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Principal's Message

Welcome to Semester 2

​  Dear Abe,
As we begin Semester 2, I would like to congratulate you on your successful completion of the first semester! Grade 10s, you have now experienced how quickly a semester goes by and how to better manage your time to balance the demands of high school. Grade 11s, you started the year feeling confident that you “know the ropes” and could hit the ground running but the pressure of gaining early admission to a coveted post-secondary is very real. Grade 12s, you’re writing your Common App essays and have just finished your first round of stressful diploma exams. No matter which grade you are in, the pressure to achieve success can be overwhelming.
Perhaps the greatest challenge this past semester has not been learning how to solve a quadratic equation or how to write a compelling essay or defensible lab report. For many, the greatest challenge has been achieving some semblance of balance and this is the most important lesson of all – both in school and in life. Many believe that those who are most determined, work the hardest, and persevere through life’s challenges are the ones who succeed. Recent research in the field of resiliency actually refutes this thinking. When it comes to resiliency – the ability to bounce back in the face of challenges or adversity – the support we get matters as much, or more, than our individual ability to “tough it out.”
Dr. Michael Ungar of Dalhousie University’s School of Social Work and head of the Resilience Research Centre says, “The person who relies on them self only succeeds if they have very few challenges. When the odds are stacked against us, the people who do best are those with the most supports.” In his book, Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success, Dr. Ungar explains why “self-help” or “pulling oneself up by the bootstraps” often fails and the research behind what really works.
Dr. Ungar’s research indicates that “those who thrive do so largely because of their environment and the resources they have been able to access” and that “resourced individuals tend to do far better than rugged individuals.” In other words, personal characteristics such as grit, determination and perseverance can only take us so far. Dr. Ungar emphasizes that the “environment around us and the resources we’ve been given play a huge role in whether or not we’re successful. Grit and individual motivation is one thing, but it’s not usually enough to create change. You need an environment that makes it possible for you to change and grow.” In other words, “resilience depends more on what we receive than what we have.” We should never feel uncomfortable or ashamed to seek help from others or to access available resources.
At Abe, we are committed to creating a learning environment that is supportive of your individual needs and we don’t just want our students to survive but to thrive! The science of resilience emphasizes the importance of “external factors and opportunities that spark change, not some kind of internal fortitude.” There are many supports available to you at Abe – a.m. tutorials, flex block, Friday school, counseling, wellness supports (check out our new Zen Dens), caring and responsive adults and mentors, QSA, engaging clubs and extracurricular activities. I encourage you to access these resources and use them to your advantage. However, if there is something missing, I challenge you to let us know what you need.
Rather than trying to find the inner strength to endure the challenges you experience, Dr. Ungar says to “alter the world around you so it is more supportive of your needs.” I believe that when students and adults work together to create a supportive learning community, we will shift our school culture in a way that 
 drastically improves the quality of life and well-being of both students and  staff.   How great would it be if everyone were to take ownership of making our school  community a more supportive place where everyone can access the resources they need to thrive? Friday, February 7 is our first “OrAnge Time” in Semester 2. At that time, you will have the opportunity to take an anonymous survey where you may indicate what else you need to thrive at Abe. If you have a “spare” during Period 4, you may take the survey in the Learning Commons. I also invite you to share your ideas through conversation. You are always welcome to drop by the office to see me and let me know how we can strengthen the services and supports you need to succeed.
Wishing you a well and successful semester! 
Ms. A-J   Principal
 
Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success is available from Sutherland House Press at sutherlandhousebooks.com
References taken from DalMagazine, Fall 2019. You Can’t Make it Alone. Dr. Michael Ungar on the surprising truth about resilience by Dawn Morrison with files from Colleen MacDonald and Sutherland House.​

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William Aberhart High School

3009 Morley Trail NW Calgary, AB, T2M 4G9
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School Contacts

Principal
Ms Tamie Annis-Johnson
Assistant Principal
Mr Sebastien Fournier
Assistant Principal
Mr Mike Scott
Assistant Principal
Mr Oscar Steel
Education Director
Ms Chris Meaden

School Information

Grades
10-12
Enrolment
1429
Programs
Advanced Placement (AP) Dual Credit Early French Immersion Late French Immersion Off-Campus Work Experience Regular Spanish Bilingual
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School Hours

Morning Start
9:03 AM
Dismissal
3:24 PM
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