At Long Last, Finished

Each September marks the beginning of what, in our craft, becomes a mad rush to the end. Everything in a school like ours, because our students are involved in so many different activities and opportunities, seems to happen all at once and usually at breakneck speed too.

The start of each school year is universally associated with new beginnings and the prospect of a bright and limitless future.  It is a time when hopes run high and expectations even higher.  But it is also a great harbourer of the past, of tradition, of all things familiar, and the importance of memories shared with a community of people that already are, or who one day will become near and dear to us.  Ultimately, the start of the cycle of the new school year and the excitement that it brings is something that unites us all – young and old – for almost every person we know has been a part of this incredible end of summer rite of passage at some point in their life. It is part of the generational ties that bind.

Well… the end of June is here, and although it is completely irrational to think that time goes any quicker or slower from one day/month/year to the next, it does not stop me thinking that it does.  It is as though we have barely blinked and the school year has somehow vanished into ether.

I have shared with you in previous newsletters that the whirlwind of activities that occur both inside and outside of classrooms each day provides moments of magic that make the vocation of teaching and learning as rewarding as any other that exists.  As a school community, we have been blessed to be able to share many of those types of moments with your daughters and sons throughout the past 10 months – both individually and collectively.  We sincerely hope that many of our students have met or exceeded many of the personal goals that they set for themselves back in September.  For those goals that remain unfinished… and that is bound to happen for all of us… please know that we always have the opportunity to re-calibrate our compass and add them to our start-up checklist next year.

There is likely a good deal of introspection and reflection happening over the next few months for our Grads of 2019, our 56th Graduating Class, as they begin to contemplate life beyond STMC.  On behalf of our entire school community, I would like to wish each of our graduates the absolute very best as they move onto the next stage in their life.  May God keep you and guide you always… and may your hopes and dreams be forever within your grasp.

Lastly, the effort that our students have put into their studies, academically and athletically, this past year is unbelievably commendable.  Hard work has produced great results and we are proud of your accomplishments this past year.

Blessings to all!

Steve Garland – Principal, STMC

School-Year Homestretch

Though we are very conscious that we still have exactly four full weeks of classes to go before school-based final exams start, we actually have “miles to go”, as American poet Robert Frost said.  There are still a myriad of quizzes, test, assignments, and projects that still need to be completed before the last full-day of classes on June 11th, 2019.  Students on the cusp of one letter grade to the next have everything to work for over the course on the next month or so.

Many of our faculty have already begun to share Final Exam Review packages with their students.  If they have not done so already they will be shortly.  We will be encouraging students to begin carving out time in their schedules now in order to begin their review process for any examinable course they might have.  The full June Exam Schedule for our Grade 8-12’s was emailed to students and families on May 23rd, 2019 and is available here.

Should you have any questions regarding your daughter/son’s standing in any particular class, we ask that parents speak directly to their classroom teacher(s).  Our faculty are always the best source for information and they will be happy to answer your questions.

Lastly, I would like to wish each of our students the absolute very best as they move into the homestretch.  The effort that they have put into their studies to this point in time is commendable.  Hard work produces great results and I am confident that each one of them will finish this current school year on a high note.

Yours in Christ,
Steve Garland

Mother’s Day

A Jewish proverb rightly affirms what most of us have experienced: “A mother understands what a child does not say”. They can hear sentences in the silence of their children. God has given mothers the special gift of intuition because it gives her a strong sense of what is right for her children, what they are good at, how they may excel in the future and what gifts and abilities she needs to make sure are developed in their lives as God intended.

Author T.D. Jakes in his book, “Mother Made the Difference”, provides several roles that mothers generally perform that shape the life of a child to become a contributing member of the society.

Mothers are timeless teachers in the classroom of life. Mothers remain some of our most powerful teachers in the hands-on laboratory of everyday living. Of all their many attributes…all that comes down to is the heart – a mother’s heart. It has everything to do with the tenderness and toughness, the compassion and conscientiousness of the heart. There is nothing quite as comforting as having our mother’s arm wrapped around us when we are sad, lonely, hurt or afraid.

Mothers teach us to believe in God. Mothers teach us the value of God’s word through their lives, personal prayer life and dependence on God’s strength and wisdom.

