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Mar
10

St. Peter shows solidarity with local mosque

A poster with messages from the St. Peter school community.

When members of our community are hurting, our faith calls for us to offer love and support. So, in the wake of the tragic shooting at a Quebec City mosque, the St. Peter High School community reached out to a local mosque to show them that the staff and students cared.

After speaking with Imam Mohammed Badat of Masjid Balil mosque, teachers Scott Searle and Linda Roe decided to show sympathy and compassion by making cards and posters for the members of the mosque. Linda brought the idea to her leadership class, and they leapt at the opportunity. People in their community were grieving, and the students wanted to help. The class got together after school and began making posters and writing kind messages. Word spread quickly, and, pretty soon, the whole school was taking part. The leadership class put their big poster in the chapel for other students to sign, and other classes took time to make their own cards and messages of support. The whole school came together to offer some love and kindness to those who needed it most.

Needless to say, the members of the mosque were touched by the heartwarming gesture. They invited the leadership class to visit the mosque to see their cards and posters on display, and to see the positive impact they were having. Imam Badat even told the students that he could use their kind and inspiring messages as inspiration for his weekly prayers for the rest of the year. The mosque even made cards of their own for the students, and presented the school with a commemorative plaque to show their gratitude.

"Our students were happy that they could do something to reach out to their friends and help them feel a little bit better, knowing that we all stand together as one human family."

Linda Roe

The entire St. Peter community has done a wonderful job of demonstrating the Catholic Graduate Expectations by spreading love, kindness, and compassion in their community. The OCSB family is extremely proud of St. Peter for going above and beyond to make a loving difference in their community. Take a look at some of the cards and posters in our Facebook album.

"All of us are proud to work in a faith-based environment that shows such love and solidarity with people of different religious backgrounds."

Scott Searle
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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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Feb
02

OCSB artists shine at Artistic Fusion

On January 23rd, the Ottawa Catholic School Board hosted Artistic Fusion, a fun and inspiring evening dedicated to celebrating all the incredibly talented artists in the OCSB family. Organized by Katie Lewis-Prieur and Kristen Charles, the annual event showcases the beautiful art of OCSB employees, art teachers, and students.

Dozens of participants from all across the Board came out to proudly display their creations. Their work took many forms: sculptures, photographs, stained glass, water paintings, jewelry, acrylic on canvas, pottery, and much more. OCSB Director of Education Denise Andre and OCSB Chair Elaine McMahon were on hand to offer congratulations and enjoy the artwork.

The night also featured the annual gallery-style showcase of student art called Art Days. This year, Anishinabe elder Albert Dumont from Kitigan Zibi taught the young artists about the 13 moons of the Indigenous calendar. Using celebrated Métis dot painting artists Christi Belcourt, Leah Dorion, and Jaime Koebel's works as inspiration, students were tasked with making a painting based on one of the moons. The finished pieces were personal, powerful, and reflective.

All in all, it was a lovely evening and a chance for artists and admirers to gather and appreciate art in all its forms. Check out pictures and samples of the artwork from the event in our Facebook album, and join us next year!

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Dec
09

2016 OCSB Christmas Card Contest

This year, the OCSB held its first ever Christmas student card contest. Students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 across the city were invited to design a Christmas card that celebrates the Christmas story of faith. The breadth and depth of student talent made choosing the winners a tough decision with almost 100 thoughtful, creative, and inspiring designs to choose from. The entries will be rotating through the Student Art Gallery at the first floor of the Catholic Education Centre throughout the month of December. These designs will be tweeted out using the hashtag #OCSBarts.

Design by Emma, Grade 3, St. Cecilia School

The winning designs will be on OCSB Director of Education's Christmas cards for the next three years. The talented artists for each design will also receive prizes. See all the winning designs and honourable mentions in our Facebook album.

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May
10

Capping off #CathEdWeek with dance & song!

Students from all over the Ottawa Catholic School Board displayed their talents on stage for #CathEdWeek 2016!

Last week's Catholic Education Week was jam-packed with activities and events at all of our schools throughout the city. Two board-wide events that featured the vibrant talent of our students include the dance showcase and our annual choral celebration.

The theme for this year's dance showcases was "Dance Around the World" and stretched over three days at three of our high schools. The showcases featured some phenomenal performances from OCSB dance enthusiasts of all ages. Have you had a chance to see the Star Wars dance clip by St. Cecilia we posted on our Facebook page?

To wrap the whole week up in song, we closed off #CathEdWeek in the Notre Dame High School auditorium with our annual choral celebration featuring beautiful singing presentations from our very talented school choirs. This year the choirs did something fun and switched things around! Instead of the parents sitting in the audience and the choirs singing on the stage for the big finale, all of the students stayed in their seats and the parents watched from the stage!

See more photos from these events in our Facebook album.

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