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Celebrating Student Success
Expanding Pathways for our Students' Futures
January 2020
Three female students learning how to work a film industry camera.
Experiential Learning
Female student wearing the chain of office in the City Council Chamber.
Female student taking the oath of office with Mayor of Oshawa standing beside her.
St. Hedwig Catholic School Student Wins Mayor for a Day
Taking the oath of office as winner of the City of Oshawa’s Mayor of the Day contest was exciting for Mika, a Grade 6 student at St. Hedwig Catholic School. On December 10, 2019, Mika met with Mayor Carter and together they completed a full day’s agenda, with guided tours of the Oshawa Airport, Fire Hall, City Hall and Animal Services.

The City of Oshawa’s contest encourages students in Grades 5, 6, 7 who live in Oshawa to submit a letter on their future vision for the city. Mika’s future vision included better roads and a clean beach at Lakeview Park. As a member of the school’s Eco Club, Mika is also passionate about the protection and care of animals.

“The highlight of my day was touring Animal Services,” said Mika. “I had the honour of naming a stray cat, Ivy as part of my experience. I encourage other students to write a letter and share their vision for a brighter Oshawa.”
Teaching Fellow Students, the Importance of Cyber Security at St. Theresa Catholic School
Audrey and Rylie , Grade 7 students at St. Theresa Catholic School are sharing their knowledge of cyber security with fellow classmates. The two students have been participating in Ontario Tech University’s Cyber Security Girls Ambassador program, along with their teacher Mrs. Traynor since June 2019.

“We are presenting a new theme on Cyber Security such as protecting your personal information, how to identify if websites are secure to use, online shopping, phishing and more to our class every month,” said Audrey. “Then we obtain feedback from our classmates via an Office 365 form or talk during recess to find out what they liked or didn’t like about the information presented.”

The feedback received has helped the students create more games that allow their classmates to compete in a fun environment, while learning about internet safety. “Our class is more aware now,” added Rylie . “Students are often noting if a website doesn’t have the safety lock on it or they are looking to see if a site is secure or not.”

The girls' next goal is to start sharing information with students in Grades 3 to 6 at their school to increase their awareness.

“Audrey and Rylie are really driving this project in our school,” noted Mrs. Traynor, Grade 7 Teacher at St. Theresa Catholic School. “They are so engaged in sharing information and have become confident speakers. They are excited to start sharing their knowledge to others within our school in the new year.”

Mrs. Traynor added, “Having a supportive network for both the teachers and the students, along with the ability to share ideas and information has been very powerful.”

Audrey and Rylie s' knowledge is proving to be invaluable, as they help their classmates become responsible digital citizens. 
Two female students presenting their November Cyber Security tips
Two female students standing on a bridge at a Cyber Security Conference.
Female student talking on stage with decisions displayed on a screen three times
Female student on stage talking about 2016 US Presidential Election
Male student on stage with an image of a lion on the screen behind him.
Female student on stage talking about Environmental issues
Grade 10 Drama Students in the Regional Arts & Media Program host Ted Talks
In mid November 2019, the Grade 10 Regional Arts & Media Program's (AMP) Drama students put on All Saints Catholic Secondary School's very first evening of Ted Talks, called "Our Voice."

Students in the AMP's Drama class researched, wrote, planned, memorized, and performed their very own original Ted Talks. The point of a Ted Talk was to share a "big idea" that is "worth spreading."
Students discussed issues of global importance to personal stories. Talks such the environmental destruction of the world's beaches, to as personal as how involvement in the arts helped one student grow in confidence, problem solving skills, and overall happiness.

The evening also helped bring a voice to the voiceless, as all proceeds from the ticket sales went to the Refuge Youth Outreach Centre in Oshawa.

"We raised over $500 that evening, and would like to thank all those that came out to support these brave students and this worthy cause," said Mr. Soln, Curriculum Chair of the Regional Arts & Media Program at All Saints Catholic Secondary School.

Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School Students bring the Magic of Mary Poppins to Life on Stage
Students and staff at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School brought the beloved classic story of Mary Poppins to life on the stage in early December 2019 delighting children and adult audiences.

