June 2015 - In This Issue of the Durham Catholic School Board's Celebrating Student Success Newsletter:
Coping with Stress During Times of Transition

Every transition brings with it mixed emotions, including excitement, as well as stress. There are many ways that adults can help students cope with an upcoming transition, including talking about it in a positive way, arranging visits to a new school, letting them talk about their feelings and concerns, and reassuring them that it's natural to feel apprehensive.


A recent study done by researchers at McGill University tracked 800 students over 3 years as they made the transition to high school and discovered that those who were highly anxious were more likely to engage in maladaptive behavior including overeating, substance use and self-harm. This speaks to the need to teach young people coping strategies, such as relaxation and breathing techniques. There are many excellent websites, such as www.youth.anxietybc.com that can help with this.


Other tips for coping with stress include the following:

  1. Be active

  2. Get 8-10 hours of sleep per night (more for younger students)

  3. Eat a healthy diet

  4. Get organized - being prepared for what you need to do translates into less stress

  5. Make and keep good friends that you can lean on when times get tough

  6. Don't use drugs or alcohol to cope with stress (and reduce your caffeine intake)

Parish and Community Connections

St. Mary Catholic Secondary School's Food Frenzy Event benefits the
St. Mary Mission


On Wednesday, May 13, 2015 the Business, Art and Non-for-Profit Specialist High Skills

Above: St. Mary Food Frenzy raises $825.00 for the St. Mary Mission.

Major (SHSM) students held a Food Frenzy Event at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School. The Grade 11 and 12 students worked together to implement the four 'Ps' of Marketing - Product, Place, Price and Promotion


The teams created a food product that was marketed and sold to the school community. Students worked together to create point of purchase displays, promotional materials, product packaging, t-shirts and much more. All aspect of business were taken into consideration and implemented during the assignment.


The event raised $825.00 for the St. Mary Mission - a community outreach room located at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School that serves as an emergency food bank, welcome centre for students and families new to Canada and resources room for students.

Exploring Pathways at St. Isaac Jogues Parish

Brendan Nolan is a Grade 11 student who currently attends St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Pickering. Brendan has worked all Semester in a two-credit cooperative

Above: Brendan Nolan at his coop placement at
St. Isaac Jogues Parish.

education placement at St. Isaac Jogues Parish. 

Brendan begins his placement by serving at each morning mass, which begins at 7:30 a.m. He supports the parish office by answering phones, photocopying, and helping out with general office work. Brendan added, "I also help preparations for funerals. That includes filling holy water, hosts, ensuring that items are in their proper spots, lighting candles, and more".

Cooperative Education provides opportunities for students to develop the essential skills and work habits required in the workplace. Brendan's coop placement has allowed him to develop a number of skills, especially his leadership skills. "I feel like I've really developed my leadership skills. I support the Youth Minister by planning activities for the Edge nights, and I even lead some nights," said Brendan. "The Edge is a group for young people in Grades 7, 8 and 9, and there are about 45 people who participate in this group".

Brendan recommends cooperative education for all students - "it gives experience in a sector and it's a real-work experience".
Equity and Inclusion

Father Leo J. Austin and All Saints Catholic Secondary Schools host
Life Skills Brunch


Students in the Life Skills classes at two Whitby Catholic high schools enjoyed two

Above: Life Skills Students from Father Leo J. Austin and All Saints break bread and make lasting friendships during brunch.

occasions to celebrate and demonstrate their food preparation and cooking skills. Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary students made breakfast for All Saints students early in the new year and on May 25, All Saints students reciprocated.

Students and staff enjoy lots of food and great conversation - both schools are looking forward to future collaboration.



St. Mary Catholic Secondary Students Aspire to be More
How fitting that the theme of St. Mary Catholic Secondary School's first Social Justice Retreat was "aspire not to have
Above: St. Mary Catholic School Students enjoy first Social Justice Retreat.
more but to be more" as stated by the most recently beatified member of the Catholic Church Archbishop Oscar Romero.  His legacy of standing in solidarity with the most vulnerable and oppressed inspired students to bring awareness to social justice issues both globally and locally. 
On May 8 and 9, 2015 Grade 10, 11 and 12 students at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School forwent the basic necessities and luxuries of life in order to understand the realities of those who struggle to survive every day.   After walking to
St. Isaac Jogues Parish and receiving a blessing by Father Paul Dobson, the students continued their pilgrimage to Manresa where they engaged in several enlightening and educational activities. 
Students were actively engaged in a program that allowed them to recognize their potential and responsibility to change our world for the better.  Guest speakers from local and international Catholic organizations encouraged students to enact positive change through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching.  


