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Celebrating Student Success
Expanding Pathways for our Students' Futures
February 2020
A group of male and female Green Industries students standing and sitting around the aeroponic gardening system.
Experiential Learning
Celebrating Black History Month
February is Black History Month and students across our board will celebrate the achievements of Canada's diverse Black community, while embracing the culture and history.

On Saturday, February 1, 2020, the Durham Catholic District School Board was proud to partner with the Cultural Expressions Art Gallery for the 13th Annual Black History Month Celebration, in Ajax.

The Spoken Word Club from Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School kicked off the celebration with an impressive performance of 'Who Are You'. Watch a video clip of the performance on the right.

We look forward to sharing more stories about Black History Month and the achievements of the Black community throughout the year - ensuring Equity and Inclusive Education for all our students and staff.
Black History Month
Four female students performing poetry on stage for Black History Month.
Male adult presenting to student on aeroponics gardening
Male adult checking the aeroponic gardening system
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School’s Green Industries Students are Growing Year-Round Gardens
Grade 11 students from the Green Industries class at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School observed a presentation about and assisted in the setup of two aeroponic grow towers recently.
Eric Dionne, from Grow for You Inc., travelled from Pembroke, Ontario to present and helped set up two innovative plant growing systems at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School.
Built from a very simple design, the towers are capable of holding 32 plants each.
Inside the cabinet is a 20-gallon bucket filled with water and plant nutrients. A submersible pump pushes the water through a pipe in the middle of the tower to the top, where it cascades back, like a rainfall, providing nutrients to each plant the water passes.
The plants are placed in perforated plastic growing pods at a 45-degree angle, allowing the roots to extend to the water falling down the center of the grow tower. Wall-mounted grow lights replace the necessity of sunlight, allowing plants to grow year-round indoors.
St. Mary students are currently growing mint, rosemary, spinach, lettuce, and even watermelon.
The possibilities and practicality of this system are endless and the Green Industries students are very excited about the potential of their grow towers, not only within the course, but within the school community and beyond.  
Students talk about Mental Health on Bell Let's Talk Day
Student and staff across the Durham Catholic District School Board shared messages of hope and talked about mental health and what stigma means on January 29, 2020 in celebration of Bell Let's Talk Day.

"We all have mental health," said a Grade 6 student from St. Christopher Catholic School.

The students at St. Christopher Catholic School discussed examples of healing and hurtful words and the impact these words have on people. They also shared positive messages that they would send to cheer up a friend or loved one. Messages such as:

  • You are amazing!
  • Don’t give up
  • Can I help?
  • Do you need a hug?
  • Heart and smile face emoji
  • Praying hands emoji
  • I’m here to listen
  • Are you feeling okay?

“Mental health is a lot like our physical health,” said Mrs. Pelosi, Teacher at St. Christopher Catholic School. “We need to find strategies to help us stay healthy.”

Together, we can lend our support and help create positive change. For information and resources, visit dcdsb.ca/mentalhealth

Three male students with female adult standing against bulletin board with words that can heal mental health
Messages on a bulletin promoting Let's Talk about Mental Health
Speech bubble saying Mental Health is not a personal failure
Expanding Pathways
Elementary Students Explore Trades and Careers Exploration Event at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School
On Tuesday, January 14, Grade 7 students from St. Monica and St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Schools visited St. Mary Catholic Secondary School to participate in an exploring trades and career pathways event. Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) students from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School led the Grade 7 students to various activities around the school.

The elementary students visited the Co-op Showcase in the Library Learning Commons and learned about different career opportunities that St. Mary students participated in through their Cooperative Education placements. Ms. Brown, Intermediate Guidance teacher presented on the transition to high school with Grade 7 students asking lots of eager questions about high school life.

St. Mary Catholic Secondary School’s Trades teachers, Mr. DiFonzo, Mr. Gangl and Mr. Sorbilli showcased their construction and transportation shops to the elementary students. With the assistance of SHSM students, the elementary students learned to work safely wearing prescribed personal protective equipment and operated some power tools (drill, plasma cutter, mitre saw) and create signs to bring home!

The cross-panel event was a huge success as Grade 7 students from St. Monica and St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Schools were impressed with St. Mary classes, staff and students. Thank you to the SHSM students and teachers who assisted with the planning and implementation of this successful trades promotion and careers exploration event. 
Male elementary student learns how to start a welding machine in a school's tech shop.
Three female students in a tech shop building a sign.
Male and female students working on their signs in a high school Tech classroom.
Elementary students talking to secondary students about their Cooperative Education placements.
Five male student standing beside the bench they built and installed
Two male students painting the bench white.
Two male students installing the bench in school office.
Three male students secure the bench in place.
Grade 12 Construction Technology Students Build and Install a Bench at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School
On Friday, January 24, 2020 several Grade 12 Construction Technology students from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School completed the installation of an office bench at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School.

The students had designed and constructed the bench at the request of the administration at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School and were happy to see the project through to its installation in the office.

Students at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School will paint and decorate the bench to add their own student voice and expression to the project. Staff and students from both schools were thrilled with the experience and look forward to collaborating on other opportunities in the future.  

Find a Career You Wouldn't Trade
Are you interested in exploring a career in the skilled trades? The Ontario government has launched a new campaign to increase awareness of careers in the trades.

Click here to visit the website and learn more about all the opportunities available in the trades. View the video on the left to learn more.

Students are encouraged to discover if a career in the trades is right for them by looking into Cooperative Education and/or the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. Talk to your school's Guidance Office and/or Cooperative Education Teacher to start the discussion.

