Celebrating Student Success
Expanding Pathways for Every Student's Future
May 2018
High school teacher providing some tips to student who is applying make up to another female student
Year of Service
This year, we asked our Student Senators to share what service means to their secondary schools as we celebrate the Year of Service. Each month, we will feature a new article written by students that highlight how our school communities are called to serve.
Year of Service at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School
At Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School, school spirit and self-expression are always encouraged. This group of people exemplify the word within the name, leaders. We strive every day to fulfill tasks that will bring our school community closer. When the task was brought up through senate to bring all groups of students together for inclusion, we set off to do so.

Throughout this school year, we have worked to breakdown the walls separating the groups of different people with different interests. One idea was to do things that everybody would enjoy. This idea can be shown in one of our biggest upcoming events in our school community, Spirit Week. During this week full of fun, we will have days such as our pep-rally where students can go in front of the school to compete as a grade to win games. Now of course we understand not everyone would want to get up and play games in front of the whole school. That is why we also have days such as meme day. In the age that we live in, it is hard to come across someone who doesn’t know who Bob Ross is or the famous caption “what are those!”. We made this day for this reason, since other people will be able to connect with people they perhaps don’t usually connect with due to the fact that they enjoy these same things.

It is possible to argue that these days may also be separating groups even more, although even if some don’t enjoy one day and others do, there is still going to be one day at least that someone will enjoy with others. These ideas and activities that we have created are only small fragments of the overall idea. It will always be difficult to form one bond with every group, although we must try. I am proud to say that our work has started to pay off and that it has become easier to see all students coming together to feel enjoyment, although of course there will always be more work to do.

Through our success, I can only offer advice to other leaders of schools to put in perspective what everyone will want. Unfortunately, our schools have become not only grades, but also groups from known to somewhat unknown. As leaders trying to bring these two groups together, we must not only think for the popular ideas and thoughts but also the ideas that not everyone likes. We have found success when we think about these smaller ideas and I truly do believe if all schools take that advice that we have to offer, if they haven’t done so already that is, than all students, in one community can come together as one.

Dalton McCutcheon
Student Senator, Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School
Monsignor John Peryema Catholic Secondary School logo
Mental Health and Wellness
Hand holding a green ribbon
Children's Mental Health Week from May 7 to 13, 2018
Children’s Mental Health Week is celebrated across Ontario from May 7 to 13, 2018. 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. This same week is also Catholic Education Week, which offers an excellent opportunity to highlight the importance of both Catholic education and positive mental health to well-being, learning and success for all. Educators have been provided with a package of resources to support these conversations, as well as a new poster on the theme of how to help a friend that seems to be struggling or experiencing a potential mental health problem.

Youth are reminded that their role as a friend is not the same as a mental health professional. Their main role should be to provide support and help connect their friend to help or services. The poster outlines five steps for helping a friend: 1. Tell them you’ve noticed a change; 2. Show care and concern; 3. Listen, don’t judge; 4. Ask and reflect; 5. Connect them to help.

Connecting them to help can mean different things; for example, depending on the issue, a connection to a “caring adult” in the school or community might be appropriate. A family doctor is often a good place to start, as they may be able to rule out a physical cause or make a referral. Additional professional help might include a counsellor through the school or the community. Some youth may prefer to use a phone line or online chat option. Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868; kidshelpphone.ca) is a free, anonymous, confidential service with professional counsellors who are there to listen and provide support. In all cases, if a youth is worried about the immediate safety of a friend, it is essential that they talk to a trusted adult about their concerns, or call 911. While they may be concerned about upsetting their friend, the focus needs to be on safety.

When supporting a friend, youth also need to pay attention to their own well-being. An important part of any relationship is boundaries, and even though it’s normal to want to help, it’s important for youth to know their limits and to have their own supports in place. Visit: http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/factsheet/helping-a-friend-youre-worried-about to learn more about supporting a friend.

We are hopeful that education and open communication about mental health will reduce stigma, and increase the willingness of staff, students and parents to reach out for support when needed. Visit: https://www.dcdsb.ca/en/programs-services/Mental-Health.aspx?_mid_=100106 for further information on mental health initiatives at DCDSB, and to access the board’s revised Mental Health Strategy.
Diane Mullane,
DCDSB Mental Health Leader
Experiential Learning
SHSM Students at Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School earn Leadership Skills Certification
As part of the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Program, students complete a number of certifications that relate to the economic sector they are studying. One of the certifications common to a number of the 19 SHSM sectors in Ontario is Leadership Skills. 

Recently, all four SHSM programs at Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School joined together to take part in a Leadership Skills certification day. In total, 67 students were guided through a program that taught students about the importance of being effective leaders in today's world. Not only did the students learn specific leadership skills, but they also had a chance to learn from one another about the different SHSM sectors they are studying. 

Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School offers four SHSM programs - Business, Hospitality and Tourism, Transportation and Arts and Culture. Thank you to the entire SHSM team at Father Leo J. Austin CSS for offering this day to the students.