Father Leo J. Austin's Track & Field Team Embraces Inclusivity


For the first time, Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School's Track & Field team

Above: LOSSA Track & Field Medalists Alex Trigila, Sarah Regier, Crestin Francis competed in the Intellectually Disabled 100m Race

worked closely with the Program Support Department to compete in LOSSA's 100m Intellectually Disabled race. With the support of EA's and Program Support teachers, three students with special needs became actively involved in practices leading up to the meet. All members of the team welcomed and cheered on the new members.


The biggest challenge was letting the students know when to stop running! Each student brought home a LOSSA medal and haven't stopped smiling since.



Experiential Learning
Durham Catholic Students participate at Skills Ontario Competition in Waterloo, ON
In early May, 38 elementary students travelled to Waterloo for the annual Skills Ontario
Video: Durham Catholic District School Board participates in Skills Ontario
Video: Durham Catholic District School Board participates in Skills Ontario. Click here to view video.
Competition held at RIM Park and the Manulife Financial Sportsplex. 
Students represented the following Durham Catholic schools: St. Patrick, St. Theresa, St. Matthew the Evangelist, Immaculate Conception, Sir Albert Love, St. Leo and Father Fenelon.
The event offers Science and Technology  students an opportunity to apply their transferable skills in a friendly competition. The elementary students tour the venue discovering all the various skills, pathways and career opportunities available to them. 


Cooperative Education at All Saints Catholic Secondary School - Student Reflections

Hold the Appaws - Kimberely Gonsalves


Above: Kimberely Gonsalves
For the past four months, I have been a cooperative education student at White Oaks Animal Hospital. My morning duties consist of laundry, sweeping, mopping, washing dishes, cleaning kennels, surgical equipment, setting up for surgeries and more. Watching surgeries is an experience that not many students have and I feel extremely privileged to have done so. The cooperative education program is very rewarding. During my placement I have learned to be more responsible and take more initiative. Being in this program has made me realize my dream of becoming a veterinarian.

Revving up for Co-op - Jordan McLellan

For the past four months, I have been a Mechanics Assistant at Active Green & Ross. My goal is to get as much hands-on experience in this field to enhance my knowledge of an automotive career. Working alongside professionals in a real business has given me a chance to expand my mind to what the real work world is like. I always look forward to coming to my placement every morning because I get to work on cars which is my passion, and I get to do it with amazing people who love it just as much as I do. Co-op has helped me build important life skills such as confidence, teamwork and initiative. For my future, I hope to follow my dream to become the best automotive service technician ever!


My Experience at Ontario Shores for Mental Health Services - Stephanie

Above: Stephanie Grisafi

Working at Ontario Shores has influenced my career goals in so many ways. My placement is in an office setting at the Research and Academics department, and I've been exposed to so many jobs that I can see myself doing as a future career. Some of these jobs include occupational therapy, recreational therapy, social work, and youth counselling. Working at Ontario Shores has also helped me build upon skills valuable to have in the workplace. It has improved my communication and teamwork skills, especially in relation to collaborating with others on projects. I've gained confidence in asking questions and asking for new tasks. Everyone I have worked with has been so kind and supportive, making my co-op experience a great one.


Future Pathway in Kinesiology - Nicole Pinto

Above: Nicole Pinto

I am a student currently looking at a future pathway in Kinesiology. The Whitby Civic Physiotherapy has given me the opportunity to learn about this career in a hands-on environment. My duties consist of doing laundry, ultrasounds, filing charts and aiding any co-worker that needs an extra hand. Throughout this placement I have met so many different people and I have learned many different methods on how to treat them. This placement has helped me to enhance my communication skills and become more confident. I can honestly say I absolutely loved by cooperative education program and it has made me excited to see what the future holds.


Exploring Pathways

Girls in the Trades

On Wednesday, June 3, staff and 70 female students from across the Durham
Above: Students listen to keynote speaker, Emily as Female Automotive Service Technician talk about her career.
Catholic District School Board in Grades 9-12 participated in a "Trade Girls" event. Participants spent one day at Centennial College's Skilled Trades campus to explore hands on workshops and learned how women can become involved in skilled trade careers, such as automotive service technician, heavy equipment operator, truck and coach technician, and more.

