The Durham Catholic District School Board's Celebrating Student Success Newsletter - May 2017
Year of Community
Female student
This year, we asked members of our Student Senate to share what community means to their secondary schools as we celebrate the Year of Community. Each month, we will feature a new article written by students that highlight what makes their school community special.

Inspirational Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School Student Becomes Role Model for Community

Nicole Aranzanso is a Grade 12 student at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School. She is known as a very prominent figure in the school community for her role as SAA's President. Furthermore, she serves on committees such as ND's up and coming NDTV, which is a way of connecting students through ND's own news channel, and ND's Safe Schools Committee, which serves to make school a student-friendly environment. 

On March 17, 2017, Nicole was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She was hospitalized, and even underwent chemotherapy. Amazingly, she is persevering with a model attitude that everybody should follow when they are faced with adversity. Her philosophy maintains that "happiness is a choice" and it has helped propel her to combat the cancer head-on as she makes the best of everyday by "choosing" to be happy.

When asked about her battle, Nicole refers to the insight that she has recently acquired. Her outlook on life is now more narrowed to her "relationships, because at the end of the day only our soul lives on, not our wealth and materials". This strong spirit is rare to witness in a young person, but Nicole remains humble, remarking how her attitude is simply "fairly positive". 

Many of Nicole's peers have been actively encouraging her to continue fighting. She is truly carrying herself in a manner that makes her an inspiration to everybody in the community. Nicole's helped direct attention to the constant struggle that many people face with cancer everyday. Her story brings hope to many more stories, and Nicole is one of many students who have influenced Notre Dame's new BallForCancer program. For small registration fees, teams will compete in a basketball tournament for raising cancer awareness, and funds to put towards a hospitable cause.

Nicole is expected to return to school before the end of the school-year. She remains optimistic about her timetable, and even sees the bright side in shaving her head for a "whole new head of hair" to grow back. She's an undeniable inspiration, and she embodies the special attitude that Notre Dame hopes to teach its students.

Written by Max Lazo
Senator, Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School

Mental Health and Wellness
Children's Mental Health Week
Children’s Mental Health Week is celebrated across Ontario from May 1 to 7, 2017. 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 first week of May is also Catholic Education Week , which offers an excellent
opportunity to highlight how mental health and Catholic education interconnect, and the importance of both Catholic education and positive mental health to well-being, learning and success for all. During this week, educators are being asked to “make the connections” between Catholic Education Week and Children’s Mental Health Week, and have been provided with a package of resources to support these conversations.

We are hopeful that education and open communication will reduce stigma, and increase the willingness of staff, students and parents to reach out for support when needed. For further information on mental health initiatives at the Durham Catholic District School Board and to access the Board’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, click here .

Experiential Learning
Durham Catholic Students travel to the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge

In early April, more than 300 Durham Catholic students and staff from all our secondary schools participated in the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge trip. The groups travelled to World War I and II battlefields in France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and the Netherlands. We asked the schools to share their favourite moment and photos with us from this once in a lifetime trip.

St. Mary Catholic Secondary School

It's difficult to identify a favourite moment on the trip… Was it the time spent at Vimy Ridge with our fellow Canadians, touring Versailles or getting a chance to see the Crown Jewels in London?

For students and staff from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School it was all those things and more because they did it together as a St. Mary family. To all of those on the trip it was the experience of being together in these amazing places, having the chance to laugh, learn and bond in a way we never would in our schools. It took learning to a new level and was an adventure none will ever forget.

All Saints Catholic Secondary School

Our participation in the Vimy 100th Ceremony was a highlight that All Saints students will remember as a once in a lifetime experience that might only have been eclipsed by the student's opportunities to visit the graves of the soldiers they were assigned to research ahead of the trip.  Students had prepared small articles of remembrance for each soldier and had the chance to place them at their actual graves in Barlin Communal Cemetery; for their World War One soldier and Bény-sur-Mer Cemetery; for their World War Two soldiers.  The visits to the cemeteries really put the sacrifices of those soldiers into perspective for the students.

Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School

One of the highlights of the trip for students at Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School was seeing Grade 10 student, Sae Borsboom speak at the Canadian High Commissions Ceremony at Grass Park beside Buckingham Palace, in London.  Sae was one of four students selected from across Canada to speak at the event and was interviewed by CBC regarding the experience.

Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School

On arrival at the Cemetery as our students and a parent began to deliver a short prayer reflection around the monument shown, the mellow tones of the Durham Regional Police Services Pipes and Drums band could be heard faintly in the background as the band then marched from the museum to the cemetery.  After a moment of silence, our students reverently searched through the hundreds of memorial stones for their hero's name and knelt to lay their personalized poppy ... the only sounds were birds not gunfire and shells from 100 years ago.

Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School

Our school's favourite moment during the trip was in Ypres, Belgium. Our Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic Secondary School students and staff participated in a ceremony held nightly since 1928 to commemorate the soldiers who have no graves.  It was a life changing moment for our students and staff.

Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School

Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School's favourite memory of the trip was the visit to Cabaret Rouge Cemetery where students placed poppies on the graves of the soldiers they had researched. Teacher, Mr. Soln (pictured above) gave an inspirational talk to the students about leading meaningful lives to honour the soldiers' sacrifices. The most powerful moment came when Mr. Goulding sung an original song to mark the occasion.

Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School

Although the students were very moved by the Vimy ceremony, the highlight of the trip for Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School was their visit to Sacre Coeur.  The students visited the historic church in the evening, under a full moon, and were able to view all of Paris.  The students enjoyed listening to musicians in the street and the city at night was magical…

Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School Students win Epic Mac N' Cheese Competition
Male and female students wearing aprons and winner of Mac N' Cheese competition.

On April 8, 2017 Durham College's W. Galen Weston Centre for Food hosted its third annual Epic Mac N' Cheese competition and Pop-up Bake  Shop.

The event featured eight teams of Grade 11 and 12 students cooking an array of creative variations of macaroni and cheese.

Congratulations to Katelyn Gadajar and Griffin VanWinden, students at Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School in Whitby for their winning recipe. Their macaroni and cheese featured a combination of goat cheese, Italian sausage, roasted red peppers and garlic over an exquisite cream-based sauce.

“I had a lot of fun, and the experience was great especially considering I am going to be attending Durham College's Culinary Management program in the fall,” said Griffin VanWinden. “It felt good to win as it gave me a lot more confidence in what I do and solidified my decision for my future career.” 

Pictured left: Father Leo. J. Austin CSS students Katelyn Gadajar and Griffin VanWinden with their Durham College mentor.

Providing Students with Great Learning Opportunities at LaMarca Barber & Salon

In light of Catholic Education Week, it is fitting to recognize our community teachers and partners that support our Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and co-op students.  LaMarca Salon & Barber located in North Oshawa has truly reinvented the perception of what a hair salon/barber shop is. Owner Gino LaMarca, a Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School alumni sums up his passion in saying, “One of the greatest gifts is meeting new people. How amazing it is we get to do that here every day. Our ultimate goal is to make everything around us beautiful…that is our life”.

The salon is a sequel to a beautiful story that started in 1972, when Charlie LaMarca created his first salon in Durham Region. The LaMarca family has been a long-time supporter of OYAP, cooperative education and work experience students and for this we are most grateful. 

OYAP Hairstylist student Victoria D’Annunzio adores her placement at LaMarca Salon & Barber. A huge thank you to salon owners, Gino LaMarca, Amanda Wilkinson and all the staff at LaMarca Barber & Salon!        

OYAP is an unforgettable experience for all involved - student, teacher and employer.  To learn more about OYAP talk to your guidance department.  All the best on your journey as a stylist Victoria!

Pictured right: OYAP Hairstylist student, Victoria is cutting a person's hair for the first time. Congratulations on doing a fabulous job Victoria! 

St. Leo Catholic School Unleashes its Entrepreneurial Spirit
On Wednesday, April 5, St. Leo Catholic School hosted a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Open House (STEM Night). With great enthusiasm, students in Grades 6 to 8  showcased innovative inventions that solve everyday problems in their lives.  Students marketed their inventions through student designed online surveys, websites, business cards, brochures and marketing presentations.  Our young entrepreneurs strengthened 21st century skills including critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication in both English and French.  Visitors to the St. Leo Invention Convention voted for their favourite inventions and we congratulate the six teams that advanced to the Learning Partnerships’ Invention Convention in Toronto later this month.

Students in Grade 4 and 5 also showcased their amazing coding skills in the St. Leo Video Game Arcade.  Parents and family members enjoyed student made video games in the Library Learning Commons.  Students proudly presented their games and information boards.

Throughout the evening, our primary students showcased a variety of STEM projects including Launchers, Lego Zip-Lines, Gum Drop Bridges, Building Bridges, and Easter Engineering activities.  Great fun was had by all in the A-Mazing Robot Room, the Family Games Room, a Trail Mix Room (Science + Math = Fun) and Newton's Law Room.

A special thank you to Moloney and the St. Leo Catholic School Band for their outstanding performance.

Three male students standing beside their invention display
Two female and one male student standing by their invention display
Continuing Education Supports Student Transitions
The transition into Grade 9 can be difficult for some students. Not only do the students have to contend with a change in environment, but are now responsible for individual course selection. Being ever mindful of the transition and future career needs of our elementary students as they move along their pathways, our Continuing Education is offering summer programs to support students entering Grade 9 in September.