Student working on a project at a table
Students testing a vehicle they made on a cardboard ramp
High school student getting ready to show what their robot can do on the arena floor
Male and female students from the elementary school
elementary students on the jumbo screen over the arena floor
Another Successful Season for Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School’s Robotics Team
Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School's DOC Botics, Team 6110 recently competed in one of the most competitive robotics tournaments in the world! Overall 3,000 teams from 28 countries were competing in the same First Robotics Competition in their respective countries. 

The small, but mighty team from Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School (DOC) performed extremely well all season, winning a District event at Durham College in early March. With such a successful season the team qualified for the Ontario Championship where they continued to perform extremely well. 

Students from St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School made the trip with Archbishop Denis O’Connor CHS students and not only cheer them on, but watched intently.

On the final day of competition, the DOC Robotics team’s fate was left in the hands of the top eight teams, hoping to get drafted/selected for the finals. 

The team members, including graduates from DOC who currently mentor the team, had braved the ice storm to drive to Mississauga to support their team. Unfortunately, the team was not selected for the playoffs ending their official season but this was definitely DOC's most successful season both on and off the field.  

Students from St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School loved everything about the day. Helping to score and being scouts allowed the elementary students to further their understanding of robotics and coding. “The high school students were perfect role models for them,” said Hilary Rogers, DCDSB Elementary STEM teacher lead at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School. “Students are now inspired and motivated to continue with robotics.”
Durham Catholic District School Board’s First Chess Tournament
This year our Durham Catholic Elementary schools had the opportunity to enter our first and hopefully annual chess tournament.

We had 15 schools compete in 4 regional areas: 
  • St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School - Pickering/Uxbridge 
  • St. Jude Catholic School - Ajax 
  • St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic School- Whitby
  • Father Joseph Venini Catholic School - Oshawa/Port Perry

Over 150 students competed in three divisions (Grades 3/4, Grades 5/6 & Grade 7/8). The top three from each of these groupings at our four regional meets qualified for our Chess Championships held on April 17 at the Pope Francis Centre.

Great comradery and sportsmanship was displayed as 36 students and their family and friends came out and competed in five matches throughout the evening. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to the top 3 (of 12 participants) in each grade grouping.

Special thanks to the lead teachers in our DCDSB schools that volunteered their time and expertise to give these students this opportunity. Thanks to Aaron D'Mello and his Grade 10 Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School crew that helped score and supervise these events. Lastly, a special thank you to Principal Norma Wheeler and Superintendent Tracy Barill that came out to present the awards to our DCDSB students.
Male and female students who participated in the Chess Tournament
Top three students
Female adult and male adult talk to students about the music industry and back stage set up
Two female students talking
cover of journal
After School Program lets Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School Students Explore Music and Production
Students at Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School are exploring their musical talents and learning how to produce music through a unique After School Program sponsored by the school.
The ten-week DOC Stars program provides students with access to a voice coach and music producer while offering students a safe place to channel their creativity.

“The program allows students to turn their negative emotions into music and positive experiences,” said Leroy Clarke, Equity and Inclusive Education Resource teacher for the Durham Catholic District School Board. “Students are given journals at the start of the program and every week they write about anything that’s bothering them.”

The program is already seeing great results and offers students a creative outlet.
“Taking negative emotions and turning them into positive ones is essential to a person’s well-being and mental health,” added Dr. Clarke.

Students will showcase their musical talent during the school’s annual Talent Show on May 18.

Expanding Pathways
Make Up Artistry Dual Credit Program at Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School Creates Buzz
In February 2018, Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School launched a new Dual Credit Make Up Artistry Course for Grade 11 students. Since then, the excitement around the school has grown and more and more students are talking about the course.

The Dual Credit program is a successful student success program that leads students to their Ontario Secondary School Diploma while preparing them for the transition to post-secondary education.  The high school course is taught jointly by a high school teacher and a college instructor. The high school teacher delivers the curriculum of the high school course and the college instructor delivers the curriculum from a closely matched college course. As a result, students can earn both the high school credit and college credit.

“Students are learning valuable life skills such as interpersonal skills and customer service skills,” said Ms. Ashton, Teacher at Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School. “They are also learning how to apply make-up, the different technics to use, what tools to use and how to use them, the different types of skin and what products to use.”

As part of the course, students also travel to Loyalist College in Belleville, to tour the campus and explore the college programs available to them. “An important part of the program is role playing and teaching students how to work with clients,” added Orla Keogh, Instructor from Loyalist College. “The Dual Credit program is opening doors for students to help them transition to college, while still in high school.”

For Grade 12 Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School student, Quynn Irvine the course is building her confidence. “This class is teaching me how to talk to new clients or people I don’t know while providing me with professional skills,” said Quynn. “My dream job is to start my own make-up line, so this class is perfect because I’m learning all the technics and obtaining a better understanding of make-up and skin types. I love it!”

