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Congratulations to

Mrs. Susan Piffer & Mr. Serge Lajeunesse

on their retirement.

We wish them the best in all the years to come!


Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2014!

Below is the speech Mrs. Ann Tellier gave at the ceremony on Thursday, June 19th.


It is really fun to be back at Dorset this evening-thank you for welcoming me back. I want to start by first giving my apologies for seeing everything from a kindergarten perspective.                         

Twenty years here at Dorset in room K will do that.

Sorry too…(aside to grade 6’s)-apparently just like me you can't really leave Dorset…but I will explain.

All of you were in kindergarten for the school year 2007-2008-a.k.a. the year of the BIG snow! Some of you were here at Dorset and some of you started your academic careers in another school.

You are all here together now, at this place and at this time. However, you all took your first school steps into a kindergarten classroom. Your parents brought you to the bus stop or to the school doors that first day and they- let- you- go.                                                                       

Now, they have to let you go again into the world of “high school”.

It will not be easy for them. Be gentle.

It will not always be easy for you. Be strong.

Here at Dorset we do know you.

We know that you will be gentle and you will be strong.

We have seen it in all of you, whether you know it or believe it.

Sometimes it may have felt as if our expectations were too high-that was to make you reach.

Sometimes it may have felt as if we were unfair-that was to make you think and, even occasionally to challenge you to challenge us.

Sometimes it may have felt as if we didnt understand-that was to make you explain.

Sometimes, even now, it may feel as if the world is too big and you are small. Believe me you will grow in many ways! You will come back to Dorset one day and wonder why it seems so small…?

We can say to you then, “See, you did grow!”

Believe it or not for those of you who were in my kindergarten class I can remember each and everyone of you-frozen in time-at age five! For those of you who werent in my kindergarten class, believe it, out there somewhere theres a teacher or two who do indeed remember you. It may be one ‘snapshot’-when you had a ‘Eureka moment or zipped your jacket all by yourself, painted a beautiful picture, built a fantastic tower of blocks or wrote a word.

But you are all part of the Dorset community now and you “think” you will be leaving Dorset.

There are pictures of some of you on the kindergarten room door (which apparently cannot be replaced) and you are all displayed on the school wall in your grade 6 grad-photo montage. So now you see and understand why I said-you can never, ever quite leave Dorset.

Memories also keep you here. We teachers will remember you-although you will probably -physically -change a lot in the next few years and when you return on a Ped. day or we meet you some day while you are serving us “at the Apple store” you may need to remind us who-you-“were”.

For those parents who are sitting in the audience thinking “Phew. We are out of elementary school! Weve got them to the doors of the high school-our work is done! Woohoo!”

You- are- soooo - out - of - luck!

If you blink too fast you may end up thinking-‘Was that high school that just zipped by? Who is this adult standing in front of me asking for the car keys? Didn’t I just buckle him into a carseat? Or, who is this woman suggesting she move downtown with friends to be closer to Dawson College? Didn’t I just kill a spider in her room?’

But whoa-we’re-not-there-quite yet!

Do you see though? Do you get it?

You have lots more parenting work to do.

Note from experience…You have no idea how fast your own life will flash before your eyes when you sit as a passenger with your child learning to “drive”, on an actual road, with other cars!

There is a great word I really like. The word is serendipity-it means the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. When the Dorset students, who are now in grade 4, were in my kindergarten class I experienced a serendipity moment. I happened to hear someone use the words iPod and educational apps in the same sentence.                                

The rest is history and it became part of your history.

Those students in grade 4 will be participating next year in the 1:1 Cycle 3 iPad Program that you started! They are following in your successful footprints or ‘tap and swipe prints’! Together teachers, parents and, most importantly,             you-the students- started on a journey in this school and embraced a new technology, which serendip-itously expanded our teaching and extended all of our learning.

It really has been a journey of discovery and collaboration for us all.

It isn’t all about the technology though. As Mrs. Szollosy often says, “There has to be a balance.” At Dorset, teachers and students all have their passions. Throughout your years here many teachers have had a hand in this balancing act and shared their interests with you.

You care for our world through the Environment Club, care for others through the PeacePal Program, Free the Children and Foster Child. You care for your health and demonstrate sportsmanship through Intramurals and tournaments.

You share our school life through your reporting in the D2D, share your artistic talents on the school walls and on stage in memorable performances.

We are teachers and it gives us great pride to see so many of you demonstrating your mentoring skills in the iTutor program and other areas of school and ‘world’ life.

Balance and collaboration. It is part serendipity, but it comes also as a result of hard work and (as Ms. Figsby says) enthusiasm!

In preparation for this speaking engagement tonight I thought it might be an idea to “google” grad speeches and see if there were any tips I should know about. One suggestion was to make sure that at some point you told a story that was personal to your audience.

