this 8-year-old': Steveston boy makes a mark in his crusade against plastic straws

    May 11, 2018

    Shay Soo is offering presentations to businesses to learn about the damage plastic does to the ocean.

    Read More Author: Susana da Silva Body:

    Shay Soo is tackling a global problem one poster board, one business and one straw at a time.
     
    The eight-year-old was inspired by a school project.
     
    "They asked us to do something that would have an impact, and I saw a video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck in his nose," said Shay.
     
    "And I thought of how many plastic straws we use everyday."
     
    After talking to his mom about the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans and reflecting on the fact his Steveston community was a fishing village, he came up with a plan.
     
    Shay decided to contact local straw-using businesses, offering to come in and convince them to change their ways.
     
    When an email garnered little response, he headed out on foot, door-to-door.
     
    Six businesses took him up on his offer and he says he conquered his nerves and made them presentations which, he says, was made easier, because they were pretty receptive.
     
    "Lots of them stopped using straws or (decided) to use paper or corn instead of plastic," Shay said.
     
    Plastic waste is one of the pre-eminent threats to ocean life, according to the Ocean Wise Conservation Association, the umbrella organization that includes the Vancouver Aquarium.
     
    It says for example, turtles eat plastic bags believing the items are jellyfish, while albatross skim the ocean and pick up bits of brightly-coloured plastic that they feed to their chicks, at times killing them.
     
    'An 8-year-old came in here and completely schooled us'
    One of the businesses that invited Shay and his colourful poster board in, was Purpose Smoothie.
     
    "The way he presented it and how it fails to break down and how we are eating that and the stats he had — it leaves my mind blown," said owner Braedan Ralla.
     
    "An eight-year-year-old came in here and completely schooled us on how we should eliminate using plastic straws."
     
    Ralla was so blown away, he says he immediately asked Shay for some other options, since most of his customers want straws in their smoothies.
     
    He says Shay went away and a week later came back with the name of a manufacturer of compostable straws. Ralla put in an order right away.
     
    Down the block, Steveston Seafood House also made a switch. Owner Shane Dagan placed an order for corn-based straws the day after Shay spoke to him.
     
    "It is about two and a half times the cost, but in the scheme of things, it is not a big deal," Dagan said. "We are a seafood restaurant, so it makes good business sense for us."
     
    Meanwhile, the Catch Kitchen and Bar will only offer straws upon request as of June 1.
     
    "His presentation was just that good," said owner John Yacoub. "He is just an awesome little man and this is part of doing what we can for the environment."
     
    'This was a pretty big risk for him'
    Shay's mom, Shawna Soo, says doing presentations like this is a little out of character for him. "This was a big risk for him. He is a quiet guy," said Soo. "I think it gave him a lot of confidence."
     
    Ralla thinks Shay has a bright future. "The kid is so amazing, and I think the sky is the limit for this eight-year-old," Ralla said. "It is really inspiring for people to not only have an idea, but to take those action steps."
     
    Shay is hoping more businesses will be in touch to get presentations of their own.

    Category: School News, Achievement Content Image (field_content_image:delta): 0 Date: Friday, May 11, 2018 Feature Image:
  • 'The sky is the limit for this 8-year-old': Steveston boy makes a mark in his crusade against plastic straws

    May 11, 2018

    Shay Soo is offering presentations to businesses to learn about the damage plastic does to the ocean.

    Read More Author: Susana da Silva Body:

    Shay Soo is tackling a global problem one poster board, one business and one straw at a time.
     
    The eight-year-old was inspired by a school project.
     
    "They asked us to do something that would have an impact, and I saw a video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck in his nose," said Shay.
     
    "And I thought of how many plastic straws we use everyday."
     
    After talking to his mom about the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans and reflecting on the fact his Steveston community was a fishing village, he came up with a plan.
     
    Shay decided to contact local straw-using businesses, offering to come in and convince them to change their ways.
     
    When an email garnered little response, he headed out on foot, door-to-door.
     
    Six businesses took him up on his offer and he says he conquered his nerves and made them presentations which, he says, was made easier, because they were pretty receptive.
     
    "Lots of them stopped using straws or (decided) to use paper or corn instead of plastic," Shay said.
     
    Plastic waste is one of the pre-eminent threats to ocean life, according to the Ocean Wise Conservation Association, the umbrella organization that includes the Vancouver Aquarium.
     
    It says for example, turtles eat plastic bags believing the items are jellyfish, while albatross skim the ocean and pick up bits of brightly-coloured plastic that they feed to their chicks, at times killing them.
     
    'An 8-year-old came in here and completely schooled us'
    One of the businesses that invited Shay and his colourful poster board in, was Purpose Smoothie.
     
    "The way he presented it and how it fails to break down and how we are eating that and the stats he had — it leaves my mind blown," said owner Braedan Ralla.
     
    "An eight-year-year-old came in here and completely schooled us on how we should eliminate using plastic straws."
     
    Ralla was so blown away, he says he immediately asked Shay for some other options, since most of his customers want straws in their smoothies.
     
