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Celebrating Student Success
Expanding Pathways for our Students' Futures
December 2019
Male teacher explaining to a male student measurements for shelves that need to be built
Experiential Learning
Male adult with video camera talking to a classroom of students
Students filming a short movie in a day.
Two Day TIFF Workshop Inspires Students at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School
The St. Mary Catholic Secondary School's Grade 12 Media Arts, Grade 12 Comm Tech and the Business SHSM students had the great pleasure to team up with the Toronto International Film Fest (TIFF) in November. Brent Orr from TIFF delivered two amazing film workshops on November 13 and 14 at St. Mary CSS.

The first workshop focused on how to create a short film in a day. The second day of the workshop focused on the students creating a documentary about climate change. 

The workshop was amazing, the students learned about the film industry, in depth skills related to the film making process and used higher end film making equipment. Both films the students created will debut at the annual St. Mary Catholic Secondary School's Film Fest on Monday, February 10, 2020 at the Landmark Cinemas in Whitby.

Thanks to Mr. Pisani and Ms. Morrison for organizing the two day workshop. This is a highly recommended experience for all schools!
Indigenous Mural at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School focuses on Climate Change
In early November, Indigenous storyteller and renowned artist, Isaac Murdock shared his knowledge of Mother Earth with Grade 7 students at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School. The students learned more about Indigenous culture and how we need to take care of the Earth for future generations.

The students worked with Isaac to paint a mural that highlights a climate change message. In the painting, a fish who is a stargazer tells an Indigenous person that fish are dying and will be extinct in the next 50 years if we don’t start looking after our oceans.

“It’s important for students to understand and learn that by looking at Indigenous knowledge we can learn to live in balance with Mother Earth,” said Melanie O’Neill, member of Durham Catholic’s Indigenous Education Advisory Circle.

Isaac Murdock also took time to discuss the importance of pursing a career path that allows you to use your gifts. Isaac pursued the skilled trades pathway because he enjoyed working with his hands. Students are encouraged to explore technology courses and OYAP in secondary school to learn more about the apprenticeship pathway.

Students capped off the three days of learning with an Indigenous lunch featuring three sister soup, a wild rice salad with fruit and berries and bannock.
Male artist with his assistant painting an Indigenous mural on a wall in a school.
Three male students giving thumbs up to the Indigenous inspired meal.
Three female and two male adults holding a plate of the Indigenous lunch
Student speaks to her artwork
Students artwork on display at the Art Gallery
St. Theresa Catholic School Students learn about African-Canadian Culture and Traditions
Congratulations to the students in Grade 5 and 6 at St. Theresa Catholic School for their "Journey to Nia" project showcased at the Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery on Saturday, November 23, 2019.

For the past few weeks, the students in Ms. Cannata's class were learning about African-Canadian culture and traditions through the Arts.

Special thanks to Por Amor, a multi-disciplinary arts and culture organization for sharing their experiential learning in Equity, Leadership, Wellness and Emotional Intelligence.

Promoting Active School Travel at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School
On Monday, November 18, 2019, the Region of Durham in partnership with Green Communities and St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School launched the Ontario Active School Travel project. The project’s goal is to encourage more students to walk or bike to and from school.

“Forty-five percent of our school community live within walking distance to the school,” said Principal Wheeler during an assembly. “However, more than 120 cars drop off students during a 15-minute window each morning between 7:45 am and 8:00 a.m.”

As part of the project, the school surveyed parents and students to find out why they don’t walk or ride their bikes to school. The survey has provided the committee with lots of information – early results suggest that parents and students are concerned with the safety and security of bikes being stored at school, lack of time and after school programs are some of the reasons why students are being driven to school.

Two members of the school’s Student Council, Alexis and Richardo encouraged students in Grades 4 to 8 to find alternative ways to arriving to and from school. They asked students to consider walking, riding their bikes, skateboards or scooters.

Regional Chair, John Henry also advised students of the physical and mental health benefits that exercise provides, “A simple 10- or 15-minute walk to school each day can boost your overall mental health and promote active learning.” 
Male adult sitting on a bike with students and adults surrounding him
Female student speaking at a school assembly.
Male student speaking at the podium
Expanding Pathways
Construction SHSM Students Lend a Hand at Simcoe Hall Settlement House
Grade 12 Construction Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) students from Archbishop Denis O’Connor and Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High Schools gathered at the Simcoe Hall Settlement House on November 19 and 20, 2019 to help assemble and build shelving units for the food bank.

The two-day project involved the students emptying out the food bank’s storage room and assembling industrial grade metal shelving units. Students also built wooden shelves, insulated a bathroom, dry walled a stock room, restocked the shelves and organized the food.

“Students are applying the skills they have learned in the classroom to help the local non-profit charity,” said Stephen Hughes, SHSM Program Coordinator at the Durham Catholic District School Board. “They had to consider factors such as the age of the building, condition of the walls and floors, and the weight of food items being stored on the shelving, in order to determine where to stock specific products of food to ensure the shelving is safe and secure for volunteers filling hampers.”

