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Dear Boundless Families:

The end of the beginning is nigh, and this place’s striking beauty has a hypnotic effect on your kids.

Which is not to say they aren’t loud. Decibel levels increase hourly. Sometimes I feel like the crusty grandpa bellowing, “dang those young-uns, can’t you quiet down?”

Indeed, this afternoon I was in an accosting mood, and set upon verbally harassing teens all over the place.

My first targets were the 4uers.

I approach them while they are working in quads at different picnic tables on some assignment that is their excuse for being here. The first table has three smart alecks, loosely supervised by Fred, a U.K. teacher here who joined us, deflated, one year ago. He was rejected in his Game of Thrones audition – all 6 feet, one million inches of him, he is shielded from evil by his voluminous and poorly managed mane of blonde superhero hair.

I apologize to the kids straight off, and, referring to Fred, I jest,

“I must say how sorry I am that you guys have to work with someone from the U.K.”

At first, the three do a double take. Who is this old guy? But one quickly chimes in,

“I need counselling”.

Banter was born. I lean in, and ask in a contrived voice of earnestness,

“Give it to me straight fellas. The good and the bad. How is this place?”

Another blonde lad (forgive me I am hopeless with names sometimes) complains,

“The grilled cheese is too cold”. He has his Mona Lisa gaze going on.

I respond, “So sorry. I’ll bring in a team of social workers. Will you be needing counselling?”

As if on cue, Shannon, their group leader, who happens to be a bona fide social worker, moseys on up to the table, wondering what the hell is going on.

I keep at it,

“Guys, any alpha male bullshit in your group?”

They, in unison, point to Fred, and start giggling.

“What about girl drama?” Of course, there are three female students being drawn into the moment like Ottawa Valley moths to a flame. They are keenly awaiting the boys’ response.

The boys duck the answer suggesting they are preciously wise. So I put it to the three of the gals directly. It appears Hope is the most assertive, so she declares on their behalf,

“Pretty good actually”. She says this as a matter of fact. Not much bounce in the response, which makes me trust it more.

Parents of 4uers, your kids are so golden right now.  Cubed root of a thousand out of ten (I do wish we would teach math in the summertime).

On to O.E.. They left this morning for a one night river expedition, a primer for crux of their upcoming journey – a 6-day descent of the Dumoine River in Quebec.

Of the three group,s this one looks the most like the characters in the 1976 Star Wars bar scene – not in appearance, but in utter quirkiness. Parents should never admit favourites, but between you, me and the cedar tree, I harbour my strongest affection for O.E.

When you have a cast of eclectics such as in O.E., it’s like when Forrest Gump says, referring to a box a chocolates, “you never know whatcha gonna get”.

No doubt divinity smiled upon us, for this O.E. group is magnificent. Connected. Supporting each other. The division between teacher and student is slowly and surely melting away. They are a true tribe. I know there are a few parents of kids in this class who came into this whole experience nervous for their boys. I assure these three couples your kids are just owning this camp. Rest easy. Like, seriously. Your’e in the clear.

The mixed english class simply can’t get over the fact that they are enjoying learning so much.

I burst into their class this morning, fully intending on disrupting them. But this time I had a weapon. Seriously, I picked up an injured Finch, placed the birdie num num on my shoulder, it stayed motionless, and tromped into their land of literacy.

The students’ oohs and aahs screwed with their flow of the lesson at hand – my mission accomplished.

This story is quite true by the way. The kids were so incredulous. One innocently blurted out,

“You are a white wizard”

I can assure parents that I am not a KKK member. Three kids split their gut laughing.

Aaron’s veterinary instincts kicked in, and he taught the class that one should never pat a bird because it causes severe avian stress.

I failed to hire an avian social worker. Sheesh.

He correctly surmised the bird concussed itself by slamming into a window. Aaron magically saw the bird back to health. A few kids got a brief cognitive vacation.

That class is the cubed root of 729, plus .45

QUICK, IMPROMPTU TRIVIA CONTEST FOR PARENTS ONLY

What are birdie num nums? The first to name the movie its quoted from wins a coveted Boundless hat. Response by email only.

googling is totally cheating. We are watching.

Have a wonderful evening

Steven