Students from UCC and St. Agnes Join Students from Around the World to Participate in 'Hour of Code' Program

UCC students from Jennifer Torrance's Grade 10 computer science class recently used their knowledge to help students at St. Agnes Catholic School participate in the world-wide 'Hour of Code' program.

"We are hoping to have all of our elementary partner schools in Chatham-Kent participate in the 'Hour of Code,'" says Ms. Torrance.  "Many schools will be participating during Computer Science Education Week in December.  That's very exciting!"

Coding is developing commands or instructions to create executable actions within a computer system.  It teaches students what it takes to produce the programs and apps they use every day on their devices.

The 'Hour of Code' initiative is designed to get more kids involved in computer science.  The program has partnered with important people in the industry, such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to help get young people interested.

Ms. Torrance says students in her class have really enjoyed sharing their knowledge with other students. 

"It is also a great way for our secondary school students to connect with our elementary partner schools."

In the photo, students from Ursuline College help St. Agnes Catholic School students participate in the 'Hour of Code' program.

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John Van Heck Acclaimed Chair of the Board; Michelle Parks Acclaimed Vice Chair

At tonight’s Initial Meeting of the Board of Trustees, John Van Heck was acclaimed to the position of Chair of the St. Clair Catholic District School Board for a third straight term.  Trustee Michelle Parks was acclaimed Vice Chair, a position she has previously held for the past three years.

Mr. Van Heck has been a Catholic trustee since 2006.  In accepting the position of Chair, he thanked his fellow trustees for their support and paid tribute to retiring Director of Education Dan Parr.

“Our multi-year strategic plan, which focuses on living our faith and student achievement; and our new Chatham schools will be your legacy,” says Mr. Van Heck.  “But I know that you are not about legacy; rather, you are about building God’s Kingdom through our schools.  Thank you for all that you have taught us.”

Michelle Parks is now in her twelfth year as a Catholic trustee.  In her remarks to the Board tonight, she also expressed support for her colleagues and for the Board's senior administration.

Elections for the positions of Chair and Vice Chair are held annually at the Board’s December meeting. 

The evening began with Mass, which was celebrated in the chapel of the Ursuline Boardroom, with Father Chris Gillespie, Pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish Cluster, as celebrant. 

In the photo above (L-R) Michelle Parks, Vice Chair of the Board; John Van Heck, Chair of the Board; Retiring Director of Education Dan Parr, presenting the gavel to the newly-acclaimed Chair; and Deb Crawford, Director of Education Designate. 

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St. Patrick's Catholic High School 'Irish Miracle' Set to Go Saturday, December 2nd!

St. Patrick's Catholic High School will hold its 34th Annual Irish Miracle on Saturday, December 2nd.

About 500 students, staff and volunteers are expected to participate in the annual city-wide door-to-door non-perishable food campaign, which collects upwards of 6,000 grocery bags of food.  The food is donated each year to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, to help the organization fill its Christmas hampers.

"Our volunteers are ready to go," says Joseph Palko, St. Patrick's Chaplaincy Leader.  "There is tremendous support for this event every year from across our school community."

A pep rally was held at the school earlier this week to encourage participation from staff and students.  The program included greetings from Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey and Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.  There were also testimonials from Irish Miracle beneficiaries and multi-media presentations that celebrated the long legacy of Irish Miracle.

Volunteers will go door-to-door between 8:30 a.m. and noon.  Their goal is to canvass every home in Sarnia, Bright's Grove and Point Edward.

Residents who will be away, but still want to contribute, are asked to leave their donations outside, with a sign marking them as Irish Miracle donations.


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Students at St. Joseph in Tilbury and St. Anne in Blenheim Celebrate Diversity with Singing, Dancing and a Healing Circle

Students at St. Joseph Catholic School in Tilbury have completed a healing circle mosaic, which represents unity of the four races of mankind.  It contains more than 6,500 glass tiles.

"It's really important for students to understand that this is not just a craft," says Brenda Collins, a Métis artist, who lives in London.  "The healing circle, also called a medicine wheel, incorporates Indigenous teachings, which bring together all cultures and all age groups.  It is an opportunity to create positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples."

At St. Anne Catholic School in Blenheim, students in JK to Grade 4 were treated to a display of singing and dancing by representatives of the Aamjiwnaang and Walpole Island First Nations.

They demonstrated how the beliefs and traditions of Canada's First Nations are carried out through story-telling, singing and dancing.  The demonstrations included a Grand Entry, such as those that are performed at Pow Wows, which are held by the 700 to 1,000 First Nations tribes across Canada and the United States.

In the photos (above left) Brenda Collins teaches students about the cultural significance of a Healing Circle at St. Joseph Catholic School, Tilbury; and (right) representatives from Walpole Island and Aamjiwnaang First Nations teach students at St. Anne Catholic School, Blenheim about the beliefs and traditions of their heritage, as told through singing and dancing.

