ocsb tagline top banner
Text Size: A A A
Quick Access Menu ☰
Jordan Todd works in the Ottawa Catholic School Board's communications department. He graduated from Carleton University's journalism program in 2015 and creates content for the OCSB blog and other social media platforms.
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.

Graham Mastersmith (far right), his Grade 9 art class, and Kirk Brant (right of portrait) pose with their collaborative art piece outside in the cold, to stand in solidarity with Chanie Wenjack and recount how he died.

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
1 Comment
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!

0 Comments
Jan
18

OCSB helps kick off #Ottawa2017 celebrations

Celebrations for Canada's 150th birthday have officially kicked off here in the nation's capital. Throughout the year, Ottawans will be coming together to commemorate our country's amazing people, history, and heritage. The opening ceremony was held on New Year's Eve, as over 400 youth from our city (including more than 70 OCSB students) formed a human chain that brought the fire from the #Ottawa2017 Cauldron all the way to the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill. The OCSB will be working with the city on a number of events and contests throughout the year. Check out our Facebook Album to see photos from the #Ottawa2017 Celebrations Kick-Off. There's also an awe-inspiring video from the night's festivities.

Photo courtesy of Prabhakar Street (pjtstreet.com)
0 Comments
Jan
16

Notre Dame students win Cardboard Boat Race

A talented team of students from Notre Dame High School took home first prize in the Ottawa region at Skills Ontario's annual Cardboard Boat Race in December. The event is an opportunity for students to use teamwork, creativity, and problem solving in a fun and competitive environment. In teams of four, students have two hours to build the fastest and strongest boat they can, using a limited amount of cardboard and duct tape. Their boats are then tested to see how fast they complete a race, and how much weight they can hold.

Notre Dame's team of Jackson, Ethan, Jason, and Ralf worked together beautifully to construct their prize-winning boat. It finished the race in 21.5 seconds and successfully held 772 pounds. With their first-place finish (out of 28 teams), they have qualified for provincials in March. Good luck!

0 Comments
Jan
16

Ontario creates new licensed child care spaces

The Government of Ontario is creating 81 new licensed child care spaces in Ottawa to promote early learning. St. Luke Nepean will be retrofitting two licensed child care rooms to create 39 new spaces for toddlers and preschoolers, while Prince of Peace School will be retrofitting its one currently licensed child care room to create 24 new preschool spaces.

School officials and local MPPs on hand for child care space announcement. Back row, right to left: Superintendent Simone Oliver, OCSB Chair Elaine McMahon, and Director of Education Denise Andre.

"On behalf of the Ottawa Catholic School Board, I wish to thank the Ministry of Education and their Early Years and Childcare Office for the funds to retrofit space in two of our schools to accommodate preschoolers. These types of supports from our provincial government continue to make schools vital community hubs where families know they can rely on safe and caring environments." - Elaine McMahon, Chairperson, Ottawa Catholic School Board.

Tags:
0 Comments
Dec
21

Richard Lussier wins award for supporting students financially

From left to right: OCSB Associate Director of Education Tom D'Amico, OCSB Chair Elaine McMahon, President and Founder of the Help Our Students Program Richard Lussier, & Director of Education Denise Andre.

Richard Lussier has been chosen to receive the 2016 Growing Up Great Award in the Healthy and Thriving category after being nominated by the OCSB for his generous work providing financial support to hard-working high school students in Ottawa. The award "acknowledges an outstanding individual working so that every child's basic needs are met." Mr. Lussier does just that with his Help Our Students Program, which gives deserving students living in difficult financial circumstances $100 per month from September through June to help foster their learning journey. The students are chosen by school administrators who can confirm the student's dedication to school and financial difficulties. The program currently supports two students from each of the OCSB's 15 high schools. On behalf of the entire OCSB: thank you, Mr. Lussier.

Learn more about the Help Our Students Program, and read some student testimonials about how much it's helped them.

0 Comments
Dec
15

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.

0 Comments
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.

0 Comments
Dec
08

2016 United Way Campaign

This year's Ottawa Catholic School Board United Way campaign was another huge success – the Board raised $517,784.37, with $384,530.99 being directed to the Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa. We also met our goal of 80% participation among staff – a new record for the OCSB. At the reveal event on Thursday, CEC staff heard speeches from OCSB Director of Education Denise Andre, President and CEO of United Way Ottawa Michael Allen, Co-Chairs of the OCSB Campaign Kelly McKibbin and Bill Walsh, and United Way Campaign Co-Chair Kathleen Kemp.

