ocsb tagline top banner
Text Size: A A A
Quick Access Menu ☰

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
6122 Hits
1 Comment

Deep Learning through a faith-filled lens

Over the last few years, we have been implementing Deep Learning practices in our classrooms so that our students can authentically connect their learning in the globally-connected world that we now live in. I see examples of Deep Learning in all of the schools I visit and follow on social media. In this blog post, I'd like to celebrate one school's initiative that highlights why this approach to learning can have such a transformative impact for all involved.

The inspiring story of St. Luke Nepean's "Little Free Pantry" shows how Deep Learning can come together to allow students to model the Catholic Graduate Expectations. This classroom with a big heart took a simple science project to the next level by creating an outdoor structure for their community to take what they need or give what they can.

St. Luke Nepean students put the finishing touches on their Little Free Pantry - a school project that will benefit their community for years to come.
The Pantry's logo incorporates this year's spiritual theme: Sent to be the Good News.

These students demonstrated the Global Competencies of Deep Learning. The students collaborated every step along the way, from creating blueprints to final construction. They communicated with each other to decide on what their project should be, the best way to go about it, and how to spread the word about it. They demonstrated citizenship, giving witness to Catholic social teaching, by choosing something that would benefit their entire community for many years to come. The students showed character, their God-given potential witnessed through hope and perseverance, as they saw their concept to completion. Their creativity shone through in the plans each student made, their ideas for raising money and gathering materials, and the creation of their pantry's logo. Critical thinking was evident in deciding which of their designs was best, planning the construction, and tackling any problems that came up along the way.

These inspiring young students and the staff who guided them are truly Sent to be the Good News – a fact that is evident by their pantry's logo, which incorporated the Board's spiritual theme. I am inspired by what so many of our students do every day - I see evidence that students can indeed be agents of change, helping humanity both near and far.

I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and Blessed New Year.

2282 Hits

OCSB takes part in the Hour of Code

From December 5th to 11th, schools from all across the OCSB took part in the Hour of Code, a global movement designed to celebrate computer science and to show that anybody can learn the basics. Not only does learning code promote problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity, it also creates a foundation for success in the 21st century. And on top of all that, our students absolutely loved it.

OCSB students and staff shared their Hour of Code experiences on social media using the hashtag #OntarioCodes. Take a look at our Storify for some highlights.

1243 Hits

Syrian students from St. Matthew thank Prime Minister

On Thursday, November 3rd, a group of students from St. Matthew High School had the privilege of attending the Prime Minister of Canada's youth town hall in celebration of his government's one year anniversary in office. St. Matthew's cohort of students included members of their student council and grade 10 students currently studying Civics and Careers.

Teacher Tony Lamonica was grateful for the opportunity to bring his students to the town hall as they've been learning about what it means to be a good citizen. The students were introduced to many members of Prime Minister Trudeau's cabinet who encouraged and inspired students to get involved in the democratic process even before they can legally vote.

Two St. Matthew students, Jolien and Abdullah, who were refugees from Syria, were given a unique opportunity to not only ask the Prime Minister a question, but also thanked him and the rest of Canada for the warm welcome that was extended to them when they arrived. Before the event concluded a handful of students were fortunate enough to snap a selfie with the Prime Minister before he left the room. It was a truly remarkable moment for our students to be able to participate in this rich learning opportunity that brought the content they're learning in class to life.

Check out the video of Jolien and Abdullah thanking Prime Minister Trudeau, and see our Facebook album from the event!

1321 Hits

OCSB Schools Raise Over $25,000 for OK Clean Water

The OCSB is celebrating another successful year of partnership with OK Clean Water, as 28 of our schools brought in an impressive $25,443.84 to support sustainable clean water projects in Kumbo, Cameroon. Both students and staff participated in a wide variety of creative fundraising efforts: walk-a-thons, read-a-thons, spirit days, coin lines, bake sales, chores at home, and many more. One group of students put together a presentation for their classmates. Some staff even volunteered to shave their heads if fundraising goals were met - let's just say their heads have been chillier than normal recently!