The Make Up Artistry Dual Credit Class is so popular among students, that there will be two Grade 10 Introductory Cosmetology Courses in addition to the Grade 11 Dual Credit Make Up Artistry Course during the 2018-2019 school year.

The Durham Catholic District School Board partners with Durham College, Fleming College and Loyalist College to offer the Dual Credit program.

In 2017-2018, DCDSB offered 34 Dual Credit classes across all eight high schools. In addition, there were two Adult Dual Credit classes through the Continuing Education department. In total, 532 Grade 11 and 12 students were enrolled in a dual credit class.

Examples from the 2017-2018 program include:

  • Digital Photography and Imaging - a partnership with Durham College;
  • Automotive Service and Repair - a partnership with Durham College;
  • Makeup Artistry - a partnership with Loyalist College;
  • Introduction to Mechanical Trades - a partnership with Fleming College;
  • Child Development - a partnership with Durham College.
College instructor applying makeup to female student. High school teacher video taping.
Female student artists communicating with her client before apply makeup
Female student apply makeup to another female student
Students apply make up on other female students
Students painting clay pots in a classroom
Cooperative Education Integration Day – Service Learning at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School
Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School students painted flower pots for community partner Habitat for Humanity ReStore Durham on their Cooperative Education in-school day on Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

During this painting activity students discussed placement learning and experiences with their peers and teacher in class, and discussed the importance of building relationships through community service initiatives such as this one. Pereyma co-op students enthusiastically utilized this opportunity to plan and prepare for our upcoming cross-panel experiential learning Days of Service, whereby these co-op students (pictured above) will be mentoring their peers and leading the painting activity in support of our community partner.

At the beginning of June, Grade 7 & 8 students and staff will have the opportunity to work in partnership with Grade 9-12 students and staff to learn more about the Skilled Trades, Apprenticeship Pathways, OYAP and volunteer opportunities available to students at Habitat for Humanity. On the planned cross-panel Days of Service, students will choose to participate in hands-on learning activities such as baking, landscape/gardening, and construction technology activities. Products created through these Days of Service will be donated to community partner Habitat for Humanity ReStore Durham. Co-op students left class feeling prepared to take on this leadership opportunity and are looking forward to building community at Pereyma by mentoring and working one-on-one with younger Pereyma students in the near future.
Cooperative Education at Shoppers Drug Mart withTwo Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School Students.
Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School's partnership with Shopper's Drug Mart for Cooperative Education placements has been a great success. Through their time working at Shopper’s Drug Mart, two Dwyer students, Matthew and Connor have developed a sense of purpose, self-confidence and most importantly independent living skills.

The responsibilities of these students include identifying, organizing and stocking products and maintaining a safe and clean working environment. The placement also promotes the development of analytical and independence skills by having the students read aisle signs to identify where products should be placed.

Both students are becoming more and more independent in navigating the public transportation system using bus and cabs to get to and from work. Connor has been taught to independently phone the cab company to book/cancel cabs when necessary.

Both Matthew and Connor are developing appropriate social and verbal skills required to interact successfully with staff and customers. These are skills that both of these young men will need to be successful in their post secondary lives when they transition to their community outside of Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School. Hopefully, placement opportunities like this will lead to future employment for these students. Such placements assist in developing the necessary qualifications and skills employers are looking for such as reliability, dependability and the ability to follow instructions.

Mike, the manager at Shopper’s Drug Mart is so impressed with both young men that he has requested more of Msgr. Paul Dwyer’s special needs students to be placed at his store in the future. Watch their video to learn more.
Student Achievement
Picture of the sun on a yearbook cover
Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School's Yearbook Cover wins 3 rd Place in Friesens National Yearbook Contest!
Every year, the Friesens Yearbook Company runs a yearbook cover contest. This year, Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School came in first place for the regional yearbook contest which is already a great honour. It also allowed us to be part of the national yearbook contest. Recently, Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School received notification that this year’s yearbook cover came in 3 rd place nationwide.

Over 1000 covers that were entered in the contest at the regional level and 100 covers continued to the national level. The winning design was created by Kianna Diores, a Grade 12 student who has been accepted at York University for the Bachelor of Design Program.

"Our theme was 'Ignite', and I wanted to come up with as unique of a concept as possible, so I decided to use suns to convey my message," said Kianna Diores . "The sun is the most important celestial body in our solar system since it keeps the earth warm, provides us with essential vitamins, allows our crops to grow, and ultimately keeps us alive. Previous civilizations worshiped the sun for all it provided, and at a Catholic school, we praise God for all He provides for us including the fire of His love in our hearts.
Graphic design is truly my passion and I’m so grateful to be able to do what I love every day and receive this recognition for it. It is truly an honour to have placed 3rd in the national competition and to be able to represent Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School."
Durham Catholic District School Board
650 Rossland Road West,
Oshawa, ON
Phone: 905-576-6150 | Visit us at dcdsb.ca