The popular story portrays the Banks family and their practically perfect nanny Mary Poppins. With kindness, patience and a little magic, Mary Poppins and her friend Bert who help the family set things right.

“The cast and crew did a fantastic job,” said Mr. Longauer, Musical Theatre Teacher at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School. “Months of practicing after school resulted in outstanding performances.”

Everything from the vocals, choreography, set design to costumes was exceptional. “All the favourite songs such as a Spoonful of Sugar, Super-cali-fragil-istic, Chim Chim Cheree and Feed the Birds were part of the production,” added Cathy Giasson, Musical Theatre Teacher at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School.

Congratulations to the dedication team of students and staff for showcasing their talents.

Male and female students on stage performing Mary Poppins
Female students singing on stage as Chimney Sweepers
Female and male students on stage as they perform Mary Poppins
Male and female students singing on stage
Expanding Pathways
Discovering Pathways in the Film Industry
On Wednesday, November 27, 2019 Durham Catholic secondary students attended a Film Industry Career Fair to learn more about jobs available in the growing film and television industry. Students heard from a panel of industry experts about their jobs, what they do and how their careers have grown.

The film industry offers employment and apprenticeship opportunities in a number of areas such as:
  • Set design;
  • Construction;
  • Transportation;
  • Hair and make up;
  • Electrical and Lighting;
  • Rigging;
  • Production;
  • Painting;
  • Wardrobe;
  • Grip and much more.

Students asked the panel questions, explored interactive displays and tried their hand at a mock set and working behind the camera.

If you are interested in learning more about career opportunities in the Film Industry, speak to your Guidance Councillor.
Two female student learning how to use a film industry camera
Male and female students enjoy lunch at the college's restaurant linked to the culinary arts program.
High school students touring the Whitby campus of Durham College
Dual Credit Program allows Students to Earn a College and High School Credit
The Dual Credit program continues to be one of the Ministry of Education's most successful Student Success initiatives. Through this program, students take both a high school course and college course within the same class. The class is taught by both a teacher from a student's high school and a college instructor. Through this experience, students gain exposure to a college education, learn how to use the Durham College's Connect student system and, hopefully, earn a college credit.  

Each Dual Credit class spends one day at college. This allows the students to make a direct connection to the college delivering the course. Students from the Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School's Travel and Tourism class recently attended their day at the Whitby campus of Durham College. 

Students had a tour of the college, learned about the programs offered by Durham College, spent time in the culinary labs and had lunch at Bistro 67. The day was organized by their high school teacher Ms. Collins and the college instructor Mrs. Cook. We are thankful to all the high school teachers who bring this program to the students and to both Durham and Fleming Colleges who offer these college courses in our schools.
SHSM Students from Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School travel to Ganaraska Forest Centre
Students from the Business and Non-Profit Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) programs at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School took part in an overnight trip to the Ganaraska Forest Centre. One of the required components of the SHSM program is the completion of industry related certifications and training courses. During this trip students were led through certification training in Conflict Resolution, Group Dynamics, Customer Service and Wilderness First Aid. The students and teachers all had a great time and experienced the hospitality of the Ganaraska Forest Centre Staff. A special thanks to Mr. Iacono, Mrs. Manuel and Mrs. Burchartz for organizing this event for the students.

The SHSM program is one of the Ministry of Education's largest Student Success programs. It gives students the opportunity to focus their education on an economic sector of interest to them. By taking courses specific to the sector, earning industry related certifications and taking part in experiential learning, students are learning more about their pathway of interest which will help them plan for their post-secondary years. 
A group of students outside in the forest and snow.
Students inside working on trust and leadership activities
Female student working with elderly patients in a retirement home.
All Saint Catholic Secondary Student shares how Cooperative Education Experience has Influenced her Career Pathways
Emileigh is a Grade 12 student at All Saints Catholic Secondary School completing a Coop placement at Lynde Creek Manor Retirement Community, in Whitby. Emileigh is loving her placement experience and the time that she spends with the residents.