Students started the day with a keynote address from a female automotive service technician, participated in two workshop sessions, and completed the day with a tour of the campus. For more information about opportunities on how students can explore the skilled trades pathway in secondary school, please contact a cooperative education teacher or guidance counsellor at your school, and visit: www.oyap.com/dcd.


Student Voice

Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic Student selected for the Minister of Education's Student Advisory Council


On Thursday, May 7, 2015, David Briggs, a Grade 12 student from Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic School attended the inaugural meeting of the Minister of Education's Student Advisory Council (MSAC) in Toronto. Briggs was one of 60 successful candidates out of 500 who applied to participate in the Council.

Above: David Briggs, Student Representative on the Minister of Education's Student Advisory Council.


"I'm honoured to be a local representative for students," said David Briggs. "This once in a lifetime opportunity lets me share my fellow students' voice and ideas at a provincial level." 

The Minister's Student Advisory Council is a group of approximately sixty students from all parts of the publicly funded education system and regions of the province. Members of the Council share their ideas and provide advice to the minister on a variety of topics regarding Ontario's publicly-funded education system.

"We're extremely proud of David's accomplishment," stated Anne O'Brien, Director of Education. "The Minister of Education's Student Advisory Council is where students have a voice and where their thoughts, concerns and ideas are heard. This is a wonderful opportunity for students both in our local Catholic and Public Boards to have their voices heard."

The council meets directly with the Minister of Education twice a year, once in May and again in August during a leadership camp. For the next year, Briggs will work on sub-committees and meet virtually to discuss items of interest. In the meantime, local students can SpeakUp about their education and provide feedback into programs by participating in a Regional Student Forum scheduled for August 20 in Orillia.


Student Engagement
Durham Catholic Secondary Students plan Student Summit at Witness Day


Seventy Durham Catholic Secondary students representing the Board's seven high

Above: The 2015 Student Summit Planning Committee discuss faith at Witness Day.

schools gathered on May 21, 2015 for a day focused on faith and the planning of the 2015 Student Summit. As Catholic students, the group's goal was to identify activities that can be implemented during the Summit and incorporated into the individual schools to celebrate faith, while keeping the light shining in each and everyone of us.


The day was also an opportunity to discuss how the students can make Grade 8 students feel more engaged in their faith and welcomed at their local Catholic high schools. The DCDSB's Student Summit will be held in the fall of 2015 - watch for more details about the event in September.


St. Wilfrid Catholic School students Journey to New France


In May, students from St. Wilfrid Catholic School took a very special journey.  The trip did not cost a cent and they travelled no father than room 104 in their own school.  The grade 7 class surprised their fellow students and teachers

Above: The Trading Company at St. Wilfrid Catholic School
by transforming their entire classroom into a village of New France, circa 1759.

The village featured a church, school, an Inn, Governors House, Seigneurs Home, Habitant Cottage, Iroquois/Algonquin Camp, Fort, Black Smith Shop and a Trading Post. Each grade 7 student dressed in a period costume and took on the role of a typical villager. The students designed the scenes and homemade props. Students from grades 3-8 were invited to come to the village to interact with Coureur de Bois, Filles du Roi, Soldiers, Capitaines and many other historic characters. 

The students displayed an amazing ability to stay in character and communicate historical information to the younger students. Play based learning is not just for kindergarten classes.  History came to life for on day at St. Wilfrid Catholic School and left a lasting impression that will not soon be forgotten by those who experienced it first hand. C'est la Vie! 

Student Achievement
Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic Student wins First Place at the Durham Art and Essay Contest  


In May, Jessica Watters, a Grade 10 student at Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School, won first place for her inspiring essay about volunteers at the Intercultural

Above: Grade 10 student, Jessica Watters.

Dialogues Institute GTA's fifth annual Durham Art and Essay Contest. Inspiration for her essay came from her parents, who both volunteer.

"It was my mom's involvement in helping at my elementary school that left a lasting impression," said Jessica. "I've seen first-hand how she has helped other students by volunteering a few hours a week."


When not volunteering herself, Jessica enjoys writing and English class. "I'm thrilled to have won this honour," added Jessica.


Monsignor Paul Dwyer Student wins Bronze at OFSSA Tennis
Congratulation to Jonah Baryliuk from Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic Secondary
Left to right: Mrs. Kelly with Jonah Baryliuk at Boy's Singles OFSAA Tennis. 
School on his remarkable Bronze Medal win in Boys' Singles at OFSAA tennis. Jonah played seven matches over the three day competition, competing against the best High School boys across the province.
Jonah had six very close games, and two nail-biting tie-breaker matches, but he persevered to capture the bronze. This is Jonah's second year with a top-six finish at OFSAA and his success is a result of his hard-work and dedication over the past four years. Congratulations Jonah!