So I have a few of those ‘frozen in time memories of that kindergarten year and from recent times as well

I was not surprised when many of you embraced being iTutors because in kindergarten many of you loved 'playing school!'
Kayla especially liked to be the teacher and to be fair to the others (because in kindergarten we share, we share…everything)
I explained to her that she was going to have to take a 'sabbatical' and due to circumstance beyond her control (namely, moi) she could no longer be 'the only teacher'.
However, it wasn
t long before I heard ‘her teacher voice again dictating some new curriculum, so I took her aside and reminded her that she was on a leave of absence from teaching!

I quickly realized she may be on track for the law profession, because she explained to me that she wasn
t technically the teacher-she was in point of fact-the “student teacher”!
Point made and taken-but I retorted with “the operative word you just used there was-teacher!” 

Thats my career in a nutshell-arguing with 5 year olds! 

Another memory from that year was the politeness of so many of the kids. It seemed to come so naturally, but we all know theres a lot of hard work and reminding from the adults in your life. However, it is something that people remember and it makes a lasting impression. The famous American poet Maya Angelou once said-I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Politeness makes people feel valued.

That year Hunter and James asked each and everyday, toy by toy, if they could play with them.
Day 1 “Excuse me Mrs. Tellier may we play with the pirate ship.” Yes. “Excuse me Mrs. Tellier can James and I play with the blocks?” Yes.
“Excuse me Mrs. Tellier can Hunter and I play with the people?” Yes.

After a few weeks I explained to them that really all the toys were up for grabs for everyone to play with whenever it was playtime.

They nodded that they understood, then added, “Please Mrs. Tellier, can we play with the castle?” Yes-absolutely. 

That was my career in a nutshell…

not arguing with five year olds. 

Another politeness virtue we tried, as a staff to initiate at a junior end assembly, was the concept that when you saw someone in the hallways it was the polite thing to say ‘hello and ‘how are you? and that the appropriate response would then hopefully be ‘fine thanks and you? We practised and practiced and modelled.

Hunter, James and the whole gang really embraced those phrases and on a good day it could take quite some time to walk up the hallway.

To this day you can walk and greet most of those kids and
they will respond-‘fine thanks and you?
and best of all they genuinely mean it. 

One thing more, at this point I would like to personally thank Sam Houston for all the times I took his picture for school publicity photos.
Especially the one when I put you in the compost bin.

Our memories of these young people don’t end in kindergarten.

I have been so fortunate to consider the iTutors as new, young “colleagues”:-who mentored not just younger students but myself and other adults- certainly Kayla, Olivia B., Lucas L., Kalista, Jules, Kaitlyn M., Tristan, Isabel, Jemma, Megan, Natasha, Liv, Sam, Chloe and Connor.

Our PeacePals continue their essential work and they won the Pat Lewis Peace Prize again this year-just a few of these dedicated students are Isabel, Lara, Samantha, Natasha, Cassandra M.

Many students like Kyle, Megan, Cody, Isabel, Lucas, Gursagar, Palmer and Connor worked on special Free the Children events.

Last year we had a hockey player spelling contest and Jared, Sam, Tristan and other fans stepped up to centre ice and formed a committee to help organize it- “Can you spell Galchenyuk?” We also have our own polo pillow hockey superstars like Palmer and sports stars-Oliver, Dylan and Tyler.

This year many of these same students were our math Olympians along with Lara, Tyler, Hunter, Olivia and “Mr. Positive Attitude”-Tristan!

We have heard the passion of so many stories during Avey ‘l’art oratoire’ over the years from Kassandra B., Manny, Jules, Liv, Chloe…and so many more.

We have read the D2D intrepid news reports from Ashley, Jasmine, Luca D. and Kalista

I shared an awesome, unforgettable Snow Day experience at last year’s winter Outers Club trip with Gursagar, James, Caitlin H.K., and Hunter-I am sure they will always remember that challenge, their accomplishment and a special time together…

We witnessed dedication and caring from the monitors who were responsible for the kindergarten students at the end of each and every day. Do you have any idea how important you are to them? Monitors like Ben, Ricardo, Sheena, Jasmine, Connor and many more…

Dorset welcomed a new student, Noah, just recently, and I did hear he is extremely 'polite' and helpful and very quickly became a good friend to many.

Matthew and Jordan and Remi and Daniel find themselves as good friends as well and will no doubt support each other in high school.      They also put together some great space projects this past month.

Best of all we have been amazed as this cohort of students-Sarah, Lachlan, Jordan, Damon, Matthew, Lucas P-G, Isabel, Manny-all of the grade 6 students, your parents and most especially your teachers. You took on the challenge of being the first 1:1 iPad classes in this school board and now the first graduating classes.

