The Returning Officer is recruiting staff for the school board election that will be held on November 2, 2014.
Required are: Deputy Returning Officer, Poll Clerk, and an Officer in charge of Information and Order. Interested persons can send the following information to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Name, address, email, phone number.
Availability on November 2, October 26 is required as well as for a training session to be held in October.
LBPSB Senior Administrators take an ice-cold dousing for ALS
Lester B. Pearson Senior Administrators, including LBPSB Director General Robert T. Mills, got an ice-cold dousing Tuesday (Aug.26), as part of the fundraising ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which has gone viral through social media. Participants dump a bucket of ice water on their or someone else’s head to promote awareness and raise funds for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, an ultimately fatal degenerative disease which affects the central nervous system.
LBPSB Regional Director David Meloche, who initiated Tuesday’s challenge to his fellow school board administrators, in turn dared Education Minister Yves Bolduc to take up the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
The Societe de la SLA du Quebec/ALS Society of Quebec can be reached at http://sla-quebec.ca or by calling 514-725-2653.
PCHS student Akshay Grover completes Montreal-Toronto run and raises funds for Childhood Cancer Canada
Akshay Grover really takes his school assignments to heart.
The 16-year-old Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School student raised just over $12,000 to help combat childhood cancer by running more than 500 kilometers from Montreal to Toronto this summer.
“It was incredible,” Akshay said of the Aug. 1 to 13 run in which he covered just over 42 kilometers daily, the equivalent of a marathon each day. “And what was more incredible is that people donated even more than the $10,000 I had hoped to raise for the Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation.”
Akshay said he is now busy trying to edit the video of his run, with more than 50 hours of footage in all, in order to present to his fellow PCHS students in September and later in the year, to students at various schools under the Lester B. Pearson School Board.
PCHS Principal Cristina Prata said she was not surprised when Akshay came up with his project.
“Akshay has always been a young man ahead of his time,” she said, noting that she is looking forward to seeing the video and sitting in on Akshay’s IB oral defence at the end of this school year. “He not only talks the talk but walks the walk as well – or, in this case, ran it!”
Akshay said the idea for the run came to him when he was asked to come up with a personal project as part of the International Baccalaureate program at his school.
“I have been running competitively since I was 12 years old,” said Akshay, who also works part-time at a local grocery store.
“And I thought I could combine my love of running with raising money to combat childhood cancer,” he said adding that his influences were Terry Fox and his cross-country Marathon of Hope as well as Zachary Sobiech, an American folk-rock singer who died of bone cancer last May at the age of 18.
Akshay said the run went well despite some minor injuries – swollen ankles, shaking knees and aching hips - and mechanical problems, such the time when the car driven by his mother, Sabrina Kandola, overheated.
Kandola was his back-up during the run, following him by car.
“But we continued on to the end,” he added.
Donations are ongoing but as of Aug. 19, Akshay’s Run has raised $12,661.
Melocy Khodaverdian, director of development at Childhood Cancer Canada, said Akshay’s contribution is very welcome.
“Childhood cancer research is extremely underfunded and we are extremely grateful for the efforts of remarkable individuals like Akshay who help us create much needed awareness and support,” she said. “We hope his dedication to our brave kids and families inspires Canadians nationwide to get involved as well.”
School Board officials were also impressed with Akshay’s commitment.
Thomas Rhymes, Regional Director at the LBPSB, called Akshay “a remarkable young man who made an equally remarkable commitment to a cause he believed in.
“It is humbling to say the least.”
LBPSB Chairman Suanne Stein Day said Akshay’s commitment is an inspiration to all.
“We have very high expectations for all our students and are proud that so many exceed them, but Akshay has set the bar very high indeed,” she said. “On behalf of the Council of Commissioners, we congratulate Akshay and thank him for making the world that much of a better place.
Don`t miss the Pearson Foundation Golf Classic on Sept 17
How’s your golf swing?
You’ve had the summer to hone it to as close to perfection you can get – now it’s time to show it off at the Pearson Educational Foundation’s Golf Classic taking place Sept. 17 at the Club de Golf Atlantide on Ile Perrot.
The event is the foundation’s major fundraiser of the year – and that’s important because, among many things, PEF provides funding for LBPSB school initiatives beyond the scope of regular government funding.
PEF supplies winter clothing for students in need, assists the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s Hungry Kids programs, furnishes equipment and ingredients for cooking classes in several alternate and life-skills programs, as well as tech equipment and registration fees for entries to science and robotics tournaments. PEF also funds several summer camps for students with academic or affective difficulties – providing not only fun but a leg up for the next school year – and manages a number of in-memoriam bursaries at the high school level.
Indeed, during the 2013-2014 school year, PEF supplied LBPSB students and classrooms with:
*$35,000 for technology equipment: robotics kits, iPads, a 3D printer and cameras.
* $18, 300 for summer camps for students with particular needs.
*$12,500 towards sports and exercise equipment, art supplies, music equipment, and supplies for literacy projects.
*$8,600 towards snowsuits and boots for kids who didn't have any.
*$7,000 towards feeding underprivileged students and ingredients for cooking programs.
“This is education for the 21st century,” said PEF President Barbara Freeston. “We need your help to attain our goal of $60,000.”
The cost of brunch, a golf cart, cocktail and dinner is $250 (a tax receipt of $100 per person will be issued).
Cocktail and dinner alone is $125 (tax receipt of $50).
The end of a school year is often a time for reflection, and this year is no exception.
As we look back on the 2013-2014 school year, it’s apparent that it is the strength of our community that makes our schools - from kindergarten to grade 11, to our adult and vocational centres - wonderful places of learning and sharing.
“We all take great pride in our students’ achievements and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to their success,” said Suanne Stein Day Chairman of the Lester B. Pearson School Board which serves students and staff in 59 schools, adult and vocational centres as well as two International Language Centres on a territory that spans from Verdun westward to the Ontario border.
“I am honoured to be working with such dedicated teachers, staffers, parents, volunteers, commissioners and administrators, all of whom contribute to making our schools special and safe places for all of our students,” she added. “We look forward to building on that success.”
Have a fun and safe summer and remember, Elementary and High School classes at the Lester B. Pearson School Board begin Sept. 2, 2014.
The Lester B. Pearson School Board will be unable to discuss or approve its 2014-2015 budget at the June 23 meeting of the Council of Commissioners, contrary to the Public Notice issued, because the school board has yet to receive the final budget parameters from the Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sport (MELS).
The ministry has indicated that the final and complete budget rules will not be available until mid-July.
“At this point, we have been informed we should expect other cuts,” noted LBPSB Chairman Suanne Stein Day. “It is impossible for us to effectively deal with the information we have so far or strategize how we are going to deal with the announced cuts, which far exceed our expectations.”
Despite the MELS setback, the LBPSB will continue to focus all efforts on student success.
The board will either call a Special Meeting of Council during the summer or pass the budget at the regular meeting in August.
Overture with the Arts celebrates its 5th anniversary
It’s been a big year for Akilah Newton, founder of the non-profit Overture with the Arts (OWTA) organization.
In May, OWTA – which offers education in music, dance, drama and vocal training through after-school programs and school tours - received a Montreal Community Cares Award.
“We couldn’t have been happier to be the recipient of a Montreal Community Cares Award – it’s an incredible honour,” said Newton of the black tie event that took place at the Corona Theatre to honor Montreal’s unsung heroes. “For several years Overture with the Arts has worked very hard to build programs and fundraise to run our programs.
“It’s nice to be recognized for our work.”
In April, OWTA celebrated its fifth anniversary with a Fashion Show fundraiser called Heart. The fundraiser - which saw student models join forces with Montreal based couture designer, Astri Prugger of Astri Prugger Designand custom jewelry designer, Trink Jewelry by Tracy Gartner - raised more than $2,000 for OWTA’s after school arts program.
“The last five years have been so rewarding, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our 5thanniversary, said Newton, noting that OWTA is one of the partners of the Community Learning Centre at Riverdale High School, with support of the Pearson Educational Foundation.
Lester B. Pearson School Board Chairman Suanne Stein Day said Newton’s work is of great value to students from all walks of life.
“Overture with the Arts contributes so much to our schools and gives many students the opportunity to experience arts and culture in a safe and comfortable setting,” she said noting that OWTA’s mandate is completely in line with the school board’s strategic plan and Arts and Culture policy.
“It’s win-win for everyone involved,” added Stein Day.
This past year also marks the fourth year that OWTA toured the Black History Month initiative, Songs of Freedom (SoF) to high schools in the Montreal area and Eastern Ontario.
As well, for the first time this year, the tour - animated by Montreal musician & 2011 Grammy nominee, Jonathan Emile - went international, visiting schools in both the UK and Germany, and will do so again next fall.
OWTA also introduced Songs & Stories to elementary schools this year as did OWTA’s S.P.E.A.K (Self-esteem, Pressure, Empathy, Attitude, Knowledge) program which gives teens the opportunity to voice their concerns through trust-building activities, music and visual arts projects.
Additionally, OWTA launched Overture Radio at Riverdale High School in Pierrefonds. The student-run program encourages youth to find their voice, promotes creative thinking and inspires self-expression.
Newton, a graduate of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, which was co-founded by Sir Paul McCartney, said that it was there that she came up with the idea of establishing OWTA , to give young people the opportunity to explore the arts.
“Nourishing minds through exploration of the arts … leads to improved academic results and more engaged members of society,” she said.
Barbara Freeston, president of the Lester B. Pearson Foundation which provides funding for LBPSB school initiatives beyond the scope of government funding, lauded the work Newton does through OWTA.
“Akilah is an inspiring young woman, she is constantly coming up with new activities that engage a youth population that often turns to the street through lack of hope, lack even of awareness of the possibilities that surround us,” said Freeston.
“Her cultural and inter-cultural works are a huge asset to the Riverdale Community Learning Centre and the north-east Pierrefonds- Dollard community at large,” Freeston added.
Even as the school year comes to an end, Newton is preparing to host OWTA’s second Summer Breeze: Acoustic Music Concert series.
Beginning on Friday, July 4 at Starbucks in Chapters Pointe-Claire, OWTA will host free concerts to showcase local talent. There are five shows in total, every 2nd Friday in July and August.
“The past five years have been an incredible ride for Overture with the Arts – we started in 2009 with one program and four participants enrolled,” Newton said. “Fast forward to 2014 and we have seven programs involving thousands of students.
“This is only the beginning and we’re excited to see what the next five years will bring.”
Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School student plans fundraising run to Toronto this summer
Some people find the Montreal to Toronto drive a long one.
Try running it.
That’s just what Akshay Grover, a 16-year-old student at Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School, will be doing this summer.
He hopes to raise awareness and $10,000 to help combat childhood cancer.
Akshay said the idea came to him when he was asked to come up with a project as part of the International Baccalaureate program at his school.
“International Baccalaureate … students are asked to complete a personal project,” he explained. “I decided to raise awareness and funds for the Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation.”
To do so, Akshay will run 550 kilometers from Montreal to Toronto this summer – he hopes to leave on Aug.2 and arrive at the Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation head office in Toronto by Aug. 16 – all while producing a movie documenting his journey.
Akshay, who has been running competitively since he was 12 years-old, said his decision to do the Montreal-Toronto trek was influenced by Terry Fox and his cross-country Marathon of Hope as well as Zachary Sobiech, an American folk-rock singer who died of bone cancer last May at the age of 18.
Akshay said he is in the process of acquiring all the necessary permits to do the run and added that his mother, Sabrina Kandola, will be following him by car. The mother and son team plan to sleep in motels along the way.
For her part, Kandola has only support for the son she is raising on her own.
“It is my prevailing goal to ensure that Akshay received the best head start in life - being a single mom right from the very beginning, financial shortcomings, lack of support, constant criticism and endless obstacles were not going to hinder me,” she said. “In fact, despite any odds and any so-called statistics, I was going to make sure that my children would receive just as much as a two-parent family.
“It is therefore such a blessing … that Akshay is choosing to help change the lives of other less fortunate children and give them hope for the future.”
Akshay said he knows it’s a long run but adds that his is a worthwhile cause.
Childhood Cancer Canada officials agree.
“We are thrilled that Akshay is raising funds and awareness for Childhood Cancer Canada with each kilometer he runs,” said Jessica MacInnis, manager of Marketing and Communications at Childhood Cancer Canada.
“With the support of incredible people like Akshay, we are able to help the 10,000 children currently living with cancer in Canada today,” she said noting that Childhood Cancer Canada offers critical support programs for children and families who have experienced a childhood cancer diagnosis. Childhood Cancer Canada also invests in childhood cancer research across Canada.
Akshay said that teachers and fellow students at his school have been supportive, purchasing his promotional t-shirts and offering him much support.
Vanessa Amar, a secondary V science, biology and psychology teacher at PCHS, said she and Akshay have been talking about this project for almost a year.
“Each student in the International Baccalaureate program has a staff representative to help the student and project along,” she said of her role in Akshay’s project.
She said Akshay has always gone above and beyond in all of his school projects.
“And this is no different,” she said adding that she is hoping to organize a rally from Akshay’s starting point and perhaps even run with him for a few kilometers as he starts on his journey..
Thomas Rhymes, Regional director at the School Board, said he was impressed by Akshay’s determination.
“It continues to amaze me that a generation so maligned is also the one making the courageous commitments,” he said.
LBPSB Chairman Suanne Stein Day said Akshay’s commitment should serve an example to others.
“I hope Akshay’s actions will influence others – both students and adults alike – into doing something, even if it is something small, that can help make this world a better place.”
Oh and by the way, Akshay said he plans to do the trip back by car.
Akshay has designed a custom logo and had it printed on t-shirts to promote his fundraiser. He has also set up a Facebook page to keep his followers updated along the journey: https://www.facebook.com/RunAkshayGrover.
CFER students at Riverdale and LaSalle Community High Schools take part in province-wide Olympiad
Three days of competition, creativity and camaraderie.
That’s what a group of students in the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s CFER programs at Riverdale and LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School (LCCHS) High Schools experienced at the province-wide CFER Olympiad.
“It was a fantastic experience, unlike anything we’ve done before,” said LCCHS teacher Darren Rowe, one of the people who accompanied the students to the event which took place June 3, 4 and 5 at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville.
“Everyone competed well, everyone had fun – and it was a great opportunity for the students to mingle and get to know each other,” he added.
The event saw students from all 22 CFER (centre de formation en entreprise et recuperation) programs across the province – only two schools in Quebec , both from the LBPSB, offer CFER programs in English - meet and take part in a series of competitions including presentation, trivia, athletics and manual assembly.
The CFER program is aimed at students who, for many reasons, were not succeeding in the traditional education stream. Students who complete the three-year CFER program receive a Ministry of Education certificate whereby they can enter the workforce.
Students at Riverdale’s CFER Program – which was nominated for a West Island of Montreal Chamber of Commerce Accolades Award - divide their time between classes and dismantling IT products to salvaging usable parts. Instead of having these by-products placed in landfills, they are sold for recycling, which in turn generates modest revenues for CFER Riverdale, a non-profit organization. Students in CFER at LCCHS work on wood pallet recycling.
And LBPSB students did well, placing second in one of the athletics round, and third in the manual dexterity round.
Two students from each team, Cynthia Hall and Brandon Edmund from LCCHS, and Keith Neill and Jordan Larivee from Riverdale, won bursaries for best attitude and perseverance.
The LBPSB students who took part in the event are:
Riverdale : Keith Neill, Corey Laverie, Christian Acupan, Jordan Larivee, Enzo Lucadamo, Daniel Dawson, Nishan Jaldin, Shanton Smith,
The LCCHS ‘s team was respresented by Cynthia Hall, Dolton Lucas, Niccole Bostic-Brathwaite, Brandon Edmund, Hakeem Walker-Bruce, Nicholas Dupont, Jessica Tortolano, Anthony Rabi.
The term student art usually conjures up images of bright and cheery drawings. But when you’re a teenager who is trying to cope with a myriad of challenges, the art can get youthfully introspective.
For example, there’s a small exhibition of works created by students from St. Thomas High School and Horizon High School hanging on the entrance walls at the Lester B. Pearson School Board head office.
While all of the artwork – much of which is accompanied with text - is compelling, it is also shows the angst many young people face today.
Here are some examples:
Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard.
Do not let the pain make you hate
Don not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.
Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree.
You still believe it to be a beautiful place.
Other works are not so optimistic:
Bloodied and frail, Throat and nails, Raw and ripped to shreds.
Broken Dreams, Hope recedes.
Nightmares fill her head.
Blinded eyes, the more she tries, here stomach filled with shame.
No longer just a game.
One more heave,
They won’t believe
Her story’s got a twist
She chose tonight
To end her fight
And carve into her wrists.
One piece of artwork, with coloured jigsaw pieces, colored masks and a human form made out of a coat hanger states, among other things:
We’re all in the same game. Just different levels dealing with the same hells. Just different devils. Saved.
Another shows a young woman, being manipulated by an unseen puppet master and says only: you’re mine.
Although it may be seen as raw, the artwork does allow students to express what would otherwise be buried feelings, according to Anne Novak Vrana, LBPSB Community Life Animator.
“Creative art is capable of promoting self-expression, feelings and emotions,” she said. “This exercise can allow a child to express emotions which would otherwise stay concealed and potentially cause distress.”
Vrana noted that although the works created by students were from two schools which offer two distinct programs – Horizon High School offers an alternative program for at-risk students while St. Thomas High offers a regular and immersion program as well as International Baccalaureate program for high-achieving students - the students’ artwork has many similarities.
“At both these schools, students were asked to create Emotional Art in response to a presentation and discussion about mental health,” said Vrana.
“What is interesting about this exhibit is that regardless of where the students come from, they experience very similar emotions, which they expressed in a variety of art forms,” she added.
Vrana noted that during Mental Health Awareness Week in May, more than 50 student art pieces were exhibited at the Viva Vida Art Gallery in Pointe Claire.
“Seeing the pride of our students while parents and family took in the beauty of the works was inspiring,” Vrana added.
Three LBPSB educators to be guests on the June 16 edition of CJAD`s Tommy Schnurmacher Show
Tune in to CJAD Radio at 9:30 a.m. on June 16 when three Lester B. Pearson School Board educators - Amelia Crerar, Nathia Messina and Michael Rabinovitch - will be on the Tommy Schnurmacher Show to talk about the transition to high school and how to get through the summer without forgetting everything you learned.
“I’m looking forward to it, it’s a great opportunity – perhaps we will be able to give students and parents a few tips that will make the next school year a happy one,” Nathia Messina, principal at St. Edmund Elementary in Beaconsfield, said noting that it is often at the end of the school year when parents sit back and evaluate how the year went for their children and what they could be doing over the summer to help their children along.
As well, the trio will be talking about how students can make smooth transitions from elementary to high school and then from high school to Cegep.
“Teachers and staff are there to help alleviate some of the stress and concerns that parents may have as their children enter the next stage in their educational journey,” said Rabinovitch.
Messina and Rabinovitch partnered up to create the school board’s annual Junior Leadership Day that saw grades 5 and 6 students from across the board take part in workshops that taught them skills that will last a lifetime, including digital citizenship and how to get involved in high school life.
For her part, Crerar, a grade four teacher at St. Edmund’s said the idea for the radio panel came to her because she and other teachers often get stopped and asked for advice by parents when they are outside of school – at the grocery store, for example.
“I thought maybe we could address some of their concerns on the radio so that many parents and students could benefit,” she said. “I hope it works out well.”
Creativity abounded at the LBPSB Entrepreneurship Gala
If ever there was a night to show off, Wednesday (June 4) was it as students and their winning projects from across the Lester B. Pearson School Board gathered for the LBPSB’s Entrepreneurship Gala.
“It’s very exciting as students must solve a problem they see in their community, school or globally,” Nancy Battet, LBPSB Community & Partner Liaison, said at the event which took place at the LPBSB head office in Dorval. “All of these students identified a need or a problem and found a
solution to it.”
In all, 27 local projects from 21 elementary and high schools as well as from the Adult and Career Centre were showcased for all to see.
And there was a lot of creativity in the room as students proudly presented their projects.
“We baked a lot of cookies and … were able to raise $950 in all,” said Amanda, a student from Westpark Elementary. “And because of that, we were able to give $500 to the Montreal Women’s Shelter and $450 to the Montreal Children’s Hospital.”
Lester B. Pearson Chairman Suanne Stein Day said the student projects have made the world a better place.
“I am blown over by these projects,” she said. “Entrepreneurship will take you far for the rest of your lives - don’t lose this spirit of creativity and continue to make the world just a little bit better.”
Students at Riverdale’s CFER program converted old wood television consoles into luxurious dog beds. “We will be taking this one to a dog rescue shelter,’ said Sunny as he and fellow CFER student, Jason, stood proudly before their creation which any dog would love and any dog lover would love even more.
Michael Chechile, Director of Educational Services at the LBPSB said these students will be tomorrow’s leaders.
“Our students are actually changing the world and making the world a better place,” he said.
“They care about others. They understand diversity and want to celebrate it. They worry about our planet and environmental issues. They embrace technology, but also respect digital citizenship. They care about animals and helping the underprivileged, aged and those who are ill.
“We are truly the winners as these students become the leaders of our future.”
The winning elementary school projects were Riverview’s Wormsy Feeling, a worm composting project, Mount Pleasant’s Apple Pockets and Des Sacs Reutilisables, Birchwood’s la Cour d’Ecole, the Dorset iTutors, Edgewater’s
Cookies for All, Maple Grove’s Un Cadeau de Ketchup and the Circus is Coming to Town, St. Lawrence Sr.’s Student Government, Westpark’s Our Gift of Creativity, St. Charles’s Interactive Stories are great, Sunshine Academy’s Sunshine Peacekeepers, Caring for Cats, which consisted of making cat shelters for homeless cats, and Stress Management Symposiums from Verdun Elementary.
The winning high school projects were creating a Keep Sale Shelf for laptop computers, the Port-a-Book, BHS mactechies, the Duct Tape Production crew and Dog Kerchiefs from Beaconsfield High School, the Solar Cart and Organically-Grown, Student-Sown projects from John Rennie, Resource Student Building Maintenance from Lakeside Academy, the LaSalle Coomunity Comprehensive High School’s blood drive, a recycling, compost and herb garden project from Macdonald High School, a Student First Responders project from Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School, the Breakfast Munch Bar and Stencil Art/Classroom Reno projects from Westwood Sr., the If I’m Labelled, I Wont Get Lost project from the Pearson Adult and Career Centre and studetns from the CFER program at Riverdale High School came up with the Upscale Consoles to Dog Beds project.
Four of the projects, the Caring for Cats and Stress Management Symposium from Verdun Elementary and duct tape wallets from the Duct tape Production Crew at Beaconsfield High school as well as the Port-a Book project from Beaconsfeild High School won prizes at the regional
John rRennie clebrates LBPSB`s 15th anniversary with unique domino-type run
Resource and Leadership students at John Rennie High School put together a domino-type run - using 500 CD cases - which featured the letters LBPSB for the Lester B. Pearson School Board.
It was all part of a special event celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Lester B. Pearson School Board, founded in the 1998-1999 school year.
