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Feb
07

All Saints artists honour Chanie Wenjack

When All Saints High School art teacher Graham Mastersmith first heard the tragic story of Chanie Wenjack, he was deeply moved and decided to share it with his Grade 9 students.

Fifty years ago, Chanie Wenjack, a young First Nations boy, died cold and alone beside a railroad track in northern Ontario after running away from an Indian Residential School. His story is recounted in a series of videos and songs by Canadian musician Gord Downie and a graphic novel by artist Jeff Lemire entitled "The Secret Path."

After watching the Secret Path, Mastersmith and his class decided to undertake a collaborative art project to remember and honour Chanie Wenjack and the thousands of other Indigenous children who never came home from residential schools.

Remembering Chanie and a step towards healing -- This painting of Chanie Wenjack was done collaboratively by the Grade 9 Art Class at All Saints High School with their teacher, Graham Mastersmith, and Mohawk artist, Kirk Brant. Written into Chanie's clothing by the students are excerpts from the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions final report.

Working in collaboration with Mohawk artist Kirk Brant, students learned about the history and legacy of the residential school system and its devastating effects on generations of Indigenous people across Canada. Brant explained his role with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and introduced the 94 recommendations put forth in the commission's final report. One of the recommendations called upon Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to undertake collaborative projects and produce works that contribute to the reconciliation process. This call to action inspired the project.

Students were tasked to read and condense the recommendations and write them within the body outline of Chanie Wenjack.Then, Mastersmith and a few of his students added the final details and shading. In addition to assisting with the mixed media painting, Brant helped create 20 hand-screened shirts for everyone involved in the project. Additional shirts have since been created and sold to OCSB staff to raise money for the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.

"I hope that this collaborative project helps foster reconciliation, but more importantly contributes to the responsibility of ensuring that the tragic story of Chanie Wenjack never happens again."

Graham Mastersmith

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines art as "something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings." What an appropriate way to describe this empathetic project and restorative journey Mastersmith has guided his students through. This mixed media painting has invited the artists, and now the the viewer, to ponder "how can we honour the life and tragic death of Chanie Wenjack?"

Recent comment in this post
Guest — MaryJoanHale
very touching. So wonderful to see young people of this generation learning about residential schools. When I was young we were t... Read More
Thursday, 09 February 2017 6:06 PM
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Sep
23

OCSB Runs for the Troops!

Last weekend, approximately 100 OCSB students took part in the annual Canada Army Run! Each student ran for a soldier who died at the battle of Vimy Ridge. They have been raising money to offset the costs of a trip to Vimy next April, but they also managed to raise over $5000 for the Support our Troops charity! Many of the OCSB students and staff involved attended a ceremony last Friday to present the cheque to a military representative. Students from Notre Dame, Lester B. Pearson, St. Mark, St. Joseph, St. Pius X, Mother Teresa, St. Patrick's, St. Francis Xavier, All Saints, St. Matthew, and St. Paul high schools will be attending the trip to Vimy.

Behind the cheque, from the left to right: St. Mark High School teacher and Vimy trip coordinator Julian Hall; OCSB Director of Education Denise Andre; Canada Army Run Race Director Major Gus Garant.
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Jun
06

OCSB Students Excel in French Contests

OCSB students excel at this year's provincials

Year after year, students from the Ottawa Catholic School Board have been excelling in French contests, and this year was no exception! From national video contest to public speaking competitions, our students have been rising to the challenge and we're very happy to celebrate their accomplishments.

PROVINCIAL PUBLIC SPEAKING WINNERS:

The provincial competition in French public speaking is always very tough in Ontario. The annual competition organized by Canadian Parents for French was held this May at York University's bilingual campus, Glendon College. This year, only two Ottawa students were able to crack the top 3 in their categories, and both of them happened to be from OCSB high schools! St. Patrick's High School's Charlyse Katako claimed second place in the grade 12 Francophone category and took home a $250 cash prize. Grade 10 St. Francis Xavier High School student Kelsey McHugh claimed first place and a $500 cash prize in the grade 10 Immersion category for her speech "Qui blâmer au campus universitaire."

​Charlyse Katako from St. Patrick's High School claimed second prize in the Francophone category at this year's Ontario French Public Speaking Competition.

Kelsey McHugh (holding plaque) from St. Francis Xavier High School took first place in the grade 10 French Immersion category at this year's Ontario French Public Speaking Competition.

"Overall, this was an amazing experience. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to express information regarding a topic I am passionate about: sexual assault on university campuses. My speech, entitled "Qui blâmer au campus universitaire" explored the rising trend in sexual assaults on Canadian university campuses, and the negative consequences that severely impact the victims and the campus community. It discussed the lack of defense policies present in these post secondary establishments, and how the media provokes various social stigmas to arise, concerning how assault victims are perceived and treated. I was inspired by an American documentary, named "The Hunting Ground", that pushed me to research the issue present on Canadian campuses. It baffles me that this issue is concealed, almost as if it did not exist at all. I hope to continue creating awareness about this heinous crime, especially to a teenage audience, for a campus will likely become our daily environment in the next coming years.
I would like to thank my French teacher for mentoring me throughout this process, and my parents for supporting me at the competitions. I hope to participate in the Concours next year, giving me the opportunity to engage myself further into the French language."

- Kelsey McHugh, grade 10 French Immersion student from St. Francis Xavier High School
Winner of Ontario French Public Speaking Contest
Four OCSB students win $4,000 scholarships through national French video contest

NATIONAL VIDEO CONTEST WINNERS:

L'Association canadienne des professeurs d'immersion française held a contest for grade 9-12 students called "Immersion clip" and four of our students were recognized with $4,000 scholarship to be used at Ottawa, St. Paul, Sudbury or St. Anne universities. The challenge was to create a 30-90 second video on the topic of "social media and my virtual identity." Congratulations to the following winners:


Congratulations and "félicitations" to all of our students who represented the Ottawa Catholic School Board so well in various French competitions throughout this academic year.​

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Sep
28

All Saints teacher nominated for Canadian book awards

Cover of Mrs. Pignat's book "The Gospel Truth."

All Saints High School teacher and author Caroline Pignat has been shortlisted by the Canadian Children's Book Centre for both the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction and the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award for excellence in teen fiction! Her book The Gospel Truth, nominated for both awards, is about life on a southern tobacco plantation in 1858. It's described as "Moving, lyrical and intriguing, this is a story that will captivate readers of all ages." Her other novel Unspeakable is also nominated for the Geoffrey Bilson Award. It tells the tale of the sinking of the Empress of Ireland, and it "resonates with strong character development employing first person narration and the reflection of memories brought forth from journal entries."

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