Currently, thanks to OK Clean Water, 43 villages have access to clean water, and more villagers are waiting in hope. In addition to providing the materials and planning for the village projects, the Cameroonian engineer, Edwin Visi, provides workshops for the villagers to ensure the sustainability of their clean water projects. An Advisory Committee has also recently been established to oversee the projects in each village and to make suggestions whenever needed.

During the 2015-2016 school year, the following schools took part in fundraising efforts for this worthy and important cause:

Dr. F.J. McDonald, Good Shepherd, Holy Family, Holy Redeemer, Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, Monsignor Paul Baxter, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of Victory, St. Anne, St. Augustine, St. Bernard, St. Brigid, St. Daniel, St. Emily, St. Francis Xavier, St. Gemma, St. George, St. Jerome, St. John the Apostle, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Luke, St. Michael (Corkery), St. Michael (Fitzroy), St. Michael (Ottawa), St. Rita, Thomas D'Arcy McGee Catholic, and Uplands Catholic.

1053 Hits

What is your hope for 2016-2017?

I recently watched an inspiring video on YouTube that I found fitting for the start of our school year at the Ottawa Catholic School Board. A school in the United States set up a chalkboard in front of the school asking students and staff what their "hope" was for the upcoming school year and the responses were both enlightening and challenging.

Whether you're a student, a parent, or staff in our OCSB family, there is great value in naming your "hope" for the 2016-2017 school year. Naming your "hope" just might give you something positive to look for, or work towards. Whether big or small, my hope is that your "hope" is something bright that not only comes to be a reality this year, but something that sparks hope all around you. Here's to a great 2016-2017 school year! Share your hope below in the comments, or on social media using #OCSBhope..

1459 Hits


On Tuesday, September 6th, the OCSB kicked off its 2016-17 school year. Students around the city, from JK all the way up to Grade 12, came together with OCSB staff to greet new students, reunite with old friends, and learn!

View the #OCSBFirstDay Storify here!

766 Hits

OCSB Celebrates 22nd Annual Elementary Peace Festival

This year, over 1,200 elementary students in grades 4, 5 and 6 who are involved in peacemaking or peer mediation at their schools attended the Ottawa Catholic School Board's 22nd Annual Elementary Peace Festival held at St. Paul High School. An event that highlights and celebrates the positive roles of our students in junior grades, the Peace Festival also showcases the many practices used to build and maintain safe and inclusive school environments.

​The goal of the conference is to challenge students to recognize the power they have to make their schools into communities where all students feel welcome. The festival has helped many students view conflict as an opportunity for positive change. Students shared ideas and affirmed each other in their commitment to making their world a safer and more just place. In addition to playing co-operative games and having a lot of fun, student participants at the festival were celebrated for their outreach programs and examples in leadership.

The day is developed and run by the Leadership Program students at St. Joseph High School and made possible by the ongoing support of MADD Ottawa.

985 Hits

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.


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


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.​

1218 Hits

2016 OCSB EduGala winners

11 outstanding educators from the Ottawa Catholic School Board were recently named finalists for Capital Educator Awards. On May 20th, two of our OCSB finalists Claudio Micomonaco (left) and Jane O'Regan (right), were honoured as winners at the 15th annual EduGala held at Algonquin College. Hosted by the Ottawa Network for Education, the annual event honours educators from around the Ottawa region who demonstrate teaching excellence and instil a passion for learning in their students. Congratulations!

To see biographies and pictures of all nominees, please check out the Facebook album.

1532 Hits

Celebrating Excellence at the OCSB

St. Paul High School played host to the annual OCSB event, Celebrating Excellence. This heartwarming event celebrates and recognizes the strengths, talents and contributions of some of the OCSB's most exceptional students. One student from each school who benefits from special education programs and services was recognized for their outstanding contribution to their school community. The students are chosen to receive the award because they exemplify one or more of the Gospel values: Faith, Hope, Love, Community, Justice, Dignity of Persons, Excellence and Stewardship of Creation.

Sky Keyes shows her bright, friendly, and infectious smile at the annual OCSB Celebrates Event
Drag to move block.
Luca Matricardi poses with his family right before accepting his award.