“I get to do fun things with the residents, like lead exercise class, play Bingo, read them short stories, and chat with them during coffee hour. I know that without these activities, many of the residents would most likely just sit in the rooms, being bored and lonely," said Emileigh. "Being able to be active and share my time with them, brings me as much joy as it does for them.”
Emileigh’s placement experience has been so positive, in that it has influenced her career goal. She has, as a result, applied to College programs in Recreation and Leisure studies to pursue a career as an Activities Director or Life Enrichment Coordinator, just like her Coop Supervisor, Meaghan Darling. Emileigh is also very thankful to her supervisor for not only putting her trust in Emileigh, but for being the amazing, hard-working example she is.

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.
Students in the Regional Arts & Media Program discover Career Opportunities in TV and Film
Mr. Neyall Williams, Set Dresser from Nabet Local 700, Union for the Ontario Film, Television and New Media Technicians spoke to students at All Saints Catholic Secondary School's Regional Arts and Media Program (AMP) about career opportunities in the TV and Film Industry. AMP s tudents in the Grades 7 and 8 were also able to learn more about the importance of creativity and teamwork in today's workplace.

Mr. Williams also met with students from construction technology and automotive classes to promote opportunities in the skilled trades within the Film Industry. A great day of learning for all!
Group of female and male students smiling in a classroom
Male adult speaking to a group of students in a media arts classroom
Student Voice
Cooperative Education Students from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School share Well-being Strategies
In conjunction with the updated Cooperative Education curriculum, the St. Mary Catholic Secondary School's Cooperative Education program has implemented various opportunities for students to explore and assess well-being strategies and supports through our pre-placement and integration days. To encourage active thinking on this topic, students were asked to analyze well-being supports and strategies they access at home and in their community, in school, and at their co-op placements. 

The Ministry of Education's, Ontario's Well-Being Strategy for Education promotes "... a collective responsibility to create healthy learning and work environments that contribute to life-long learning", and by encouraging dialogue around health and wellness students can understand the positive impact that strategies and supports can have on their physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. In this  Year of Hope , students can build resiliency through accessing these supports and implementing these strategies as they adapt to change and cope with life, school and work challenges.
Male student sitting at a desk with two computer monitors on.
At home and in my community, is where I spend most of my time and is typically where I’m most able to de-stress after the rest of the day. There are three things that allow me to improve my own well-being.

I de-stress by playing hockey. I’ve played hockey since before I even cared enough to know anything about emotions, let alone my mental health. However, as I’ve grown up and learned more about mental health and the general stresses of life, willfully or otherwise, hockey has always been a way for me to escape into a completely different realm, allowing me to step out of any stresses outside of hockey and hyper focus on the sport.

Outside of hockey and back home, every living being in my household helps me live my life the best way possible. Apart from ordinary family conflicts, I’ve been blessed to have a set of parents that care about me and support me, and even when they aren’t around, I have two fluffy pets roaming around the house to entertain me as I need.

Finally, it's important to get enough sleep. Everyone, but especially teenagers require sleep to function on a day-to-day basis. All these strategies help me find well-being. -  Deven, Grade 11 student
Male student working in a pharmacy as part of his cooperative education placement
The first resource that can be found at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School are the Retreat Leaders and Retreat leading program. Within this program, there are a wide variety of different clubs and initiatives provided, each offering a safe and caring space free of judgement to openly discuss different topics and issues. Through the Retreat Leading program, I have created and formed many new friendships and bonds with others which help me to know that I am not alone and will always have someone to turn to and trust in times of need.

Another excellent resource is the Guidance department. I have access to my guidance counsellor, child and youth care workers and other resources which help with more serious issues such as: domestic violence, homelessness, mental health, etc. Guidance counsellors assist me with situations pertaining to my Academic success, Post-Secondary options, timetables, course selections, or overall problems/issues that I may be experiencing at school or home. The child and youth care workers work with at-risk teens and are involved with the well-being of the students. I am happy to know these support systems and groups are available to access whenever needed.
 -  Nathaniel, Grade 11 student 
Female student working on a computer in an office.
At my accounting placement I handle my well-being personally. I don’t experience a lot of stress at my placement, but when I have a lot of work to get done, I would do a lot of active relaxation. I practice deep breath and calming myself down when I think I’m getting stressed. I also use my imagination as an escape. If I start to get frustrated I would imagine that I’m at the beach to calm me down and to center myself.