Each CD case had a photo of former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson on one side and the LBPSB logo as well as the John Rennie logo on the other side. A viewing of the Lester B. Pearson PowerPoint presentation, produced by the students, was also shown on May 30 at the Pointe Claire high school.
The event was covered by both Global News and The Gazette, West Island. Here is The Gazette’s video of the domino run:
LBPSB initiative that offers help to students with social-emotional and behavioural difficulties wins Excellence in Education Award
A ground-breaking Lester B. Pearson School Board initiative that provides support and therapeutic interventions for students with social-emotional and behavioural difficulties has won an Excellence in Education Award.
The LBPSB’s Family and School Support and Treatment Team (FSSTT), created in 1995 to provide help for students and their families, was presented last week (May 24) with the Quebec English School Boards Association’s first-ever QESBA Excellence in Education Awards.
“We’re very proud that the efforts of our educators have been recognized as a shining example of community engagement,”
said Cindy Finn, Ph.D, Director of Student Services at the LBPSB. FSSTT is a team that operates within the Student Services Department.
Under the FSSTT program, a full-time behaviour technician works in each of the FSSTT schools, supported by the school resource team and professionals from Student Services.
“The team’s approach is such that everyone involved in the student’s world is considered to be a contributing member of the treatment team and part of the intervention plan,” said Finn, noting that although the FSSTT program formally operates in 13 elementary and five LBPSB high schools, services are available to all LBPSB schools upon request.
Administrators, classroom teachers, resource teachers, non-teaching professionals such as psychologists and behavior consultants and community partners such as child psychiatrists and social workers engage in a collaborative problem-solving process to help a student in difficulty.
“This team of educators works together to develop interventions that support inclusive educational practices and maximize the use of resources available in the community,” said Finn noting that interventions can take various forms, including on-site daily proactive interventions, or a student/family assessment where appropriate.
She said the effectiveness of the FSSTT has been extensively investigated by researchers at McGill and Concordia Universities as well as at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and at the LBPSB .
“The results from these studies indicate that this model is an effective one for social-emotional growth as well as for academic learning. Our approach contributes to a better understanding of the student’s difficulties, leading to more effective interventions in the classroom and beyond” said Finn.
Those results have been presented at local, national and international conferences and have been published in academic journals.
Most recently, the FSSTT was included in the School-Based Mental Health and Substance Abuse (SBMHSA) project, a Canadian initiative created by the Ontario Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
“Over the years, there has been recognition of the team’s work from the community at large”, said Finn, noting that partnerships with community groups has resulted in some unique projects.
For example, for the past five years, the school board has received outside funding from private foundations - such as the Pearson Educational Foundation - for the team to continue its work during the summer months, offering a free 12-day summer camp, called Camp Venture, each August for children in need.
“Another example of community collaboration is our partnership with the Jewish General Hospital Child Psychiatry Program who run evening family therapy groups in our schools for LBPSB parents,” she added.
Finn noted that CEGEPs and universities have also been impacted by the FSSTT as programs that train future technicians and professionals often look to FSSTT schools to serve as internship sites for these students.
“For several years now, the team has received stagieres from the technical training programs at Dawson, Vanier and John Abbott, “ said Finn. “These students work side by side with behaviour technicians to learn more about child development and ways to intervene effectively with students.”
As well, said Finn, FSSTT members are regularly invited to address pre-service teachers and graduate students at local universities and also offer internships for those working in the area of education.
And it’s not just the LBPSB students who benefit from the services of the team.
One mother expressed her gratitude by writing a letter to the Camp Venture staff:
“Words cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunity given to my kids to attend this day camp …” she said. “It was a unique camp, the kids were really well cared for, and the impact it has had on them has been terrific.”
St lawrence Academy students take visitors on an artistic trip around the world
The theme was Around the World – and students from St. Lawrence Academy in Ville LaSalle took it to heart as they led visitors on a global tour through their annual art show.
The school gymnasium was filled to the brim with student-created artworks, including a papier- mache igloo, quilted folk art, masks and figures inspired by African cave drawings, Japanese dragons, US-flags and Canadian maple leafs , Indian henna patterns, Chinese lanterns, Greek urns, Mexican sombreros as well as painted furniture and cushions.
A group of volunteer students - Bryana Bertrand, Christiana Edward, Marcus Cassell, Makesha Walker, Sarai Frederick , Dawn Ramus and Samaah Khan - most of whom are part of the leadership group at the school, were busy with last-minute preparations as visitors began to come into the gym.
“I like being part of the leadership group – we can be role models for the other students,” said Dawn, noting that as well as volunteering, their artwork was on display.
“I really like art and drawing classes,” said Samaah, a grade 6 student.
The bilingual exhibition – there was even multilingual peace rock garden - was a popular with students and visitors alike.
“We hear about what our kids are doing all year long and now we get to see their wonderful artwork first-hand,” said Doris Walker who along with husband, Mike, looked over the artworks created by their daughter, Olena , in grade 1, and son, Joey, a kindergarten student.
“I’m very impressed,” she added.
Elsewhere, families and friends looked over drawings, mobiles, sculptures and more, all created by student inspiration, with a guiding hand from their teachers.
“It’s so much fun to teach these children, especially when I see how proud they are of their work,” said Tara Prokosh, art teacher to Kindergarten and grades 1 and 2 students.
Suspicious Fish evening coming up at Verdun Elementary on June 5
There’s a very special evening coming up on June 5 – it’s called a Night with the Suspicious Fish and features stories written by 38 students from Verdun Elementary read by local Montreal artists.
“The students in the program wrote roughly 130 stories this part year,” said teacher Gary Purcell, who founded the Suspicious Fish program at the school eight years ago.
Not only does the evening include a public reading of the stories – almost all by professional actors from Theatre Ste. Catherine – there will also be a short film presentation called The Suspicious Fish Mystery and Variety Extravaganza.
“The film does star the students and they also helped write and produce it,” said Purcell. “In total, not counting this year, we’ve done eight short films, one feature length film (55 minutes) and one documentary-ish film.”
The students’ written stories have been professionally bound in an anthology that is given to them and which will also be sold to the public during the June 5 event.
And if anyone is wondering, Purcell says he doesn’t exactly remember how he came up with Suspicious Fish name.
“I think it was some graphic design project I had in university,” he said. “I was in the Creative Writing program and was basically always playing around with words.”
Admission to the Night with the Suspicious Fish is free.
Attendees will not only get to hear great stories read by great actors, they will also get a chance to mingle with the artists and purchase a copy of the anthology and DVD. Proceeds will go to toward future funding of The Suspicious Fish.
The Suspicious Fish event takes place June 5 at 6 p.m. (doors open at 5:45 p.m.) at Verdun Elementary, 610 Desmarchais, in Verdun. Come in through the main entrance and follow the signs.
Thorndale Elementary`s 3rd annual art exhibit shows creativity and flair
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
There’s something about children’s art that goes directly to the heart. And with more than 2,500 pieces of artwork by students at Thorndale Elementary on display, it was easy to see why.
The gymnasium at the Pierrefonds school was transformed into a colourful art gallery on May 14 and 15 for Thorndale’s 3rd annual art exhibit.
“Each section is based on one known artist, so that students were able to learn about that artist and his and her life and works,” explained part-time art teacher Giulia Carosielli, as she stood amid the thousands of drawings and creations on display.
With artist sections from Picasso, to Warhol, to Cezanne to the Group of Seven, complete with a train and tracks made by students to show how the artists travelled across Canada, Emily Carr – and even Disney and Olympic art sections – there was something to please everyone.
Quinton Reid, a grade 6 student, was proud to show his mother the scarecrow he drew from The Wizard of Oz. “It’s good, I didn’t’ realize it at first,” he said.
Grade 3 student James Tyler Argyrakis Roberts was excitedly showing his parents his artwork, one of which was in The Group of Seven section. “They’re very nice – he likes to draw, he takes his time about it,” said James’s dad, Peter Roberts.
Dressed in a Canadiens sweater, Rachel Neelin, a grade 1 teacher at the school, took in the exhibition with delight.
“The students love art in class – they love art out of class,” she said. “I’m so proud of them – what they’ve done here is amazing.”
Pearson School of Culinary Arts teams up with Joe Beef
- When celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain visited Montreal for his television show, The Layover, it was the Joe Beef Restaurant he profiled.
- New York Chef David Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurnat empire in Manhattan and listed on the 2010 list of Time Magazine's Most Influential People, says Joe Beef is his favourite Restaurant.
- Joe Beef was voted as Canada's best restaurant in the 2013 Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurant Guide.
It’s no wonder then that students and staff at the Pearson Adult and Career Centre, which houses the Pearson School of Culinary Arts, were thrilled when they learned of a one-year intern partnership with the famous Joe Beef restaurant.
“We’re very happy about this partnership with Joe Beef,” Veronique Marin, Director of Adult Education and Vocational Training at the Lester B. Pearson School Board, said of the latest program which will begin in the fall of this year. “Part of what we do is create links with industry partners in all of our programs, including accounting, interior decorating and commercial drafting, to name a few.
“These industry links ensure that our programs are relevant and up-to-date.”
Under the partnership, Joe Beef - which was named after Charles “Joe Beef” McKiernan, a 19th century Montreal innkeeper and working-class hero - will provide onsite training to LBPSB students enrolled in the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s server/sommelier program. The partnership is designed to give interns a chance to put to use what they are learning and to understand the reality of the industry.
The students will intern at the Joe Beef restaurant as well as the Little Burgundy neighbourhood restaurants, Liverpool House and the McKiernan Luncheonette. PACC and the Lester B. Pearson School Board will provide the classroom space as well as the pedagogical theory portion of the program and interview candidates for the Joe Beef stagiere program.
David McMillan and co-owner Frederic Morin published a best-selling cookbook in 2012 called The Art of Living According to Jo Beef: a Cookbook of Sorts. The book was shortlisted for a James Beard prize and won the renowned Piglet Award.
Food and wine afficionados interested in registering for the program should contact Pierre Auclair, pegadogical consultant at the Pearson Adult and Career Centre, at email@example.com
St Edmund Elementary daycare students help fundraiser with African-inspired art
There are a couple of giraffes and a loony-looking bird hanging out at the Lester B. Pearson School Board head office, offering a cheery reminder of what students can do with a little bit of paint, a large canvas and a lot of inspiration.
Students in the daycare program at St. Edmund Elementary in Beaconsfield worked diligently to create a beautiful African-inspired mural for a Suitcases for Africa fundraising evening held earlier this year.
For the third consecutive year, St. Edmund Elementary welcomed the Suitcases for Africa group to use the school gymnasium for a fundraising evening; this year, a comedy night held on April 11 which raised $6,500. Suitcases for Africa supports orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya through education, nutrition and healthcare.
“The painting of giraffes started as one of our Friday afternoon daycare activities,” said Louise Cavaliere, daycare technician at St. Edmund. “Eleven students, with help from Meta Badger, our daycare educator known to students as Miss Meta, committed their Friday daycare time to working on the painting for six weeks.”
Progress could be seen with each passing week.
“A little more colour each week made the drawing come alive,” said Miss Meta. “The children could see how layering the colours could change the look of the design – at first it started with soft and light colour but by the finish, it was exploding with brightness.”
“We had a lot of fun and it took dedication and concentration on the part of the students,” said Miss Meta. “A job very well done.”
The students who took part in the project are: Olivia Sykes, grade 6, Kayla Osman, grade 6, Alessandra Paventi, grade 6, Grace Conway, grade 6, Avery Di Adamo, grade 6, Cara Ellison, grade 6, Hannah Morris, grade 6, Naomi Mitchell, grade 5, Samantha Little-Zaldivar, grade 4, Laura D'Souza, grade 4, Shannon Hepworth, grade 4.
Pearson Foundation Family Fun Run was just that, despite a little wet weather
Students and teachers, Lester B. Pearson administrators, family and friends recently braved the rain to take part in the Pearson Educational Foundation Family Fun Run. The event, which was held May 4 at Centennial Park in Dollard des Ormeaux, raised almost $1,000 for the foundation which provides funding for LBPSB school initiatives beyond government funding. The foundation also supplies winter clothing for students in need, assists in the board’s Hungry Kid program and supplies equipment and ingredients for cooking classes in several alternate and life-skills programs. As well, the foundation funds costs related to science and robotic tournaments and also funds summer camps for students with academic or affective difficulties. The foundation also manages
a number of in-memoriam bursaries. For more information about the Pearson Educational Foundation, go
Westpark and Riverview students meet Holocaust survivor Thomas O Hecht
A group of Grade 5 and 6 students from Westpark and Riverview Elementary schools sat silently in the Westpark gymnasium last Wednesday (May 7) when Thomas O. Hecht told them the story of his youth.
“I was about ten years old when the Germans, under Adolph Hitler, occupied Czechoslovakia,” said Hecht, as his wife Riva looked on. Now 85, Hecht told his audience that he was just about their age when he was kicked out of school and beaten in the streets.
His crime ? Being a Jew.
Hecht is a child survivor of the Holocaust.
The Hechts are founders of the Riva and Thomas O. Hecht Scholarship, Teaching of the Holocaust for Educators (THE) program, now in its ninth year.
“Our scholarship was established to provide professional development opportunities for teachers in the Quebec public school system: specifically, to give teachers tools and resources to teach their students about the Holocaust,” said Riva Hecht.
This year’s scholarship winners include Jeff Pinsky, a Lester B. Pearson School Board teacher at Beaconsfield High School.
Pinsky, who teaches drama at the Beaconsfield high school, said he is looking forward to taking part in THE Program, from July 13 to 31. The scholarship funds return airfare to Jerusalem, tuition at the three-week Seminar for Educators from Abroad at Yad Vashem, as well as room and board
“I am the first arts teacher to receive the scholarship,” said Pinsky, who did teach Holocaust studies when he was an English teacher. Pinsky said he plans to put what he learns in Israel to good use upon his return.
“I find it appalling that education in Quebec barely touches on the Holocaust,” he said noting that when students do learn about it, it’s usually through the written or oral medium – but never as a performance medium.
“My drama class students will be able to use what I teach them about the Holocaust and blend those stories of surviving - or not surviving - into their own performance stories,” he added.
Riva Hecht explained that she and her husband felt teaching the Holocaust in Quebec schools was important.
“My husband is a child survivor of the Holocaust and in my professional life I taught at Concordia University,” she said. “So it was natural to merge Holocaust Education with teacher and student education.”
Maria De Wolfe, principal at Westpark Elementary, said that four people connected to the school are past Hecht Scholarship winners: teacher Carole Touchette, now retired, Steve Santella, a grade 6 teacher at Westpark, Mary Rutherford, community and spiritual animator at Westpark and Riverview Elementary and Freda Solman, grade 6 and resource teacher at Westpark. As well, Debi Dixon, now principal of Riverview elementary, is a Hecht Scholarship recipient. In all, 13 of the 29 teachers awarded Hecht Scholarships have been from the Lester B. Pearson School Board.
Solman, who was the first Hecht Scholarship recipient, said attending the Seminar for Educators from Abroad at Yad Vashem was a turning point in her teaching life.
“The experience really gave me a voice,” said Solman, the daughter of Holocaust survivors herself. “It has given me the power to teach the next generation.”
Students were rapt as Hecht talked about how his family – himself, his parents and his sister – fled first to Hungary and then to France. They left Paris only one day before the June 14, 1940 German occupation of that city.
“We were always just one step ahead…,” he said. “We knew that if the Germans caught us, it was the end.”
Hecht described how he was separated from his family at a train station in France – something which marked him for life – and was only reunited because the train tracks had been bombarded and were impassible. The Hecht family managed to make it Spain and then Portugal and finally on an overcrowded refugee ship.
The ship, which was stopped by a German submarine and then a British destroyer
made quite a few ports of call – Lisbon to Morocco, the Azores, the Dominican Republic, Havana, Cuba, Vera Cruz, Mexico and finally New York.
The timing however delayed things just a little more.
The ship landed just after Pearl Harbour had been bombed by the Japanese and because security in the U.S. was tight, the Hecht family, along with the other refugees – and even some German spies who had been caught in the U.S. – spent 12 days in cells on Ellis Island.
Hecht`s family finally made it to Canada by train on Dec. 31, 1941.
He was twelve-years-old. Seventy members of his extended family had died in the Holocaust.
After Hecht spoke, the students - some of whom took part in a candle-lighting ceremony while everyone recited a pledge: “We pledge to do our part to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again” - were able to ask him questions.
How did it feel to be travelling all the time?” asked one student.
“The alternative was being caught … and that was guaranteed death,” replied Hecht, a successful businessman, a longstanding leader in the Canadian Jewish community and a proud grandfather and great grandfather.
“Why didn`t you come to Canada before the Holocaust happened ?,” asked another student.
``Canada, in the days of Prime Minister MacKenzie King, had a policy best described as `none is too many` when referring to Jewish refugees,” Hecht replied.
“What gave you the idea to send teachers to Israel?,” a student asked.
“The idea is that genocide in general, and the Holocaust in particular, should be studied so it never happens again.”
Lester B. Pearson School Board Chairman Suanne Stein Day said she was moved by Mr. Hecht’s life story and by students’ comportment at the presentation.
“My family also lived through the horrors of escaping Hungary and Poland or being assured of death,” she said. “Mr. Hecht’s story is very moving.
“This is an amazing opportunity for the children to be able to ask questions directly to someone who was there,” she added. “It makes it real for them, not just words in a textbook.
“I was touched to see the children come up to shake Mr. Hecht’s hand after his presentation.”
Have you ever even thought that a moving vehicle could be made by using the energy created by the spring of a mousetrap?
How about making a homemade electrical conductivity tester or a prototype wind turbine? Perhaps you’d prefer making homemade headphones or testing the power of windmills? Build a robot. Use stationary exercise bicycles to create electrical power , create a sluice gate, test human perception versus reality, study possible fresh water conservation, build a mechanical arm, create a microscope using a cell phone, show us how lungs work or build a model solar system.
If that’s not enough, why not build a 13-foot long Rube Goldberg rocket launcher.
Those are just some of the things high school students from across the Lester B. Pearson School Board presented Tuesday (May 6) at the LBPSB Science Showcase.
“Anyone that tries to deny that public education is working wasn’t in this room tonight,” LBPSB Chairman Suanne Stein Day said noting that the Pearson Educational Foundation funded many of the student projects.
“We’re keeping students in school by offering them an education that is engaging,” she said in congratulating the students for their work and the teachers for their integrity and inspiration.
The Mouse Trap vehicle, made with cd and records for wheels, was created students at Beaconsfield High School. “It was a lot of fun and a lot of work,” said Grace Wildenmann, one of the grade 10 BHS students that took part in the project.
Nathanial Goodwin and Silas Latchem, 16, were among the Westwood Sr. students who created a homemade electrical conductivity tester and Victoria De Braga and Quincy Ross created a prototype wind turbine. The headphones came from St. Thomas High School, while the Power of Windmills project and Robots were from Lindsay Place High School.
Jasmine Chartier and Ashley Romack, students at LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School, came up with an eco-friendly gizmo that harnesses the power created when stationary exercise bikes are in use.
The projects from Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School were a sluice gate and Perception vs. Reality – at least when it comes to taste.
“We taste with our eyes as well as our taste buds,” said Shenica Wickham who, along with classmate Alessia Kapsch, asked passers-by to taste a jelly bean with their eyes closed and guess the flavour. Almost no one guessed right
“It’s much harder to distinguish taste without sight,” said Alessia.
John Rennie High School’s projects were a working model of a lung and freshwater conservation. Riverdale High School students created a mechanical arm and students from Beurling High School created a DYI i-Phone microscope as well as a model of the solar system.
One of the more eye-catching displays came from Macdonald High School.
Mac High students created a 13-foot long Rube Goldberg rocket launcher. “It works most of the time but sometimes we have to nudge it along,” said Shannon Hayes, a member of one of the 13 student teams each assigned to build a one-foot section of the launcher.
Pulleys, tubes, wires and strings held it all together for a creative and fun invention.
“”It was a big technical challenge,” said teacher Ariane Brazeau who along with fellow teacher Heather McDowell and Lab Technician Al Dorman, oversaw the project. “But everyone had fun, even the students who think they don’t like science.”
Ashley Zwireck a former Lindsay Place High School student who is about to graduate from Concordia as a mechanical engineer and is interning at Bombardier, talked to students about her passion for science - and how it started with an encounter with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield when she was nine years old. “He talked to me about his passion for space and sparked this huge fire in me,” she said.
It was a fire that did not die.
In school, any project Zwireck did was space-related, she was one of two Canadian students chosen to attend International Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, and when she went on to University, she was part of the Women in Engineering panel.
“My passion for space grew with every step I took,” she said. “Mechanical engineering is no easy feat … but I’m pretty much on my way to realizing my dream.
Her message to students was to never give up.
“The science you are doing now is not far off from what we’re doing in the real world,” she said. “Take your dream and hold on to it.”
John Rennie`s Green Team wins a $25,000 computer lab for the school
Green Team students at John Rennie High School were in for a happy surprise Tuesday (May 6) when they learned their school had won a $25,000 computer lab in the Recycle for Education program sponsored by Bureau en Gros.
More than a few gasps and cheers rang out in the Louise Chalmers Theatre at the Pointe Claire school when Carmine Barba, regional director for Bureau en Gros, let the students know they had placed first - and not second - as he had originally announced as a joke.
“I take it back… , “ Barba said with a big smile. “John Rennie did win first prize.”
“It’s great,” Grade 7 student Matthew Draier said following the announcement. Draier said the surprise for him went beyond Barba’s joke.
“I didn’t know what the other schools are doing and I didn’t know how we were doing in comparison,” he added. ”So winning was really a surprise.”
John Rennie is doing quite well, as it turns out.
Among many other things, students at the Pointe Claire school have not only adopted a no-styrofoam policy, they also tend to their own herb and vegetable garden, have a pond, a raspberry patch, composting bins, a solar panel to recharge devices such as phones – which won at the local level and is now at the regional level in the Quebec Entrepreneurship Contest for schools - and went from recycling 610 kilograms in 2008 to 5,500 kilograms in 2013.
Oh yes, students last year built their own skating rink to enjoy during lunch period.
And later this year, they will be getting their own beehives.
The school is part of the Ecole Vert Brundtland organization based on a 1987 United Nations report called Our Common Future presided over by then Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Bruntdland. The report sparked an international movement that promotes the development of four core values within schools: ecology, peace, social justice/solidarity and democracy.
Jean-Francois Pepin, a French history and geography teacher at the school and leader of the Junior Green Team, said he was very proud of the his Green team students as well as all the students at the school.
“Everyone has to make a contribution to make it work,” he said.
John Rennie Principal Alana Quinn-Leroux, said she too was very proud of the work done by students at the school – and she added that the prize for the $25,000 computer lab – one of ten given out by Bureau En Gros across Canada – will be put to good use.
“We look forward to planning with the students and determining which kind of lab we will develop; upgrading a current lab or create a mobile,” she said. “This is very exciting – and all thanks to our students and staff.”
Pierrefonds Comprehensive wins the Ultimate Battle of the Books
It was a match well fought but in the end, the first-ever Ultimate Battle of the Books at the Lester B. Pearson School Board ended in a 108 to 80 victory for Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School over Selwyn House.
“I’m relieved, excited and very proud,” PCHS student Mercedes Nucciaroni said moments after the final tally in the battle between the public and private school was announced.
Jesse Caruso, a member of the team from Selwyn House, took the loss in stride.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said noting that his team was leading until the final lightning round at which the team from PCHS excelled.
Battle of the Books, better known as BoB, is a competition at which teams from different high schools compete against each other to see who knows their books best. Students reply to questions in both regular and lightning rounds from 14 books selected earlier this year. Suzanne Nesbitt, board library consultant, explained that BoB was created at the LBPSB by school librarians in order to promote literacy and was meant as an inclusive event as reflected in the choice of books that covered all genres and reading levels.
“School librarians were instrumental in the success of the program by coaching and coaxing the many students who participated,” she said.
On April 10, the team from Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School successfully defended its title against three other Lester b. Pearson school teams.
And soon after, Selwyn House, the all-boys private school in Westmount, won its own division battle against Trafalgar, Miss Edgar and Miss Cramps, all part of the Quebec Association of Independent Schools (QAIS).
The final showdown between the two champion teams took place Tuesday (April 29) at the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s head office.
The teams of grades 7, 8 and 9 students were introduced to the soundtrack of Rocky – Alexander Amuridis, Jesse Caruso, Matthew Behr, Adam Corning-Racette, Hamza Fefens and Victor Ciu for Selwyn House and Mercedes Nucciaroni, Shanna King, Jaeda Khallfar, Erin Oldford, Augustus Wilson and Faith Riddell for Pierrefonds Comprehensive.
Each team had 30 seconds to deliberate each questions and first answers were final.
Both teams showed poise during the hour-long event but a sense of nervous tension could be felt throughout the room which included an audience of mostly family and friends of the competing students.
“I’m on the team because I like reading books and I like competition,” Selwyn House’s Matthew Behr said during a five-minute half-time break at which his team appeared to be leading.
When asked if nerves were a factor, PCHS’s Erin Oldford replied: “Not at all, this is a great competition.”
The battle continued with both teams about equal until the final lightning round at which the team from Selwyn House stumbled with five incorrect answers and three passes.
In contrast, the team from PCHS zipped through the lightning round with only two incorrect replies and two passes. Victory was theirs.
Free the Children`s "We Create Change" travelling road show visits St Anthony Elementary
The Free the Children travelling roadshow known as the We Create Change Tour stopped in at St Anthony Elementary in Pierrefonds last week (April 23), much to the delight of students.
The decibel levels in the school auditorium rivaled those at a Montreal Canadiens hockey game as members of Neverest, a trio of three young singers, fired up the crowd, which included students from St. Anthony in addition to students from Terry Fox, St. Charles, Margaret Manson, Greendale, Thorndale and Maple Grove Elementary schools.
And things really got rolling when Hannah Alper, an 11-year-old Torontonian who began blogging at age nine to share her concern for the environment, took to the stage.
Three St. Anthony students, Elle Guerin, Amanda George and Emily Kam Hum, were cited for the community works they have done. As well, Amanda Davis, a former St. Anthony student, now at John Rennie High School, spoke to students about her work in the community and with Free the Children.
St. Anthony’s ties with Free the Children go back to 2009 when the school decided to take on a three-year project to help the village of Makeni in Sierra Leone, Africa, said St. Anthony Principal Joanne Malowany.
“In the first year, students raised enough money to build not one but three schools,” she said. “Then they succeeded in completing three water wells, three alternate income projects and four health projects.
“In three years, St. Anthony students had completed three villages instead of just one school,” she added. “They were very proud of their achievements and so was Craig Kielburger (founder of the Free the Children organization) who came to visit our school…”
Last year, the Free the Children Youth committee at the school decided to focus on building one school per year in each of the eight countries where Free the Children operates. They chose to build a school in Haiti.
“This year, students voted to build a school in Ecuador and this will be achieved in the net few weeks,” said Principal Malowany, adding that in just five years, St. Anthony raised more than $100,000 for Free the Children and local charities such as the Tiny Tim Fund of the Montreal Children’s Hospital and the West Island Mission Food Bank.
Malowany pointed to the words written on the “We Wall” at the school which states: “Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.”
The special guest speaker at last week’s event was Spencer West, the 31-year-old Torontonian who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 2012 on his hands.
When he was was five years old, West’s legs were amputated below the pelvis due to a genetic disorder.
Now West is a public speaker with Free the Children – and if anyone has a message about doing what seems to be the impossible, it is he.
When his parents were told that he would never be a functioning member of society, his family refused to believe it, West told the crowd of now much quieter students.
Armed with such firm belief in himself, West went on to become a success in pretty well everything he tried, including being part of an award-winning cheerleading team.
But West added, he was so wrapped up in his life, he didn’t realize what was going on around him until later in life – and that’s when he embarked on a mission of making the world a better place through the Free the Children network.
West interacted with the young audience to show how 57 million children in other parts of the world get to go to school at all, how many make it past grade 3 and how girls are often not even allowed to go to school.
He also said how students here can help make change.
“No one should ever tell you that you are too young to make a difference,” West told his audience. “A community that excludes even one of its members is no community at all.”
Westwood Sr students visit Kahnawake Survival School
Thirty-two Westwood Senior High School students recently visited the Kahnawake Survival School (KSS) but what they learned wasn’t how to build a shelter or collect and purify water.
KSS teaches students a regular high school curriculum, along with First Nations history, language and culture.
“Every couple of months or so, we get a phone call from someone who thinks we teach survival skills and we have to tell them what we really are about,” said Wayne Rice, a social studies teacher at the school who, along with Westwood High School teacher Matt Luthi, started up the student cultural exchange program.
“We are about the survival of our language and culture,” he told a classroom of KSS and Westwood students. “Until the early 1970’s, the language was strong, but that has changed – and if there is no change, in 20 years time, the language will have disappeared.”
That is what teachers and 225 students at the high school are trying to prevent.
For Luthi, the aim of the cultural exchange is to teach his students about the importance of First Nations culture and history.
“This exchange will help our students learn and understand the Aboriginal culture, history, education – and the importance of preserving the language and way of life for future generations,” said Luthi noting that the exchange would not have been possible without support from the inter-cultural committee and from Jason Cordery, the school’s spiritual animator who paid for the cost of busing the students through a grant from the Lester B. Pearson School Board.
Westwood students learned that besides the teaching of Mohawk and First Nations culture, there are other little differences at the school; for instance, students call their teachers by their first names. “We’re a big extended family in Kahnawake and it would make no sense to do otherwise,” said Rice.
Olga Bindon, an integration aide accompanying Westwood’s special needs students said she was impressed with the steps being taken at the Kahnawake school.
“It was an eye-opening experience in which I was at once encouraged by the steps taken by this community to reclaim their heritage, warmed by the feeling of pride in their community and humbled by the monumental tasks they face on so many fronts.”
Westwood students were also impressed with the school.
*Ally said the trip to KSS was an eye-opener: “I am one of the lucky few who was able to experience something very different from my own culture – I am lucky to have this opportunity at this age because it will open my eyes to new cultures.”
*For Kyle, the aspect of cultural survival was at the forefront: “They are a resilient people that have been beaten down constantly – and they still bounce back stronger than ever to protect their culture in a sea of change.”
* Jarod liked the close-knit ties in the community: “The idea of having different clans in schools struck me as a good idea, making the kids just a little closer, like a family.
KSS was established in 1978 by parents, students and community members as reaction to Quebec’s language law which required Native students to apply for eligibility to receive English-language schooling. In 2008, the campus moved to its present facility.
Kanen’to:kon Hemlock, who teaches history and Kanien’keha, the Mohawk language, asked the Westwood students some pointed questions.
“What do you guys know about us?” he said.
Quite a bit, as it turned out.
When Hemlock spoke about residential schools - which saw First Nations children forcibly separated from their families, their communities and forced to abandon their culture, language and identity – the Westwood students were aware of the indignities forced upon the children - often victims of physical and even sexual abuse.
In fact, some of the students had, through the work of Suzanne Simatos Spiritual Animator at four LBPSB schools and First Nations speaker Norman Achneepineskum - attended the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings held in Montreal last year.
In all, about 150,000 First Nation, Inuit and Metis children were ripped from their families and forced to attend residential schools – and often when they returned to their home, they often found they no longer really belonged as they didn’t even speak their native language and were disconnected with the land.
“It’s a heart-breaking piece of our history, but we’re still here, surviving and enjoying our culture,” said Hemlock, who also spoke about the First Nation clans, the justice system, the intricacies of the language, respecting the land, the Oka crisis and the First Nation sense of nationality.
That is what the Kahnawake Survival School is all about.
And many KSS students take it seriously.
When asked about how it felt to know that what she was learning today regarding her language and culture will affect her children and even great-grandchildren, one KSS student replied: “Scary.
Earth Day was celebrated with flair at Mount Pleasant Elementary in Hudson as students showcased their upcycling –the process of converting waste materials into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value – art works. Schools across the Lester B. Pearson School Board celebrated Earth Day with various activities, artwork, gardening and recycling projects.
Despite a double sump pump failure which caused flooding in the school gymnasium the day before the event, the 6th annual Beacon Hill Art Gala was another success with almost 600 people attending the April 16 event which showcased the artwork by the 322 students at the Beaconsfield elementary school.
Not only were guests treated to a variety of artwork by the 322 students at the school, they were also entertained by the student band Style from St-Thomas High School.
Projects ranged from colorful button trees, to clay feet, and art pieces inspired by famous artists such as Miro & Mondrian.
The staff did an amazing job of decorating individual picture frames which were won by raffle. With the gymnasium unavailable, the art was creatively displayed in the hallways, drama room and library.
Thanks to the hard work of the students, staff, and dedicated volunteers, the school was able to raise $4600 which will be used to purchase new xylophones for the music program and stage props for the drama program.
The art gala, which replaces more traditional fundraisers such as chocolate bar sales or magazine drives, demonstrates to the students that their creativity is valuable and appreciated.
Student artist designs winning logo for the Pearson Educational Foundation`s May 4 Family Fun Run
Take a good look at the poster for the Pearson Educational Foundation’s May 4 Family Fun Run.
Notice that globe-shaped running legs logo about half-way down the poster?
It was designed especially for the run by Stephanie Netto, a Secondary 1 student at Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School.
“I wanted to keep the design simple, too much information can make it distracting,”
said Stephanie who plans to take part in Family Fun Run in Dollard des Ormeaux’s Centennial Park.
Stephanie’s entry was one of 50 entries submitted to the foundation in an across-the-board contest.
“We were happy to receive so many entries – it was hard to choose,” said Maria De Wolfe, principal at Westpark Elementary School and member of the Fun Run Steering Committee which is composed of Lester B. Pearson School Board principals and consultants.
“The race is not only fun for the whole family,” she added.
PEF president Barbara Freeston said participants can choose to enter the 2K or 5K run or walk.
“And skipping, hopping and even gamboling are also permitted,” she joked.
“Our partner, the Running Room, is handling all the registration and supplying running bibs,” she said. “Young children will get a thrill of participating in a real run, just like the grown-ups.
“And Centennial Park is an absolutely gorgeous place to hold the run – Spring has finally arrived; what better way to celebrate than with a run for everyone.”
The cost for each person is $5 – all of which all goes to the Pearson Educational Fund - plus a $2.50 registration fee for any group or family of up to eight people. The $2.50 fee covers the on-line transaction costs at the Running Room.
The Pearson Educational Foundation provides funding for LBPSB school initiatives beyond the scope of regular government funding. The foundation also supplies winter clothing for students in need, assists the LBPSB’s Hungry Kids programs and furnishes equipment and ingredients for cooking classes in several alternate and life-skills programs.
As well, PEF pays registration for entries to science and robotics tournaments, funds several summer camps for students with academic or affective difficulties – providing fun and a leg-up for the next school year - and manages a number of in-memoriam bursaries for the high schools.
Terry Fox Elementary Students Give Their Thumbs-up on Best Websites that Combine Fun and Learning
Have you ever wondered about which websites are educational and, at the same time, won’t turn your children into bored zombies ?
The best people to ask aren’t adults but the students themselves.
That’s what teacher Carol Renshaw thought and so she asked her grade 5 and 6 students at Terry Fox Elementary to do some research on appropriate websites that combine learning and fun.
“My students needed to learn how to use the Libreoffice programs effectively, so this was a solution that not only accomplished that goal but also increased awareness of what makes a fun – as well as appropriate – website for kids.
The students worked hard, researching and testing various websites and came up with their favourites.
Antonietta Rampone, principal at the Pierrefonds Elementary school, was impressed enough to share the list with the school community via the school's website.
“This is a perfect example of Digital Citizenship,” she said.
As far as Grade 6 student, Elizabeth is concerned, she worked hard on the research “so kids can have fun websites to go that can help them improve in school and not go on to site that can teach them inappropriate stuff.”
Thorndale Elementary Celebrated World Autism Awareness Day in a Special Way
April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day and students and staff at Thorndale Elementary in Pierrefonds wanted to do something special to create awareness and help the local autism community in Quebec.
They made their own paper glasses, as part of the Miriam Foundation’s “See Things My Way” campaign, reflecting the importance of empathy and individuality in the treatment, support, care, awareness, advocacy and mobilization of people with autism.
“We did this in recognition of students with autism who have attended our school, for those who are attending our school and for the students who will be in our school in the future,” said teacher Adriana Di Valerio who organized the special Autism Awareness school-wide assembly.
“The unique talents and accomplishments of these students have enriched our learning environment and the Thorndale family,” she added.
Staff and students were asked to make a donation – and donate they did. A cheque for $1,152 was presented to the Miriam Foundation - a non-profit organization that provides an array of services to people with intellectual disabilities - at the school assembly..
“I am so proud of our students, our staff and our community,” said Patricia Higgins, Principal at Thorndale Elementary.
“Thorndale truly is a small school with a big heart.”
Pierrefonds Comprehensive wins Battle of the Books - again
Now comes the Ultimate Challenge
The stage has been set for an Ultimate Battle of the Books.
Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School successfully defended its title last week as Battle of the Books (BoB) champions.
It was standing-room only last Thursday (April 10) as the four top teams from all 12 Lester B. Pearson High Schools met for an adrenaline-filled evening of give and take as students replied to questions in both regular and lightning rounds from 14 books selected earlier this year by high school and board librarians.
Students from Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School, St. Thomas High School, Lindsay Place High School and LaSalle Comprehensive Community High School were quick to answer questions posed to them by guest moderators Sue Smith, host of CBC’s Home Run. as well as Michael Chechile, LBPSB Director of Educational Services and Julian Taylor, the MELSliaison for school libraries in the English sector.
In what was reminiscent of the Reach for the Top television show which pitted students from various schools on general knowledge, the students from the four LBPSB high schools had to quickly name the title and author of the book after being given a clue.
For example: In which book does the main character steal a Walkman ? Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.
In which book does a golf cart and sports car collide? Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mother by Susin Neilsen.
In the end, it was a close race as PCHS tallied 83 points, compared to 74 for St. Thomas, 64 for Lindsay Place High School and 59 for LCCHS.
But as Chechile pointed out, students from all four teams were really winners.
“There are no winners, no losers – everyone here has done an amazing job and we are so proud of each and every one of you” he said.
Chris Carpenter and Huthaifah Alfallah of LCCHS said they loved the books on the reading list which included Zom-B by Darren Shan, Burning Blue by Paul Griffin, Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol and Heist Society by Ally Carter.
“I love the books – and I especially love the competition,” said Huthaifah, who read all 14 books.
Faith Riddell, a grade 8 student at PCHS, said she joined in the action this year because “I like reading and thought this would be fun.”
Lindsay Place`s Cooper Slutsken and Nabeel Qureshi, both described the event as fun and awesome.
“My English teacher got me into reading,” said Nabeel.
St. Thomas`s Jackie MacKenzie, a grade 7 student at St. Thomas High School said she took part in BoB because she likes reading “and I`m not good at choosing books.
“This has been a lot of fun,” she added.
And the battle is not yet over – for the first time ever, three schools that are part of the Quebec Association of Independent Schools (QAIS) – Selwyn House, Trafalgar and Miss Edgar and Miss Cramp`s – held their own Bob, and winners of that competition will meet with the LBPSB champions on April 29 for an Ultimate Battle of the Books.
The public is welcome to attend the event which will take place at 6:30 p.m. on April 29 at the LBPSB head office, 1925 Brookdale Ave. in Dorval. For more information, go to http://lbpsbbattleofthebooks.wordpress.com/
Front- a tale of war and women during the London Blitz - presented by the John Rennie High School Actors` Studio on May 1 and 2
Take a trip back in time to war-torn London with the John Rennie High School Actors’ Studio production of the award-winning play, Front, by Robert Caisley.
Set in London during the Blitz - a period of intense bombing as Adolph Hitler attempted to demoralize the British population and force defeat of the British government - Front looks at the Second World War through the eyes of the women left behind while the men went off to fight.
James Colley, program and play director at the JRHS Actors’ Studio, said Front - which won the 1996 Kennedy Center/Fourth Freedom Forum
Playwriting Award - explores the lives of various characters; some rich, some poor and some who are trying to just get through the war while others daydream of the future.
“All the characters in this piece are searching for something they have lost because of the war. They are seeking stability, normalcy and love,” he said. “Caisley’s
play takes the audience on a ride through one of history’s most infamous wars – the writing is visceral and engaging and pulls you through a spectrum of emotions.”
The appearance of German bombers in the skies over London began on Sept. 7, 1940 and lasted until May 11, 1941 when Hitler called off the raids in order to move his bombers east in preparation for Germany’s attempted invasion of Russia.
During the Blitz, an estimated 40,000 civilians were killed, 46,000 injured and thousands upon thousands of homes and industrial installations were destroyed and damaged.
Brought to life by 37 actors in the JRHS Actors’ Program which was founded in 1999 by Louise Chalmers, Front will be presented May 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Louise Chalmers Theatre at the high school located at 501 Blvd. St. Jean in Pointe Claire.
If you’re wondering who did the impressive poster for Front, it’s none other than Ashlyn Vo who graduated from John Rennie High School in 2012. Vo, who is now studying illustration and design at Dawson College, said she was happy to oblige when asked to create another poster for the JRHS Actors’ Studio presentation.
“I did three of them when I was a student at John Rennie – I really like doing posters ,” said Vo who also did last year’s stunning poster for Peter Pan. “Right now, I’m into watercolours and pen and ink.”
Children`s World Academy students impress Andrew Wenger of the Montreal Impact
Back Left to right: Andrew Wenger, Theo Barratt-Lamey, Massimo Silvestre, Laurent-Michel Carrier, Maria Lombardo, Karen Heather (Daycare Coordinator), Liz Sanniti (Daycare Educator)
Front L to R: Chris Juneau, Kobe Clarke
Andrew Wenger may have made a big Impact on students at Children’s World Academy last Thursday (April 3) – but students at the Ville LaSalle elementary school also made a big impact on him.
“”It’s really impressive to see the excitement the children have – for school and for soccer,” the 23-year-old forward for the Montreal Impact soccer team said at the end of an hour-long visit at which Wenger talked to the enthusiastic young crowd gathered in the gym about important values such as commitment and perseverance.
He also handed out awards to six students, showed off some of his soccer skills, and answered questions from students.
Four students - Laurent-Michel Carrier, Theo Barratt-Lamey, Maria Lombardo and Christopher Juneau - were given the awards for the way they conducted themselves and contributed to the school’s Soccer Mania program which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
The other two students, Massimo Silvestre and Kobe Clarke, were nominated as Most Valuable Players.
Wenger talked to students about his road to the Impact, the obstacles he overcame and encouraged them to embrace the principles of respect, tolerance and cooperation.
When asked what his one piece of advice would be, he told the students to dream big and hang onto those dreams.
“Find something you really enjoy and go for it,” he said.
Daycare educator Elizabeth Sanniti was given a plaque and Soccer Mania t-shirt in honour of the work she has done with the Soccer Mania Program for grades 5 and 6.
“When I started this program ten years ago, there were only about 20 kids taking part – now we have 150,” she said. “My goal was that everyone is welcome to play, no exceptions.”
Children’s World Academy Principal David Estok noted that the principles of the Soccer Mania program go hand in hand with the principles the school offers in its International Baccalaureate Primary Years program.
“It is all-inclusive – students are encouraged to participate regardless of individual skill level or playing ability,” he said noting that among other things, the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program encourages such traits and attitudes as cooperation, integrity, commitment, confidence, enthusiasm, respect, tolerance and confidence.
“Our goal with the Annual Soccer Mania Tournament is to provide a concrete, everyday context where these ideals can be applied,” he added. “In this way, the Soccer Mania provides a constructive, organized activity that promotes physical fitness as well as the ideals of our IB program.”
Players from the Impact soccer team will visit Dorval Elementary on May 1 and Christmas Park Elementary on May 8.
As well, tickets at special discount prices are available through the Pearson Educational Foundation for the April 12 Impact game against the MLS team Chicago Fire.
Three dollars of every ticket sold will go to the foundation which provides funding for LBPSB school initiatives beyond the scope of regular government funding. As well, the foundation supplies winter coats and boots for children in need, assists the LBPSB’s Hungry Kids programs, and supplies equipment for various activities – from cooking to robotics – and funds summer camp adventures for students with academic or affective difficulties.
Tickets can purchased for the April 12 Impact game at the Olympic Stadium by going to the Pearson educational foundation website at: http://pef.lbpsb.qc.ca/>
Note to readers: Andrew Wenger was traded last Friday, April 4, to Philadelphia.
Great Stage Presentations Coming to a School Near You
Students have spent much of the winter honing their voices, studying their parts and setting the stage for a variety of musicals and theatre presentations at Lester B. Pearson Schools.
Here are a few:
The classic musical, Oliver! – the tale of a young lad who runs away from an orphanage only to hook up with a group of youth trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor – will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on April 10, 11 and 12 to Riverdale High School, 5060 Sources Blvd. in Pierrefonds. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors and $5 for RHS students with school ID. For more information, call 514--684-9920 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a musical comedy for serious people featuring the music of Elton John, will take place at 7 p.m. on April 10, 11 and 12 in the Steve Murphy Auditorium at Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School, 13,800 Pierrefonds Blvd. in Pierrefonds. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $8 for students. For more information, call K. Brown at 514-626-9610.
Evil Dead the Musical, the Canadian-made comedic take on the horror franchise with characters and demons taking to song and dance that became a hit and moved on to off-Broadway, will the presented at Macdonald High School, 17 Maple Road in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, April 24, 25, and 26. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10 in advance, $12 at the door. For more information, call Ms. Jones at 514-457-3770.
The Front by Robert Caisley takes a trip back in time to war-torn London during the Blitz of World War II. The award-winning play will be presented May 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Louise Chalmers Theatre at John Rennie High School, 501 Blvd. St. Jean in Pointe Claire. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $6 for students. Tickets, which cost $12 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, can be purchased at the door or can be reserved online at http://www.jrhsactorsstudio.com. For more information, call James Colley at 514-835-0969. Email: email@example.comThe JHRS Actors’ Studio website is http://www.jrhasactorsstudion.com
* Noor Alabdallah fled from Syria - and her grandmother - dressed only in her pyjamas
* Nicole Gagne was broke and unemployed
* Philip Cunnington fell asleep at the wheel, crashed and suffered severe spinal cord injuries
* Matthew Cantin was told he`d never walk again following a car accident
These four people may come from different areas and backgrounds but they all have one thing in common – they are adult learners attending adult and vocational centres at the Lester B. Pearson School Board.
“You have showed such strength … in going back to school and changing your lives,” LBPSB Director General Robert Mills told 70 students at a special celebration, part of the annual Adult Learners` Week in Quebec.
“We may have opened the door, but it`s you that walked in,” he added. “I hope you take great pride in what you have done – and in what you are doing.”
Students from all seven LBPSB Adult and Vocational centres – the Gordon Robertson Beauty Academy, the Pearson Adult and Career Centre- Vocational, the Pearson Adult and Career Centre- Adult Education, the Pearson Electrotechnology Centre, Place Cartier Adult Centre, the Sources Adult and Career Centre and the West Island Career Centre - took part in the ceremony, each receiving a certificate recognizing his or her commitment to lifelong learning.
LBPSB Chairman Suanne Stein Day told students to be proud of their accomplishments.
“The decisions you have made to go back to school is huge and often very difficult ,” said Stein Day. “You should be very proud of yourselves - we are very proud of you.”
Students from all walks of life – including one student who decided to study at the Pearson Electrotechnology centre after graduating from university - spoke about the journeys that led them to continue their education, whether it was in the LBPSB’s building and public works program, computing support, administration and computer technology, the food and beverage program, automobile mechanics, interior decorating and display, health services, beauty care, electrotechnology or honing language skills and getting a high school diploma.
* * *
For Noor Alabdallah, her road to the Sources Adult Career Centre began after she fled from a very strict grandmother in Syria.
“t was one year ago today that I arrived here,” said Albadallah who was born in Canada but then went with her parents to live in the United Arab Emirates and then, after her parents divorced, on to Syria to live with her very strict grandmother.
“But I had to leave, there was no future for me there,” she said. When asked if she was fleeing Syria or her grandmother, she replied : “Both”
Once back in Canada, Alabdallah said she knew she had to work on her language skills and that`s when she enrolled into the LBPSB`s Sources Adult Career Centre.
And Alabdallah has done so well, that she has been accepted into the Bio-pharma program at John Abbott College.
“I`m very proud of what I have accomplished,” she added.
* * *
For Nicole Gagne, the road was a different one
“I was broke, not employed and a single mother,” she said. “I knew I had to do something for a better life.
“And enrolling at the Gordon Robertson Beauty Academy is one of the best decisions I ever made,” said Gagne who, at 41, was worried that she would feel out of place as an older student. “But from the beginning, I felt right at home,” said Gagne, as she praised the instructors at her school. “I am learning from the best.”
* * *
Philip Cunnington and his friend Matthew Cantin didn`t even know each other when similar tragedies struck their young lives.
Cunnington fell asleep at the wheel in August, 2010, after a long day at work in telemarketing.
“I was working too many hours and was involved in a head-on collision, causing a complete paralysis of my lower extremities, making me wheelchair-bound,” said Cunnington adding that after three years of intensive therapy, he no longer needed the wheelchair.
Cantin had a similar story – two years ago, he was a passenger in a car involved in a serious accident in Saskatchewan, where he had been working as an industrial welder.
“I broke 34 bones, my back in five places, had internal bleeding and damaged my spinal cord – I was told by doctors that I would never walk again,” he said, adding that “I was determined to prove the doctors wrong.”
And he did – after six months of intensive physiotherapy, he could walk, perhaps with a limp but he walked on his own.
Both young men had a passion for mechanics and, by sheer coincident, met at a car repair shop.
“We got to talking and soon realized we shared a similar past and a passion for cars…” said Cantin, adding that he had already planned to study mechanics at the West Island career centre.
Cunnington decided to do the same.
Cantin and Cunnington will be graduating this year and while Cunnington plans to ultimately own a high-performance auto repair shop, preferably in the Southern U.S. where he spent much of his youth, Cantin wants to stay in Quebec and open a shop that specializes in classic car restoration.
“Living with a physical handicap can be hard, but you cannot let life’s obstacles keep you from achieving your dreams,” said Cantin, adding that he and Cunnington are living proof that no matter the circumstances, there is no substitute for had work and the determination to succeed.
For his part, Cunnington said the West Island Career Centre has been a big part of their success.
“We’d like to thank the West Island Career Centre and its staff for being a part of our journey,” he said.
Veronique Marin, director of the LBPSB’s Adult Education and Vocational Training division, said both teachers and support staff at the adult and vocational centres are inspired by the courage and determination of their students.
“It takes a whole team to make this happen,” she said. “And it is you, the students, that remind us why we do what we do every day – you are our inspiration.”
Battle of the Books Gearing Up for Two Challenges - April 10 and April 29
PIX: The winning 2013 BoB team from Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School. The librarian is Caroll-Ann Case.
There’s nothing like a little competition to get the adrenaline flowing – and kids reading.
Just take a look at BoB.
Grade 7 to 9 students from Lester B. Pearson School Board high schools are taking part in The Battle of the Books (BoB) – a competition in which members of each school team read 14 selected titles. Somewhat like the old Reach for the Top television show, teams have to answer detailed questions about characters and plot by identifying the book and author.
“Regular rounds are followed by lightning rounds, in which each team has a chance to amass points by correctly answering as many questions as possible in two minutes,” said Westwood Junior High School librarian Kathleen Conroy, who introduced BoB to students from 10 LBPSB high schools last year.
The battles will take place at three levels: school teams will compete against each other during the week of March 24 and the winning teams at each school will meet in one of two regional finals on April 3.
“Last year’s champion, Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School, is hard in training to defend its title,” said Conroy, noting that the events have been organized by the LBPSB High School Librarians and supported by the board’s Educational Services Department.
The top four teams will square off at the LBPSB head office in Dorval at 6:30 p.m. on April 10. Guest moderators will include CBC’s Home Run host Sue Smith, Michael Chechile, LBPSB Director of Educational Services, as well as a representative from the Quebec Education Ministry.
BoB is so popular that this year, all 12 LBPSB high schools are taking part as well as three schools that are part of the Quebec Association of Independent Schools (QAIS). Selwyn House, Trafalgar and Miss Edgar and Miss Cramp’s have picked up the gauntlet dropped by the LBPSB and will have their own Battle of the Books.
The winning teams of the LBPSB and QUAIS will meet for an Ultimate Battle on April 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the LBPSB head office.
The public is welcome at both events taking place at LBPSB head office, located at 1925 Brookdale Ave. in Dorval.
Horizon High School Grads Work Together to Create Mural
The Lester B. Pearson School Board’s Horizon High School is an alternative school for at-risk youth. We welcome students from grades 8-11 who have not been able to meet success in their home schools for a variety of reasons. The small class settings allow staff to build trusting relationships. Horizon’s core values are based on the philosophy that students have the power to change. As this quote so eloquently states; “At any given moment you have the power to say: this is not how my story is going to end.” Horizon High School is a new beginning for our students.
Colleen Galley, Principal Horizon High School.
One of our graduating students wrote about the mural the grad class created by working together:
Our Grad Mural
In November 2013 the graduates of Horizon High School a small Alternative school located in the West Island, came together, each with their different tastes and unique ideas to leave a lasting legacy on the school walls.
The three-week long mural project could not have been possible without the help of Sebastian Astwo from Agro Art and our Community Life Animator, Anne Vrana. With their guidance we brainstormed many ideas for a common theme and found images and words that best represent each individual student, but still somehow fit together in our common theme of overcoming our struggles and challenges.
Working as a grad group of approximately 15 students we were asked to provide and send to Sebastian pictures that represented us or someone that inspired us. At first we were quite skeptical. How could we create a mural with all these seemingly unrelated photos? But when we walked into the gym that first day and saw what Sebastian had done with all our photos we were impressed. He had created a stencil which contained all our individual photos which had been compressed, re-sized and assembled into a beautiful mural. We were all so surprised walking into the gym and seeing our hopes, fears and ideas in a mural that somehow went so well together.
From then on we worked together as one big team. During the next few weeks we began colouring in the lines. We used paint markers to create our urban art concept and soon we were done and our mural stood tall, representing us, speaking to each of us. The blue and yellow colors which represent our school, stood bright and courageous which is something we will never forget and even though we’ll probably all be gone next year, the mural will stand tall forever.
Regardless of who we are, struggle and changes are universal, we all endure hardships. We learnt this with the images we chose that all ended up having a common theme. It was quite the experience getting to see everybody work together in unity. We captured our spirit and it will never fade.
Impact players visit Children`s World Academy on April 3, Dorval Elementary on May 1 and Christmas Park Elementary on May 8 -
April 12 is Go all the Way with the Impact at the Olympic Stadium
Saturday April 12 will be a special day for hundreds of Lester B. Pearson School Board students and families, staff and friends of the board as they Go All the Way with the Impact at the Olympic Stadium. This event marks the sixth year of the LBPSB/Montreal Impact partnership.
At half-time, the Impact will give out two $500 Licursi bursaries - in memory of the Tony Licursi, long-time statistician of the Impact - to two LBPSB students, one boy and one girl, who excel both in sports and academically.
The bond between the Impact and the school board does not end there; Impact players will be visiting three LBPSB schools, Children’s World Academy on April 3 - where students will play a game against teachers and staff that day - Dorval Elementary on May 1 and Christmas Park Elementary on May 8.
“The Impact players bring a very strong message to students about the importance of perseverance and working hard in school and making the right choices in life,” said Nancy Battet, the Community & Partner Liaison for the LBPSB. “They emphasize …that they would not be where they are today if it were not for the many skills they developed in school, and valuing their education.”
Participation in the April 12 event also benefits all LBPSB students as $3 of every ticket sold goes to the Pearson Educational Foundation which provides funding for LBPSB school initiatives beyond the scope of regular government funding. "Many parents have commented what a fun, affordable family outing this is and how much they look forward to it every spring,” said Barbara Freeston, president of the Pearson Educational Foundation.
Among many other things, the foundation supplies winter coats and boots for children in need, assists the LBPSB's Hungry Kids programs, supplies robotic kits for hands-on technology programs and furnishes equipment and ingredients for cooking classes in several alternate and life-skills programs.
As well, the foundation pays registration fees for science and robotics tournaments, funds several summer camp adventures for students with academic or affective difficulties, providing fun and a leg-up for the next school year, and manages a number of in-memoriam bursaries for high schools.
The Impact will be playing the MLS team Chicago Fire, starting at 4 p.m.
Tickets to the April 12 Impact game, which are now on sale to the public, cost $12 and $24 - a discount of 40 per cent on regular prices - if purchased through the Pearson Educational Foundation.
To purchase tickets for the April 12 Impact game at the Olympic Stadium, go to the Pearson Educational Foundation website at: pef.lbpsb.qc.ca<http://pef.lbpsb.qc.ca/>
SLAM rapping poetry contest takes place April 3 at Riverdale High School
There’ll be a lot of slamming and jamming in the library at Riverdale High School on April 3 as 25 students from schools throughout the Lester B. Pearson School Board take part in the second annual French SLAM rapping poetry contest.
“It’s going to be a fun event for participants – and for those who are coming to support our slammers and jammers, “ said Martine Delsemme, LBPSB pedagogical consultant, francais langue seconde.
The event, which involves students from grades 8,9, 10 and 11, will be emceed by well-known slammer MC JUNE and his band.
The SLAM competition takes place at 6:30 p.m. on April 3 in the library at Riverdale high School, 5060 Sources Blvd. in Pierrefonds.
For more information, call Delsemme at 514-422-3000 ext 3278.
* * *
On va slammer et s’amuser à la bibliothèque de l’école secondaire Riverdale de Pierrefonds, le 3 avril. Quelque 25 élèves provenant de plusieurs écoles secondaires de la commission scolaire Lester B.-Pearson participeront à un concours de SLAM en français. ‘La soirée promet d’être excitante pour les participants et pour leur public qui viendra les soutenir’ a déclaré Martine Delsemme, conseillère pédagogique en français, langue seconde à la commission scolaire Lester B.-Pearson.
Cet événement, qui rassemblera des élèves de 2e, 3e, 4e et 5e secondaire, sera animé par le slammeur bien connu MC JUNE et son groupe musical. Le concours, qui commencera à 18h30, se tiendra à la bibliothèque de l’école Riverdale, 5060 boul. des Sources, Pierrefonds.
Pour plus d’information, prière de contacter Martine Delsemme : 514-422-3000, poste 3278.
Dream it Build it isthe theme at Place Cartier for Adult Learners` Week
Adult Learners’ Week across the province is coming up and the theme this year at Place Cartier is “Dream it…Build it!”
“It is never too late to turn your dream into reality,” said Gail Gagnon, Lester B. Pearson School Board pedagogical consultant at The Place Cartier Adult Education Centre in Beaconsfield. “Some of our former graduates will be here to prove it.”
In fact, graduates as well as current students and teachers at Place Cartier, along with two graduates of the Portage drug rehabilitation program, will take part in a panel presentation on Wednesday, April 2 at 10:50 a.m. to talk about their ongoing journeys and how they overcame any roadblocks in their way.
“The panel presentation is back by popular demand as these are the people who have been there, who have had their ups and downs – but who are better people for it,” said Gagnon.
“And these are the people to whom our students can best relate.”
There are various events at Place Cartier throughout the week of March 31 to April 3, including:
· A speaker from the Free the Children organization will talk to students about its ‘Adopt a Village’ program on March 31 at 1:15 p.m.
·An interactive presentation by the schools’ hip hop class will showcase music, art and spoken word on April 3 at 10:45 a.m.
· There will be an ongoing powerpoint presentation throughout the week of March 31 to April 3 showcasing students’ responses to the questions: What is your dream? How will you build it?
·Place Cartier students will take part in field trips on April 1 with such options that include skating, basketball and a trip to the movies.
·The week will wrap up on Friday, April 4 with a pancake lunch for all.
Gagnon noted that a special presentation will take place on April 1 at 2 p.m. the Lester B. Pearson School Board to honour Adult Learners and their commitment to learning.
As part of the annual Quebec Adult Learners’ Week activities, the Lester B. Pearson School Board is honouring adult learners with a celebration to be held on Tuesday, April 1 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the board’s head office in Dorval.
Each participating student will receive a certificate recognizing his/her commitment tolifelong learning; attendees will also hear from some adult learners about the paths in life that led them back to education.
“As an adult, going back to school can be a difficult decision – and harder yet is sticking to that decision,” said Veronique Marin, LBPSB director of Adult Education and Vocational Training. “But the reward is great; often it means an improved quality of lifefor both the student and their families.
“Another great reward is the pride these students carry and the sense ofaccomplishment they feel.”
This year, Quebec Adult Learners’ Week takes place from March 31 to April 3.
Grade 1 students at Verdun Elementary build shelters for stray cats
You’re never too young to help your community – just ask the students in Christine Krahulec’s Grade 1 classes at Verdun Elementary.
A short while ago, Krahulec asked her students if they had noticed any problems in their neighbourhood.
Students replied that they noticed many stray cats.
“Our students were worried about how these cats could survive outdoors, especially since this winter has been very cold,” said Krahulec. “Through our research, we discovered there are many organizations and people that help stray cats in our neighbourhood – and we wanted to help them too.”
And that’s how the students’ Entrepreneurship project began called Caring for Cats.
Students decided to have a cat food and supply drive during the last week of March and first week of April.
As well, they will be hosting a bake sale on April 10, with all supplies and money collected going to the SPCA and a local cat shelter.
But the students have not stopped there; they took part in a classroom workshop with the Canadian Centre for Architecture to learn about basic architecture through shapes and models.
And on March 19, Catherine Mann from the SPCA and Sue Horan, an animal health technician for Humane Society International, went to the school to teach the grade one students how to build outdoor cat shelters.
And build they did.
By the end of the afternoon three Styrofoam cat shelters, which will be placed on private property in May or June, were completed.
“We had to build them because there are cats outside that don’t have food or homes,” said Jacob Spencer, one of Krahulec’s grade one students. “Now they will.”
To celebrate their efforts, students and staff will hold a Cat Gala on April 11, from 1:15 to 2 p.m., at which they will present their partners with the money and supplies that were collected and display the decorated cat shelters as well as cat-themed artwork by the students.
Dorval Elementary transformed into a Cabane a Sucre on March 18
As part of Francofête week, Dorval Elementary School was transformed into a Cabane à sucre on March 18 as students and staff – and 40 pre-k students from Verdun Elementary who were invited to the event - had a great time as they took part in singing, story-telling, maple taffy on snow and sleigh rides with two-horse teams.
LBPSB float an award-winnder at the St Patrick`s Day Parade
Hundreds of students, staff and family members from schools and centers in the Lester B. Pearson School Board community braved the cold last Sunday to take part in the 191st St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Not only was it a lot of fun, the LBPSB won an award for the best high school unit, a festive shamrock-decorated float that was surrounded by marching high school students and which carried the band from Christmas Park Elementary School as band members played their hearts out. Students from Macdonald High School and other high schools marched in the parade, holding held banners for the United Irish Societies. The awards will be given out at a special banquet on March 29.
Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School`s Jeffrey Gordon to welcome fellow hockey players from Kujjuaq
At 6',3”, Jeffrey Gordon stands out from most of his fellow students at Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School.
But it’s not just height that makes Jeffrey stand out – not only is the 17-year-old a good student, he’s also a good hockey player.
And to make that happen, Jeffrey, now in grade 10, moved to Pierrefonds from Kujjuaq two years ago to pursue his studies and hopefully, one day, a hockey career.
“Kujjuaq is really a small town and you know almost everybody, which I kind of miss,” Jeffrey said of his hometown which, with a population of just under 2,500 people, is the largest village in Nunavik.
."But I’ve always felt welcome at PCHS,” he added. “Everyone here has been really helpful and I think I’ve grown up a lot – moving to Montreal has made me more independent.”
PCHS Principal Cristina Prata said that Jeffery has adapted very well to his new home.
“Jeffrey has been with us for two years now and he is doing extremely well, both on the ice as well as academically,” she said.
Jeffrey will soon be acting as an ambassador of sorts when 16 boys from Kujjuaq, all young hockey players, visit PCHS to see if they too want to follow in his footsteps.
“I'm really excited for them, it’s a great opportunity,” said Jeffrey. “It has opened doors for me.”
The boys will have lunch at the school on March 19 and then play an exhibition game against the PCHS Trojans, at the nearby 4 Glaces Arena at 4 p.m.
Dan Nathan, PCHS English teacher and Athletics Director said Jeffrey’s experience at PCHS - he is looking at the possibility of hockey scholarships at the college level - may entice some other players to do the same.
"It has been great getting to know Jeffrey – he quickly became part of the PCHS family,” said Nathan. “We can’t wait to meet the team from Kujjuaq and allow them to see for themselves how positive an experience this has been for everyone involved.”
The Amazing Prevention Adventure coming to a school near you
Imagine going on an adventure with your child which will leave both you and your pre-teen student wiser about how to handle real-life teen situations.
That kind of adventure is exactly what the Partners in Prevention Committee has organized for grades five and six Lester B. Pearson School Board students and their parents on March 19 in Ville LaSalle, March 26 in Pointe Claire and April 2 in St. Lazare.
Called The Amazing Prevention Adventure, participants will travel through five interactive destinations, collecting valuable information, hands-on resources and a few souvenirs to take back home.
“With the impending transition to high school, this is a great opportunity to spend time with your child and initiate discussion about drug and alcohol use and the choices they may face regarding other high risk behaviours,” according to the invitation sent to all LBPSB parents of grade 5 and 6 students.
As the name implies, the adventure is designed to be captivating.
Viviane Briand, LBPSB consultant in Addictions Prevention and Health Promotion said some destination themes include Gambling Jeopardy (McGill University), How the teen Brain is Wired (CRD Foster/Centre de Readaption en Dependance Foster), Exploring Real Life Scenarios (Risk Within Reason) and Drugs and Their Effects (Montreal Police/SPVM).
She said participants at last year’s event gave a 94 per cent approval rating when asked if they would recommend the event to other parents and pre-teens.
Several participants replied that it was the combination of all five destinations that made the event successful. Students tended to favour the active hands-on, game-oriented destinations, such as the gambling jeopardy game, the use of goggles in the adolescent brain destination and the student-led theatrical initiative. Parents appreciated the destination on drugs and their effects as well as the destination on scenarios and choices.
”Several parents mentioned that their favourite part of the evening was the small-group format, allowing for interaction between students and animators as well as the level of student engagement,” said Briand, who along with Jean Duckett, LBPSB Youth Outreach Consultant and Mireille Abadie, LBPSB Heath Promotion Consultant, are organizing the event.
Partners in Prevention, a committee aimed at increasing parental awareness on addiction-related high-risk behaviours among young people, brings together representatives from the LBPSB, the Portage Substance Abuse Treatment Program for Adolescents, the Montreal Police, Risk Within Reason, CRD Foster and the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High Risk Behaviours at McGill University.
Macdonald High School reaps many awards at the CRC Robotics Competition
The Mac Robotics Team proved that hard work has its own rewards.
The 50-member Junior team from Macdonald High School was part of the CRC Robotics Competition which took place Feb. 20 to 22 at Vanier College.
Their theme was 'Iron Man', and the team worked hard to link all elements of the competition.
And that hard work paid off: the Mac team was awarded third place - out of 31 participating teams- as well as ten individual awards, including first place in video, kiosk, robot construction, and web journalism; second place in robot design and third place in programming and sportsmanship.
Students send an anti-bullying message through Pink Shirt Day
Students across the Lester B. Pearson School Board territory recently celebrated Pink Shirt Day, wearing pink as an anti-bullying symbol.
“Students from kindergarten to grade 6 decorated their pink t-shirts with words of kindness and empowerment,” Sherwood Forest Elementary School Principal Wusua Mitchell said, noting that students at the Beaconsfield school also took part in an assembly and dance routine.
“It was a beautiful sea of pink.”
Mitchell said members of the school’s student council shared the origins Pink Shirt Day which began in 2007 when two Nova Scotia High School students, David Shepherd and Travis Price, along with their teenage friends organized a high school event, urging students to wear pink in support of grade 9 student Charles McNeill who had been bullied for wearing a pink shirt.
The idea quickly spread and since then, the last Wednesday of February has been dubbed Anti-Bullying Day, or Pink Shirt Day, in Canada.
At Mount Pleasant Elementary in Hudson, students who are part of the Anti-Bullying Group (ABG) made posters reminding everyone to wear pink and why. “It was a very successful initiative,” said Mount Pleasant Principal Stephanie Herault.
Some schools are flexible about their Pink Shirt Anti Bullying campaign; for example, at Verdun Elementary, students celebrated Pink Shirt Day on Feb. 14 to coincide with Valentine’s Day.
“All of our staff and students were outfitted with a pink t-shirt bearing the message ‘Bullying Stops Here’ at an assembly where we took a group picture to demonstrate our unity,” said Verdun Elementary Principal Jennifer Kurta. “Later in the day, we unveiled a mosaic created by our parent association and each student in the school signed a heart as a symbol of their desire to work to stop bullying in our school.”
Diana Martire, Vice Principal at Westpark Elementary school in Dollard des Ormeaux, said while pink was the colour of the day, members of the school’s leadership team and student council wore special t-shirts with the slogan: ‘Every Day Should Be Pink Shirt Day !’.
“Although there is a dress code, these students have been invited to wear these shirts other days of the school year,” Martire said, noting that students from Riverdale High School visited Westpark with anti-bullying messages.
"The day began with an assembly where a student-made video was featured," Martire said. "Then, during the afternoon, our Student Council members addressed their peers, going into classrooms with skits and presentations echoing similar messages supporting anti-bullying.
. “It was wonderful to see such support of this important day marked by so many students and staff wearing pink shirts," she added.
register early for the Junior Voyageurs summer enrichment day camp
March break is almost here – and it’s not too early to think about summer camp.
The Junior Voyageurs summer enrichment day camp is taking early registration for its arts, science and technology program for students in grades 4 to 7 in the Lester B. Pearson School Board family.
Junior Voyageurs runs for two weeks, from July 7 to 18 at Clearpoint Elementary located at 17 Cedar Ave. in Pointe Claire.
Camp coordinator Adrien Geller, who is principal at Margaret Manson Elementary, said last year’s inaugural session proved to be very popular from both the campers’ and parents’ points of view.
One parent wrote in after last year’s session:
“We loved it! Everything was well organized - teachers were enthusiastic and I loved the fact that Adrian knew their names and was there to greet us each morning,” said the parent. “I’m pretty sure I won't be able to keep my son away next year!
“Thank you for a wonderful two weeks!”
All campers register for two half-day courses, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Courses include Play Production, Junior Chef, Everything iPad, Mashed Up!, Act-It-Out!, App Smash!, Ultimate NXT Mission, Broadway Bound, A Passion for Fashion, Forecast fun!, Make iMovie Magic, Rockapalooza, Abstraction-Distraction-Reaction, Creating in the Land of Giants, We-Do Amazing Robots, Science in our Environment and Sew Much More-Project Runway.
The cost is $475 for early registration fee, that is, up to April 1, 2014 and $500 after April 1, 2014.
Meet Innugati, a unique Inukshuk at Evergreen Elementary in St Lazare
Walk in to Evergreen Elementary school and the first thing you`ll see is Innugati, a unique Inukshuk meaning Friend in Inuit.
Take a minute to say hello, take note of the medals Innugati wears which showcase Canada’s 2014 Sochi Olympic accomplishments, and take in the feeling of pride that flows through the halls of the St. Lazare school like an electric current.
Not only is Innugani life-sized - as big as some kindergartners - but it's made out of more than 500 hockey pucks.
The idea came to the carnival committee when they were searching for a unique way to express pride in Canadian Olympians during the school carnival week. What better material to use than the hockey pucks that embody Canada`s favourite national pastime.
They reached out to the Evergreen Community, hoping to get enough pucks so that each student and staff member was represented. The response yielded more than 500 hockey pucks, more than half of which came from the Hockey Feminin Trois Lacs, which organizes girls’ hockey in the off-island region.
Students and teachers worked together in the planning and building of Innugati and then all took part in finding the perfect name through a school-wide contest.
Traditionally, Inuksuit (the plural of Inukshuk) were used by the Inuit in the North as directional markers. Their purpose was to guide people to their destinations or to food. They were made out of stone and required a communal effort to be built. With time they have evolved into global symbols of friendship and community.
As proud Evergreen Canadians, these symbols represent the heart of our country and the school.
From Ingrid Farkas, freelancer and Evergreen parent
Dorset Elementary Students Spark a Mission of Hope
Jane Szollosy and Youth Upliftment International Founder Kate Bateman
Jane and Isabel Szollosy’s grandmother unknowingly paid it forward when she sat the two young girls down and taught them how to knit. At the time these two elementary school students had no idea that the colourful square dishcloths they made would help support a school for Haitian children in the Dominican Republic.
But that’s exactly what happened.
“I just thought it would be nice to do something to help,” said ten-year-old Jane who, along with her 11-year-old sister, Isabel, attend Dorset Elementary School in Baie D’Urfe. “By offering a donation for a dishcloth or donating empty cans and bottles, people can help a Haitian child in the Dominican Republic receive food, clean water and an education.”
Isabel said students at the College Amelioration Jeunesse - a primary school in Puerto Plata entirely funded by charitable donations through Youth Upliftment International – look forward to going to school.
“The children appreciate this opportunity to have an education,” Isabel said. “Their dedication to their studies is what motivates us more.”
The sisters decided to set up Sparkes of Hope last November after a teacher at their school, Elizabeth Ballantyne, told them about a unique project that needed help. College Amelioration Jeunesse was founded because there are about one million Haitians in the Dominican Republic and most of these Haitian children had no services, school or health care available to them.
Jane and Isabel decided to help and named their organization Sparkes of Hope in honour of their grandmother, Shirley Sparkes, who taught them how to knit. The girls and their grandmother began knitting more of these bright square-shaped dishcloths. They then brought their wares to the school’s holiday fair and handed them out in exchange for donations to the charity.
"They received so many generous donations - people were asking for more,” said the girls’ mother, Rhiannon Szollosy, a teacher at Dorset Elementary. She noted that along with making the hand-knit dishcloths, the girls also collected empty cans and bottles in order to recoup the deposits to further augment the donated funds.
Their first donation to Youth Upliftment after the fair was $192.40.
A good amount certainly, but the project continued and Sparkes of Hope now has six knitters turning out dishcloths. Along with the girls and their grandmother, knitters now include Dorset Daycare Technician Lisa Gonzales, Dorset Lunch, Daycare Supervisor Elizabeth Fraser and Suzanne Sauve, a family friend.
In order to reach more people the sisters opened a Facebook page, attached to their mother’s Facebook account, this past December.
“I am a huge advocate of teaching digital citizenship to our students – and this project taught the girls how to harness the power of social media to make positive change in the world,” said Rhiannon. She further remarked that her daughters have been able to happily divide their Sparkes of Hope responsibilities.
“Jane is the front girl, she collects and returns all the cans and bottles, and she collects the donations and delivers dishcloths,” said their mother. She added that Isabel is more a “behind-the- scenes person, doing the write-ups, creating flyers, replying to emails and organizing drop-offs.”
So far, they have donated over $1,236.40 to the school – but that’s not all.
In January, when the girls learned that students at the Puerto Plata school did not have toys, they came up with a Barrel of Fun project aimed at collecting a barrel of donated toys, games, puzzles, books – and even peanut butter – to the school.
According to Kate Bateman, founder of Youth Upliftment International, the Barrel of Fun project has resulted in even more toys and games than she expected.
“Jane and Isabel are truly amazing girls with big hearts,” said Bateman, a graduate of St. Thomas High School in Pointe Claire. “I am packing the barrels of toys they have collected – two barrels full – and all of this is thanks to Jane and Isabel.”
Fittingly, that shipment went out on Valentine’s Day.
Jane and Isabel’s work has not gone unnoticed.
Last week (Feb. 11), the sisters won the Leadership Committee for English Education in Quebec (LCEEQ) Student Voice - Social Media Project in the elementary category for Isabel’s short documentary about Sparkes of Hope. The video showcased how social media can be used for learning and to create change.
Jane and Isabel said they plan to keep on knitting and raising funds for students at the school in the Dominican Republic.
“Our hand-made cloths are a symbol of hope for Haitian children living in terrible conditions,” said Jane. “We are so incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported Sparkes of Hope – including so many people at our school and in the community that have helped in so many ways.
Did you ever wonder exactly what it is that your child’s teacher does on a pedagogical day?
If you had visions of them sleeping in, staying in their jammies all day or going shopping, think again.
A workshop session called “Passion-Based Teaching and Learning – One More for the Toolbox” held Friday, Feb. 7 saw more than 350 educators converge upon Lindsay Place High School in Pointe Claire for an 8:30 a.m. keynote address by Dean Shareski , educational technologist at Discovery Education Canada, as well as for 28 workshops - some in French, some in English - with topics ranging from Google technology, to robotics, to how to increase engagement, encourage creativity and empower learners with the help of the iPad – and even Latin Dance and Clowning as a Serious Business.
Shareski ‘s presentation, called “Rediscovering Joy” dealt with the connection between joy, teaching and learning.
“Joy is an end to itself, an important ingredient for learning – with joy, we can move to real engagement, a real fascination with learning,” said Shareski, Community Manager for Discovery Education Canada and lecturer at the University of Regina.
“Learning can and should be fun and personal ,” he added. “Engaging a student and experimentation in education should be part of a teacher’s everyday life.
Shareski urged teachers to use today’s technology to share their projects and discoveries with their counterparts as well as students.
”Students should see us as life-long learners – if that’s what we want them to be, shouldn’t they see that in us?” he asked. “Sharing is giving someone else the gift of your time - and in an increasingly challenging job, if you don’t surround yourself with people – both locally and virtually – I don’t know how you’ll survive.”
Other workshops included 20+ Innovative Pedagogical Strategies Using Google Forms; Images, Music and Video for School Projects and Beyond; The Missing Link: Connecting Assessment and Technology; The Film Library and Other Online Video Resources Available Through the Portal: Access and Usage Rights; Incorporating Entrepreneurship; Best-Loved Literacy Lessons– Let’s Share; Engage, Activate and Collaborate - a workshop on how to integrate digital media to increase student engagement - as well as a workshop titled Increase Engagement, Encourage Creativity and Empower Learners with the Help of the iPad.
”My workshop is about the integration of the iPad at the grade school level,” said Mathieu Majeau, from Apple Canada. “It teaches teachers how to use this technology in the classroom context.”
Audrey MacDonald, a math teacher at John Rennie High School, said the pedagogical day was of value to her in more ways than one.
“I tweeted to my colleagues about some of the things Mr. Shareski said at least 15 times during his speech,” she said adding that “the workshops are not only great learning tools, they are also a good way to network and bond.”
Another teacher from Margaret Manson Elementary school said the workshop “was a great opportunity to be given different points of view, approaches and ideas.”
Jean-Claude Manirakiza, who teaches French as a second language at Westwood Sr. High School, said he enjoyed the workshops for not only learning something new but as a way exchange ideas.
St Edmund Elementary students celebrate Canadian athletes at Sochi Olympics
As Canada’s medal count at the Sochi Olympics continues to rise, no one could blame students at St. Edmund Elementary for thinking that their message of encouragement may have something to do with it.
Students at the Beaconsfield school have taken the Olympic spirit to heart.
So much so, in fact, that their enthusiasm in the school gym during the opening of the games last Thursday was captured on video by a couple of their teachers - grade 2 teacher Suzanne de Bellefeuille and physical education teacher Vanessa Davidson - who plays for the Montreal Stars women’s hockey team - and posted on the You Tube website.
“We just asked the kids to wear red on that day in support of our athletes, but they did more than that, they made signs, they had flags - and they had spirit,” St. Edmund Principal Nathia Messina said adding that Davidson, who knows some of the athletes on the women’s hockey team in Sochi, sent them the video. “And from there, it was shared with the other Canadian athletes.”
“We are proud of our students as we are proud of Canada’s athletes in Sochi.”
Cultural Exchange links LBPSB students with First Nations students
John Rennie High School students in front of their five-panel artwork, interpreting native spirituality, residential schools, human rights violations, human rights and hope for the future.
A colourful shipment of letters, artwork, video and photos from students at Lester B. Pearson schools will soon be sent to their counterparts at the Jimmy Sandy Memorial School of Naskapi Nation in Kawawachikamach, a small village in Northern Quebec.
“It`s all part of an effort to learn more about First Nations peoples and for them to learn more about us,” said Sue Simatos, LBPSB spiritual animator who runs a social justice program and has organized the cultural exchange which involves four LBPSB schools: Lindsay Place and John Rennie High Schools as well as at Greendale Elementary and the two-room Soulanges Elementary school in St.Telesphore.
“In all, we have 52 students from four schools in the LBPSB family taking part in the project,” said Simatos adding that at the other end of the spectrum, the project involves 52 grade 6 to 9 students at the school in Kawawachikamach about 15 kilometres northeast of Schefferville, Quebec.
Simatos said the project initially began when she invited First Nations people into the LBPSB schools where she works to make students here more aware about First Nations culture.
As well, said Simatos, the First Nations invitees spoke about the human rights violations First Nations children experienced when they attended residential schools in Canada, in operation from1870 to 1996.
Many First Nations children, often victims of physical and even sexual abuse, were separated from their families, their communities and forced to abandon their culture, language and identity. In 1960, First Nations people in Canada received the right to vote in federal elections without forfeiting their Indian status.
“Our students wanted to learn more…,” said Simatos. “That’s when the idea of a pen-pal project developed.”
Sara Devlin, a grade 11 student at Lindsay Place High School, said she is looking forward to the project.
"It gives us the opportunity to connect with teens and learn about their culture on a first-hand basis instead of just from books,” she added.
Simatos said a Pointe Claire resident who works in Kawawachikamach has promised to take the letters, artwork and photos to the Jimmy Sandy students in early February.
“She will then … collect letters from the students in Kawawachikamach and bring them back to our students here,” Simatos said.
Simatos said she hopes the cultural exchange results in some lasting friendships.
“Very often, First Nation students come south to further their education after high school, but the culture shock and not having support here from their families can be difficult for them,” she said.
Many of them quit and return back home, added Simatos.
“But maybe if a student at Jimmy Sandy develops a pen-pal relationship with a student here, it could help prepare them for the move… ,” she said.
Curtis Tootoosis, principal at the Jimmy Sandy Memorial School, said the project will provide his students an opportunity to create friendships beyond the limits of their communities.
“Our students read and hear about Montreal and other Quebec communities but rarely get the opportunity to visit and meet people from these places,” he said noting that the pen pal project will allow students to ask questions about what life is like in the big city while explaining what life is like in the north.
“ I am sure that some friendships will develop and continue beyond the scope of this project,” he added.
Simatos said there a shift in the way she teaches about racism and human rights.“…we now refer to examples of what happened to our Aboriginal Canadians,” she said
Simatos said students here will have an opportunity to learn about First Nations culture through dance, song and drumming when Norman Achneepineskum from the Buffalo Hat Singers and Barbara Diabo, a Mohawk hoop dancer, perform at Greendale Elementary on Feb. 20.
Here are some of the things LBPSB students and teachers involved in First Nations social justice programs are working on:
* John Rennie High School students are creating a large five panel art work interpreting native spirituality, residential schools, human rights violations, human rights and hope for the future.
*Westwood Senior High School Teacher Matthew Luthi, along with Wayne Rice, history teacher at the Kahnawake Survival School, have initiated a twinning project between the two schools.
* Westwood Senior High School student Tristan Peirce was selected for a student ambassadors’ program in the U.S.A. last summer – he is now working on formulating a petition asking that the history of residential schools be included in Canadian History books.
Events celebrating Black History Month are taking place at schools across the Lester B. Pearson School Board. Here are some of them:
Overture With the Arts presents the musical, Songs of Freedom at Beaconsfield and Lindsay Place High Schools on Feb. 17, at St. Thomas and Pierrefonds Comprehensive high Schools on Feb. 24, at Lakeside Academy on Feb. 25 and at Riverdale high School on Feb. 26.
A percussionist specializing in African music, griot (storyteller ) and gumboot dancer took part in interactive workshops with students at Sunshine Academy and Wilder Penfield Elementary in Dollard des Ormeaux and Beechwood Elementary in Pierrefonds.
Slam poet Jason Selmon worked Black History poetry with grade five and six students at Sunshine Academy. Rozalie Shewchuck, a community and spiritual care animator at the LBPSB, will visit St. Edmund Elementary in Beaconsfield and Forest Hill Jr. in St. Lazare to explore such themes as common humanity, human rights, discrimination and prejudice with Cycle 5 and 6 students. She will work with students in other grades on such themes as exclusion, understanding and how to be inclusive.
The Meeting, a play depicting a fictional encounter between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. will be presented by the Black Theatre Workshop on Feb. 20 at LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School.
Orchard Elementary will celebrate Black History Month on Feb. 20 with a tribute to Nelson Mandella.Art Expo at 5:30 p.m., concert at 6:30 p.m.
The Meeting will also be presented Feb. 25 at Lakeside Academy in Lachine. As well, Rap artist Jonathan Emile will perform and speak to students who have prepared a series of dances and songs as well as a slide show and poetry.
Beurling Academy, in Verdun, is offering students a bi-weekly quiz on Black History facts. As well, a keynote speaker from the Black Theater Workshop will address students.
Students at Dorval Elementary are enjoying The Hall of Fame, enlarged photographs of 46 persons of African Canadian or African American descent that are gracing school halls.
A Cat in the Hat visit to Verdun Elementary is up for CNW`s Photo of the Year
One year ago this month, Kindergarten to grade 2 students at Verdun Elementary were tickled pink when The Cat in the Hat visited their school to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s 75th anniversary. The event kicked off a Canada-wide fundraising campaign by the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation which helps provide new books and learning materials to low socio-economic area elementary schools. A photo taken that day at the school has been nominated by CNW (formerly Canada News Wire) for their 2013 photo of the year.
Julia Child may have said it best – and on Feb. 19, young chefs from Montreal’s top culinary schools will get to show what they’ve learned by doing their best in the first round of a culinary Olympiad that will see the winner go on to a province-wide competition in Quebec City.
From there, the winner of the Quebec competition will take part in a Canada-wide cook-off and the winner of the national prize will go on to compete in world competitions which will take place in Brazil in 2015.
The biennial event, which takes place this year at the Pearson School of Culinary Arts, part of the Lester B. Pearson School Board, will mark the first time that all five culinary schools in the Montreal area take part.
“It will definitely be one the most intense regional competitions that we’ve seen in years,” said Pierre Auclair, pedagocial consultant at the Pearson Adult and Career centre. He said the schools taking part in the event are: l’École Hôtelière de Montréal Calixa-Lavallée, St. Pius X Culinary Institute, l’ITHQ, l’École des métiers de la restauration et de l’Hôtellerie and the Pearson School of Culinary Arts .
Auclair said that students in the competition will have to create an entrée based on king quail, a main course of flat fish and a dessert.
“There are many factors involved in a win, including cleanliness, safety and no waste of food,” said Auclair. “But above all, they must seduce the panel of ten judges, including Alain Pinard, Seth Gabrielse and Chief Judge Anne Desjardins, all well-known in Montreal’s food scene.
With a reputation for excellence, the Pearson School of Culinary Arts, has programs that cover all facets of the food industry, including baking, pastry-making, contemporary cuisine, professional cooking, restaurant services and much more.
In fact, the school is offering a free workshop on Feb. 6 called the Art of Mixology, designed for people interested in getting a taste of the school’s Food and Beverage Service program or Wine Service program.
As well, PACC is home to Le Saucier a very affordable, gourmet-class dining room open to the public year-round. Le Saucier is used as part of the training for students in the LBPSB’s professional cooking, market cuisine and restaurant services programs.
For more information about the school, the culinary event or the Mixology workshop, contact Auclair at firstname.lastname@example.org
Free workshop on the Art of Mixology takes place Feb 6
Do you like food, tasting wine and mixing cocktails? Wouldn’t it be great to learn how to properly pair cocktails and food – or how about the art of flair bartending ?
The Pearson School of Culinary Arts has just the career offering for you – along with a free workshop on Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. called the Art of Mixology to give you a taste of what it’s all about.
“If you like food, wines and cocktails, Mixology allows you to combine these passions into a well-paid career,” said Pierre Auclair, pedagogical consultant at the Pearson Adult and Career Centre (PACC).
He said the free workshop – which takes place Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. at PACC, 8310 rue George in Ville La Salle – is being offered to candidates interested in taking the school’s Food and Beverage Service program or the Wine Service program.
Both programs are tuition-free and can lead to a fulfilling career, said Auclair adding that PACC also offers a course in becoming a sommelier – that is, learning all about wine procurement, storage, food and wine pairing and expert service to wine consumers .
“And just like pairing wine with food, the Mixology workshop, part of the centre’s Food and Beverage programs, will not only teach the art of making cocktails but the art of pairing food and cocktails as well,” said Auclair.
He said the Food and Beverage and Wine Service programs are essentially bilingual – that is, they are taught in English with extensive use of French for work integration purposes, giving both English and French-speaking students a chance to brush up their language skills.
At Pearson School of Culinary Arts, which has a strong reputation for excellence, students can also learn to work in a variety of positions in the food industry, including baking, pastry-making, contemporary cuisine, professional cooking, restaurant services and much more.
As well, PACC is home to Le Saucier, a very affordable gourmet-class dining room open to the public throughout the year. Le Saucier is used as part of the training in the LBPSB’s professional cooking, market cuisine and restaurant services programs.
Registration for The Art of Mixology workshop is required. For information and registration, contact Auclair at email@example.com
Lester B Pearson Junior Leadership Day takes place Feb 7
When children reach their pre-teen and teen years, the opinions of their friends and fellow students take on more and more importance.
That’s why organizers of the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s second annual Junior Leadership Day have decided that this time round, the focus will be on students teaching students.
“…the angle is truly connecting our elementary leadership kids with today’s high school leadership students,” said Michael Rabinovitch, principal at Beechwood Elementary school where the February 7 event is taking place.
This year, students from 31 elementary schools and six high schools will get together to focus on the value of being leaders in a digital world.
“The theme is one of great importance…it impacts how students work and socialize in the ever-changing digital age,” said Nathia Messina, principal at St. Edmund Elementary in Beaconsfield, who, along with Rabinovitch, is one of the two leading organizers behind the across-the-board Junior Leadership Day.
Sessions at the day-long event will focus primarily on leadership, communication and teamwork skills, highlighting many aspects of LBPSB’s Digital Citizenship Program.
Rabinovitch said Ian Tyson, a motivational speaker and author of Better Living Through Comedy will be the keynote speaker at the event. “He will talk about the high school years, his experiences, and how high school programs are great opportunities to explore leadership… a time to become involved in so many great programs,” said Rabinovitch, noting that Tyson’s performance last year was very popular among students.
As well, Messina underlined the importance of the high school students who will be working behind the scenes throughout the event. “Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School will again send their team of leadership students to coordinate the elementary groups, hand out snacks and lunches, organize all the set-ups that are required - all while filming the day in order to present the elementary students with a video at the closing ceremony.”
LBPSB`s Central Parents`Committee launches petition opposing Values Charter
Calling Bill 60 a diversionary tactic from the real issues facing Quebec, the Central Parents’ Committee at the Lester B. Pearson School Board has launched a petition opposing the Quebec government’s proposed Charter of Values.