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Students at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Port Lambton Join Others Across the District to Honour Vetrans

Students at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Port Lambton joined with hundreds of others across the St. Clair Catholic district in paying honour to those who served in Canada's wars and peace-keeping missions.

"It is important that we gather as a school community to honour those who have served, to pay our respects to the many who have died in service to our country and to acknowledge the courage of those who still serve," says Joanne McCreery, Principal of Sacred Heart Catholic School.

Each year, students especially honour the memory of 21-year-old Private William Cushley, a former Sacred Heart student, who died in service to our country in Afghanistan in 2006.

Following a school liturgy of remembrance, the students created a wall of poppies, where each student brought a unique poppy to be placed on the wall among crosses.


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Students and Staff at St. Joseph Catholic School in Corunna Hold Canada 150 Celebration to say 'Thank you!'

Students and staff at St. Joseph Catholic School in Corunna held a Canada 150 Celebration to say a special 'thank you' for funds that were recently donated to make improvements to the school yard.

"We want to say a special 'thank you' to Mayor Steve Arnold and St. Clair Township for their generous donation of funds to pay for our buddy rocks," says Colleen Cogghe, Principal of St. Joseph Catholic School.  "These buddy rocks are recognized by our students as a place where students can go when they're feeling sad or lonely; or that they just don't have anybody to play with.  That's when other students come along and reach out to them.  It's a great way for us to show empathy and friendship to each other at times when we need it most!"

In addition to the buddy rocks, the St. Joseph community was also the recipient of a Canada 150 grant from the Ontario government, which was used to install a basketball court, basketball nets and soccer goal posts.  The purpose of the grant was to give students additional opportunities to be active on the yard.

"We are thankful for the efforts of the staff of the St. Clair Catholic District School Board in helping direct these funds to St. Joseph," says Mrs. Cogghe.  "Physical literacy is important in our school community and the courts and soccer pitches will give all students more opportunities for active play."

Following the special celebration in the gym, students headed out on to the yard during the season's first snowy day, where they rotated through a series of activities that incorporated physical literacy.

Posing with students in the photo (top left) are special guests who were invited to the celebration.  They are (Back Row L-R) Mat Roop, Trustee, St. Clair Catholic DSB; Mayor Steve Arnold, St. Clair Township; Carol Bryden, Trustee, St. Clair Catholic DSB; Father Dan Vere; and Gabe Lacroix, Building Services Supervisor, St. Clair Catholic DSB.  In the front row, far right, is Colleen Cogghe, Principal, St. Joseph Catholic School.  In the photo (above right) students pose on the buddy rocks, which were funded through a generous grant from St. Clair Township.

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Another Successful 'We Scare Hunger' Campaign for Ursuline College Students and Partners

After 12 years of helping local food banks restock the shelves between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, the We Scare Hunger Halloween food drive led by UCC students is still going strong.

"Each year we are amazed at the generosity of the community," says Kathy Kearns, staff advisor for the annual event.  "It is a tremendous experience for our students when they see first hand how they can join with the community to help others.  When we all work together we can accomplish great things!"

In addition to UCC, the door-to-door campaign involves elementary students from St. Joseph and St. Ursula Catholic schools in Chatham, St. Anne in Blenheim and St. Michael in Ridgetown, along with CKSS and John McGregory Secondary School students. 

Victory Ford, a long time supporter of We Scare Hunger supplies volunteers and trucks each year to help get the donated food from UCC to the Chatham Outreach for Hunger food bank.

"It's great to see these kids get involved with helping their community," says Don 'Sparky' Leonard, General Manager of Victory Ford.  "We're happy to do whatever we can to help."

In the photo above, UCC students prepare to help load the food collected during this year's 'We Scare Hunger' event onto trucks supplied by Victory Ford, with help from Don 'Sparky' Leonard, Victory Ford GM and Kathy Kearns, UCC 'We Scare Hunger' staff advisor.


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St. Vincent, Georges P. Vanier and St. Joseph Catholic School Students Appear in Promotional Video for MusicCounts

Last April, students from St. Vincent, Georges P. Vanier and St. Joseph Catholic schools in Chatham participated in a workshop with MusicCounts.  The one day event was organized by itinerant music teacher Jacquelyn McGlynn, as a lead-up to the annual Music Monday event, when schools across the country join together in song.

"The workshop was a tremendous opportunity for our students to meet gifted musicians from Canada's Coalition for Music Education and to participate in a unique learning opportunity with them," says Mrs. McGlynn.  "We know the importance that music has in our lives and how our students are inspired whenever they are fortunate enough to meet and learn from talented working musicians."

A promotional video about the event has just been released by MusicCounts.  Take a look!

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