Several programs are offered that provide reach ahead credit courses, for students that want to get a head start or cannot fit a desired subject into their timetable, and a variety of non-credit camps that promote life skills. Listed below are some opportunities being offered.
  • Integrated Arts (ALC 1O1);
  • Introduction to Business (BBI 1O1); or
  • Technological Education - Robotics (TIJ 1O1)

Non-Credit Camps

We are also offering Summer Camps to enhance literacy and numeracy skills for students in Grades 7 and 8.  Summer camps will be offered at various locations throughout the month of July.  

Our summer camps include: 

  • Coding and Robotics Camp - St. Bernadette Catholic School (Ajax) and Msgr. Philip Coffey Catholic School (Oshawa);  

  • Cooking Camp - All Saints Catholic Secondary School (Whitby) - Students must attend Camp 1 prior to attending Camp 2;

  • Digital Literacy Camp - Arch. Anthony Meagher, Ajax Campus, 458 Fairall St. (Ajax);  and/or

  • Sports Camp - Arch. Denis O'Connor Catholic High School (Ajax), Msgr. J. Pereyma Catholic Secondary School (Oshawa) and Good Shepherd CS (Port Perry).

For dates of camp and registration information, visit our Continuing Education website, click here.

Schools compete in Elementary System Robotics Final
On April 27, 88 students from 11 elementary schools gathered at the Durham Catholic District School Board's Pope Francis Centre for the elementary robotics system final. The event was hosted by the Board's Student Services, Teaching and Learning and Student Success departments. 

Teacher, Sal Iacono and his senior computer-engineering students from Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School provided support. The elementary teams had to complete three challenges - Obstacle Corse, Sumobot, and Maze. These involved the use of sensors, estimating, and programming. In preparation for this, all teams were given the layouts in advance. This enabled them to layout the course and practice. Along with the ability to practice, this also provided real world experience in mathematics (e.g. measurement, spatial awareness, and scale).

Each team had two attempts at the challenges with the best score being kept. In the afternoon, the teams were given a Black Box challenge. The task was to collect a ping pong ball and deposit it into one of three goals. Each goal had progressive points based upon difficulty. 

First place went to Team A from St. John Bosco Catholic School, second place went to Team B from St. John Bosco Catholic School and third placed was awarded to St. Bernard  Catholic School.

Congratulations to all the school teams who participated:
  • Father Fénelon Catholic School;
  • Sir Albert Love Catholic School;
  • St. André Bessette Catholic School;
  • St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School;
  • St. John Bosco Catholic School;
  • St. Joseph Oshawa Catholic School;
  • St. Jude Catholic School;
  • St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic School; and
  • St. Theresa Catholic School.

Pictures left: Students competing in the different robotic challenges.

Expanding Pathways

Pathways for Females in Non-Traditional Trades

Educators and Grade 7 and 8 female students from Durham Catholic participated in the Youth Apprenticeship and Skilled Trade Symposium held on April 6th, 2017 in partnership with the Durham District School Board.  The event featured various careers in the skilled trade and apprenticeship pathway and focused on opportunities for women in non-traditional trades.  Workshops showcased careers in electrical, carpentry, construction, the military, and more.

Jamie MacMillan, ironworker and tradeswomen advocate, spoke with educators and students about her pathway into the skilled trades, the challenges she has had to face, and her love for her work during her keynote address.  Jamie spent the remainder of the day with the students as they participated in a number of workshops and activities.  

Pictured right: Gloria Zaky (left), Grade 7 student from St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School with Jamie McMillan (right).

Female student wearing safety vest with female adult talking
Students Achieving Success through Cooperative Education
Have you considered cooperative education? Three of our Catholic secondary school students share with us the success they have experienced through cooperative education.

Grade 11 Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School student, Cole Fryer participated in a cooperative education placement at the Abilities Centre in Whitby.  The partnership between the school, Cole, and team at the Abilities Centre led to a very successful semester for Cole.  He loved cooperative education so much that he will be taking a four credit coop next year in a new learning placement.

Left: Picture of Cole Fryer working at the Abilities Centre.

Male student working in a store

Notre Dame cooperative education student, Josh Reardon worked at Habitat for Humanity for his coop placement.   Josh excelled at his work; not only did Habitat for Humanity support his unique learning needs, they hired him.  He’s now working for the organization a few days a week after school and will be employed 35 hours a week over the summer.

Pictured right: Josh Reardon working at Habitat for Humanity.

Dish of pasta

When asked about his cooking placement at Jack Astor’s, St. Mary Cooperative Education student, Jacob Ancio said this about his cooperative education experience:

"There are many things I found satisfying and rewarding about my co-op experience at Jack Astor’s. From meeting new people, my fellow co-workers at Jacks were amazing! I really felt like I was part of the team. I found that my ability to cook has improved and also my whole passion for cooking has increased. My co-op experience was also rewarding because I can use everything I learned as a stepping stool for my career." 

Pictured left: A plate of pasta.

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