SHSM is a program that allows students to focus on learning on a specific economic sector, while obtaining industry recognized and career-relevant certifications and training.

“This has been a great learning opportunity,” said Le-Shaunah Young, a Grade 12 student at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic Secondary School. “I like working with my hands and building stuff, so being able to help the local food bank makes the work even more rewarding.”

The staff at the Simcoe Hall Settlement House were thrilled with the students work and look forward to working with DCDSB’s SHSM students again in the future. If you are interested in donating food or toys for the Christmas Toy Drive, please visit https://simcoehall.com/christmas-toy-drive/ for a list of most needed items.

The food bank is also in need of volunteers during the month of December. If you can spare a day to volunteer your time, email simcoehallvolunteers@gmail.com .

Students moving boxes of food out of a storage room.
Boxes of food stored on top of boxes and on the floor in a storage room
Students moving shelving into the storage room
Two female student securing the shelving in the storage room.
Completed project with all the food boxes nicely placed on the shelving units in the storage room.
Female students in a woodworking shop building boxes
Three female students labeling pieces of wood in a shop classroom.
Female student drilling holes into her wood box.
Msgr. John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School hosts Girls in the Trades Afternoon
I n October, Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School girls participated in an annual Expand the Possibilities: Young Women in Science, Technology and Trades event hosted by Durham College Whitby Campus. As an extension to this opportunity, Grade 7 girls participated in Msgr. John Pereyma CSS's Girls in Trades afternoon, hosted by Mr. Daminato.

The students had an opportunity to build decorative boxes, using a variety of materials and tools. Thanks to the Construction SHSM program and Mr. Daminato for a wonderful day of hands on learning and emerging girls in an experiential activity.

The students enjoyed being in a differentiated environment, learning the importance of measurement, and working with power tools. Thanks to the Grade 7 teachers, Mrs. Duslow and Mrs. Couch for their support and presence, as well as to secondary students Brianna and Emily Wallace who were ready to support our students.
Students Discover the Carpentry Trade at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School
Students in Grade 7 and 8 at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School had an opportunity to talk to a Carpenter about his trade on November 26, 2019. James, is a carpenter who started an apprenticeship following graduation from secondary school.

“I took Tech classes in high school and enjoyed working with my hands,” said James. “That led to a Carpentry Apprenticeship where I trained as an apprentice for three years, while learning on the job and being paid.”

James took time to explain all the tools in his tool belt with the students and answered questions about the trades. Earlier in the month, the students spent two days learning about Indigenous culture and painting from renowned artist and Indigenous storyteller, Isaac Murdock. During this experience, students had an opportunity to learn about a career as a painter.

Students are encouraged to take Tech classes in secondary to discover if a career in the Trades is for them.
Male adult talking about his Trade with students
Male student and adult making a chalk line on the floor
Male student holding a guitar in a music store
Male student standing beside an oven in a restaurant's kitchen
Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High Schools Students Share Cooperative Education Highlights
Cooperative education students from Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School share highlights from their placements. If you are interested in completing a cooperative education placement, please speak to your school's Guidance department or Cooperative Education teacher for more information.

Caelum is a Dwyer student completing a placement at Long and Mcquade Music Store. Caelum's passion for music makes this the perfect placement experience. Caelum enjoys being around guitars all day, as well as being able to interact with other musicians.

Reymart is a Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School student completing a half time Cooperative Education program working at Avanti Trattoria in Oshawa. 

Reymart likes his co-workers at the 'trattoria' and is very appreciative of the patience they show him and the time they take to train him for the numerous tasks necessary to the restaurant environment.

Reymart has learned many things at the restaurant, the most important of which is teamwork. He understands just how busy and hectic a restaurant can be and that everyone working together can make things possible.

Student Voice
Male adult talking to three male students about Math
Two female and one male student doing Math on the windows.
Two students figuring out a Math problem on a vertical surface.
Making Math a Social and Positive Experience for Students
Students’ voices and laughter filled the room, at DCDSB’s Math Council on November 4, 2019. Students leaders in Grade 9-12 from our Durham Catholic secondary schools’ Math Councils were seen working in groups of three determined through random draw solving Math problems. The teams stood around the room, working on white boards and windows, while making Math a collaborative and social activity.

“Our goal is to make Math more visible and engaging for students,” said Mike Jacob, Teaching and Learning Consultant for Math at the Durham Catholic District School Board. “Students have gathered to share what they are doing at each of their schools to help other students.”

The massive mind shift is engaging students in learning Math, as well as making it a social activity. “We want to make Math a positive experience for all students,” said Jaden White, a Grade 12 student at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School. “Our school’s Math Council has hosted events such as an Escape Room to make Math fun, while highlighting how Math is useful in daily life.”

