Cooking Club is back with a Classic!

This past week, the YMCA Academy’s Cooking Club served up its first session of the school year. With so many changes to the classroom, schedule and our day-to-day lives, it is nice to have a familiar activity to turn to. That said, Cooking Club continues to run via video call with students preparing food from home.

For our first meeting we went with the simple, but beloved, classic – grilled cheese sandwiches. All of our chefs had their own take on grilled cheese. We had many types of bread and cheese represented, spicy versions filled with hot peppers and different dips (ketchup vs. BBQ sauce). We also learned a grilled cheese hack of using mayonnaise instead of butter – give it a try!

In-between the slicing and grilling, there was a lot of talk of summer breaks, but also how the school year has been going. With our adapted schedule, students only see their classmates in their cohort at school, so it is important to have these extra-curricular activities where students can socialize with more peers. It was a good turn out with mostly regulars, including a few alumni, but we had a new student join as well and we look forward to welcoming more in the coming weeks as the school year ramps up.

We’re Back!

Important Update Banner

As we approach the two week mark of this school year, we are monitoring Ontario COVID-19 case numbers and public health advice in order to ensure the successful continued operation of our program. At the same time, I am happy to report that the school year has begun with much positivity and enthusiasm. While the sanitization, distance and masking protocols are obvious, most of us seem to be operating in ways that are approaching the old normal! With our already small class sizes, the ability to separate high school class cohorts, and our design of keeping the high school cohorts separate from the middle school, we have created a sense of safety at the same time as being able to offer comprehensive educational support for all.

As we move forward, we are further developing our support of remote only learners. This will involve some changes to our in-school classes, as we make them virtually available to students who choose to learn from home. I will have more to share on this soon.

In the meantime, we continue to refine the safe, sustainable model of learning we have in place to support all of our learners.

Year-end Retrospective

Important Update Banner

Friday, March 6, 2020. The last day of school before March Break. While the signs of the pandemic were getting more ominous, few of us thought that we would not be in school until at least September. In these unprecedented times, we have asked a great deal of ourselves and others. We have shut down most businesses and services; we have isolated ourselves from all social relationships outside of immediate family; we have experienced fear and loss. Many of these restrictions are still in place as I write.

Simultaneously, we have seen, unmistakably, the signs of the continued mistreatment of racialized populations here and elsewhere. The continuing protests, the calls for justice and equal treatment under the law, have provoked many to consider what Dr. King said long ago — “justice delayed is justice denied”.

With protest and pandemic as a background, YMCA Academy has tried to provide our students and families with access to structure and support to keep their educational momentum going, to provide social opportunities for interaction with their peers, and to experience systems that are thoughtfully designed and considerate of their needs.

It is my hope that our students have learned that while some systems need change, some can be trusted to work towards their best interests. There is still refuge within structures designed and implemented for their care and support.

We hope we have provided such a refuge — a place for thoughtful discussion, impassioned expression, and positive social interactions.

We look forward to continuing this process in September.

Have a safe summer,

Don Adams
Head of School

Virtual Worlds: Building a Community Village


We have spent a week now with monsters roaming the realm, mostly outside the city gates and walls. There have been a few times where attempts to get inside the protective walls of the city occurred, but in all cases our villagers were successful in holding back any invasion from creatures. With the community acclimatizing to this new way of life, we moved onto our next communal project – Village Building.

We sat down this week to plan the specific structures we wanted to create in the ‘starter’ community village (this was the area we carved out a border for in the initial week of the simulation). Students brainstormed buildings, services, landmarks, and other elements that they wanted to see in the community village. We assigned a project leader to each item and that student was responsible for the planning, resource gathering and eventual building of the structure at the agreed upon location. We used an aerial view map to determine where we would like these buildings built.

Some of the building’s students came up with:

  • Market
  • Town Square / City Hall
  • Garden(s)
  • Harbour / Docks / Fishing Huts
  • Bridge (Linking the 2 sides of the river together)
  • Amphitheatre
  • Restaurant
  • Prison / Dungeon
  • Barracks / Training Grounds
  • Courthouse
  • Announcement / Billboard
  • Disposal Area / Waste Processing
  • Castle / Fort
  • Hotel
  • Bunker
  • Storage Warehouse

Students have been busy creating the structures so that the community village is well equipped to welcome new players with an assortment of services and amenities!

Everyone Gives a Kahoot about Drawsaurus


If it isn’t apparent by now, the trivia challenge is this club’s favourite game. Yet again, the group wanted to play several rounds of trivia on Kahoot. As always, we started off by challenging ourselves with weekly trivia from the past week’s current events, and then went on to play another three rounds testing our knowledge about diversity, flags, and desserts. Having appeased our trivia craving, we moved on to play another popular game, Drawsaurus which is a digital version of pictionary. Although we don’t play it as much as Kahoot, the group still enjoys guessing what each member is trying to draw.