These strategies help me, but can also help my co-workers. End of the month usually a stressful time for them so I think they should take a moment and take a deep breath to calm themselves down. I also believe they should exorcise their imagination because sometimes an escape from reality is what people need to work more efficiently.
Khadeijah, Grade 12 student
St. Mary Catholic Secondary School Students ask the City of Pickering to Declare a Climate Emergency
Showing care and compassion for the Earth is something we must live, as in our faith we are taught to value the Earth we have been given by God. Students at schools across the Durham Catholic District School Board are working with their Eco-School clubs to make the earth a better place.

On Monday, December 16, 2019 students from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School had the opportunity to present the idea of declaring a climate emergency in Pickering to the city council. Students from every grade were encouraged to attend this meeting and bring friends and family as well. Students met at city hall in Pickering at 6:30 p.m.
During this meeting students petitioned for a motion to declare a climate emergency in Pickering following the lead of other major cities that have done the same, such as Toronto. Students highlighted the issues stating, “We have sustainability programs in place to combat these issues, but we need to acknowledge the root of them-climate change....As the youth of Pickering, we find it incredibly important to bring this to city council to highlight our existing city programs and further them to better our city for its future, and all of our futures.”
Students came together in unity to fight against climate change and help better the community. This is a great example of our students fighting for social justice and living the teachings of compassion, justice and wisdom.  

Submitted by: The Student Senator Committee
Female and male students sitting in the Council Chamber at City Hall.
Female student speaking to members of city council.
Winning holiday designs on LCBO bags to promote don't drink and drive messages
Winning holiday LCBO bag designs promoting don't drive and drive messages
Female student with two male officers and male manager from LCBO store
Female student standing with two male officers and a male manager from a LCBO store.
Students Say "Think of Me" with Anti-Drinking and Driving Campaign
In December, St. John Bosco Catholic School hosted the Durham Regional Police Services' (DRPS) fourth annual “Think of Me” bag campaign. The annual holiday bag received more than 40,000 student-decorated bags going to the LCBO stores.

Each school picked their favourite bag and the best ten bags—five from elementary and five from secondary schools—were chosen by DRPS and the LCBO for display at the launch event.

Congratulations to the following Durham Catholic winners:
  • East Division: Brianne from
St. John Bosco Catholic School;
  • Central East Division: Angelina from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School;
  • Central West Division: Michaela from All Saints Catholic Secondary School;
  • West Division: Sarah from
St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School;
  • Central East Division: Quentashia from Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School
DRPS Chief Martin choose the winning bags to be entered into the provincial wide contest. The Durham Catholic student winner was Michaela Avvampato from All Saints Catholic Secondary School. Her winning bag design was entered into the provincial contest with that winner having their message printed on thousands of bags and distributed at LCBOs during the May 2020 long weekend. 
Group of male and female students with teachers and priest in a chapel at a television studio.
Students sitting at a conference table learning what goes into making a television show.
Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School Students Participate in Advent Mass on Salt & Light TV
The Christmas season was made a little brighter thanks to a class of Grade 12 French Immersion Religion students at Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School who travelled to Salt and Light Television in early December to participate in Mass. The class was filmed by Salt & Light’s media production crew as they said readings in French and English. The Mass aired on December 22, 2019 for the fourth Sunday of Advent. You can watch the Mass by clicking here .

As part of the visit, students toured Salt & Light’s facility, while staff introduced them to possible careers and cooperative education placements in the field of media and production.
Upcoming Events
Are you Transitioning to Secondary School? Attend an Upcoming Parent/Student Information Night
Our Durham Catholic Secondary Schools are hosting Grade 8 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:

School mascot wearing a St. Mary jersey outside with students
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