Sky Keyes, a Grade 3 student from St. Martin de Porres School was chosen as the recipient from her school this year. She is well known as one of the friendliest students in the school and was honoured for the Gospel value of Love. Her good nature and enthusiasm are infectious, and many find it hard not to smile when Sky is around.

The winner from St. Stephen School was Luca Matricardi, a bright young student selected for modelling the Gospel value of Faith. He is known and loved by staff and students alike and loves to share stories. He regularly offers support to his classmates when needed and enjoys helping younger students in the school.

Every OCSB school participates in the Celebrating Excellence event which has been taking place since before 2000. It's a great opportunity to celebrate the talents and contributions these outstanding students make to our school communities.

1562 Hits

Spotlight: Board Meeting Highlights March 22, 2016

​​​The Boardroom Spotlight provides a summary of what took place at each Board meeting. This issue covers the following topics:

  • NDHS students win Provincial Cardboard Boat Race Championships
  • e-Learning at the OCSB
  • Student Success: Indicators and Credit Recovery, Semester 1, 2015-2016 Highlights & Graduation Rate
  • Student Voice at the OCSB
  • 2016-2017 Budget Process and Guidelines

Continue reading
1878 Hits

Immaculata students cook up encouragement

An Immaculata student working hard to prepare a healthy meal for a student in need.

Angela Bradley is the senior office administrator at Immaculata High School, and her son was recently undergoing radioactive iodine treatments for thyroid cancer. Her son needed to be on a very strict and limiting diet leading up to, during, and following his cancer treatments. No dairy, no fish, nothing processed, nothing store bought, everything from scratch, no salt and no spices. 

Looking for advice on meal options to feed her son, Angela reached out to Brandy Kozowy, Immaculata's hospitality teacher,but had no idea how much love would soon be poured out from her Immaculata family onto her son.

Brandy Kozowy, who also happens to be a Red Seal chef, saw this as a valuable learning opportunity for her students where they could learn the basics of making healthy, organic meals that are gluten-free, dairy-free, salt-free, non-processed, with everything made from scratch.

With funding provided by Angela, Ms. Kozowy's students made a breakfast, a snack, a dinner and a special golden milk or smoothie during each class for her to bring home to her son at the end of each day. Attached to each container of food was a personalized, encouraging post-it note saying things like "You got this Bud!" "Be strong!" "You'll love this...it's my favourite!" "You're amazing!"

Ms. Kozowy has proudly remarked how engaged and focused her students have been on this project. Their sense of purpose, desire to help, and a newly-formed compassion to learn about healthy meals has made a positive impact on their school family. One of the students in Ms. Kozowy's class who plays on the football team was going to miss his cooking class due to an early dismissal for their semi-final game, but he didn't want to miss his contribution to the meal that day, so he cooked through his lunch hour and even kept the football bus waiting for him so he could finish what he was doing.

"My heart is bursting with immense gratitude not only for the wondrous food prepared for my son, but also for the genuine interest the students have put into the well being of my son"

-Angela Bradley, senior office administrator at Immaculata High School
1829 Hits

Spotlight: OCSB Annual General Meeting - Dec 1

The Boardroom Spotlight provides a summary of what took place at each Board meeting. This issue covers the following topics: 

  • Annual General Meeting - Board returns Chair and Vice-Chair 
  • Director's Annual Report
Continue reading
2199 Hits

St. Patrick's High School student uses art to spread joy

Israel Ozonwanji is a grade 12 student from St. Patrick's High School who loves using his artistic talents to bring joy and happiness to others. He's accumulated over 50 community service hours drawing portraits of St. Patrick's Retirement Home residents. Israel has already completed three portraits and hopes to do as many as he can before he graduates.

"It has been a very rewarding experience for me," he says. "While working on these drawings, I have had the opportunity to interact with some of the seniors as they casually walk by and ask me questions about my work." The home has even asked Israel to showcase his drawings of the residents along with some of his own artwork at their upcoming gallery night.

Israel, one of many talented artists at St. Patrick's High School, is a great example of someone who lives out the Catholic Graduate Expectations. Well done, Israel!

