Grade 11 Leadership Day

This past Saturday all of the grade 11’s in Barnacle house spent time together with the aim of uniting the group, and having the boys consider what leadership roles they would like to take on in the house next year.  It was the first time that house parents worked with the group to formally begin the process of looking ahead to the next school year, and having the boys see themselves guiding the direction of the house.

The day began with some fun and challenge.  The boys paid a visit to a local indoor climbing gym to test out their strength and push their physical limits- as well as their comfort zones.  They had a great time and cheered each other up the walls.  To a boy, each loved the experience, and many are looking forward to returning at some point soon.

After lunch, the group went to Mt. Tolmie where they spent some time in solitude considering what special skills they are bringing to the leadership team next year, as well as what qualities they have appreciated about past leaders they had in the house.  After 45 minutes of time to journal alone and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, we came back together to share out what each had written.

We returned to the school chapel to give each boy an opportunity to speak and share their thoughts.  It was a supportive environment, and every grade 11 spoke with passion and detail about past leaders in Barnacle House who supported and welcomed them when they arrived to SMUS.  There were many touching moments, and the house parents enjoyed hearing these stories.

It was a fantastic day, and we look forward to each of the boys developing their leadership skills as we look ahead to the next school year.



The Boulder House Logo


Getting some brief instruction 


Tristan getting after it on the steep wall.


Senior House Parent Mat Geddes showing some strength.


The group getting behind Tristan


Almost getting to the top.


Deon showing some skills. 



Rashid getting some pointers as Alex cruises up. 




Looks good!


Solo time.



House Bowling Activity

This past Saturday the entire house went down to the local bowling alley for some excitement at the lanes.  With many of the boys having little to no bowling experience, there was a broad range in the number of pins knocked down…with many balls ending up in the gutter.  However, the aim of the day was to simply have fun as a group and spend some time away from campus trying something new.

In the end, six of the boys in the house broke the 100 barrier to join the “century club”, receiving a small prize and a huge round of applause on the bus home.  However, nobody could beat Barnacle senior house parent Mat Geddes, who strung together a series of strikes and spares to put together a score of 170 to top all bowlers.



Kenzo using the heaviest ball on offer at Langford Lanes.


Alex getting low on the release.


The boys…looking colour coordinated!


Ken forgetting to keep and eye on the pins.


Charles ended up as one of the members of the “century club” after this round.


A packed house.


Blake lines them up…


…and knocks ’em down.


Bowling champ Geddes gets ready to take care of business.


Grade 11 student, Spencer getting ready to launch.


Tracking nicely.


William with some nice form.

Saturday activities

Every Saturday there are a wide range of activities on and off-campus that our students can sign-up for. Here are some pictures from yesterday’s adventures (entry by Mr Henderson).



Eric, Joshua and Emilio enjoy the Victoria Royals in action in the Western Hockey League



Jonathan making ice cream by hand.



William and friends getting ready to set a crab trap.






Coldest Night of the Year

Michael (front row, second from left) taking part in Coldest Night of the Year, a fundraising activity for the Mustard Seed charity. The group raised awareness and donated $100 towards homeless action in Victoria. 



Barnacle House Dinner – Old Spaghetti Factory

Every couple of months the boys in the house head out downtown and enjoy and meal together away from the campus.  This is always a great opportunity to break up the school week, get their minds away from the school work and athletic commitments and just have a great time with each other.  Adding to the excitement of this house dinner, it was a combined meal with Winslow House, and all of the students dined together.

This was a fully student led dinner, with the Head of House, Kelvin Wong, organizing all of the details for the meal.  He chose the Old Spaghetti Factory, with its great location right near the inner harbour.

Here are a few photo’s captured from the night:



Harper, Theo and Malia eagerly await their pasta!


Leo, Ken and Frank enjoying some great conversation.


Charles, the lone man at the corner table. 


Yingnuo with a big smile. 


Kyle and Rodrigo, the grade 9 boys, with the window seat. 