Grade 12 Core French Students participate in Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF)
In May, thirty-six Grade 12 Core French students from Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School
Above: A student completes the DELF exam at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School.
participated in an internationally recognized test for French proficiency called Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF). This group of students were the first to complete the pilot program at the Durham Catholic District School Board.
Each student's proficiency was tested across four levels - listening, speaking, reading and writing. DELF is official proof of a student's French language skills and recognized in 160 countries. Successful candidates will receive a diploma from the French Ministry of National Education based in Paris, France.




Exposing Elementary Students to Secondary Technology Programs

In an effort to foster rich learning experiences, the Board's Teaching and Learning department has developed a number of cross panel activities that promote collaboration amongst the elementary and secondary teaching staff. This year's goal was to provide a rich experience for the elementary students and raise the profile of secondary technology programs. Some activities that occurred were:

Above: St. Mary student works with St. Wilfrid Catholic School Students.

Cross Panel Pilot Program- St Mary Catholic Secondary School


Students from St. Wilfrid Catholic School worked with Mr. Psani's Grade 11 Communications students from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School and explored a print media assignment which involved the secondary students teaching the elementary students how to use Abode Illustrator to create a persuasive poster.

Students from St. Isaac Jogues and St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School explored Structures and Mechanisms by building mousetrap cars with Mr. Lake's Grade 10 Design class and Mr. Milan's Grade 10 Math class. The visiting elementary students not only collaborated with the secondary students to complete a project, but were able to partake in informal conversations about what secondary life was like at St. Mary.

Garden Box Materials- Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School

In support of an outdoor education initiative and under the direction of Mr. Rogers, the Grade 10 and 11 Construction students at Monsignor Paul Dwyer fabricated materials to build a series of garden boxes for Good Shepard Catholic School's Outdoor Education garden project.

Bird Houses- Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School

Grade 7 students from Monsignor Philip Coffey Catholic School participated in a

Above: Two Msgr. Philip Coffey students build a birdhouse at Msgr. John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School.

Woodworking class at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School. The students worked together to construct bird houses. The project was led by Mr. Jagoda and two of his student leaders. While there, the Coffey students worked and conversed with the grade 10 and 11 students about high school life.


"This experience opens doors for elementary students and give them an opportunity to try something new," said Mr. Jagoda, Teacher at Msgr. John Pereyma. "For some students this is the first time they have ever used a hammer."

One student added, "I'd definitely try a woodworking class - this is lots of fun." 


Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School welcome Grade 8 Students

Students from Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School's feeder schools,

Above: Students are excited to start Grade 9  after a a great introduction to Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School.

welcomed the chance to be part of the 2015 Road Trip lead by CYC Mary Whyte. This program allowed selected Grade 8 students from various feeder schools to get to know each other, as well the support staff at their new high school.

The students participated in activities such as bowling and cooking, where they were encouraged to work with students from different schools. They also were able to follow a Grade 9 schedule, eat in the cafeteria and play with locks to help alleviate any stress associated with the "big move" to high school.

Mary Whyte also ensured that Grade 10 and 11 peers were available to provide tours of the school and answer any questions students had about high school. This initiative helps students prepare for their transition into high school, while meeting new friends. The students are now ready and excited to start Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School in September.


Post-Secondary Pathway for Young Adults with Exceptionalities: Life Skills and Culinary Skills

In Adult and Continuing Education at Archbishop Anthony Meagher Catholic C

Above: Sheneika Joseph - Skills to Transition to the Culinary Field

ontinuing Education Centre, young adults with exceptionalities are participating in skills training classes to support their transition to the community or future work placements. Students are learning about employer expectations, health and safety, communication and teamwork skills to support next steps for their employment or educational goals.

They receive hands-on training through experiential learning that builds confidence in their abilities and enhances their resume. In partnership with Northern Lights and Meta Vocational Services, students are also provided with opportunities to further their learning and connect to the community.



Helpful Links and Resources

For more information about Pathways Opportunities in Secondary School and beyond, click here to read our Pathways to Student Success booklet.  


To find out more about transitions from elementary to secondary school, click here to read our Grade 8 to Grade 9 Transitions Guide.


At the Durham Catholic District School Board, we believe that all students can be successful, that success comes in many forms, and that there are many pathways to success. If you have a story idea for an upcoming newsletter, please email your story for consideration to student.success@dcdsb.ca.

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