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Time to walk the dog

As parents, what can we do to help? We can give structure, model good behaviour, and offer a listening ear. We can build confidence, pay attention, and try to relieve pressure. We can promote good sleep, provide a balanced diet, and support exercise.
I also recommend the power of pets in providing a calm atmosphere. Children who may not wish to talk to an adult can instead spend time with their animals and unburden themselves while enjoying fresh air at the same time. Before our daughters were born, Sally and I were house parents in a boys’ boarding school where our dog Izzy proved to be a wonderful friend to the boarding students. Piper the puppy is the newest addition to the Keefe family; she offers our girls only acceptance and unconditional love.
Evidence shows that dogs in schools can help relieve anxiety, calm fears, and teach skills. As part of the School’s program on mental wellness, the Student Services Department offers a therapy dog, Uno. Therapy dogs can enhance psychological development, increase self-esteem, and improve social skills. Uno visits the Counselling Centre and outdoor spaces on campus during designated times. He even made it along to EagleFest and Kendra’s Walk last week! A variety of activities are available such as individual counselling and stress reduction, playing, walking, grooming, and petting. For more information, please contact Ms. Penny Roadley, one of our School Counsellors, at proadley@sjr.mb.ca.
An added pressure for our Grade 12 students is the knowledge that their time at SJR is ending and their school days will soon be behind them. These last few weeks of the academic year will be their last time together; this can feel scary and exciting (and everything in between). The Class of 2019 is showing the maturity and responsibility I expect from them, and I hope they cherish every remaining moment.
I will finish now. It is time to walk the dog.
Jim Keefe
Head of School
St. John’s-Ravenscourt School was founded in 1820 principally to serve the children of the Selkirk settlers. By 1834 there were forty students, evenly split between boys and girls. SJR has inevitably grown and changed over the years since, though its success throughout has been unimpeachable. We have graduated 18 Rhodes scholars, for example, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted patronage and established a scholarship in her name in 1981. Today the programs are as strong as our reputation. A strong academic program is paired with an equally strong attention to the values of stewardship, ethical leadership, and excellence in all areas of academic, social and athletic life.