Saying goodbye.

This time of the year is full of excitement. The boys can look back upon the successes of the year with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Each boy has been involved in many areas of school life and fully embraced life in Barnacle House. Indeed, there is much to celebrate.

For many of us the end of the year is bittersweet as we have to say goodbye to friends that we won’t see for some weeks, or longer in the case of those that are not returning or are graduating. This year we say goodbye to many wonderful young men. To each of you, we hope that you can bring the lessons learned here at SMUS with you and continue your growth. We wish that you will return to visit and you will always be welcome to return to Barnacle.

To our graduates, I am so grateful to know you. You have been the lifeblood of Barnacle house for a collective 29 years! We will miss you tremendously. To the Grade 12s, we wish you a world of success, happiness, love, and good fortune. We also wish you a life full of surprises that challenge you in just the right ways, that push you to find your true self, your deep passions, and to go beyond what you think you are capable of. You are an extremely talented group of young men poised to do great things. So don’t hold back!

Of course, it won’t be easy and there is a life of learning, turbulence and change ahead. Remember the lessons that you learned when you first arrived at SMUS. Remember the lessons that you learned this past September when welcoming new people to this community. Be patient with yourself as these transitions take time. It takes time to make new friends. It takes time to learn about a new city, a new school and your new life. As you shed your old skins and grow into your new selves also remember that we are always just a phone call, a skype call, a text or an email away.

Welcome to the world of SMUS Alumni! As your graduation year ends in an 8 and mine ends in a 3, we will forever be linked to the major celebrations which occur every 5 years or so. For instance, your 25th reunion will be my 50th!

Finally, to those returning next year, enjoy your summers! We will miss you and wish you a summer of fun, relaxation and new adventures. See you in September!

Images below (Top left: this year’s Barnacle House Outstanding Citizens – Gr. 8 Eric Xiong, Gr. 10 Mark Finamore, Gr. 11 Rashid al Abri, Gr. 12 Sean Finamore, Top right:  Virtuoso Award – Boris Li, Bottom Left: Jock Award – Duc Khuong, Right side: Barnacle Graduates – Hank, George, Yingnuo, Kelvin, Duc, Peter, Charles, Mark and Sean, Bottom Right: the Future – our grade 8 graduates Joshua, Emilio, Eric (Louis too!)


House Olympics

The final house games of the year was this past Sunday, which seems hard to believe!  By all accounts nobody could remember the last time there was a rainy day during the House Olympics, and this year was no different.  Much was at stake, the house cup could potentially still be won by Barnacle House with a very strong showing.  It would take a bit of luck and some competitive spirit.

The House Olympics features 6 different minor games, in which each house competes to earn a maximum of 30 points at each station.  These games are an opportunity to catch up to the houses in the lead, as more points are awarded during these games then any other.  This was a good thing for the Barnacle boys, as we trailed both Harvey and Bolton house in the cup standings.

The boys gave it their all, and enjoyed the experience regardless of the outcome.  In fact, when all points were tallied, Barnacle House was on top of the house Olympics!  However, despite a very impressive effort, the gains made on the day were not enough to catch Bolton House, who hoisted the house cup for the second year in a row.

Here are some incredible shots of the day:



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.