Students and Staff at St. Anne Blenheim Go Over the Top for Heart and Stroke Foundation

Students and staff at St. Anne Catholic School in Blenheim have raised a whopping $5,573.61 in the school's annual Jump Rope for Heart event.

"We are thrilled with the success of our event and we think it shows we are definitely a school with a 'heart'!" says Stacy Shepley, Principal of St. Anne Catholic School in Blenheim.

As part of the fundraiser, students recently participated in a number of heart healthy events, including skipping, soccer, soccer baseball and basketball. 

The money was presented to a local representative of the Heart and Stroke Foundation (photo above) who says the funds will be used to help pay for critical research, which saves lives by preventing heart disease and stroke and supporting survivors and their families.

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St. Patrick's Catholic High School Student Recognized in Annual OECTA Young Authors Contest

St. Patrick's Catholic High School Grade 9 student Sophia Makrigiannis has won a prestigious provincial award.  The annual Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) Young Authors awards have been announced and Sophia's composition Guitar Strings and Coffee Beans was the winner in the Grade 9-10 short story category.

Sophia is one of only 55 students from across the province, from JK to Grade 12, to be acknowledged.

"This is an amazing accomplishment and a great honour for Sophia and we are so pleased that she has received this provincial recognition," says Rob Cicchelli, Principal of St. Patrick's Catholic High School.

Sophia's short story is included in an anthology of award winning entries, compiled each year by OECTA.  Copies of the publication are distributed across the province to school and public libraries, Catholic trustees, Directors of Education and offices of MPPs.

"The winning submissions for this year's Young Authors awards are a testament to the talent and creativity of students across Ontario," says Ann Hawkins, President of OECTA.  "I am always amazed, not only by the breadth of topics students write about, but also by the passion and imagination of these young writers."

"It is important to also acknowledge the support and encouragement students receive from Catholic teachers, who contribute to the finished product," says Ms. Hawkins.

In the photo above are (L-R) Robert Cicchelli, Principal, St. Patrick's Catholic High School; Sophia Makrigiannis; Chris Stoesser, English Department Head, St. Patrick's Catholic High School; and Chad Coene, President, OECTA Secondary - St. Clair Unit.


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Gregory A. Hogan Catholic School Students and Staff Collect 130 Pairs of Eyeglasses for Rayjon Program

Students and staff at Gregory A. Hogan Catholic school recently wrapped up their Rayjon awareness activities.  During the Lenten season, information posters placed in the hallways, student led announcements and letters to parents/guardians encouraged donations of 'gently used and no longer needed' eyeglasses for the Rayjon Eyeglass Program.

The eyeglass program was developed in response to a need for vision care, which has been identified in the countries visited as part of other Rayjon programs.  The purpose of the program is to provide vision correction for those unable to afford or obtain either the examination or the eyeglasses they need.

"We are thrilled that our school community has gathered 130 pairs of eyeglasses for the Rayjon Eyeglass Program," says Liz Bujaki, Principal of Gregory A. Hogan Catholic School.

Bob Topliffe, Rayjon Eyeglass Program Coordinator, attended a presentation at the school.  He told students that the eyeglasses are washed and put into a machine which identifies the prescription.  Each pair of glasses is labeled and placed in a case with care instructions.  A cloth to keep the glasses clean is also provided.

In addition to the eyeglass campaign, the older students heard a presentation by teacher Emily Cosford, who travelled to Haiti to participate in a Rayjon awareness trip.  She spoke about Rayjon's mission of 'look, listen and learn' and how it has impacted her awareness of how resilient some people truly are.

Joanna Giresi, one of the coordinators of the Rayjon awareness trips, also spoke to the students.  Joanna explained that the wealth of the world is unevenly distributed and she asked them to reflect on that; and on ways in which they can assist in changing that for the future.  Joanna also discussed how the awareness trips involved high school students at St. Patrick's Catholic High School.

In the photos are (top left) members of the Gregory A. Hogan Student Parliament present Bob Topliffe, Rayjon Eyeglass Program Coordinator, with 130 pairs of eyeglasses; and (above right) a table displaying the donated glasses.


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St. Clair Catholic Hosts First Nation, Métis and Inuit Student Symposium

The St. Clair Catholic District School Board, along with Tecumseh Eco Knowledge, hosted a First Nation, Métis and Inuit Student Symposium on June 6, 2017 at the Walpole Island Cultural Community Centre. 

Two-hundred and sixty-five Indigenous and non-Indigenous students from Grades 8-12, along with educators across five elementary two secondary schools, participated in building leadership and identity with historical and cultural understanding.

Students engaged in interactive learning stations with teachings focused on mind, body, spirit and emotion. The group also participated in the interactive Blanket Exercise - an experience which helps to build understanding of our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Students at both St. Patrick's Catholic High School and Ursuline College have been gathering monthly throughout the year.  The symposium was an opportunity to bring secondary classrooms together with Grade 8 students, to partner in learning with the First Nation, Métis and Inuit Student Leadership Groups.  The exercise prepares students to lead by example and take active steps to apply a model of reconciliation on a daily basis.  Leaders from Bkejwanong, Walpole Island First Nation, Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Kettle and Stony Point First Nation and Delaware First Nation support the learning and development of the students.