Mothers teach us to have confidence and belief in ourselves. Mothers know from experience how important it is for people to believe in themselves in order for children to be whole, strong and grow with a healthy estimation of oneself. One way of parents to breed confidence in a child is to affirm and sharpen his/her thinking. A healthy sense of self-confidence can result in a person to achieve more and celebrate more. A mother’s lessons in life gives us the space to believe in oneself, as there is no limit to greatness one can attain or the great things you can accomplish.

Mothers teach us to pray. Prayer is taught by example. It is lived… and it is a legacy that is passed on to our children. A woman who can talk to God and hear from Him is a force of strengths and beauty like no other.

There is an old Spanish saying – “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of priest”. A mother’s prayers are a priceless gift, a real treasure, an earnest heartfelt force of power. If you have a mother who prays for you, you are indeed truly blessed.

Mothers teach us to live out our legacy. Scripture is certainly consistent about reminding us that we will reap what we sow, and for many of us, our mothers – the greatest women in our lives sowed beautiful seeds of truth, wisdom, joy and peace, a spiritual harvest that is now bearing fruit in us and our children. Mothers have always made a difference and will continue to do so.

Mothers have often shaped our world from the cradle by rocking, nurturing and instructing children who grow up to make life changing and history making accomplishments. For every priest, politician, volunteer worker, employee, fashionista, technician, community worker, doctor, caregiver among others, there is a mother behind them who fostered her child to reach his/her full potential.

As we honour our mothers this month, we are reminded of Mary, the Mother of God. We gather a faith and learning community today to give special recognition and thanks to the important women in our lives.

Why Do We Give Up Things for Lent?

Just as we set aside time to spiritually prepare for Christmas Day, it makes sense to set aside time to prepare for the two most important days of the Christian year. Unlike New Year’s, Halloween, Valentine’s Day and many of the other “holidays” that are celebrated by the secular, non-religious world, the Lenten season is more truly observed by dedicated religious believers.  More specifically, for us as Christians it marks the 40-day period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. In our conscious recognition of this season, we try humbly to imitate Christ’s 40-day fast in the wilderness and acknowledge the sacrifice that he made for us by his dying on the cross.

Like Advent, Lent is a time to open the doors of our hearts a little wider and understand our Lord a little deeper, so that when Good Friday and eventually Easter comes, it is not just another day at church but an opportunity to receive the overflowing of graces God has to offer.

Lent is also an opportunity to contemplate what our Lord really did for us on the Cross – his sacrifice was significant. But ultimately, the purpose of Lent does not stop at sadness and despair – it points us to the hope of the Resurrection and the day when every tear will be dried.

Having grown up in the traditions of the Church, we are all taught that Lent is a special time of prayer, penance, sacrifice and good works in preparation of the celebration to come on Easter morning. We are also taught that Lent is a period of time where we are called upon to give something up.   Like many of you, each year I try to find different and creative ways to make Lent a memorable one.  It is more than just giving up something you will simply return to at the end of 40 days.  During this time, we are called to grow deeper in our relationship with God and become ever closer with Him in our earthly pilgrimage… to seek justicelove kindness… and walk humbly with our Lord.

Many people make a Lenten promise to add something to their lives during this season. This can be done in conjunction with or in place of giving something up – and is another great way to remind ourselves of the importance of Lent. Maybe it is a commitment to saying a daily Rosary, doing a Lenten devotional, or choosing to do something within our STMC community as an individual or with your family for the poor, the elderly, or the ill.

Whatever this promise is, it begins by solemnly marking our foreheads with ashes of the palms left over from the previous Palm Sunday.


Mr. Steve Garland

STMC Principal

Official Start of the Second Half of School


When classes began last Friday morning (February 1, 2019) we officially started the second half of our school year. Though fully ensconced in the present, we are now also at that point where we are keeping an eye towards our planning for next year. For our Grade 12s this involves the finishing touches on their applications to post-secondary schools and making some difficult yet exciting choices for their life ‘beyond STMC’ next fall. For our Grade 8s-11s, the focus over the next month or so will be on the Re-Registration and the Course Selection processes for 2019-2020. Both of these items will happen prior to Spring Break. ​

Course Selections for 2019-2020 will again be done online via PowerSchool. It is also the second time that our Re-Registration process will be done completely online by families. Details for both will be coming to you soon. To ensure that your daughter/son’s placement is secured for 2019-2020, Re-Registrations must be finalized by March 4, 2019.