Grade 12 student, Andrew Oliver from Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School added, “At Austin, we want to make Math a social event. We have created a Peer Tutoring program, that lets students ask fellow students for help with Math. We have also established a Math Commons where students can drop in once a week or before and after school to ask for help.”

Meet the 2019-2020 Student French as a Second Language Advisory Committee
We are excited to introduce the 2019-2020 Student French as a Second Language Advisory Committee. Congratulations to:

  • Simona Damiani - Grade 12 student at All Saints CSS;

  • Tee-Anna Benjamin - Grade 9 student at Arcb. Denis O'Connor CHS;

  • Kersten Roffey - Grade 12 student at Father Leo J. Austin CSS;

  • Riley Alvarez - Grade 11 student at Father Leo J. Austin CSS;

  • Madeline Tabash - Grade 9 student at Father Leo J. Austin CSS;

  • Jack Collins - Grade 11 student at Msgr. Paul Dwyer CHS;

  • Sakeena Mohammad - Grade 12 student at Notre Dame CSS;

  • Nithara Baskaran - Grade 12 student at Notre Dame CSS;

  • Annika Dela Torre - Grade 11 student at Notre Dame CSS;

  • Jessica Fouladi - Grade 11 student at Notre Dame CSS;

  • Claire Cappellani - Grade 9 student at Notre Dame CSS;

  • Jeswende Seedu - Grade 12 student at St. Mary CSS;

  • Sarah Kalansuriya - Grade 12 student at St. Mary CSS; and

  • Mary Morrison - Gr. 9 St. Mary

The students will represent student voice and act as ambassadors for French as a Second Language at their schools and for our board.
Group of male and female students representatives on the French as a Second Language advisory committee
Seniors Girls Basketball team holding LOSSA championship flag
LOSSA Junior Girls Champions
LOSSA Champs for All Saints Catholic Secondary School's Junior and Senior Girls Basketball Teams
This past month, All Saints Catholic Secondary School scored some impressive results at LOSSA Girls Basketball Finals. Not only did the school's undefeated Junior Girls Basketball Team secure victory against Henry Street High School, but the Senior Girls Team also fought hard as the underdog team to win against Anderson in a nail-biting final game with a score 40-35.

Both the junior and senior teams played at OFSAA this past weekend, where they fought for the title of best team in the province.

Written by: Simon Van Hezewyk
All Saints Catholic Secondary School
Student Senator
A wooden tree on a table with messages of hope written by students
Male adult and keynote speaker talking to a room of students
A slide that says Small Consistent Actions
Instilling Hope at the Faith Student Summit
Sixty secondary students gathered at the board’s Pope Francis Centre on November 13, 2019 for the annual Faith Student Summit. The event was an opportunity for students to brainstorm ideas on how to promote the Year of Hope back at their schools.

A member of the student summit organizing committee, Principal Borg spoke to students about the oak tree and how the tree is the ultimate sign of hope. “From an acorn grows the might oak tree,” said Mrs. Borg. “The world has made great progress – We have overcome many things that you cannot help, but be hopeful for the future.” 
In celebration of the board’s Year of Hope, a wooden tree created by Chief Custodian, Mr. Barill at St. Paul Catholic School will travel from school to school and students will add their thumb prints to the oak leaves which will hang from the branches.

Students also heard from Durham Catholic District School Board graduate, Sam Demma. Mr. Demma spoke to students about his career pathway and how he didn’t give up hope, but instead found his calling as an inspirational speaker and entrepreneur. Mr. Demma was inspired by his St. Mary Catholic Secondary School’s Religion Teacher after hearing the words “small consistent actions” during a class lesson. “Small consistent actions performed daily and over time can inspire hope and make a massive change,” noted Mr. Demma. “You have to trust that you are making a difference.”

In the afternoon, the students representing our six secondary schools discussed ideas for school activities that focus on hope and received a Hope Kit. The kit contained all the items they need to go back to their school communities and plant Oak trees – instilling hope in our student leaders for a brighter future.
Upcoming Events
Regional Arts and Media Program banner promoting dance, drama, instrumental music, media arts, visual arts and vocal music
Applications Close on Dec. 6 for All Saints Regional Arts and Media Program
Online applications close for All Saints Regional Arts and Media Program on Friday, December 6. If you are currently a Grade 6 or Grade 8 student entering Grade 7 or Grade 9 in September 2020, consider applying today.

Learn more about the application and audition process, by visiting our Regional Arts and Media Program's website .

To apply online, click here .

Transitioning to Secondary School: Attend an Upcoming Parent/Student Information Night
Our Durham Catholic Secondary Schools are preparing for upcoming information nights to provide parents and students with more information regarding the transition to secondary school. We encourage you to learn more by attending one of the following upcoming sessions:

Exterior of All Saints Catholic Secondary School
Girls basketball team wearing gold medals
Rooted in Faith logo Excellence, Equity and Engagement
Durham Catholic District School Board
650 Rossland Road West,
Oshawa, ON
Phone: 905-576-6150 | Visit us at dcdsb.ca