    He says Shay went away and a week later came back with the name of a manufacturer of compostable straws. Ralla put in an order right away.
     
    Down the block, Steveston Seafood House also made a switch. Owner Shane Dagan placed an order for corn-based straws the day after Shay spoke to him.
     
    "It is about two and a half times the cost, but in the scheme of things, it is not a big deal," Dagan said. "We are a seafood restaurant, so it makes good business sense for us."
     
    Meanwhile, the Catch Kitchen and Bar will only offer straws upon request as of June 1.
     
    "His presentation was just that good," said owner John Yacoub. "He is just an awesome little man and this is part of doing what we can for the environment."
     
    'This was a pretty big risk for him'
    Shay's mom, Shawna Soo, says doing presentations like this is a little out of character for him. "This was a big risk for him. He is a quiet guy," said Soo. "I think it gave him a lot of confidence."
     
    Ralla thinks Shay has a bright future. "The kid is so amazing, and I think the sky is the limit for this eight-year-old," Ralla said. "It is really inspiring for people to not only have an idea, but to take those action steps."
     
    Shay is hoping more businesses will be in touch to get presentations of their own.

    Category: School News, Achievement Content Image (field_content_image:delta): 1 Date: Friday, May 11, 2018 Feature Image:
  • Meadowridge Students Earn Top 25% of 5,888 Math Competitors

    January 25, 2018

    Back in November, Meadowridge School Grade 8 students embraced a major math challenge.  

    Read More Author: Meadowridge School Body:

    Back in November, Meadowridge School Grade 8 students embraced a major math challenge.
     
    Students wrote the Beaver Computing Challenge (BCC), a national event hosted by the University of Waterloo. This BCC tests students' knowledge in Math, while focusing on logical and computational thinking. (Try your hand at a past question here—the questions are tough.)
     
    We are proud to share that 12 of our Grade 8 students received a Certificate of Distinction, provided only to students who score in the top 25% of the competition. That's the top 25% of 5,888 competitors!
     
    Congratulations to our Math Challengers!

    Category: Achievement Content Image (field_content_image:delta): 0 Date: Thursday, January 25, 2018 Feature Image:
  • We're ADDING Room for the Future! Three have now become one

    February 16, 2018

    Three separate buildings have now become one continuous school.   Stratford Hall is pleased to announce that it has acquired the property at 3030-3038 Commercial Drive, expanding its footprint along Commercial Drive.    

    Read More Author: Isabel Sankaran-Wee, Director of Advancement Body:

    Three separate buildings have now become one continuous school.
     
    Stratford Hall is pleased to announce that it has acquired the property at 3030-3038 Commercial Drive, expanding its footprint along Commercial Drive.  
     
    Since its founding in 2000, Stratford Hall has grown steadily in response to rising demand for its outstanding IB programs. As such, the school has to ensure that facilities and infrastructure match its extraordinary programs. The purchase of this 9,000 square foot building will give Stratford Hall a combined footprint of 86,500 square feet of space for the whole school, stretching from the distinctive yellow ‘Diploma’ building on Commercial Drive and 14th Ave to the distinctive blue ‘Middle Years Program’ building on Commercial Drive and 15th Ave.
     
    Dr. Sue Groesbeck, Head of School, Interim, is thrilled: "This is a very exciting opportunity for the entire Stratford Hall community.  We will analyse our whole campus which now incorporates two full city blocks to plan out the future of Stratford's long term vision."

    Category: Achievement Content Image (field_content_image:delta): 0 Date: Friday, February 16, 2018 Feature Image:
  • ISABC Speech Competition - Grade 6/7

    May 4, 2017

    On Friday, April 21st, 12 Lower Mainland ISABC schools came together to support grade 6 and 7 public speakers compete at the 2017 ISABC Public Speaking Competition at St. George’s Junior School. There was an exciting and impressive variety of speeches on the theme of “Canada 150”.

    Read More Author: Body:

    On Friday, April 21st, 12 Lower Mainland ISABC schools came together to support grade 6 and 7 public speakers compete at the 2017 ISABC Public Speaking Competition at St. George’s Junior School. There was an exciting and impressive variety of speeches on the theme of “Canada 150”. It was an eventful day, and judges, teachers, parents and competitors alike, commented on how impressive and powerful the speeches were.
     
    Congratulations to all of the competitors and thank you to all of the teachers, parents and students for participating!
     
    Please see the results in both grades below:
     
    Grade 6:
    1st Place: Joesh Khunkhun, St. George’s Junior School
    2nd Place (tie): Arman Kassam, Stratford Hall and Zachary Lo, St. George’s Junior School
    3rd Place: Ella Johnston, York House
     
    Grade 7:
    1st Place: Meekah Danji, Mulgrave School
    2nd Place: Rafeeq Kassam-Jiwani, West Point Grey Academy
    3rd Place: Kaari Urbanek, York House
     
    Two schools tied for overall points for grade 6 and 7: Stratford Hall and St. George’s Junior School

    Category: Achievement Content Image (field_content_image:delta): 0 Date: Thursday, May 4, 2017 Feature Image: