St. Clair Catholic Joins Lambton Student Nutrition Program to say 'Thank you' to Volunteers

Dozens of volunteers help make student nutrition programs work every day in schools throughout Lambton County ... and today, officials of the Ontario Student Nutrition Program (OSNP) Lambton paused to say 'thank you.'

"Our student nutrition programs would not be possible without the commitment and support of our many volunteers at schools all across the county," says Lana Smith, a nutritionist with Lambton Public Health and Chair of the OSNP-Lambton Partnership.  "We are grateful for the work they do every day on behalf of the program."

Volunteers were invited to an appreciation ceremony at DeGroot's Nurseries on London Road in Sarnia.

"We know the value of this program to our students," says Laura Callaghan, Superintendent of Education for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board.  "The nutritious foods provided through the meal, snack and blended programs help our students to be successful at school.  Thank you for all that you do to support our young people," she told the volunteers.

OSNP-Lambton is open to all students and is guided by three main principles:  It's universal - all students are invited to participate; nutrition and food safety are its foundation - registered dietitians and public health inspectors offer guidance and support in menu planning; and it is a community partnership - programs have many volunteers who give their time to meet the program's needs.

Volunteers with student nutrition programs at 45 schools across Lambton County provide healthy snacks every day to 8,400 students.

In the photos are (top) Gregory, a student volunteer in the Student Nutrition Program at Holy Trinity, poses with his mom as he receives his appreciation certificate; and (above L-R) attending the Volunteer Appreciation Event at DeGroot's Nurseries in Sarnia are: Laura Callaghan, Superintendent of Education; Carol Milner, Student Nutrition Program volunteer at Holy Trinity Catholic School; Lana Smith, Lambton Public Health; and Leslie Palimaka, OSNP-Lambton Coordinator.


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Holy Rosary Students Give School Habitat a Spring Cleanup

Students, staff and parent volunteers recently pitched in to help clean up the Holy Rosary habitat.

"The habitat is our outdoor classroom at Holy Rosary," says Principal Barbara Armstrong.  "It is a valuable resource in helping to teach our students about the environment and the care we all need to take to preserve the natural gifts God has given us."

The habitat is a natural garden, which is home to plant species that are native to the Carolinian forest eco-system, some of which are rare. 

The spring clean-up included re-mulching the pathways and picking up litter, which had blown into the area over the winter months.  Another clean-up is planned for later on when the weather will be warmer and the plants begin to grow.  Holy Rosary students will also be building bird feeders and bird houses, to help encourage wildlife into the area.

"I want to thank the parents who put in a day's work to help with our clean-up and Wyoming Tree for graciously donating all of the mulch," says Ms. Armstrong.

In the photo, Principal Barbara Armstrong and students pause for a photo during the recent habitat clean-up.

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St. Clair Catholic Staff and Community Partners Participate in Day of Learning Focused on Residential Schools

St. Clair Catholic teachers, administrators, chaplains and a representative of the Board of Trustees recently participated in a full day session to engage in learning and reflection focused on residential schools.  The day included opportunities for sharing resources and learning from guest speakers and community leaders from the Bkejwanong Walpole Island and Aamjiwnaang First Nations, the Sarnia-Lambton Native Friendship Centre and municipal partners.

"It was a remarkable experience," says Trustee Carol Bryden.  "It is the responsibility of every Canadian to learn about this piece of our history and understand the impact this truth has had on so many generations."

Susie Jones, a residential school survivor, led the day by recounting her lived experience and her ongoing research.  She reminded the group that we cannot change history, but together we can bring truth and reconciliation to people hurt by residential schools.

Sarnia filmmaker David Cloes shared his documentary, We Are Still Here, which features local residential school survivors; and author Jenny Kay Dupuis discussed her book, I Am Not a Number. 

"Jenny challenged our educators to think about what they are doing to leave positive footprints with our students and community," says Cortnee Goure, First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Lead for St. Clair Catholic

The group also participated in a Blanket Exercise, developed by Kairos to help groups learn about history together.  This teaching tool shares the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. 

In the photo above, participants share in learning during the Blanket Exercise.

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Grade 7 and 8 Students at St. Ursula Catholic School Make Donation and Raise Poverty Awareness for Canadian Food For Children

Students in Kristin Pearson's Grade 7/8 class at St. Ursula Catholic School are learning about poverty, both locally and around the world.

"This was part of a 21st Century inquiry project, in which students were led to a deeper understanding of the effects of poverty, both here at home and in other parts of the world," says Ms. Pearson.  "We combined it with a Lenten project to accept donations for Canadian Food for Children.

As a result of what they learned about poverty, the students decided to collect hygiene products, school supplies and shoes, bringing in enough donated items to fill more than 100 paper grocery bags.  Representatives of Canadian Food for Children were invited to the school to accept the donations.

"The CFFC organization was very impressed with the amount of supplies the students collected in just three weeks and were very appreciative of their efforts," says Ms. Pearson.

In the photo, students pack the many items collected during the Lenten project in support of Canadian Food For Children.

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Students at St. Vincent, Georges P. Vanier and St. Joseph Catholic Schools Participate in MusicCounts Workshop

The Toronto-based Coalition for Music Education recently visited three Catholic schools, in a brief concert tour to showcase the importance of music in schools.

The visit was organized by Jacquelyn McGlynn, Itinerant Music Teacher for St. Vincent, St. Joseph and Georges P. Vanier Catholic schools, as a lead-up to Music Monday on May 1st, when schools across the country will join together in singing Sing it Together!  this year's Music Monday anthem.

"It was a tremendous opportunity for our students to meet these gifted musicians from the coalition and be treated to a concert by them," says Ms. McGlynn.  "We all know how important music is and whenever our students get to meet talented working musicians it inspires them."

In addition to the concert, the musicians talked to students about the concept of Music Monday and held a jam session with student musicians, who participate in recess music groups or school bands.

"It was a very fun day for everyone," says Ms. McGlynn. 

In the photo, members of the Coalition for Music Education perform for students during an assembly at St. Vincent Catholic School.


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Grade 1 Students at St. Anne Blenheim Help Send a Child to Camp Vincent

"What can we do to show our generosity to our community?"

That was the question Janey Mather Breault posed to her Grade 1 students at St. Anne Catholic School in Blenheim.

The students came up with lots of answers, but the project they settled on was to raise money to send a child to Camp Vincent this summer.

"The students were really excited by the project and it just took off," says Ms. Mather Breault.  "The students got their families involved and before you knew it we had surpassed our goal!"

With the help of their families, the students had planned to donate enough spring toys to fill two Easter gift baskets for a raffle.  They easily surpassed their goal and ended up with five gift baskets.  The students sold enough raffle tickets to raise $300, which was donated to the St. Vincent de Paul Summer Camp.  Representatives from the camp recently visited the school to accept the donation from the class.

In the photo, posing with students from the Grade 1 class are (Back Row L-R) Paige Butt and Lisa Diesbourg from Camp Vincent, who are accepting the cheque from Teacher Janey Mather Breault, as gift basket winner Anita O'Brien, a Program Resource Teacher at the school, and Principal Stacy Shepley look on.

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Students at St. Ursula Catholic School 'Doodle 4 Google' in Canada 150 Logo Design Contest

Students at St. Ursula Catholic School are 'doodling for Google' in a logo design contest to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday.

"As soon as I saw this, I knew my students would love it!" says Tricia Vanden Enden, a Grade 3-4 teacher at St. Ursula.  "It's a great activity that combines science, technology and art."

The nation-wide contest invites students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 to redesign the Google logo.  In celebration of Canada's 150th birthday, Google is challenging students to submit an entry based on the theme "What I see for Canada's future is..."

"We're still working on it, but the ideas my students have come up with so far are very impressive," says Ms. Vanden Enden.  "Some of the most common themes are peace, technology and a clean, healthy environment."

The contest is open until May 2nd.  The winning entry will be featured on the Google homepage for a day and the student will receive a $10,000 scholarship, a Google Chromebook and a $10,000 award for the school.

In the photos (top left) students work on their 'Doodle 4 Google' designs; and (above right) some of the logo designs in draft form.


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Interactive Presentation Teaches Gregory A. Hogan Students About Rich History of Indigenous Peoples

Grade 5 students at Gregory A. Hogan Catholic School participated in an engaging and interactive presentation, led by Elder Cecil Isaac from Bkejwanong Territory, also known as Walpole Island First Nation.

His presentation provided information on treaty teachings, which led students through a discovery of the rich heritage and significance of relationships and peaceful coexistence.  Students were also engaged in making a wampum belt.  Wampum is a traditional shell bead of indigenous peoples of North America, and the belts were made as a guide to narrate history, traditions and laws. 

"Our time with Cecil really allowed us to learn about the role treaties play in each of our lives and in our relationships with each other," says Richard Goure, Grade 5-6 teacher at Gregory A. Hogan.

As part of treaty awareness, the government of Ontario has passed new legislation to recognize the importance of treaties and to build awareness of the treaty relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in the province.  The Grade 5 students at Gregory A. Hogan are exploring the treaties that were signed between the government and indigenous peoples, with the intent of reaching mutual benefits.

"Having a first-hand opportunity to experience the teachings along with making our own class wampum belt with Cecil allowed the students to understand the importance of treaties and their significance, both historically and for today," says Mr. Goure.

In the photo above, Elder Cecil Isaac of the Bkejwanong Territory teaches students how to make a traditional wampum belt.

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