Community members, educators, and students walked forward together from the learning experience having a better understanding of their role in making positive footprints that will impact seven generations to the future.

In the photo above, students from UCC join with Jerome "Moose" Isaac show off their bracelets, which symbolize friendship and respect among all races and nations.

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Books Written by Young Authors at St. Ursula Catholic School Can Now Be Checked Out at the School Library

There are lots of new books to read in the library at St. Ursula Catholic School and they were donated by the authors - the school's Grade 1 to 3 students!

"This was a tremendous experience for our students," says Grade 2-3 teacher Andrea Keating. 

"This inquiry-based learning project took our students through the entire writing process - from developing the story, to writing and editing, to illustrations, to publishing the book.  It was exciting to watch!"

"It was amazing to see our students so fully engaged in this process," says Grade 1-2 teacher Lia Dolfi.  "Every day they just couldn't wait to get started writing!"

The students used, a website that leads users through the process of creating books, even producing computer-generated pictures.

Each student published two books - one was donated to the school library, the other they kept for themselves.

Parents were invited to a 'book reveal' party at the school this week.

"We had a great turnout," says Principal Kelly Van Boxtel.  "Our gym was packed.  The parents were truly amazed at the work their kids had done!"

In the photo above with two of the student authors are (L-R) Andrea Keating, Grade 2-3 Teacher; Candi Chauvin, Parent; Nicole Britton, Parent; and Lia Dolfi, Grade 1-2 Teacher. 

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St. Joseph Catholic School in Corunna and Sacred Heart in Port Lambton Help to Make Lambton County a Little Bit Greener

Students and staff at two St. Clair Catholic schools have partnered with local organizations to help make a greener tomorrow.  Tree plantings were recently held at St. Joseph Catholic School in Corunna and Sacred Heart Catholic School, Port Lambton.

Through a grant from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Lambton Public Health and the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority are making trees available to local schools to plant in their school yards.

"This was a tremendous event for our school," says Colleen Cogghe, Principal of St. Joseph Catholic School in Corunna.  "Not only are the trees are a beautiful addition to our school yard, but this event aligns perfectly with our Catholic mission of being good stewards of the environment God created."

Representatives from Lambton Public Health and the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority also spoke to students about the tremendous benefits of trees.

"Trees provide schools with a more natural environment and shade coverage for their outdoor areas," says Martina Jackson, Health Promoter for Lambton Public Health.  "They also play an integral role in outdoor classrooms, by offering opportunities to educate and engage students about the environment."

In the photo with students at St. Joseph Catholic School are (L-R) Nicole Drumm and Tim Payne from the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority; and Martina Jackson, Lambton Public Health.

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Canadian Senator Michael MacDonald Speaks to Students at St. Patrick's Catholic High School

Hon. Michael MacDonald, a member of the Canadian Senate from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia recently addressed a group of about 250 students at St. Patrick's Catholic High School.  The visit was arranged by teacher Blake Morrison, who took part in a week-long Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy in Ottawa last November.

"We were very excited when Senator MacDonald accepted our invitation to speak to students here at St. Patrick's," says Mr. Morrison.  "It's not every day students get to meet a member of the Canadian Senate and ask questions."

The students, from Grades 10 through 12, were selected because of their interest in politics.  They asked a number of questions, ranging from free trade to Canada's relations with the United States to the national debt.

Senator MacDonald told students it was his first visit to Sarnia and that he was very pleased to accept their invitation to visit the school. 

He was appointed to the Senate by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  The Senator is a businessman in Nova Scotia and had formerly served as vice president of the Conservative Party of Canada.

"It is a privilege to serve in the Canadian Senate," he told the students.  "It never dawned on me that I would ever be a senator; but, all of a sudden I found myself there."

In the photos (top left) Senator MacDonald speaks to students at St. Patrick's Catholic High School; and (above right) the Senator poses with Mr. Morrison and students.

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Ursuline College Participates in OFSSAA Badminton Championships Held in Chatham-Kent

Chatham-Kent played host to the Ontario Federation of Secondary School Athletic Associations' (OFSSAA) Badminton Championship last week.  Matches were held at Ursuline College in addition to Ecole Secondaire Catholique de Pain Court and the St. Clair College Thames Campus Healthplex.

Three hundred and twenty players from across Ontario were in the district to compete, including the top ranked singles players in Canada.

Ursuline College experienced its most successful badminton season ever, with nine players competing at the OFSSAA championships.  Players included Jakob Wanger and Chelsea Hartford (mixed); Grace Hiltz and Emma Demers (girls doubles); Finn O'Brien and Andrew Thibault (boys doubles); Olivia Lozon (girls singles) and Brett Graves and Dhairya Shah (boys singles).

"Our players gained valuable experience and competed well in their respective divisions," says Paul Evans, Science and Phys. Ed. teacher at UCC and tennis and badminton coach.  "It was a great experience for everyone!"

In the photo, play during one of the OFSSAA badminton championship matches held at the Ursuline College gym.

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