February 2015
Welcome to the Durham Catholic District School Board's new online Student Success newsletter entitled "Celebrating Student Success".  Are you looking for tips on how to succeed at school? Or interested in learning about what's inspiring our students?

Subscribe to this newsletter to learn more about what's happening at our Durham Catholic schools. This permission based newsletter will be delivered directly to your email account on a bi-monthly basis. We invite you to share the newsletter with your friends and join us in celebrating our students' successes.

A special thank you to the Media Arts class at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School, in particular Megan and Mr. Drake for the creation of the newsletter's masthead banner and photo shoot with our students.

Parish and Community Connections

Tree Top Community Building 



This past fall, the Credit Recovery classes at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School took to the trees participating in a Ropes Course and Zip-Lining Eco Adventure.

Above: Back L-R: Daniel Lopez Carbajal, Quinton Gordon-Tennant, Demantis Somers, Sam Demma, Terae Bacon, Mr. Joaquin, Mr. Antonucci


Front L-R: Mrs. Baglole, Ms. Boehm, Erik Russell, Graeme Garrett, Jordan Oliver, Mayella Lima

Students trekked through a heart pumping, adrenaline rushing, aerial tree top obstacle course complete with 734 foot Zip Line ride 80 feet in the air. The day proved to build a sense of community and trust between students and teachers as they encouraged each other to work beyond their fears and accomplish the team goal of completing the course.

Changing the World...One Project at a Time


St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic School's Me to We team continues to change the world one step at a time. Last year, together with their school community they raised over $14,500.

 Julia Everitt, Mikayla Wilson, Kaitlyn Ulrich, Ashley Lawrence, Gabriella Suarez-Requina, Keysha Binning-Jones, Katrina Baltkois, Samantha Khalil
This year they have added a few more projects to assist them with their goal to help those in need. The school's new initiatives include selling Rafiki chains, purchasing goats, participating in We Scare Hunger and collecting toonies for local seniors at Fairview Lodge. The school's  social justice team continues to make a difference one worthwhile project at a time.

In This Issue
Quick Links
Career Cruising
Pathways Booklet
Student Success
Below are links and Apps to help students with school and everyday life.  
Free online Math tutoring service for students in Grade 7 to 10 is available at -  


My Fitness Pal is an App that combines a food diary with an exercise journal to help users become healthier. 

Breathe2relax is a stress management App that provides detailed information on the effects of stress on the body, instructions and practice exercises.


Attention Grade 8 students and families. Are you aware of the following tools and programs available to help make your transition to Grade 9 as smooth as possible?

Grade 8 to 9 Transition Guide

Head Start Program is an opportunity for Grade 8 students to attend secondary school for four mornings (Monday to Thursday) during the third week of August. Information is sent to elementary students in June.

Student Achievement
Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School Students Creates Basic Life Project

Mahika, a Grade 12 student at Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School, was inspired to create the Basic Life Project (BLP) by two women she met when travelling as a child to Sri Lanka, the birth place of her parents.  Mahika came to understand that these hard-working, kind and caring women faced many daily living challenges such has having difficulty repairing their roof (due to heavy rains and mudslides) as well as feeding, sheltering and clothing their children.   With a focus on raising awareness and money to support monthly delivery of food packages, Mahika was able to use social media to create the BLP. The BLP was started not only to assist those who are in need, but also to bring awareness to the idea of accepting responsibility for other human beings.  By sharing her story about how her grandmother helping her see the world beyond her own community, she has inspired other young people to join BLP and make a difference to those in need. 


Due to her commitment and passion, Mahika was awarded the YMCA of Greater Toronto Peace Medallion for her efforts in providing the basics of life to families in Sri Lanka.  Congratulations, Mahika, on putting your faith into action!


Titan Wins Provincial Cross Country Championship -Thomas Witkowicz captures Gold at OFSAA Cross Country
It was an outstanding freshman year for Thomas Witkowicz of All Saints Catholic Secondary School, as he went undefeated all season and raced to victory at the OFSAA Cross Country Championship in Waterloo, ON. The St. Leo Catholic School graduate made his season goal known to coaches at his first high school practice by asking how fast he would have to run to win the provincial championship. Thomas continued to impress all season, winning titles at Trinity College, the Titan Invitational, Dwyer Invitational, Sacred Heart Invitational and at Heart Lake. Thomas's dedication to his sport and his exceptional sportsmanship, made him a role model for his teammates and an excellent ambassador for All Saints Catholic Secondary School.

If Thomas' running prowess were not impressive enough, he has also managed the transition to high school academics with equal success, maintaining an impressive average in his classes. Whether in the classroom or hitting the trails, the future looks bright for this Titan.


Kieran Lynch
Where the Music Begins

My name is Kieran Lynch; I am sixteen years old and I attend All Saints Catholic Secondary School. I started my Cooperative Education placement in the first semester of my Grade 12 year at Long & McQuade Musical Instruments.  I work mainly in the drums and pro audio departments, where I stay productive in order to maintain an active flow.

The most rewarding part of my placement so far has been contributing to the booming music scene in Oshawa and working for such a respectable establishment. It is wonderful seeing all the different kinds of musicians, all different ages and skill levels, who come in to shop. This experience will help me in my future endeavours as a musician because equipment is an integral part of the music industry, and having an advanced knowledge of musical gear and their applications is a valuable skills et to have. I hope to pursue a career in media or music production, and participating in coop at Long & McQuade has given me great experience and taught me many lessons.

Being part of the staff has given me a new perspective on retail business and I have a lot of respect for the knowledge that the employees have on the industry. Coop is a fantastic opportunity for students like me, as I prefer to work in a hands-on environment rather than in a classroom setting. Long & McQuade is a brilliant organization and it is a privilege being involved with and working alongside such a friendly and talented staff.  


At the Durham Catholic District School Board, we believe that all students can be successful, that success comes in many forms, and that there are many pathways to success. If you have a story idea for an upcoming newsletter, please email your story for consideration to student.success@dcdsb.ca.

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