 One of my favourite musings on kindergarten and school life is by Robert Fulghum- apologies now to him with my adaptation:

Everything I Need to Know I Learned at Dorset School!

Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do, and how to be, I experienced here.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Choose kind.

Put things back where you found them.

Close down your apps and update to the latest iOS.

Clean up your own mess.

Leave only a positive digital footprint.

Don't take things that aren't yours.

Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat. Flush.

Protect your passwords.

Back up your files-twice!

 Bake sales are great!

Little kids love a Peace Bear.

Performing in a school play or show can be the best thing ever.

Live a balanced life. Family, school, sports, friends.

Communication is important: pictures and videos, reporting on a school paper and public speaking are the ways to reach people.

Explain Everything explains a lot!

Learn some and think some. Draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day.

Open Garageband, you will make music!

Take a nap or think about taking a nap every afternoon, especially if you have a test the next day.

Power down! Push yourself away from the tech table. Take a walk. Breathe!

When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together. Be a good digital citizen.

Be aware of wonder.

And then remember the first books you ever read and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK. The new digital phrase is LOOK—THE WORLD IS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS.

Just tap, expand, imagine, CREATE!

Think what a better world it would be if all the people, in this whole world, had recess every day at 10:45 with Peace Pals looking out for them and if everyone could experience Open Door!

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together…

-especially if your job for 180 school days is to be a grade six kindergarten bus monitor! Don’t let go!

Congratulations Dorset Grads and parents-You’re not really leaving… because we never say good-bye at Dorset.

We say we really liked knowing you, we appreciate you and we hope to see you again some time.

Take care of yourselves and…each other!

Remember the help buttons are here (point to head) and here! (Point to heart)   Thank you!





to the Dorset Peace Pals

who won the

Lewis Peace Prize!

(click the link above to read the nomination letter)


 Below is a copy of the presentation speech.


                I am delighted and honoured to have been asked by the Dorset Home and School to be here tonight to present the prestigious Lewis Peace Prize.

            My association with Home and School goes back to the year the eldest of our four sons entered Kindergarten. I joined Edgewater Home and School and instantly became enamoured by, not only the work of our local Home and School, but also by the significant contributions that were being made by the Quebec Federation of Home and Schools. It soon became apparent that, since I have a tendency to doodle, make notes and,or, write poetry during any type of meeting, my skills would be best served as secretary, a position I held for many years. Home and School was in my blood.

            Not only am I a wife and mom, I was also a teacher. Throughout the course of my career, which spanned forty one years, I gained the reputation of doing things that were a little “outside the box”. While taking a course, at McGill, to learn about mediation, a tiny seed of an idea was born. If adults could learn to talk things through with each other, why could the same concept not apply to children? After all, who better to help out in difficult times than a peer, for there are times that we adults just don’t seem to understand. From this seed of an idea, the Edgewater Mediator Team was formed.

            I then transferred to Dorset, where, with the encouragement of an incredible staff, a supportive parent community, and twelve intrepid grade 6 girls, who agreed to help me with yet another of my wacky ideas, the first Dorset Peace Pal Team was formed. The goal was children helping children, through global, community and school service. Before I knew it, the years had passed, the program had grown, I had written both a leader’s handbook and a student handbook, had trained and mentored countless grade 5 and 6 children and completed many global projects. I knew the program had taken hold when one of our kindergarten teachers expressed displeasure that she had had to go to Walmart and buy little red vests. Her students wanted to play Peace Pals in the dress up corner but could not do so without the requisite red vest.

            My greatest regret, when I decided to retire, was leaving the Peace Pal Program. I did not need to worry. Thanks to the support of the Dorset community and the five devoted teachers who have taken over the reins, the program continues to flourish, with children patrolling the playground, mediating at the Peace Table, taking a leadership role in school activities, working tirelessly to create an atmosphere where children feel secure and safe all the while fulfilling projects that contribute to both community and global efforts.

            It is with enormous pleasure that I present the Lewis Peace Prize to the Dorset Peace Pals and thank them from the bottom of my heart for recognizing my vision and allowing it to continue to have wings.

Mrs. Diana Jackson





Our thanks for the year end gifts and well wishes from the parents & students.

We wish everyone a wonderful, safe, fun filled summer & look forward to seeing you again in September!

The Dorset Staff



Mrs. Susan Piffer


Miss Tania Alibrando




Lisa Gonsalves



9:05 entry

12:00-12:55 lunch

3:30 dismissal



Parents Corner

Think Twice when Posting Photos
A Parent to Parent Guide

(click the link↓)

Central Parent Committee



106 Dorset Rd, Baie d'Urfé, Québec


Copyright 2002 DES


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June 24, 2014