“…the idea of having Ethics and Religious Culture curriculum in our children’s education and not allowing their teachers display their religious beliefs by wearing a piece of jewelry or piece of cloth is preposterous,” said CPC Chairperson Laura Derry, noting that the CPC also prepared a brief opposing the proposed charter.
“The Central Parents Committee wants to be clear that we are against this Bill,” added Derry. ”We invite those in disagreement with Bill 60 to sign the petition found on the National Assembly web site.”
Hearings on Bill 60 - which would prohibit public sector employees, including teachers, from wearing religious clothing such as kippas and turbans and symbols such as crucifixes, while at work - began Tuesday (Jan. 14) in Quebec City.
The school board, which filed it’s own brief opposing Bill 60, as well as the CPC are waiting to be scheduled topresent their briefs at the hearings, which are expected to last a couple of months.
In its brief, the CPC stated that the government has failed to provide any evidence to support the need for such legislation.
“The CPC … sees this proposed legislation trying to deal with a non-existent problem that is distracting from real issues Quebec faces,” according to the CPC brief.“Let’s send a strong and unequivocal message to the government to tackle the real issues, like proper funding for public education and the efficient delivery of public services, for the sake of our children’s future.”
Mike Nalecz, Vice-Chairperson of the CPC, noted that Bill 60 would impose a limitation on personal freedoms.
“We feel the charter wants to impose a cultural uniformity and hegemony, and this must be resisted,” he said. “As parents, we strive that our children learn to accept and respect differences.
“The charter sends a message that is contrary to the inherent teachings of our children,” he added. “The proposed Bill 60 infringes on individual rights”
Children`s World Academy exhibition on digital media
If anyone knows about the do’s and don’ts of online information, it’s the grade 6 students at Children’s World Academy.
They’ve been studying how the new digital media changes the way people access information and connect to each other.
And on Jan. 23, the students shared what they discovered at an exhibition on new information and communication technologies.
“...various kiosks that examined our responsibility in the virtual environment – such things as how to evaluate the quality of the online information, how new communication technologies transform social interaction and the outcomes of the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) on our health and environment,” said Sonia Bouchard, the Primary Years Programme Coordinator at Children’s World Academy in Ville LaSalle.
She said the project began with a symposium day in November at which comments from guest speakers in different fields of expertise sparked students’ curiosity about the many faces of ICT.
Since them, the students have been doing a lot of research and putting together what they learned into the exhibition.
Just ask Grade 6 student Julien Coté.
“Working on the exhibition has been a really positive experience,” he said. “I like that we were able to do this project in teams – it’s helped me develop my research, organization and social skills.”
Children’s World Academy is located at 2241 Ménard in Ville LaSalle. For more information, call 514-595-2043.
More than 1,000 students taking part in the LBPSB Elementary Volleyball Tournament
More than a thousand Cycle 2 students took part in the Lester B. PearsonSchool Board’s Elementary Volleyball Tournament. This year, 30 elementary schools participated in the Jan. 7, 8 and 9 event at John Abbott College. On Tuesday, 471 students from Forest Hill Sr, St. Edmund, St. Lawrence Sr, Terry Fox, Dorset, St. Charles, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary, Orchard Elementary, Wilder Penfield, and St. John Fisher Sr. got to play the courts at the Ste. Anne de Bellevue Cegep. On Wednesday, 354 students from Evergreen, Sherwood Forest, Children’s World, Edgewater, St. Patrick, Verdun, Margaret Manson, Beacon Hill St. Paul and Christmas Park played and on Thursday, 420 students from Maple Grove, Allion, Greendale, Sunshine, Thorndale, Riverview, Beechwood, Westpark, Birchwood, and Mount Pleasant took part in the tournament. On Jan. 7 , physical education leadership students from Westwood Senior High School took on refereeing duties on the ten courts; on Wednesday and Thursday, physical education leadership students from Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School refereed the 10 courts.
Classrooms for students in the Work Oriented Training Pathways program at LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School get updates
What happens when three classrooms get transformed into state-of-the-art facilities, with new furniture, computers and Smartboards ? Quite a lot, it seems.
Just ask student Jena Glennane, enrolled in Work Oriented Training Pathways (WOTP), a three-year Ministry of Education (MELS) semi-skilled trades program at LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School.
“The old wood chairs … are now gone and the new chairs are really comfortable for the back,” said Jena of the newly-painted room with bright plastic yellow chairs, desks and wall units as well as new computers and a smart board and white board.
“This is a big change from last year – and the new technology makes it easier and more fun to learn.”
The transformation of three rooms – the Balanced Day room for students with moderate to significant intellectual delays, the Resource room for students who could use extra support and the WOPT room were updated and modernized due to a partnership with Burovision, a full-service office furniture dealership headquartered in Montreal with a warehouse in Ville LaSalle.
“They are a company with a huge heart,” said LCCHS Vice principal Peggy Grant, noting that Burovision funded the costs of all the new furniture and computer mounts while the Lester B. Pearson School Board purchased the computers and smart boards.
“We are thrilled to have such a caring community partner.”
For his part, Burovision President Renzo Fraraccio said the company began helping schools four years ago with a library project at a school in the Hochelaga district.
“We get a lot of calls from various organizations looking for cash donations,” he said. “And even though we were happy to help, we wanted to do more.”
Every year since then, Burovision’s Get Inspired program has helped to refurbish learning rooms in schools across the city. This year, a friend told Fraraccio about the Programs at LCCHS. “We wanted to make a difference in the day-to-day life of students,” he said. “And for an investment of approximately$25,000, it was an easy decision.”
Perhaps, but that decision has made a big difference at the school.
“This investment confirms commitment and interest in our program and in our students,” said LCCHS teacher Darren Rowe. His co-worker, teacher Kerrie Bremner said the changes have made students “more confident and inspired.
Forest Hill Senior Elementary School students program raised more than $1,000 for the Bridge to Burundi project
Students in the after-school daycare program at Forest Hill Seniors Elementary School, have been learning how to make the world a better place.
“We believe that taking care of others can and should be taught at a young age,” said Kathy Battista, the daycare technician at the St. Lazare school. “That’s why we decided to embark on a project that would be driven by a sound idea and motivated by the heart.”
In fact, the daycare students raised more than $1,000 for the Westwood High School, Senior Campus’s Bridge to Burundi (WBTB) project by designing, creating and selling jewelry from beads made by Burundi villagers.
So far, the WBTB project has funded the building of a school and medical centre as well as the establishment of a business cooperative and a clean and potable water project for the town of Rwoga in Burundi, East Africa.
The money raised by the grade-school studetns at Forest Hill, Senior will be used to install solar panels at the seven-room seven- classroom Westwood Bridge to Burundi school which serves 400 students from grades one to five.
The WBTB project began when Westwood students learned the life story of one of their teachers, Jean-Claude Manirakiza, whose parents were killed in their home in Rwoga during a 15-year civil war that claimed at 300,000 lives and left the village in ruins.
Westwood`s Bridge to Burundi Project continues to grow
How many Westwood High School students does it take to bring a war-torn village a half-a-world away back to life?
A lot. That’s why students at the Hudson school who are involved in the Westwood Bridge to Burundi (WBTB) project make sure to pass it on.
“A project of this scope required several generations of Westwood students to work on, so Westwood students have brought the project to all of their local elementary schools by running Peace Through Literacy classes, running leadership camps and passing on the message that no group is too young or too small to change the world,” said Westwood teacher Peter Nield, one of the forces behind the four-year-old Bridge to Burundi project.
In fact, noted Nield, all of the elementary school groups in the area have contributed in some way to the Westwood Bridge to Burundi project (WBTB). “Most recently, the daycare at Forest Hill Senior Elementary school in St. Lazare has started producing and selling jewelry with beads that are made by Burundi villagers,” he said. “Last month, they raised $1,135.”
So far, the funds raised through the WBTB project have been used to build a school and medical centre, start a business cooperative and to bring clean water to Rwoga, a village in Burundi, a landlocked country bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. ,
The WBTB project began when Westwood students heard the life story of one of their teachers, Jean-Claude Manirakiza, whose parents were killed in their home in Rwoga during a brutal 15-year civil war which claimed at least 300,000 lives and left the village, along with others in the area, in ruins.
“What our students are doing is a great honour to me ,” Manirakiza said during a break from class. “They help me make true a promise I made to my former fellow villagers – that I would not forget them because when people from the village leave, that is often the last time the villagers see them.”
Westwood students started their own foundation centred around the beliefs of South African leader Nelson Mandela: that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. In fact, it is that quote that is on the Bridge to Burundi logo.
Morgan Weinmeister, a grade 11 student who has been part of the WBTB project for three years. “Education is something I value very much – and this project helps students both in Burundi and here, in that students are learning from a young age the power of global citizenship,” she said.
Nield said the students have made the WBTB project a success through dedication and hard work .
“This is not your typical school project as the entire process is managed by Westwood students, from the hiring of staff in Burundi to purchasing materials on the other side of the world,” he said. “There is no mega-foundation that they hand their fundraising over to – their commitment to their sister village on the other side of the world is unparalleled.”
Some of the WBTB students’ accomplishments include:
·Building a seven classroom Westwood Bridge to Burundi school which serves 400 students from grades one to five.
·Creating a partnership with the Burundi government to share ongoing staffing responsibilities.
·Supplying clean, potable water to the village by piping water from a mountain source down one mountain, across a valley and up another mountain
·Established a business development coop to lay the framework for a sustainable economy; to date, the coop’s 84 members have, among other things, purchased a flour mill, sewing machines, cattle and opened a store.
·Building a 12-room medical centre, which will provide medical services to all of the surrounding villages, is almost completed. If all goes well, it should open this winter.
The student project is so impressive that, in 2010, Augustin Nsanze, the Burundi Minister of Foreign Affairs, modifiedthe itinerary of his Canadian diplomatic tour to visit with the Westwood students.
As well, that same year, Liberal Senator Roméo Dallaire, the force commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda leading up to and during the 1994 genocide being waged by Hutu extremists against Tutsis and Hutu moderates, wrote the WBTB students a letter to support their project and later visited with them to discuss topics of social justice.
Nield noted that Westwood students have a strong tradition as active and powerful student leaders in the area of global citizenship.
In 2004, Westwood Student Life created and funded its own scholarship with a goal of finding a deserving student in a rural South African village and bring him or her to Westwood for a year of studies.
“Against all odds, they raised the funds, cut through unimaginable layers of red tape and brought Josinah Taukobong to Westwood for a year. “When she left, she gave us a picture book of Nelson Mandela,” said Nield noting that in the 2008-2009 school year, the school established a Nelson Mandela Prize for Global Citizenship.
“The award is given to a deserving student, to someone whose actions have broken through the walls of Westwood, reached beyond the boundaries of our community and had a significant impact on our global world,” Nield said.
Westwood High School, Sr campus, honours Nelson Mandela by wearing white
Hundreds of students at the Lester B. Pearson School Board's Westwood High School, Sr. Campus wore white to school after learning of the passing of South African leader Nelson Mandela last week. Using social media they quickly spread the word as soon as they heard of the death of the freedom fighter who after 27 years of imprisonment, became South Africa’s first elected black president and who brought an end to apartheid. This was their way of paying respect to the world leader. Mandela has had a huge impact on the students whose Bridge to Burundi project which through student efforts has seen the rebuilding of a war-torn East African village, including a school, medical centre, water supply and more. The Bridge to Burundi project is largely based on Mandela’s belief that education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. Students at the school will also be wearing white ribbons and holding a special event to honour Mandela this Thursday (Dec.12).
More than 500 students from Lester B. Pearson School Board took in a McGill vs. Concordia women’s hockey game on Nov. 29 – all part of the Score With School program designed to encourage students to persevere and stay in school.
“Kids can’t graduate if they’re not in school and the encouragement our students receive from athletes like the McGill Martlets – whom the students look up to as heroes - is very important,”said LBPSB Chairman Suanne Stein Day who performed the official puck drop at the game.
She was joined on ice by Evergreen Elementary Principal Kathleen O’Reilly, an alumni member of the McGill Martlets hockey team. As well, Gabrielle Davidson, a graduate of the LBPSB Sport Etude Program at John Rennie High School is a member of the Martlets team.
Students from Riverview Elementary in Verdun, Greendale Elementary in Pierrefonds, St. Anthony Elementary in Pierrefonds, Evergreen Elementary in St. Lazare and John Rennie High School in Pierrefonds attended the event.
The Greendale Choir sang the National Anthem at the game which ended in a 4-2 win for McGill.
Three $100 bursaries were awarded to LBPSB students who have shown leadership in school: Simon Girard, a grade 4 student at St-Anthony Elementary in Pierrefonds, Sarah Grinfeld, a grade six student at Greendale Elementary in Pierrefonds and Liana Kletnieks, a grade six student at Evergreen Elementary in St. Lazare.
The Score With School Program is a series of events - including hockey and basketball games, writing contests and school visits from varsity athletes - that involve students learning about perseverance, athletics, dedication, time management, the value of extracurricular activities and more.
John Rennie HS`s Renniessance students hold coffee drive for Nazareth House
“Let’s meet for coffee” - it’s something we do every day, whether it’s to catch up with an old friend or as part of a group, or during a break from work, most of us can’t make it through the morning, let alone the day, without a cup or two – or three - of lovely hot coffee.
And it’s no different for the residents of Nazareth House, a men’s shelter in downtown Montreal for 21 residents who, without help, would most likely be homeless.
In fact, said Nazareth House Director Sheila Woodhouse, residents go through more than 1,400 cups a week – and that’s a lot of coffee in anyone’s books, let alone a shelter that relies only on the generosity of people and businesses.
“It is coffee, it’s comforting,” Woodhouse said, noting that in the winter months especially, the coffee supply can get quite low.
That’s where students from John Rennie High School come in.
Students in Brian Swirsky’s Renniessance Program raised funds and coffee throughout the week of Nov. 25 to Dec. 2 – .
“During our week-long project, students at John Rennie were able able to participate at cost of fifty cents in special lunch-hour games,” said Swirksy, coordinator of the high school’s grad-track alternative program, Renniessance, for Cycle II students who need a smaller classroom environment and outside-the-box approach to learning in order to reach their full academic potential.
“As well, senior students in the Renniessance Program visited homeroom classes to educate their fellow students about the homeless situation in and around Montreal – and how a simple cup of coffee not only warms the body but can warm the mind and soul as well,” he said.
“Coming in off the street for a cup of coffee opens up social avenues for the homeless, which is important when you live on the street and people won’t even give you the time of day…”
Student Chelsee-Marie Sauray said the project is more than just about coffee.
“The smell of coffee creates an inviting kind of warmth …that says ‘home’, which is something I’m sure the homeless deeply desire and something we all deserve,” she said. “Our coffee drive enables students to do something as simple as bringing in a small donation or a tin of coffee to make a big difference in someone’s life – and I’m really proud to be part of that.”
Swirksy said the project came about when he and his students were working at Nazareth House last year during the Raising the Roof toque campaign about how much coffee residents go through, especially during the winter months.
“Sheila Woodhouse told us coffee was like gold and that there was never enough to meet the need,” he said. “And although the different homeless shelters share their resources, it was always tough to get coffee.
“So we, at John Rennie are ready and committed to helping.”
Overture with the Arts offers creative outlets for self-expression and builds self-confidence
They say if you do something you love, you will never work a day in your life.
If that’s the case, Akilah Newton – founder of Overture With The Arts (OWTA), a non-profit organization that offers education in music, dance, drama and vocal training through after school programs and school tours – must live a very busy life of leisure.
“It’s my passion,” said Newton during a break as manager of a retail store she manages in order to make ends meet. “I may be very busy but I love it – and I love that our programs help kids find a creative outlet for self-expression as well as build confidence.”
The goal of OWTA, said Newton, is to introduce the performing arts to children and youth from all walks of life through low-cost training and scholarship programs.
“Giving children and youth the opportunity to explore the arts helps nourish their minds and their imaginations – and that leads to improved academic results and more responsible, engaged members of society,” said Newton, a graduate of the prestigious Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, a school co-founded by Sir Paul McCartney.
“That three-year program gave me invaluable training in strategic and financial management, sponsorship and event management as well as entertainment marketing,” said Newton adding that she returned to Montreal with the idea of paying it forward by giving back to her community’s artistically inclined youth.
Newton founded OWTA in 2009 and hasn’t looked back; in fact, this year alone OWTA:
* Launched a free after-school arts program, known as ASAP, at Riverdale High School’s Community Learning Centre in Pierrefonds, featuring breakdancing and visual arts.
* Hosted SPEAK, which stands for Self-esteem, Pressure, Expectations, Attitude and Knowledge, an anti-bullying school tour giving teens the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and concerns through interactive trust-building activities, music and visual arts projects. The tour was hosted by Kristen Cudmore, singer-songwriter and front woman of the indie pop band Language Arts, music therapist and community outreach worker.
* Will launch a Master Class Series in April at which entertainment industry professionals share their personal experiences on how they got started and offer advice. The host is Virgin Radio’s Nikki Balch.
* Host the Songs of Freedom Tour in which Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and urban poet, Jonathan Emile tours high schools, Cegeps and universities to highlight Black History through a musical revue showcasing black music and its influences on Canadian history, cultural integration and social justice.
* Will launch a student-run online radio show from Riverdale High School.
Oh, and if that’s not enough, OWTA, held its first annual Winter Wonderland Brunch at the Pierrefonds Cultural Centre on Dec. 8, hosting 35 West Island families in need.
Food, music, games and gifts have been donated by local businesses – all of whom were approached by Newton.
Barbara Freeston, president of the Pearson Educational Foundation, said Newton is a powerhouse when it comes to helping youth.
“Akilah is an exceptional young woman, with an endless store of projects that engage and educate all youth, in particular populations that do not often see themselves reflected in mainstream Canada,” said Freeston. “The Pearson Educational Foundation is proud to partner with OWTA.”
For her part, Newton said: "Seeing how much fun kids have when they're performing brings me so much joy - and that's what fuels me".
New One-to-One Chromebook Program at Lakeside Academy in Lachine
There were a lot of cheers at the launch of the One-to-One program at Lakeside Academy in Lachine when eighty-two Sec. 1 students received their much-awaited Chromebook laptops.
“It’s very exciting,” said 12-year-old Attasi Pilurtuut just before getting his first-ever Chromebook. “This means I can work at school with the laptop instead of writing down notes in class and then bringing them home to put into my desktop.”
Students, parents, teachers and officials from the Lester B. Pearson School Board got together Thursday, Nov. 7 for the launch of the program, a first at the school board.
“It’s not just the students in the enriched program who get the laptops, it’s every Sec. 1 student,” said Lakeside Academy Principal Michelle Harper. Michael Chechile, Director of Educational Services at the LBPSB, told students and parents that this is the first such program at the school board.
“We haven’t done anything as innovative as this at a whole grade level,” he said.
Dora Pullan, whose daughter, Mackenzie, was among the Sec. 1 students in the One-to-One Chromebook Program, said both she and her daughter were pleased with the idea of everyone in class starting off with the same technology.
“It’s a unifier,” she said. “As a parent, I like the idea that class projects can be shared and that the students can chat with each other, all under school supervision.”
Patrick Jobin said his daughter, Rachel, has been talking about the Chromebook program for months. “She’s so glad the time has finally come – my daughter and the other students will be learning the technology they will need for life.”
The One-to-One Chromebook launch did not take place at the very beginning of the school year because the school had to wait to wired for wifi, Harper said. More than 2,000 wifi access points are being installed throughout the LBPSB’s 59 schools, adult, vocational and international language centres.
LBPSB Regional Director David Meloche told the students how he looked forward to seeing the “amazing things they will be learning and creating” with their |Chromebooks.
Tanya Avrith, the LBPSB’s Educational Technology and Digital Citizenship Lead Teacher, told the Sec. 1 students they are paving the way for the future.
“You are pioneers,” she said. “One day, all students will be equipped as you are today.”
Outreach program at LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School enriches all
One group was shooting hoops in the gym, while in the cafeteria at LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School, some were carving pumpkins, others were decorating cupcakes and some were even getting manicures. At the same time, there was a lot of karaoke-style singing to the Mama Mia movie in the school theatre.
Not just a typical day at a high school.
What was taking place in fact, was all part of an Outreach program which brings together Secondary V students at LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School (LCCHS) with members of the West Montreal Readaptation Centre (WMRC), a rehabilitation centre for children and adults with an intellectual disability, pervasive developmental disorder or autism spectrum disorder.
“When you see the impact these activities have on both the students and the WMRC clients, it’s very impressive…,” said the project’s founder Andrea Intrevado, who teaches Canadian and Quebec History at the school and is the community service co-ordinator for the school’s International Baccalaureate program.
She said about half of the 45 students in the Outreach Program take part in an Activity Day at the school, while the other half of the group go on monthly outings with WMRC Clients. “Often, it’s just a trip to the dollar store or to a café,” said Intrevado.
In fact, only the Saturday before, students Jordan Campbell and Alicia Dirico accompanied WMRC resident Mary Rose Casey on an outing to a local coffee shop and to a dollar store.
“It was a good experience and a lot of fun,” said Jordan, 16. Although the course is compulsory for the the Sec. 5 students, both Alicia and Jordan said they would have signed up to do it regardless. “It’s a great idea,” said Alicia.
Both students and Casey were enthusiastic participants at the recent Activity Day at the school, which also included video games and mini-bowling. Casey, who loves to sing - and whose voice echoed well in the school hall – happily went from decorating cupcakes to taking part in the Mama Mia sing-along.
“I love it – I love the singing, the movies and bowling,” said Casey who was one of the first WMRC clients to take part in the Outreach program when it began last year. “These are my friends.”
Shelley Fender, a human relations officer for the WMRC said the Outreach program has been a complete success for WMRC clients.
“The individual attention our clients get from the students is invaluable – they feel heard, understood and accepted by a group,” said Fender. “They are proud to go out with their “friends” for a coffee and some have learned so many useful things, including how to use the community library and how to use a tablet computer.
“This is exciting stuff!”
Her thoughts were echoed by Giovanna Ciaramella, also a human relations officer for WMRC: “The reaction from our clients has been amazing – all our clients say they feel accepted and respected by the students, which is powerful.”
Light-a-Dream - so much more than a store; fundraising casino and auction night takes place Nov 15
Light a Dream began in 1999 as a candle-making business designed to give training and vocational opportunities to young adults living with development delays.
But it has grown to be so much more than that.
It’s like a second home for almost 20 young people who hand-make candles, soaps and flavoured lip balms and it also has expanded into a gift shop, with art work – much of it made by the young students - picture frames, hand-made gift bags, wedding and baby items and much, much more, all at affordable prices.
Light a Dream also takes custom orders – for example, the team was busy making candles for a memorial service last week – and offers workshops to community groups such as Sparks and Girl Guides and even caters to birthday parties.
“The parties are a lot of work but it’s also a lot of fun,” Jeremy To, a Light a Dream alumni who still volunteers at the homey shop located at 475 Dumont, just off Herron Road in Dorval.
