May 2016 - In This Issue of the Durham Catholic School Board's Celebrating Student Success Newsletter:
Children's Mental Health Week
Children's Mental Health Week is being celebrated across Ontario from May 1 to 7, 2016. Children's Mental Health Week is about increasing awareness of the signs of child and youth mental health problems, decreasing stigma and understanding that help is available and treatment works.
Mental health is an important focus for the Durham Catholic District School Board, and Children's Mental Health Week offers an opportunity to increase awareness about mental well-being, to promote positive mental health, and to reinforce the message that
we all have mental health. There is a clear, and reciprocal relationship between mental well-being and academic achievement. We are hopeful that education and open communication will reduce the stigma and increase the willingness of staff, students and parents to reach out for support when needed. 

Experiential Learning
Order in the Court

Recently, Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School's Grade 12 Law class participated in the Kelly Cup legal competition against seven other schools from Durham Region. The mock trials were held at the Oshawa Courthouse in front of real judges. Each team had to try a case as either the crown side or the defense side. 

This year's case was a Canadianized version of the Oscar Pistorius case from South Africa. Instead of being an elite runner, the accused was an elite curler who shot her partner through a locked bathroom door. 

Our lawyers were passionate advocates who enjoyed the battle of wits. As well our witnesses were convincing and composed under intense cross examinations. Congratulations to Madeline Bailey for being awarded best witness of the entire tournament. Madeline played the accused and won much sympathy with her remorseful performance.  


Above: Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School's Grade 12 Law Class and 
Madeline Bailey for being awarded best witness.

Robotics breaks the Language Barrier
On April 20, 2016 the primary students at St. Patrick and St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Schools participated in a First Lego League Event. The theme was Waste Wise.
Above: Coding and Robotics competition involving French Immersion students from St. Patrick and St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Schools.

Each primary team was required to research their selected topic and create a display including the use of a robotic device created by using the Lego WeDo. The topics included recycling plastic bags, cardboard, plastic bottles, tires and creating a playground using recycled materials. Students were given the task of creating a robot based upon the theme of benefiting our earth.

Amongst the many learning skills displayed by the participants were team work, inquiry, and communication as students completed the assignment in French. The event was adjudicated by:
  • Paul Fraser, Teaching and Learning Consultant for Technology and Science Education at the Durham Catholic District School Board; 
  • Peggy Scott, First Lego League representative; and
  • Andrea Simpkin, Durham Waste Management. 

Leading up to the event, selected primary students from the two schools were interviewed on Rogers TV's Daytime show on April 15. 


St. John the Evangelist Catholic School sweeps 2016 Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition
Congratulations to St. John the Evangelist Catholic School's Team Unbreakable Returns (Annie, Ian, Carley and Laura) for their first place Senior Division (Grades 7-8) win and to Awesome Bridge Builders (Soleil, Chelsea, Abigail and Brianna) for winning the Junior Division (Grades 4-6). Each bridge held over 675 lbs!
St. John the Evangelist Catholic School had the most bridge entries by a school in both categories. This is a testament to the hard work of our students, staff and families. A big thank-you to Mr. Brown and M. Beaulieu for organizing this event and for inspiring students to build their bridges.  Congratulations to all of you!


Above: Junior and senior students from St. John the Evangelist Catholic School show off
their award winning bridges.
Collaborating Can Be Fun
On April 22, elementary schools from across the Durham Catholic District School Board participated in a learning event. In the spirit of collaboration, junior and intermediate elementary teams were invited to attend and work with teacher and student mentors from local secondary schools as well as each other. 
Above: Mentor demonstrate their robots to students at sumobot competition.

The level of expertise was not an issue as the support extended from the basic build to advanced programming. Partway through the session, the group listened to a presentation by the Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School's Robotics team. The senior students from Archbishop Denis O'Connor presented their robotic and gave an overview of the competition they attended earlier in the month. The day wrapped up with a King of the Hill sumobot competition for those that felt ready. 