1290 Hits

We Day 2015

On November 10, thousands of young people gathered at the Canadian Tire Centre to celebrate We Day. It was a day filled with inspiring speeches, lessons and stories from people within Ottawa and around the world. The event was capped off by a surprise guest appearance from Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire - their first public appearance since Trudeau was sworn into office.

The OCSB was represented by about 1,700 students from 68 different schools. Students were chosen at their schools for being involved in local and global social justice initiatives.

St. Gabriel School teacher Rola Tibshirani was even invited onstage to speak about the amazing social justice work that they do!

Sacred Heart High School student Tysen Lefebvre, whose Mission to a Million charity is helping to raise $1 million for Make-A-Wish® Eastern Ontario, even got to meet Marc Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children, Me to We and We Day with his brother Craig!

The event was a joyous occasion to celebrate the amazing work young people are already doing to help people locally and around the globe, and to look forward at how they can change the world in the future. It was truly a day of going from Me to We!

1577 Hits

Immaculata's 23rd Annual Terry Fox Run/Walk

On Thursday, September 24, Immaculata High School staff and students participated in their 23rd annual Terry Fox Run/Walk. Their fundraising goal was $14,000 – over $800 more than they have raised in the past few years. Last year Immaculata was recognized as the 19th highest fundraising high school in Ontario. The Immaculata community not only met their goal, but exceeded it by raising $15,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation and cancer research. That brings Immaculata's 23-year total to almost $250,000! And they even added to it later on, with the proceeds from an optional dress down day on October 14th also going to charity. Way to go Immaculata!

3409 Hits

St. Jerome students celebrate iWALK Day

On October 7, Students and guests at St. Jerome School joined countless others around the globe in celebrating International Walk to School (iWALK) Day 2015. The day is part of a worldwide iWALK week, which promotes active school travel and physical activity for children. This is the first year that iWALK Week was officially recognized by the City of Ottawa. Mayor Jim Watson, OCSB Chairperson Elaine McMahon, and OCSB Trustees Spencer Warren and Sandra Moore were among the guests who joined the students in their walk to school.

Continue reading
1705 Hits

St. Pius students take care of garden over summer

Last spring, St. Pius X High School's Applied Geography Class and Achievement Centre students worked hard to create an outdoor learning space and vegetable garden/potato patch. When they left in June, the plants had taken root and had started blooming. Left unattended for two months, the garden could have become a weed-filled disaster. Fortunately for Pius, Grade 11 student Neil Santos stepped into the role of head gardener and irrigation technician for the entire summer. Neil rounded up a crew of volunteers to weed and water the flowers and vegetables on a weekly basis throughout July and August. Because of their efforts, the garden has been an astounding success. Staff and students returned in September to find a garden filled with ready-to-eat tomatoes, corn, potatoes, beets, kale, peppers, chard, parsley, and other herbs. This tasty and healthy produce will be harvested and used for Terry Fox fundraising efforts.

Continue reading
Recent comment in this post
Guest — RomanKulesza
It is so very nice that the Christian Spirit also resides in our Catholic youth. Pope Francis mentions the importance of helping o... Read More
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 9:09 PM
1713 Hits
1 Comment

Sacred Heart student honoured for charitable work

Tysen with Adam Sandler.

Sacred Heart High School student Tysen Lefebvre recently received a Canadian Living Me to We Award in the Community category. The 15-year-old Tysen was honoured for his commitment to help raise $1 million for Make-A-Wish® Eastern Ontario to grant 100 wishes. To date, Tysen's Mission to a Million had earned over $375,000 for the charitable organization. The cause is close to his heart because in 2012 they granted his wish to meet his hero: Adam Sandler.

"We are incredibly proud of Tysen's mission to pay it forward and help make 100 magical wishes come true," says Tanya Desjardins, CEO, Make-A-Wish Eastern Ontario. "Tysen is a true role model and an inspiration to us all. We commend he and his family for their courage, perseverance and selfless efforts to help young people realize their one true wish at a time when they need it most. Congratulations!"

Continue reading
2279 Hits