In order to assist students and families with Course Selection and to examine how the courses they select might influence their Graduation Program and Post-Secondary pathways, we will be hosting two separate information evenings for our STMC parents later this month.

Junior School Course Selection Meeting

When: Tuesday, February 19 @ 6:30-7:30pm

Where: STMC Cafeteria

This session will be tailored specifically for our current students moving from Grade 8 into 9 and Grade 9 into 10.

Senior School Course Selection Meeting

When: Thursday, February 21 @ 6:30-7:30pm

Where: STMC Cafeteria

This session will be tailored specifically for our current students moving from Grade 10 into 11 and from Grade 11 into 12. Specific focus on the New 2018 Graduation Program, as well as the changes to both UBC’s & SFU’s Admissions Requirements.

We will try to keep these sessions as concise as possible and to also leave a sufficient amount of time for individual questions.



Mr. Steve Garland

STMC Principal

Grade 8’s and Junior Boys Basketball Teams Emerge Victorious

On Saturday, January 19, the Grade 8 Boys basketball team competed in the Maple Ridge Basketball Tournament finals after winning their first two games. The Knights got off to a hot start over the Maple Ridge Ramblers in the first quarter and headed into the second quarter perhaps a tad overconfident. This proved to be the case as the Ramblers stayed right there in the game, refusing to let the lead get any bigger and even shortened it in the 3rd and final quarters like a game of tug-o-war. In the end, the Knights gathered themselves and finished strong by a score of 49-33.

Back in Burnaby, the Junior boys basketball team were in the midst of their own tournament, STMC’s very own Chancellor Basketball Tournament. Having defeated Centennial in the semi-finals, one of the top teams in the province, the Knights faced off against Heritage Woods in the finals. Like the Grade 8 boys, the Knights started off fast and strong. While there was much more of a push and pull for the Grade 8 boys, the Junior team held their lead from beginning to end, winning 50-40.

The Junior girls also played in the Chancellor Basketball Tournament, falling to the eventual champions Argyle Pipers 32-40 during semi-finals. This put them in a very respectable 3rd place. Overall, this past weekend was quite successful on the court, and one that showed the grit and spirit of what it means to be a STMC Knight.

st thomas more collegiate principal

New Principal Announcement

Following an extensive search, the search committee and the board are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Stephen Garland as the next principal of STMC.
The STMC community is incredibly grateful to outgoing principal Mr. Michel DesLauriers for all his dedicated service. As a student, alumnus, alumni parent, teacher, coach, vice-principal, and principal, Mr. DesLauriers has been an integral part of the STMC community for more than four decades. Mr. DesLauriers is admired for his living example of his Catholic faith and his commitment to the Essential Elements of an Edmund Rice Christian Brothers Education, and we wish him the very best in his future endeavours.

Incoming principal Mr. Garland is an exceptional 21st century pedagogical and relational leader who will inspire the STMC community and who will support our vision that students make a positive contribution to the Earth and its people. He possesses a strong sense of personal integrity and professional ethics grounded in the moral purpose of education.

Mr. Garland has a Masters of Education, Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts (History) from the University of British Columbia. Joining STMC from Collingwood School where he is the current Dean of Academics and chair of the Academic Council, Mr. Garland has more than 15 years experience as principal and vice-principal in the North Vancouver and Coquitlam public school districts at Carson Graham, Balmoral and Centennial. He has coached soccer and basketball throughout his teaching career.

Mr. Garland is poised and ready to lead St. Thomas More Collegiate’s senior educational leadership team working to implement strategies and initiatives that are supportive of the school’s mission, vision, and values. As a faith-filled Catholic, he will continue the great work of so many before him who have been inspired by the example of Blessed Edmund Rice. He will be commencing his role as principal on August 1. The last time Mr. Garland had visited STMC, he was a Grade 12 student from Kitsilano Secondary School and was playing in STMC’s Chancellor Tournament.

Please join us in welcoming Mr. Garland and his family to the STMC family. We know everyone will be anxious to meet and get to know him. In the fall, we will be organizing opportunities for members of the extended STMC community to gather and welcome him.

Lastly, we would like to thank all the members of the selection committee who put in a great deal of effort to ensure we found the right person for the job.

Live, Jesus, in our hearts … forever.

Mrs. Neysa Finnie