Participating in the event were:
  • Sal Iacono and students from Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School;
  • Stephen MacKinnon and students from Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School;
  • Paul Hanz and students from Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School; and 
  • Michael Stokes and students from Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School.
Elementary Schools included
  • Brother Andre Catholic School;
  • Father FĂ©nelon Catholic School; 
  • Father Joseph Venini Catholic School; 
  • Holy Family Catholic School; 
  • St. Theresa Catholic School;
  • St. Patrick Catholic School;
  • St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School;
  • St. Joseph Catholic School in Uxbridge; 
  • Sir Albert Love Catholic School;
  • St. Hedwig Catholic School;
  • St. Joseph Catholic School in Oshawa; and 
  • St. Leo Catholic School.
Exploring Pathways

Discovering the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program

The Durham Catholic District School Board hosted a successful Ontario Youth
Above: Parents and student attending an information session to learn more about the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program.
Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) Information evening on Thursday, April 21. Over 100 students and parents from both the Durham Catholic and Durham District School Boards were in attendance to learn more about future careers in the Skilled Trades. 

Considering that 40% of all occupations by the year 2025 will be in the skilled trades, and the average certified journey person's starting salary is  $52,000.00, this career path leads students to successful futures. 

If you are interested in learning more about OYAP, speak with your school's Cooperative Education department or Guidance department. 

Discovering Career Pathways in Kindergarten

The sky is truly the limit in Mrs. Ste. Marie's and Ms. Wray's Kindergarten class at Blessed Pope John Paul II Catholic School.  This month's pathways enquiry features the Kinder
International Airport
.  Stop in at room 115 and book a trip with a student travel agent on  
Above: Kindergarten students at Blessed Pope John Paul II Catholic School discover future pathway.

Ste-Wray Airlines!!  
Pass through airport security and have your suitcases x-rayed.  Choose a window or aisle seat...or pilot the plane yourself!  

While all other students go home in a school bus these Kindergarten children are "leaving on a jet plane" at the end of the day.  Past pathway explore  centres  have included the 
Farmers Market , the Christmas Toy Shop, the Kinder Salon and Spa, the Kinder Sweets Shop and the Veterinary Clinic . 

With this new pathway centre, students are saying:
  • "I like to drive the plane," - Tyler W.;
  • "I like the person who comes around with the food," - Abigail B.; 
  • "I like to be the passenger who goes on the airplane.  I would go to Disney World," - Emily L.;
  • "I like doing the security check.  I make the x-ray machine go beep and check the suitcases," - William O.  
Student Achievement

St. Mary Catholic Secondary School's Cheer Team are National Champions
Six years ago the St. Mary Catholic Secondary School created a Cheer Team with 16 girls and one local competition. Since then, the team has become bigger and stronger with each passing year. 
Above: St. Mary Catholic Secondary School's Cheer Team are National Champions - Congratulations!

This year marked the team's fifth year heading to the Canadian Cheer Evolution Nationals Competition that ran from April 7 to 10, 2016. With 23 athletes from Grades 9 to 12, including three boys on the team, we were able to bring home the title of National Champions . 

Congratulations to the team for their dedication, perseverance and hard work. A special thank you to Mrs. Cortnie Freeman who started the team and worked alongside with outside Coach Kyra Davie and Mlle. Oster. This team was destined for success - you have all made our school community extremely proud. Go! Monarchs! Go!

Celebrating the Arts at Showcase 2016

On Thursday, April 21, the Durham Catholic District School Board held the elementary Showcase for the Arts at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School.  The evening welcomed 13 elementary schools who presented a total of 33 performances which ranged from choir, dance, bands, dramatic skits and even included a recorder group and a pair of ukulele musicians.  

In total, 340 students participated in this year's evening celebration of the arts. The showcase was  made possible with the help of the Notre Dame Tech Crew who oversaw all technology required for the show.

Above: Left to right - The band from St. Paul Catholic School and the dance team from St. Patrick Catholic School perform at Showcase for the Arts 2016.

Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School's Robotics Team finishes in Top Ten

On April 7, 2016 the Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School's Robotics Team
Group of students
Above: DO'C Botics finish in top ten at the prestigious, international First Robotics competition, in Windsor on April 7, 2016.
(DO'C Botics) travelled to Windsor, Ontario to compete at the FIRST Robotics competition. This was the team's first time competing at this prestigious, international competition. DO'C Botics finished in eighth place out of 52 teams and won the top rookie seed at the tournament!

In preparation for this event, the team spent several months working extremely hard in a variety of capacities: 
  • robot design;
  • building and programming;
  • fundraising;
  • logo and T-Shirt design;
  • social media management; and
  • video and photo capturing. 

It was a true team effort - a special thank to every member for their outstanding contributions. The team was comprised of over 30 students and five teacher mentors with the invaluable support of the school's administration. DO'C Botics is looking forward to the 2016-2017 FIRST Robotics challenge and the opportunity to build on its rookie season success. Congratulations!

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

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