Not sure if the trades are for you! Read this article below from Macleans.ca on 10 Reasons to Consider a Career in Skilled Trade.
Person welding with Ontario Government logo
Ten female adults holding their certificates of completion.
Archbishop Anthony Meagher Catholic Continuing Education Centre logo
Pathways Completion Ceremony at Archbishop Anthony Meagher
Catholic Continuing Education Centre
Students who completed the Child Care Assistant and Custodial Services Employment Training Programs celebrated their achievements alongside their families, Cooperative Education employers, and staff on January 28, 2020. During the ceremony, students were commended for their hard work and perseverance throughout their program and for being wonderful models for the Durham Catholic District School Board at their Cooperative Education placements.

The Child Care Assistant and Custodial Services Training are 20-week credit programs that are designed to prepare adult learners (18+ years of age) with the skills necessary for entry-level positions or post-secondary education. Each program consists of focused classroom learning,
on-the-job experience in a cooperative education placement, and certifications relevant to the industry.

For more information on these and other programs, visit our website at con-ed.ca .
Student Voice
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School Students shares her Cooperative Education Experience
My name is Lauren and I'm a St. Mary Catholic Secondary School student. I completed my Cooperative Education placement at Graymatter Marketing Solutions as a Creative Marketing Assistant. During my placement, I displayed problem solving, creativity, collaboration and communication on a daily basis. These elements helped me to achieve success at my placement.

I demonstrated problem solving skills when I was working on the Mayor’s Gala video with an intern. We kept running into issues with how the slideshow was supposed to display. In the end, we redid the video eight times until we finally got it right. This was definitely one of the toughest challenges I had to face during at my placement, but with every error, I learned from the mistakes.

As a Creative Marketing Assistant, I did lots of work on creative design. I was able to bring out the best of my creative ideas and skills by using Adobe Illustrator and Power Point. These programs allowed me to be creative and design item such as social media posts, colouring pages, party invitation and more. 

When I started my placement, I was convinced I would be working independently for the majority of the semester. However, all that changed when the company hired an intern. My supervisor had us working together on the Mayor’s Gala video which required a lot of team effort and collaboration. This allowed us to shared ideas, combine our own software knowledge and learn from our mistakes.

Communication was another competency I demonstrated at my placement. I communicated a lot as part of the consulting, planning and advising phases. When it came to assigned projects I would always asked for my coworkers' opinions to see if I was on the right track. During the planning for the Christmas Market, communication was key to success. We had to inform volunteers on what they were doing and communicate our progress to ensure everything went accordingly.

Overall, the most rewarding part of my Cooperative Education experience was the day of the Christmas Market. Everyone had their assigned roles and everything went as planned. In the end, everything came together and the event was a huge success!

Lauren, Cooperative Education Student
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School
Female student working on a MAC computer designing an invitation.
Hand working on a keyboard.
Three female student painting an Indigenous mural in the hallway of a secondary school.
Three female students painting the Indigenous Education mural on the walls in a school's stairwell.
Indigenous Artwork at All Saints Catholic Secondary School
The Durham Catholic District School Board respectfully acknowledges that we are on the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island, which has been reflected amongst schools in a variety of ways. Artwork of the Indigenous peoples comes in many forms, including sculptures, paintings and even prints.

At All Saints Catholic Secondary School, Indigenous artwork has been integrated into the halls of the school. From bulletin boards to murals, All Saints students are working to provide their school community with art and information that tells a story of the Indigenous culture, heritage and history.

Currently in the works is a new mural in the main stairwell, which is passed by students, teachers, administrators and staff each day. The mural is one to catch your eye as it is both colourful and bold with its brighter and darker shades. These colours are more than the ones that can be found in your average pencil case; the mural includes the colours of the medicine wheel— white, yellow, red and black— alongside other colours which each have a particular meaning in the Indigenous culture and community.

The mural tells the story of the way of life, influencing how the Indigenous peoples view the world. It can be interpreted from the painting that the world grows naturally together, that all things are interconnected in both day and night. The All Saints community looks forward to the completion of the mural with the talent of the hardworking students that are painting the picture and is both glad and proud to have Indigenous representation and storytelling within their school.

DCDSB Student Senators
Group of female students and staff at the Daily Food bank in Toronto.
Female student holding cans of food
Two female students holding the Cooperation Award from the Daily Food Bank Sorting Challenge.
Female students working together to sort boxes of food.
St. Christopher Catholic School Students Feed The Need And Share The Bread 
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:25
On Friday December 13, 2019 the Social Justice Team at St. Christopher Catholic School were honoured for their work with Feed the Need Durham. Through their works of service, they were granted a memorable experience. 

The Team travelled to the Daily Bread Food Bank to participate in the CBC Sounds of the Season televised special. While there, the team competed against five other schools, including high schools to successfully sort more than a thousand pounds of food. 

Each school invited to participate in this challenge had been invited because of the work they have done within their communities collecting food, clothing and necessities for those in crisis. The team displayed excellent leadership skills and were honoured with the Cooperation Award. 
Working hand in hand with the CBC news anchors and the Daily Bread was an honour and a privilege for the students.

Upcoming Events
April 27, 2020 - Build a Dream Event
The Durham Catholic District School Board in a partnership with Build a Dream and the Durham District School Board is working to empower students to explore new career pathways.

The Build a Dream tour will stop in Durham Region on Monday, April 27, 2020 at the Ajax Convention Centre (Ajax) from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Students in Grades 7-12 and their parents and guardians are invited to learn more about careers in science, technology, engineering, math, emergency services, entrepreneurship, and skilled trades.

Have fun while you gather resources for career planning. Register by click here .

Making decisions about your future can be difficult so the Build a Dream Career Discovery Expo will include:
  • career insight and advice from a panel of professional women;
  • opportunities to explore careers and meet with local employers;
  • hands-on activities and takeaways;
  • prizes and scholarships;
  • career photo booth, merchandise & more!
Image of female that says #We Build a Dream #DreamDurham
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