A view of the upstairs of the Old Spaghetti Factory. 


Michael and Mark P. strike a pose. 


In the heart of the action!


Big smiles from this bunch. 


William and boys hamming it up. 


Xin, Lewis and Youssef did into their salad. 

Grade 10 Program – January Expeditions

All grade 10 students took part in their January expeditions this week, which had them out in the greater community in a wide range of offerings.  Expeditions are divide into 4 themes: Global Citizenship, Arts & Humanities, Career & Life Skills, Fitness & Wellness and throughout the year the students rotate through each theme, before ending the year with a week long “pursuit” trip in the area they are most interested in.

On Tuesday, student had options ranging from Photography to Rock Climbing, Sewing to Coffee Roasting, 3D modelling to Entrepreneurship…the list goes on.  This week, we have grade 10 student William Zhao, who has put together a photo essay of his expedition, Discovery Flight: an introduction to the world of aviation.  Along with a group of students, William had the opportunity to learn about the process of flight training, see the steps involved in earning a pilot licence…and, got the opportunity to fly a plane!


The following was written by Barnacle boy, William Zhao (Grade 10)



When I signed up for this expedition, I was most excited about learning the structure of the plane and compare it to the planes during the pacific war in WW2.  I was curious about their differences and their similarities etc.


The Cessna the group flew on the expedition.


I was most nervous about taking control of the plane.  In the past I have played lots of flying simulators, from type 95 to thunder jets, but I had never tried something like this…taking control of an actual plane!  When we were in the air, the pilot practiced rolling, diving, landing and takeoff and we got to take a turn controlling the plane when we were in the air. 


A view of SMUS from the flight over Victoria.


Today I learned about the symbols on the airfield and understand what they mean, like stopping and check or take off.  I also learned how to read the currents, turbulence and how to avoid areas of rough air,I watched the pilot and his action during landing, take off and switch zones.


Sidney Island.


The most important thing I’ve learned is the age limitation of taking a pilot license,that a private pilot license need to be at the age of 17,and commercial license need to be at the age of 18 and fly more than 400 hours.


The thing I enjoyed the most, was the feeling of flying in the turbulent areas; I enjoyed being bounced around!  I will look at planes with a new appreciation when I fly home on spring break.


“Catch Me If You Can”: Barnacle House Takes a Lead Role

Occasionally we have boys in the house contribute to the blog, this post was written by grade 9 student Youssef El Mays.



Many Barnacle boys are involved in this year’s musical. We have several boys who take part in the pit orchestra. As well as two leads and one chorus. This years’ SMUS musical production, Catch Me If You Can, is about a boy who becomes a con artist. He steals millions of dollars from banks and other companies.  It promises to be a compelling story for all audiences!

Until now, the rehearsals are for tweaking small mistakes into perfection. This Saturday, we are having a full run of act two. So far, it is a pleasant and fulfilling experience where uncharted talents are unearthed. Be sure to come and watch, it is being performed from March 1-3rd at the McPhersons Playhouse.

Tickets can be bought online at or at the McPherson’s box office.

 Here’s a list of Barnacle boys involved:

  • Mark Finamore
  • Boris Li
  • Lucas Pretti
  • Youssef El Mays
  • Spencer Dearborn
  • Deon Lam
  • Alex Menun
  • Wilson Ye

Barnacle Service Activity – Woodwynn Farms

Throughout the year the boys in the house take part in several service activities in the community.  For the past years the boys have helped to clear invasive plant species from Mt. Tolmie, within walking distance from the SMUS campus.  This year we took on a new challenge: clearing blackberry bushes from Woodwynn Farm.  It was difficult work (…as the photos document!) which the boys did with great spirit and enthusiasm.

Here are some photos from the day:


Charles enjoying the work


Mark making friends



The group poses for the shot



Getting some barrow loads


Alex doing some heavy lifting


Duc with and arm load



Max posing for a shot



William not afraid of some hard work



Peter’s “boots”