June 2016 - In This Issue of the Durham Catholic School Board's Celebrating Student Success Newsletter:
The Mental Health Benefits of Getting Back to Nature
As summer approaches, we should be encouraging our children and teens to turn off the TV, put down the electronics, and get outdoors. A growing body of research has shown that
Above: Kindergarten students explore the great outdoors.
contact with nature offers many benefits. It can offer relief from stress, and improve physical and emotional health. Being in nature allows for creative play, and provides an opportunity for imagination to take over. When exploring nature, children are involved in a shared experience, which can foster social interaction and deepen friendships. Research has also shown that nature can improve a child's capacity to pay attention. Being alone in nature allows us to clear our mind and gain perspective.
Contact with nature may be as necessary for healthy child development as adequate sleep and good nutrition. For these many reasons, engaging children in nature activities is important.  This could include:  
  • going on nature outings as a class or with the family;
  • planting a small garden together;
  • having children keep a nature journal;
  • reading a book under a tree; and
  • "greening" the school yard.
For more information visit   greenhour.org and evergreen.ca
Source:  Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv.

Experiential Learning
Durham Catholic Technology Students compete at the 27th 
Annual Ontario Skills Competition
The Ontario Technological Skills Competition (OTSC) is Canada's largest skilled trades competition. This is the Olympics for technology students. The OTSC offers an
Above: Ontario Technological Skills Competition
opportunity for students to demonstrate the skills that they have acquired through their education in technology courses.
There are over 67 contests, 2,000 competitors from school boards across Ontario. The competition is held during the first week of May, and is located at Rim Park in Waterloo Ontario.

This year, students from All Saints, Father Leo J. Austin and St. Mary Catholic Secondary Schools represented our Board in the following competitions:  
  • Carpentry Team;
  • 2D Character Animation Team;
  • Graphic Design Studio Production;
  • Website Development; and
  • Auto Service.
The students were selected by their teachers, based upon their demonstrated skill level. For the majority of our team, this was their first year competing, and although they did not receive medals, they all had respectable finishes. Competing for the Durham Catholic District School Board were:
  • Jack Schnalzer and Tomas Lucas from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School (Mr. Lake Teacher/Mentor);
  • Nick Childerhouse, Dominic Matthews Morales, Noelle Ochocinski, Jayrese Heslop from All Saints Catholic Secondary School (Ms. Browne Teacher/Mentor); and 
  • Spencer Phillips from Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School (Mr. Carnovale Teacher/Mentor).
Aside from the opportunity to display their skill, the OTSC provides an excellent learning experience. Next year the competition is moving to the Congress Centre in Toronto as they have outgrown the Rim facility. We hope that our students will continue as "seasoned veterans" and return to compete again next year.

Exploring Pathways

Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School Students develop Skills Through Real World Activities
Students in the senior Construction Specialist High Skills Major classes at Monsignor Paul
Above: Construction Specialist High Skills Major Students at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School build a shed as part of their class.
Dwyer Catholic High School are not only learning theory, but putting their knowledge and skills into action through real world projects.  According to teacher, Mr. Rogers, "Theory is only one piece of the puzzle. There is no substitute for practical experience." 

Each year, the course is linked to a major project such as a full size kitchen mock up, an outdoor storage shed, or a deck and wheel chair ramp (which won an accessibility award from the City of Oshawa). "Clients" cover the cost of the materials and the students provide the free labour as part of the educational benefit.
"Our students are involved in all aspects of the project," said Mr. Rogers. "Everything from design selection, material selection, cost estimates, site location and analysis." Students in return learn life skills such as M ath, leadership, tool use, safety and customer service which they can take with them on their educational journey.

Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School's Non-Profit Specialist High Skills Major Students provide insight into Real-Life Business Challenge

On Wednesday, May 4, students in the Non-Profit Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School took part in an ICE Training Day at the Durham Catholic District School Board's Conference Centre.  The ICE program is new to the SHSM program. 
Above: Non-Profit Specialist High Skills Major students from Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School present their ideas to Diane Dupuy, founder of Famous PEOPLES Players.
In the ICE program, an organization presents a real-life challenge to the students . Students follow a structured program developed by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto to come up with solutions that can be implemented by the organization.  The goal of the program is to make a strong connection to a sector partner and teach students the concepts of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
The challenge for the Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School students came from Diane Dupuy, founder of Famous PEOPLES Players in Toronto.  Famous PEOPLES Players is a dine and dream dinner theatre featuring individuals with intellectual disabilities   Diane gave an inspiring presentation about the history of the organization and how individuals such as Paul Newman and Liberace supported the organization over the years.  She then posed the following challenge to the students :  How can Famous PEOPLES Players use digital technology and social media to bring the organization to the future.  She added a second challenge for students to consider: How can social media and digital technology be used to promote, market and grow the organization so that it can create greater awareness and reach more people?
The Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School students presented a number of creative solutions that will be sure to help Diane take Famous PEOPLES Players into the future.  Diane told the students to never stop dreaming and live their dreams to make a better world.  
We wish to thank Diane for her support of the program and Ronda Burchartz and the students at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School for making this such a successful day.

Student Achievement

Father Don MacLellan Catholic Secondary School Students create Pit Stop at Racing Against Drugs Durham

In May, students from Father Donald MacLellan Catholic Secondary School instructed Grade 5 students at Iroquois Park in Whitby as part of Racing Against Drugs Durham (RADD).
Above: Two students from Father Don MacLellan Catholic Secondary School teach Grade 5 students about the hidden sugar in drinks.
This is the third year Father Don MacLellan students have participated in the event which develops awareness of drugs and alcohol and their effects. During the course of the week, over 6,000 Grade 5 students participated in educational "pit stops" centred around substance abuse, personal safety, and a healthy lifestyle. 
This year, students ran a pit stop on the dangers of hidden sugars in drinks.  Did you know that some juice boxes have more added sugars in them then iced tea? 
Congratulations to the Father Don MacLellan Catholic Secondary School team who created and ran the pit stop at RADD - Charlize Theodoru, Tyreese Telford-Allen, Hannah Trepanier, Tristan Lyford, Donna Matthews-Altieri, and Rebecca Zielinski.   

DELF French Language Proficiency Exam grows at the Durham Catholic District School Board
In May, 34 students at both Monsignor Paul Dwyer and Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High Schools took part in an internationally recognized French language proficiency exam.  These students enrolled in the Grade 12 Core French course, participated in the exam and were successful in meeting the requirements necessary to receive the Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF) certificate. This exam measures students' abilities across four competencies - listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  

The DELF certificate is awarded to successful candidates by the French Ministry of National Education and is highly regarded in over 160 countries worldwide.  Recognized by numerous employers, universities and the Canadian federal government, the DELF certificate provides students with numerous advantages moving into the world of post-secondary education and future employment. 
The exam would not be possible without the support of the specially trained DELF correcteurs who administered the exam and assessed students' oral and written proficiency.  Félicitations to all those who took part in the DELF exam process!

Above: BRAVO to the students from Monsignor Paul Dwyer (left) and Archbishop Denis O'Connor (right) Catholic High Schools for successfully completing the DELF French Proficiency Exam.

Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School Student receives $60,000 Schulich Scholarship 

Congratulations to Sabrina Cruz, a Grade 12 student at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School for receiving $60,000 Schulich scholarship to study Mathematics at the University of
Above: Sabrina Cruz recipient of a $60,000 Schulich Scholarship to the University of Toronto.
Toronto. Sabrina is the third person to be nominated from Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in the past five years and the first Notre Dame student to win this prestigious scholarship.

In September, Sabrina will be entering the Bachelor of Science - Mathematics and its Application in Economics and Finance at the University of Toronto. Mr. Hodkinson, a teacher at the school nominated Sabrina for her outstanding a cademic and extra-curricular achievements.

"We continue to invest in Canada's most promising high school graduates. Ensuring our nation's competitiveness in the knowledge-based economy is an imperative," says Schulich. "We take great pride knowing the Schulich Foundation is ensuring Canada's top minds entering STEM disciplines will become the next generation of technology innovators."
"I am so grateful for the possibilities this scholarship has opened up for me in my post-secondary life," said Sabrina Cruz. "It is extremely fulfilling to know that all of the effort I put into my education has resulted in this amazing reward. This recognition makes me want to keep working hard to be a leader in my community." 
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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