Because of his experience at Light a Dream, To got an internship at a Tim Horton’s next door and that has turned into a three day a week regular job.
But he always finds the time to volunteer at least one day a week at Light a Dream.
“I was a little nervous when I first came here but I learned a lot - and I still enjoy being part of the group,” he said.
Light a Dream is a non-profit organization and is an essential part of the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s cooperative education program for students aged 18-21. Light a Dream is an initiative which is sponsored in part by West Island Community Shares, and serves as a primary work skills training site to bring together education and industry in an effort to better prepare students for a successful vocational future.
Through a mix of classroom experiences and hands-on training in a variety of job placements, Light a Dream develops their work and social skills and expands the students' career choice opportunities.
Chelsea Pollock is in her second year of the three-year program and says she enjoys the experience, some things more than others.
“I like making candles, the soap not as much,” she said noting that besides crafting candles of all sizes and shapes, of different waxes and scents and colours, students also learn to operate the cash, choose and place items in the gift shop and even keep the place clean, which is not an easy job considering that melted wax does tend to drip on the work top and even the floor.
Student Jessica Sauve, also in her second year at the program, said what she likes most is the social aspect of the job.
“I like working with people,” she said as her fellow students Rachel Leduc and Zach Arsenault worked in the store.
For information about Light a Dream and any of the upcoming events, call 514-636-9966 or online at lightadream.eventbright.ca/
Teacher Lory Watkins (left) shows Ardis Root, director of the Sources Adult and Career Centre, and student, Shannon Tweed a sound-proofing display designed and built by the Interior Decorating students in the classroom that will house courses in Professional Sales.
There’s a lot going on at the newly-named Sources Adult and Career Centre – not only has the former WICC Satellite School, Riverdale Campus, become an entity of its own, it has also added a Professional Sales Program to its already varied list of course offerings.
“Our new name, Sources Adult and Career Centre, reflects our view that we are the source of so much for students - the source for job market skills, the source towards fulfilling their goals and aspirations and the source of a rewarding career,” Sources director Ardis Root said in a recent interview.
“In short, we provide training and certification in fields where students find great jobs that they love,” she said adding that programs can vary from six-months to 18-months in length . “The road to success does not need to be a four-year drive.”
Root noted that Professional Sales is the latest addition to the roster of programs available at the centre which already offers language instruction and such programs as General Building Maintenance, Hygiene and Sanitation in Health Care Institutions, Interior Decorating and Visual Display as well as Residential and Commercial Drafting.
“We’re very excited to be opening our new centre with this great new program,” Root said of the program which will take place evenings and will take less than two years to complete. “We have hired people at the top of their game to teach the skills that people need and will use daily in this very lucrative field.”
Teacher Tammy Williamson, who spent more than 15 years developing training courses for sales people, said that a professional sales person today is not the stereotyped used-car salesman of yesteryear.
“Forget what you thought you knew about sales,” she said. “Now, it’s all about building a relationship with the customer, understanding the customer’s needs and finding solutions.”
“Personalized service is key,” she said adding that the Professional Sales Program will have a hands-on, learning-by-doing approach.
As well, noted Williamson, the program can go mobile. “If a company has salespeople they would like to see trained, we can go to the workplace,” she said noting that not only is the class tuition-free, it also qualifies for the 1% tax credit allowed to employers.
Root noted that another relatively new program offered at Sources is the Hygiene and Sanitation in Health Care facilities program.
``It’s very opportune than we are able to offer this program now as hospitals and clinics are calling us for graduates,`` she said noting that health risks like C.difficile and super bugs are of great concern to all and hospitals are looking for people with a specific skills needed to keep these facilities healthy.
``The Hygiene and Sanitation Program is a short 450-hour program designed to fulfill this need,”she added.
The Sources Adult and Career Centre is located at 5080 Sources Blvd. In Pierrefonds. 514-798-8798.
Open houses at LBPSB Vocational Training Centres taking place in October
Ever think about becoming a sommelier, learning the ins and outs of the wine industry – or how about getting that high school diploma or becoming a baker, chef, butcher or interior decorator, hair dresser or aesthetician or maybe a dental or medical assistant, mechanic, computer support technician, electrician or builder.
Whatever it is, the Lester B. Pearson School Board`s Vocational Training Centres have the right course for you.
Classes are tuition-free.
The LBPSB`s vocational training programs help adults from 16-66 complete their educational needs with language courses, high school diplomas, prerequisites for CEGEP/Vocational training as well as find work that they love – including classes in interior decorating and display, food services, building and public works, beauty care, motorized equipment maintenance, administrative, commerce and computer technology, computing support, electrotechnology, health services and more.
Here are the Centres and courses offered:
* Pearson Electrotechnology Centre, 5,000 René Huguet, Lachine. (514-798-1818).
The Pearson Electrotechnology Centre is the only public professional vocational centre of its kind serving the Anglophone Community in Quebec. The Centre offers students the option of taking Electricity, Plumbing and Heating, Installation and Repair of Telecommunications Equipment and Computing Support programs during the day, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. or in the evening from 3:30 to 10:30 p.m.
With its state-of-the-art equipment, hands-on teaching and training as well as high safety standards, the Centre prides itself on graduating skilled professionals who are well-prepared for the workforce.
* PACC Vocational Centre, 8310 rue George, LaSalle. (514-363-6213).
PAAC Vocational – Earn a Diploma of Vocational Studies or an Attestation of Vocational Studies. Perhaps you’d like to make a career change or are in high school considering a skilled trade…professional cook, administrative professional, health-care worker, butcher, computer support technician. It’s never too late to apply; many of our courses begin at varying times during the school year.
*Sources Adult and Career Centre, (formerly known as Riverdale Campus) 5080 Sources Blvd. Pierrefonds. (514-798-8798).
Riverdale Campus, located in the Riverdale High School Building, offers four levels of language instruction in English and French as well as classes in basic computer skills. As well, we offer five vocational programs, each taught by highly-qualified and dedicated teachers. Our programs – General Building Maintenance, Hygiene and Sanitation in Health Care Institutions, Interior Decorating and Visual Display, Professional Sales and Residential and Commercial Drafting – lead to lifetime careers.
*The West Island Career Centre, 13700 Pierrefonds Blvd., Pierrefonds. (514-620-0707).
Our programs are intended for people making the transition from school to work, from one job to another or from a current position to a better one. We offer state-of-the-art skills training programs in Automobile Mechanics, Business Education and Health Services such as health assistance and nursing care, assistance in Health Care Facilities, as well as home care assistance.
Here are the Top Five Reasons to register at GR Beauty Academy:
5- You know you want a career in the beauty industry and you need the best training possible.
4- You want a career that is in high demand.
3- You are a hands-on person – at the GR Academy, we mix learning with real-life, hands-on practice.
2- You want to own your own business – a Quebec Ministry Diploma in Aesthetics and-or hairdressing allows you to become an entrepreneur or be self-employed in spas, salons, hotels, resorts, health and wellness centres, medical clinics, department stores, retirement homes or cruise ships.
1-You want a fresh start in less than a year.
For more information on the Open Houses or any classes offered at the Lester B. Pearson School Board, go to www.pearsonskills.com
The Lester B. Pearson School Board is an English school board serving students and staff in 59 schools, adult and vocational centres, two International Language Centres, and an Administrative Centre on a territory from Verdun westward to the Ontario border. The Lester B. Pearson School Board is recognized locally, nationally and internationally as a progressive and innovative public education institution.
From Hudson to Hollywood and back again, if only for a little while
You can go home again.
Just ask Vanessa Lengies who was at Westwood High School , talking to a group of about 200 students about her life at the school – which was called Hudson High School at the time – as well as her life now as a television and movie actress in Los Angeles.
It was her first return to the school since she graduated in 2002 – and she, as well as the students who attended her visit, loved every minute of it.
“People ask me why I’m so positive and I tell them it’s because of my high school,” she said explaining that while a student, she attended a student leadership camp where she heard a speaker talk about leadership and kindness.
“It changed my life, I got deeply involved in student life,” she said. “I realized were all in this together and how great can it be when we are kind to each other.”
Develop a positive attitude now and it will stay with you the rest of your life,” she told students.
Lengies said that as young actress even in high school - she was in Who’s Afraid of the Dark and Radio Active, among other television shows – the school and her teachers were able to help her juggle an acting career and high school.
“I didn’t want to be home schooled,” she said. “I wanted to be part of student life.”
Lengies, who has starred in such movies as Stick It and The Perfect Man and in such series as American Dreams and Glee - and who will be starring in a new ABC sitcom in January called Mixology – described her life as an actress.
“It takes a lot of perseverance and there is a lot of rejection – I can go to 75 auditions and maybe get one role – but you keep going,” she said adding that what she especially likes about acting is the storytelling aspect.
“When we tell a story, it creates a connection, - if something bad happened to you, you can be sure it happened to other people” she said. “The way through it is by talking.”
She told students to work at their craft – “write, make movies, act – you can have any job in the world and be a story teller – you need to share those stories even if they`re not pretty; share those stories because that is where life will happen.”
Lengies told students to do what they love and, after her talk, told a group of students who surrounded her how school is the right place to try things. “Because after that, it’s real life, where you have to think about things like paying the rent.”
Donna Jones-Stanhope and Gail Gratton have a lot in common: they`re both grandmothers, they are both lunchtime supervisors at Edgewater Elementary in Pincourt - and both have recently graduated from an 18-month-long evening program for in-school educators.
The duo – who call each other support buddies - were among 19 Lester B. Person School Board employees who received Attestation d’etudes professionneles (AEP) certificates for in-school daycare educators.
The AEP, which all in-school daycare educators will be required to have by June, 2014, is designed to provide training for some jobs which previously required no specific training, such as the before and after school daycare programs.
“We`d both been out of school a very long time – more than 30 years - and getting back into a study routine was a challenge,” Jones-Stanhope said at the Sept. 11 certificate ceremony held at the LBPSB school board.. “But luckily, we had a lot of support from our families – and from each other.”
Both women held down two jobs while studying for their AEP`s.
The program requires 390 hours of training and competencies included planning and organizing daycare activities, the safety and well-being of children, activities focusing on social, emotional and moral development as well as psychomotor and cognitive development.
Gratton, said that with all of her other duties, attending the twice-a week evening classes could sometimes be stressful but with help from Jones-Stanhope, mentors - and with a lot of determination – she persevered.
“The buddy system worked well,” she added.
The 19 graduates were part of the first evening class group offered at the school board. Last February, the first group of 22 Lester B. Pearson School Board employees who attended day classes received their AEPs.
“We have two more groups in progress,” said Johanne Levac, manager of daycare services at the LBPSB. “And we are looking at the possibility of offering these courses to the general public next year.”
LBPSB chairman Suanne Stein day lauded the latest group of graduates for taking time out of their personal lives to earn their attestations. “It wasn`t easy but you stuck it out,” she said. “You took the time to better yourselves in order to take care of our children
“You are one of our biggest assets,” she added.
Both Jones-Stanhope and Gratton said they plan to apply to work as daycare educators at the school.
“In a few years, my grandson will probably attending daycare at the school,” said Jones-Stanhope. “That would be a treat.”
It`s early-morning, you`re in a rush, already thinking about what to make for supper, the two reports you have to complete at work and whether you should upgrade your phone.
Driving to work, you enter a 30-km-an-hour limit school zone – but you`re in a rush and 30 clicks seems soooo slow.
Don`t ignore it.
School zone speed limits are there for a reason.
Hundreds of children, some of whom are not yet used to their new surroundings especially at the beginning of a new school year, are in that area.
“It only takes a second for an accident – sometimes a tragic accident – to occur ,” said Mario Barrette , Director, Community Services responsible for Student Transportation at the Lester B. Pearson School Board.
And don`t forget about the fines; if you get caught going 50 clicks in a 30-km school zone, you will be fined $92 and get one demerit point on your driving record.
Get caught going over 50-kms-an-hour, you face a $112 fine and two demerit points. If you are caught going more than 70 kms-an-hour, you fall into the excessive speed category and you will be fined at least $350 and six demerit points.
As well, Barrette said parents who drop their children off at school should respect the drop-off zones, said Barrette.
“... although school-bus related injuries at bus stops have drastically reduced - in recent years, there has been increased traffic around schools as more parents drive their kids to school,” he said. “And that has created serious danger zones when the rules are not respected.”
Barrette said that rules regarding school buses are there for the protection of students.
According to the service de police de la Ville de Montreal - which has launched its own back-to-school safety program - drivers must stop their vehicles no less than five meters from a bus, or school minibus, with flashing lights and a stop sign displayed.
As well, drivers cannot cross or pass a bus with flashing lights and the stop sign displayed.
Failure to do so can result in fines between $200 and $300 and nine demerit points on a driving record.
Every year, the Lester B. Pearson School Board actively promotes activities to coincide with the Quebec’s annual School Bus Transportation Safety Campaign - but for the LBPSB, school bus safety doesn`t stop there.
At the beginning of each school year until the Christmas break, Transco, one of the board`s 12 local carriers, visits each elementary school, offering comprehensive animated session to all Kindergarten students.
In all, each year, nearly 2,000 students view a safety video followed by a question-and-answer period conducted by a trained Transco driver. Each student receives a coloring book and parents are invited to review, with their children, all proposed school bus safety rules.
The Lester B. Pearson School Board has such programs as the Purple Equals Parent program –which is designed to identify kindergarten and grade one students who are to be met by an adult when dropped off in the afternoon – and the Big Wheels Program dealing with conflict-resolution, peer mediation, safety patrollers and bus monitors.
“Everything we do is for the safety and well-being of our students,” said Barrette. “But we need the support of parents, students, drivers and the public.”
Telecommunications Museum at the Pearson Electrotechnology Centre
The Telecommunications Museum at the Pearson Electrotechnology Centre is truly a trip back in the history of telegraph and telephone communications in Canada.
The equipment at the museum – everything from a telegraph key, to a variety of crank phones, party lines, dial phones, operator switchboards to cross-bar switches which replaced the operators , early cell phones and more – dates back as far as the late 1800`s.
All the phones – and even the telegraph line – are in working order, thanks in part to Ken Lyons, a former Nortel employee and head of the Telecommunications museum.
“It took at least a year to set everything up and get in working order,” Lyons said as he toured the museum which is fittingly located in a room at the Lester B. Pearson School Board`s Electrotechnology Centre which offers tuition-free courses in all communications technologies, including computer hardware and software, soldering and installations of cables, fiber-optic equipment as well as electrical and fire control systems. As well, the centre offers the only English courses in Quebec for the Installation and Repair of Telecommunications Equipment and Electricity.
Besides the phones, there are many photographs showing the evolution of the instrument invented by Alexander Graham Bell, including the Garth Building in Montreal - where in 1882 the Bell Telephone Company of Canada established its mechanical department - to an ad by Northern Telecom urging readers to “send for our free book on how to build rural telephone lines.”
Montreal got its first dial-up telephone service in 1925, but before that there was an array of various manual and crank-operated phones through which calls were made by speaking to an operator.
The museum has quite a few crank models – all of which are functioning – as well as a plethora of dial-up telephones, including the infamous Princess phone (circa 1960`s) – “It`s Little, It`s Lovely, It Lights” - the sleek Contempra, the Touch Tone, a phone many people called the I Love Lucy because it was the kind seen on the popular 1950`s television show, as well as early model digital and cell phones and of course, the standard black dial-up-phone with the sturdy receiver that felt like it weighed a ton.
In most households during the 1950`s and 60`s, that sturdy black phone was the only one in the house. If a girl was lucky, some parents may have sprung for a Princess phone as a Sweet 16 birthday gift.
With Lyons as guide, a tour can last anywhere from an hour and a half to almost three.
“All of our phones are operational and some people really like to have fun with the equipment,” said Lyons, who worked at Bell Canada and then Nortel for more than 30 years. “We are definitely a hands-on type of museum.”
The equipment at the museum was collected as part of a project by the Nortel Pioneers, a retirees`club which met in the former city hall in Ville LaSalle.
At its height, Nortel, formerly known as Northern Electric and then Northern Telecom, employed almost 95,000 people around the world. The multinational telecommunications and data networking company filed for bankruptcy protection in Jan. 1999 and six months later, announced it would cease operations.
“When Nortel went belly-up, we were no longer funded so our club sort of disbanded,” Lyons said adding that a former Nortel employee, Geoffrey Alleyne, who teaches at the Pearson Electrotechnology Centre suggested that the museum be moved to the school.
“And that`s how the museum came to be here,” Lyons said.
For information or to book a tour of the museum, call 514-798-1818.
More than 2000 Wi-Fi access points to be installed throughout the Lester B Pearson School Board
The Lester B. Pearson School Board will be installing more than 2,000 Wi-Fi access points throughout its schools and centres - one of the largest technology deployments in the board’s 15-year history.
“The objective is to have one Wi-Fi Access Point (AP) per classroom that will deliver high-density Wi-Fi in support of curriculum activities for our students and teachers,” François Dupuis, Information Technologies Director at the school board, said Thursday (June 27).
AP’ s will also be installed in libraries and resources areas, he added.
The installation of the 2,200 AP’s, a $1.4 million investment, is expected to take six to eight months for completion.
“We all agree that mobility technology has become prevalent in the classroom as well as in our professional and personal activities,” Dupuis said. “And the LBPSB has decided to invest in leveraging this technology for the best interests of our students.”
The Lester B. Pearson School Board is comprised of 59 schools, adult and vocational centres, two International Language Centres, and an Administrative Centre on a territory from Verdun westward to the Ontario border.
Pearson School of Culinary Arts students take top prizes
Two students at the Lester B. Pearson School of Culinary Arts (PSCA) have taken top honours in separate competitions – one for extraordinary pastry-making and the other in a province-wide contest that recognizes women who choose traditionally male-dominated careers.
Joanna Hoang, a graduating pastry student at the school, placed first out of 13 candidates from five area school boards in the recent Concours pâtisserie Croquembouche 2013.
And Megan Richards, who specializes in Retail Butchery at the PSCA, part of the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s Adult and Career Centre, Vocational Section, placed first in the province-wide Chapeau, Les Filles! (Hats Off To You! ) contest showcasing the determination and hard work of women enrolled in a vocational or technical training program leading to work in a traditionally male-dominated occupation.
Richards, who decided to leave the construction trade for butchery said she hasn’t regretted her decision.
“It was just really natural to fall into butchery,” Richards said of the study choice she made following a career in renovation. “I’m a foodie and I love the freedom and independence that a trade gives you – you can be a butcher anywhere.”
Richards said PSCA instructors have a lot to do with her success in her new trade.
“They are such great teachers, always making sure we achieve our goals,” Richards said following a June 10 awards ceremony at the National Assembly in Quebec City.
Gloria Keenan, LBPSB director of adult education and vocational training, lauded Richards’s courage in carving out a new career.
“What an amazing woman Megan is to go into a second career – and one that is non-traditional,” Keenan said. “We are so proud of her.”
Besides Richards, there were four other LBPSB participants in the Chapeau, Les Filles! competition: Maia Emilia Haltiner, studying computing support at the Pearson Electrotechnology Centre, Jennifer Diabo, studying Electricity at the Pearson Electrotechnology Centre, Margaret Abbot studying Retail Butchery at the Pearson Adult and Career Centre and Milena Dimitrova, studying residential and commercial drafting at the West Island Career Centre.
Diabo and Richards were regional winners.
For her part, Hoang said she was very proud to have placed first at the pastry-making competition in which students had to prepare a “pièce montée” called croquembouche, based on a theme.
This year’s theme was based on the Jules Verne novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Hoang’s work reflected that with spun poured and pulled sugar creating a giant sea monster, the ocean and theNautilus.
“When they told me I had placed first, I thought they were pulling my leg because the other pieces were amazing…,” said Hoang, an artist who enrolled in the 13-month long pastry course in order to combine her artistic bent with pastry making.
“I’m a jack-of-all-trades in the arts,” said Hoang adding that she plans on getting a part-time job while in the planning stages of launching her own pastry shop.
“I’ll need at least a year to get organized but I have a lot of support from my teachers at the school,” she added.
Pierre Auclair, pedagogical consultant at the school, lauded Hoang’s approach to the competition.
“She was thoroughly resilient and came out with a brilliant performance the day of the competition – just like a well-trained athlete,” he said.
Verdun Elementary`s Jennifer Hayden-Benn receives top honours from Quebec Music Educators` Association
Jennifer Hayden-Benn of Verdun Elementary School has been named Teacher of the Year by the Quebec Music Educators’ Association.
“As an award that distinguishes excellence in teaching, we cannot think of one more worthy of such a recognition,” said Verdun Elementary Principal Jennifer Kurta, noting that Hayden-Benn was hired in 2003 to start at music program at Verdun Elementary.
“The school is home to a diverse community of students … the majority of whom face social and economic challenges,” Kurta said. “Jennifer saw the role that music could play in bringing the school community together.
“As a result of her passion and hard work, the school’s music program has become an essential part of the community at Verdun Elementary and includes a band program with junior and senior bands, a large choir and much more.
For her part, Hayden-Benn said she was both honoured and humbled by the award and thanked her colleagues for their support.
“It has been an amazing journey building the music program at Verdun Elementary School from the ground up,” she said adding that various grants have allowed students to enjoy a comprehensive music program.“I am extremely honoured and humbled to have received this award and thankful to have had the opportunity to work with such a wonderful team at Verdun Elementary that inspire me every day."
"I feel so lucky that I have a job that I absolutely love waking up for and going to each morning,” she said noting that teaching at an inner-city school has many rewards.
“In an inner-city school such at Verdun Elementary, one of the greatest rewards is seeing a student who experiences few successes academically find their spark and passion in music class,” she added. “It is incredible to have students who experience trauma in their daily lives find a safe and happy place in music, a gift that they can continue to enjoy throughout their lives.”
Betty MacKinnon, LBPSB On-Site Mentoring Programs, said that Hayden-Benn’s work as a mentoring coordinator at the Verdun school is a vital component in the retention of new hires.
“It is a pleasure to work with JenniferHayden-Benn,” said MacKinnon, adding that Hayden-Benn is a part of three-person teamwhich set up a mentoring program at the school to support and keep new teachers by harnessing the expertise of staff members.
“I see Jennifer as a role model for all teachers, both new and experienced,” she added. “ Jennifer Hayden-Benn is a true professional, a major asset to the school board – she’s solid gold.”
Kurta noted that Hayden-Benn’s strives to motivate her students and instil a drive for excellence in them.
“Through ensemble performances, students learn about respect and responsibility towards one another, and it is through these transferable skills and qualities that they recognize connections to other aspects of life,” she said.
Kurta also noted that Hayden-Benn works to form meaningful relationships with her students and their parents and that outside the music classroom, Hayden-Benn is an advocate for social justice, working with her Grade 6 Social Justice Club to raise awareness and act against injustice.
“In all, Jennifer’s commitment to education is commendable. She is dedicated, hard-working and genuinely passionate about teaching,” she added. “Every student deserves to have a Miss Jennifer in their life, and such a teacher deserves to be recognized.”
The Lester B. Pearson’ School Board's Horizon High School recently celebrated its first-ever graduation class. The May 30 graduation ceremony at the Pointe Claire school, part of the LBPSB's Network of Alternative Centres, was attended by an enthusiastic group of family and friends and supporters of the school and its 21 graduates. LBPSB officials - including Chairman Suanne Stein Day, Assistant Director General Carol Heffernan, Assistant Director of Student Services Chris Fuzessy, Region 2 Director Thomas Rhymes, John Donnelly, president of the Pearson Teachers’ Union and Barbara Freeston,president of the Pearson Education Foundation - assisted in handing out certificates and awards to students. Horizon Valedictorian Jade Penelope Clouette, recipient of a Governor-General’s Medal, reminded her fellow graduates of the challenges they had overcome in order to graduate and urged them not to lose sight of their goals and dreams.
Westwood Jr students bring home bronze medals from national science fair
There are a lot of proud people walking the halls of Westwood High Jr. these days.
Earlier this month, Grade 8 students Erika MacInnis and Olivia Cardillo came home with a bronze medal from the Canada-wide Science Fair 2013 in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Along with the medals came a $1,000 scholarship each to Western University and a $100 cash prize to be shared – and perhaps more importantly, a big sense of pride for the two students, the science program and its teachers as well as the student body at the St. Lazare school.
“Everyone at school is really excited – we were the first students from our school to even make to the nationals,” MacInnis said.
Let alone come home with a medal.
Westwood Jr. Principal Hans Bulow said the recognition for work well done reflects not only on the medal-winning students but on the whole school.
“The Westwood community is very proud that Erika and Olivia’s hard work and creativity was recognized by the academic community as being exemplary,” he said.
“It also gives recognition and pride to the Matrix and Science program at Westwood Jr. and the devoted teachers who have guided these students,” he said adding that thanks also goes to the Pearson Educational Foundation, the Educational Services Department and the Board’s Region One Director Steven Colpitts for their financial support.
Science teacher Gail Stanworth said both students put in a lot of hard work and dedication to their project which dealt with wind turbines.
“The girls have worked extremely hard over the past ten months, putting in hundreds of hours in creating, perfecting and presenting their project,” she said. “The level of science and their care in controlling scientific procedure and outcomes are above grade level and very commendable.
“I am extremely proud of them and home they are inspired to live the journey of ‘Science Fair’ again in the future.”
The project was inspired by the placement of wind turbines MacInnis noticed while travelling with her family in the Netherlands a couple of summers ago.
To her eye, the turbines did not seem to be placed strategically and MacInnis wondered how they should be placed in order to generate the most energy – especially in more confined spaces as large areas of land become less available.
When the science fair came up at school, MacInnis and Cardillo joined forces to figure out what would be the best placement of the wind turbines in a one-kilometre area. After much study and testing, their results showed that turbines placed in an inverted V position would generate the most energy.
Their project impressed a lot of people’ they won the junior category at the regionals in Montreal – and that came with a $400 cash prize.Soon after, their project won the Hydro Quebec prize at the provincial level, a prize that came with a visit to the James Bay hydro installations later this summer.
“We never expected this,” said Cardillo, who is thinking of a career in medicine. “We thought we were just doing a project for our school’s science fair.”
Now both MacInnis and Cardillo are planning to further develop their wind turbine project for next year’s science competition.
“We want to some thngs like use smoke to determine wind directions and how wind from one turbine can affect another,” said MacInnis who hopes to study engineering. “There is still a lot we can do.”
Mount Pleasant Elementary book project wins literacy award
Students in grades 1 and 2 at Mount Pleasant Elementary aren’t just learning how to read – they’ve already written and illustrated their own books, both physical and digital.
“It is amazing to see how much students can be inspired by their own creativity - their ability to quickly learn and incorporate technology into the learning process was fantastic,” said literacy teacher Lisa Crowhurst Fisher who spearheaded the project.
The Eric Carle project – which received an innovation award by the Quebec government’s Action Plan on Reading in School program - was chosen for multiple reasons: the project taught children about authors and illustrators, it showed students how to use the library, it was cross-curricular in that it involved literacy, art and technology and it was a not only a creative but also a collaborative effort involving teamwork. As well, the project involved parents as the books were shared at home.
Shannon Babcock, coordinator for the Education ministry’s Action Plan on Reading in School Recognition Awards, said the Eric Carle Book-Making Project was selected for the Innovation prize of the regional awards for the English sector. The award includes a $500 prize meant to be used to support future literacy initiatives at the school.
As well, the Eric Carle Book-Making project has been submitted for consideration for a province-wide prize.
Inspired by acclaimed children’s author and illustrator Eric Carle – his best known work,The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has been translated into more than 50 languages and sold more than 33 million copies world-wide – Fisher began the project by introducing the students, including kindergartners in the initial stage, to the many books that Carle has written over the years.
Students read all the Carle books in the school library, visited his website and watched his videos. learning about Carles’s childhood and why he loves to feature animals and insects in his books.
“As students at those ages are just beginning to read in English, they especially enjoyed the repetitive phrasing in books such as “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?,” she said adding that the next step involved eighty grades 1 and 2 students learning how Carle comes up with his beautiful colourful illustrations, using tissue paper and paint to create texture and patterns.
“The students and I got very excited and wanted to make our own books, just like Carle,” said Fisher adding that students came up with their own stories.
“Also, each group of students were responsible for painting two pieces of paper with two colours – it was important for them to think about adding texture and depth,” said Fisher adding that after each student decided what kind of animal or insect they wanted to make, they collected the paper they would need to complete their project.
Once the text was typed and glued to each page, Fisher photocopied and laminated each page, fastening them together so the children could take turns bringing the books home to share with their families.
Fisher said the final step was making the books digital by using an iPad app called Book Creator and adding an audio track of the students reading their books.“Now we can enjoy all of our books digitally on the iPad in our listening centre,” she added. “I thoroughly enjoyed working with these Grade 1 and 2 students on this project.”
Lisa Gatto has spent the last nine years working as an educator at the Beechwood Elementary daycare – and she says it’s the best job she’s ever had.
“I love it,” Gatto said Wednesday at a Lester B. Pearson School Board celebration of its daycare workers. ”Before I became certified as a daycare educator, I worked in offices – and I never stayed much longer than a year because I was bored.
“But now, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t love what I do,” she said. “I love the job and I love the kids.”
Gatto was among more than 260 daycare educators and technicians who were treated to breakfast on Monday (May 13) and Wednesday (May 15) at the LBPSB’s Dorval headquarters. As part of the Provincial Daycare Week celebrations,students from the LBPSB’s 37 daycares created a collection of colourful hot-air balloons reflecting this year’s “Thanks for Your High Energy” theme.
Johanne Levac, the LBPSB’s daycare manager –educational services, said the breakfasts were a way to thank everyone for the work they do.
“I want to personally thank everyone for their continuous support,” she said. “It was so nice to take the time to reconnect and talk to everyone – and to celebrate such a special event.”
Anyone who thinks that kindergarten is all about construction paper and glue, might do well to think again. After all, children today are surrounded by all sorts of technology, from cell phones to i-pads to games.
That’s why it comes as no surprise that kindergarten students from Forest Hill Jr. in St. Lazare, Beechwood Elementary in Pierrefonds joined their counterparts at St. Edmund Elementary in Beaconsfield on May 9 for a robotics adventure.
In teams of two to four, the kindergartners built robotic structures that had to do with gardening.
“Their creations had to move in a garden-related way – that is, a dog walking in the garden, a sun in rotation – anything relating to the garden,” St. Edmund Principal Nathia Messina saidadding that robotics have part of the curriculum at kindergarten classes for a few years.
Students from the grade 5 -6 Robotics Club also showcased some of their creations at the event.
Throughout the month of May, Lindsay Place high school students enrolled in the work-study alternative Genesis program have been meeting with entrepreneurs who could best be described as being out-of-the-box – and whose messages about goals and perseverance are not going unheeded.
“The goal is to have various friends, colleagues and people in the community come in and speak to the students and let them hear first-hand about the choices they were faced with and how far they may have come,” Zeeta Maharaj, the work-study placement animator at the Pointe Claire school, said last week.
“Everyone has a story to tell, and when young people see members of the broader community following their dreams and making careers for themselves that are interesting, dynamic and sometimes out of the ordinary, it can be very inspiring,” she added.
Some of the guest speakers so far this year included:
•local hip hop enthusiast, Mathieu “Preach” Bonjour – who writes original scores and pieces for sitcoms and movies - told students that he realized her had a talent for writing while in high school. That soon grew into poetry, verses and then rap. Preach, who is now penning and voicing verses for NBC television shows, emphasized the importance of using words to ignite change and uplifting meaningful messages.
•Richy Hillary, who’s no stranger to the Lindsay Place family as he’s a part-time staff member, spoke to students about the documentary film about African-American history in the United States called Hidden Colors, he and partner Roberto Garcia filmed and how their local movie production company, Labnoise, has taken off.Hillary is also a well-known MC.
•Denburke Reid, founder of Montreal Community Cares Foundation, and John Bowman of the Montreal Alouettes, spoke about how education fueled their career paths and kept them on the straight and narrow – a road not easily travelled under their circumstances. Both men spoke about being raised in tough neighbourhoods with little to no money and surrounded by violence. While Reid came to Montreal as a youngster from Jamaica, Bowman grew up in New York with a mother who did drugs.Things changed for him when he got into sports. Reid, who was drafted in the NBA for a stint, also stood firm in his love of sports; while the guys on the street were getting into crime and drugs, he was school-bound – and that led him to McGill where he earned an MBA in Marketing.
•Sarah MK, a West Island native who is known for her singing, rhyming and musical creativity, did a creative writing workshop with the Genesis students and shared her gift of performing as she sang and mc’d a piece for students.Students also created some terrific pieces.
* Trumpet in hand, Jason “Blackbird” Selman also came in for a poetry writing workshop. His soft-spoken demeanor and powerful messages left students empowered with the knowledge that they can make mindful decisions for the future. He had students write a thank-you letter to their future soul mates for the characteristics and qualities they find important.
Maharaj, who is also an artist and entrepreneur, said the goal of the program is to let students know they can try different vocations - and with dedication and perseverance,their dreams can become a reality.
“The speakers are honest in their stories and the take-away message is follow your dreams, have faith in yourself and make goals and strides to get to where you see yourself, “she said.
And students got the message loud and clear.
“The guest speakers made me realize I should push my limits and explore my opportunities,” said Kaeleigh Coulquoun, a grade 11 student in the Genesis program who has been accepted to the Special Care Counseling program at Vanier College.“My teacher, Sylvie Jackson, inspires us to give back to our community and I’m hoping to come back to Lindsay Place as a counselor to do the same for others.”
Katarina Gales, a grade 10 student in the Genesis program, said the guest speakers influenced her outlook in a positive way.
“They taught me that it’s okay to try new things, to think about things in a different way,” she said. “They inspired me to use my creativity and skills to the max in order to achieve my goals – they showed me that being myself is the best way to be.”
Lester B Pearson students honoured for their volunteer work
PIX: left to right: Students from across the Lester B. Pearson School Board, including Lindsay Place High School students Tayseer Vericain, Andrew McLennan, Jonah Gatbonton and Sue Simatos, were among the 60 students celebrated Monday for their volunteer work.
Sixty Lester B. Pearson School Board students were celebrated Monday, May 13. for their volunteer involvement through the Youth in Action program run by the West Island Volunteer Bureau. One student from each school were awarded with a mini i-pad tablet. LBPSB chairman, Suanne Stein Day, presented all LBPSB student volunteers - including 35 students from Beaconsfield High School alone - with Certificates of Participation from the Assemblée nationale du Québec.
There’s something about visiting a science and technology presentation that makes you realize how much you don’t know. But what’s really impressive is the realization that the more than 20 projects - everything from DNA samplings, to the creation of a model lung made from household materials to a project called Playing God, where students built and designed creatures that they believed would win in a survival of the fittest competition - were created by grades 7 to 11 students from 11 schools in the Lester B. Pearson School Board family: Beurling Academy, Lindsay Place High School, Macdonald High School, Lakeside Academy, Beaconsfield High School , Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School, Riverdale High School, St. Thomas High School, Westwood Jr. High School, John Rennie High School and LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School. LBPSB Educational Consultant Katherine Davey said she planned the May 7 event, which took place at the LBPSB’s Dorval headquarters, in order “to celebrate and validate the things students are doing every day in their classrooms.”
Cuisine du Marché students at the Pearson School of Culinary Arts
Cuisine du Marché students at the Pearson School of Culinary Arts (PSCA) recently teamed up with guest chefs to create signature dishes using Société-Orignal products such as seabuckthorn, kelp, sunflower oil and native herbs.
Pearson supporters of this event, which included Premiere Moisson, Fromagerie Ruban Bleu and Gastronomia Aliments Fins donated artisanal breads, goat cheese & mini cones for sea buckthorn sorbets along with apple ciders from the award-winning cider house, La Face Cachée de la Pomme.
“This was a first-of-a-kind event which reflects how the PSCA welcomes partnering with people and companies dedicated to the Quebec food industry,” said Nancy Gagnon, Program Coordinator/Teacher, Professional Cooking, Pearson School of Culinary Arts at the Pearson Adult and Career Centre.
“And judging by the companies that joined us for this event, it also shows how enthusiastic the industry is to partner with us.”
The guest chefs at the May 6 event were Seth Gabrielse, who, after more than 18 years in the food industry including a stint at Susur in Toronto, is now co-Chef at Foodlab as well as Chef Michelle Marek who trained at the PSCA and worked as pastry chef at many top Montreal kitchens including Laloux and who is now co-chef at Foodlab and Chef Aaron Langille who worked in Barcelona and Copenhagen and more recently at Café Sardine along with other high-end Montreal restaurants where he used local products in unique ways.
Alex Cruz and Cyril Gonzales of Société-Orignal, a platform that provides creative and strategic links between farmers, activists, chefs and grocers, were guest speakers at the event which closed with First Nations Mohawk elder, Sedalia Kawennotas's Thanksgiving prayer & song followed by refreshments in the courtyard of Le Saucier restaurant.
Le Saucier has a Gourmet-class dining room open to the public throughout the year that is used as part of the training process in the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s Professional Cooking, Market Cuisine and Restaurant Services programs.
Pierre Auclair, the pedagogical consultant for the LBPSB’ s food sector, said Le Saucier is often called a hidden gem.
“People say it’s like discovering a hidden pearl,” he said noting that because the restaurant is part of an educational institution, it cannot advertize. “So people find out about how great it is through networking and word of mouth.”
Le Saucier is located at the Pearson School of Culinary Arts, 8310 George St. in Ville LaSalle. For more information, call Pierre Auclair at 514-363-6213.
A visual arts project between the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s Beurling Academy and Marguerite Bourgeoys’s Monseigneur Richard high school has resulted in more than beautiful mosaic art works – it created a cultural as well as linguistic bridge.
“Despite living side by side, communities sometimes do not interact with each other for a variety of reasons,” according to an artists’ statement from students at both schools.“This collaborative art piece is a result of two such communities who decided to join together and dedicate their efforts toward common goals.
“It is a culmination of learning to acquire open-mindedness towards others, acceptance of language, traditions and beliefs, team spirit and a common love of and for art.”
The project, which was funded by a Quebec government grant under the Projet d’echanges linguistiques intra-Quebec, Approche Nouvel (Project Peliq-an), involved 60 Secondary 2students from the two Verdun schools.
“It is no accident that the genre of Mosaic Art was determined to be the ideal vehicle to bring two varied and interesting groups together,” said Beurling art teacher Michelle Wright. “Just like a mosaic, there were many contributors who, by working together toward a common goal, created the ‘big picture’ of how interspersed and overlapped our likes, interests, traditions and similarities are.”
During workshops which included the two groups, teachers and administrators, the idea of the student profile was developed in which symbolic representation would be used to convey a simplified version of the group identity.
The student collaboration resulted in two spectacular art pieces - a triptych: three pieces of art combined into one at Beurling, and a diptych: two pieces combined into one at Monseigneur Richard.
“Further, and perhaps more importantly, every member of group goes away with an unforgettable experience that has changed lives,” said Wright.
“Connections and friendships have been made that will perhaps develop into long-lasting ones,” she added. “Understanding and appreciation for each other’s traditions and beliefs has grown and the seed has been sown for the potential of open mindedness towards others in the future.”
Beurling Principal David Abracen said the project created not only beautiful works of art, it brought about a communications connection in both students groups.
“I have been thrilled with every aspect of this project,” he said. “Seeing students from both schools sitting at the same table…creating the sketches for what would become the basis of the permanent piece and communicating in each other’s mother tongue – either for practice or just to be polite – was really memorable.”
A vernissage of the artwork at Beurling takes place May 14 from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at Beurling Academy, 6100 Champlain Blvd. in Verdun. For more information, go to the school’s website http://beurling.lbpsb.qc.ca/ or call 514-766-2357.
Students from three Lester B. Pearson high schools met Former Governor General Michaëlle Jean on Wednesday, April 24 at the Truth and Reconciliation commission hearings held at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.
The TRC is a federal commission set up to look into the human rights violations of First Nations children forced by the Canadian Government to attend residential schools in Canada. Many children, were physically, psychologically and sexually abused - some even died.
Forty-five students from Westwood Senior, Lindsay Place and John Rennie High School along with spiritual animator Sue Simatos and two student teachers attended the event which included morning workshops and more. The students have been studying this issue over the past school year.
The students attended a Youth Forum which consisted of a series of testimonials by First Nations children about the impact of residential schools on their families. Afterwards the Lester B. Pearson students gave them friendship gifts - including hoodies from their respective schools - to acknowledge their participation in the Youth Forum.
In 2007, Gwenette Anthony, an almost 40-year-old mother of two, surveyed the classroom she had just walked into and decided on a seat near the door.
Even though she was sure of her reasons for returning to school, she felt scared, and wondered how she could compete with much younger people; after all, her deskmate was not only just a teenager, she was also her own daughter, Abeola.
But it didn’t take Anthony long to see that there were many other adult students close to her age, each one looking every bit as hesitant as herself.
“Soon I realized that there was nothing to be scared of; all I had to do was focus on why I was there,” Anthony said of her first foray into adult education. “I was back at school because I needed a new direction, and the opportunity was there - I had the chance of an affordable education at a good school.
“All I needed to do was set myself a deadline and stick to it.”
And that’s precisely what Anthony did for the next four months; evening after evening, she attended classes until she successfully completed the Secondary V English course at the Place Cartier Adult Education Centre in Beaconsfield.
However as often happens, life got in the way and Anthony returned to work for the next three years in order to take care of her family, save some money and decide what her next steps would be.
Meanwhile however, the values she put on learning - as well as the courageous example she set - encouraged her daughter and son, Kenton, to go on to obtain their own vocational diplomas. In fact, her daughter, now 23, went on to become a Registered Nursing Assistant. She is also enrolled in a cooking course in order to be better able to help diabetic patients.
Anthony’s longer-term plan was to enroll at a vocational centre to study Health, Assistance and Nursing Care, but she was not sure what more she needed to do to be accepted into this program; she wanted to sit with an advisor and ask many questions.
She was referred to SARCA, ( Services d'accueil, de référence, de conseil et d'accompagnement), a province-wide, free and confidential service mandated by the Ministere de l’Education, du Loisir et du Sport, that all school boards offer to adults aged 16 and up.
SARCA services exist not only for those looking to go into vocational training, but for everyone who needs information and support while considering a return to education or who just want to learn about other options open to them.
SARCA helps people make a plan and take it one small step at a time.
“So, if you, too, have been thinking about completing your secondary school diploma for years, leafing through the flyers that come from your local vocational training centres, daydreaming about a whole new path for yourself, make contact with SARCA,” said Safak Eran-Tasker, who is responsible for the SARCA services at the Lester B. Pearson School Board.
“Don’t let fear keep you from taking that first step,” she added. “Nothing is too difficult or too complicated when you are not alone.
Eran-Tasker noted that courses for adults, whether in general education or vocational training, are set up differently than the ones aimed at youth. “What’s more, you are not the same person, the teenager, that you were,” she added. “So whatever your previous experience, give adult sector a try and let SARCA be your starting point.
For her part, once armed with information from SARCA, Anthony returned to Place Cartier and completed her prerequisites.
Anthony was accepted into the Nursing Assistant program and is now looking forward to her graduation in June with a Diploma in Vocational Studies (DVS). As it happens, because of all the credits she accumulated at Place Cartier, coupled with the credits of her DVS, she is getting a Secondary School diploma, too!
“Next year, I’ll be making more than I’ve earned until now,” says Anthony. “I came a long way!”
And Anthony doesn’t plan to stop there; she has her sights set at a university level nursing degree.
“I’m not scared of the future anymore,” she said with a broad smile.
For more information on SARCA, contact:
Lester B. Pearson School Board SARCA Services
514-732-7766 ext. 4
Extract from the Chairman's report of September 26, 2011
LBPSB by the Numbers
Lately, the value of school boards has been under attack by those who make sweeping, generalized statements aimed at misleading you, our community. I’d like to pass on information that I believe truly represents the value the school board offers and how the incredibly professional, talented people in this building make a huge difference in the ability to offer quality, innovative and effective education of our students. The results, of course, cannot be denied – we have one of the highest success rates in the province and continue to improve upon it.
While these numbers represent our board in 2008-2009, the latest figures available from MELS, the numbers today would only show even higher percentages of our resources focused on the students.
Teaching Support Activities: 24.96%
(In school administration, library, computers, psychologists/speech therapist, student life, animation, health and social services, school success, teacher PD)
Furniture, building and equipment: 9.8%
Council of Commissioners: 0.21%
Administrative Activities: 5.77%
(Finance, IT, Legal & Archives, Transportation Management, Payroll Services, Union Negotiators, and senior management).
With less than 6% of our budget, the board meets all our reporting requirements to MELS (Financial, Registration, Grades, Strategic Plans, Annual Reports and Management Success Agreements),
manages our Educational Services and Student Services, coordinates transportation to 51 buildings
for about 15,000 students, manages the payroll, recruitment and human resources function for 4,500 employees, provides legal and archive services, maximizes our relationships with vendors resulting in minimum pricing for so many of the products used in our classrooms daily, coordinates quality food and nutrition services (and education!) including the delivery of hot meals to schools without cafeterias and management of a Hungry Kids program allowing us to provide meals for many students in need, and maintains our internet and computer network services 24/7. It also includes all of the photocopy machines and telephones in schools and centers, all of the software to run accounting and payroll systems in schools and centers and report cards, two architects and two engineers to oversee the 57 buildings in the school board network, two lawyers to oversee all legal issues, and three accountants to ensure proper accounting practices and tax laws are respected for a $250 million budget.
Any organization, public or private, would be hard pressed to deliver this more economically.
Well before MELS introduced legislation requiring us to reduce our expenses, LBPSB started the rationalization process. We started reducing headcounts and related expenses as our population decreased before Law 100 came into effect, and we continue to do so. We started our Energy Projects before MELS required reductions in energy costs. We did so because we take our role of managing public funds and providing the best education possible to our students very seriously. Always have.