OCSB staff and distinguished guests from The United Way (UW) reveal the big number (from left to right): Sandra Falcomer, OCSB Campaign Reporting Coordinator; Denise Andre, OCSB Director of Education; Bill Walsh and Kelly McKibbin, OCSB Campaign Co-Chairs; Michael Allen, President and CEO of United Way Ottawa; Kathleen Kemp, UW Co-Chair; Carole Gagnon, UW VP of Resource Development; and Bridget Burgess, UW Officer, Revenue Development Community Campaign.

Over the past 10 years, OCSB employees have raised over $5.5 million for The United Way Ottawa. For the sixth year in a row, the OCSB was one of the top workplace campaigns in the City of Ottawa. The campaign is just one of the ways the OCSB works to make our community a better place for everyone. Check out our Facebook album for more photos from the event.

0 Comments
Dec
08

OCSB re-elects Chairperson and elects Vice-Chairperson

Elaine McMahon, OCSB Chairperson

The Ottawa Catholic School Board has re-elected Elaine McMahon as Chairperson and elected Trustee Joanne MacEwan as Vice-Chairperson at the Board's Annual General Meeting held Tuesday evening at the Catholic Education Centre.

Chairperson McMahon shared heartfelt remarks, expressing deep appreciation of the support she received in her first two years as Chair from outgoing Vice-Chairperson Betty-Ann Kealey. "Thank you, Betty-Ann, for being a mentor and a true friend to me and to Catholic education." Ms. McMahon thanked all OCSB staff for their service each and every day as they touch hearts and inspire young minds. "You are valued and appreciated."

His Grace, Archbishop Prendergast, presided over a Mass and joined Board Chaplain Father Peter Saunders and Father Geoff Kerslake at the meeting. The OCSB Children's Choir sang O Canada and charmed the audience with two selections.

Denise Andre, Director of Education, presented the 2016 Director's Annual Report. The report highlights the accomplishments of the Board over the past year. Focused on the Board's priorities, Multi Year Strategic Plan, and the Deep Learning Framework, the report illustrates how students are gaining global competencies through a faith-filled lens. Director Andre thanked the thousands of collaborative professionals at the OCSB for their dedicated service and praised the commitment of parent and student groups for their leadership.

Chairperson McMahon is the Trustee for Zone 6 – Knoxdale-Merivale/College. Ms. McMahon has served as a trustee since 2014 and was first elected Chairperson in December 2014. Vice-Chairperson Joanne MacEwan is the Trustee for Beacon Hill-Cyrville/Innes and was appointed trustee in 2012 and elected in 2014.

0 Comments
Dec
07

St. Luke Nepean's "Little Free Pantry"

When the Grade 5 teachers at St. Luke School (Nepean) began brainstorming a science project for their students to cover the science curriculum "Forces Acting on Structures and Mechanisms" they had no idea that the project would turn into an opportunity for students to live out the OCSB's Spiritual Theme, Sent to be the Good News. But that's exactly what happened.

One of the teachers came across a video about the Little Free Pantry movement. The Little Free Pantry is a community tool where those who are able leave foodstuffs and other items, and those in need are free to take what's been left. Not only would this allow the students to build a stable structure, effectively covering the science curriculum, but it would also give them a chance to make a difference in their school community for many years to come. After discussing it with their students, they decided to move forward with the project.

The Little Free Pantry project started with each student using what they've learned to design their own pantry. The students then evaluated each design and voted on which one would be used. They then raised funds for the project by writing letters to companies requesting donations. Their letters helped them get a $50 donation from Home Depot and a custom metal roof from Premier Home Improvements. The students even explored the Gospel values associated with their Little Free Pantry project in religion class. Currently, they're even working on commercials, print ads, and radio announcements to further promote it.

The Little Free Pantry currently sits outside St. Luke School (Nepean) so those in need can readily access its contents anonymously. It's paired with their logo, which incorporates the Little Free Pantry's motto, "Take what you need, leave what you can," and the OCSB's Spiritual Theme, Sent to be the Good News.

At the Ottawa Catholic School Board, we've been implementing Deep Learning practices in our schools, encouraging students to explore, create, and use knowledge in a broader context that's connected to real-world purposes. The entire OCSB community is very proud of St. Luke Nepean for taking this curriculum-related project and turning it into an opportunity to be the Good News for others in their community.

See our Facebook album for more photos!

Recent comment in this post
Guest — DeniseParnell
Thank you Jordan Todd. You have a great soul. I hope your idea spreads all over Ontario and Quebec. Keep up the good work.
Saturday, 10 December 2016 2:02 AM
1 Comment
Nov
29

St. Matthew Tigers Win OFSAA Metro Bowl

Image courtesy of Marie Brazeau, Vice-Principal St. Matthew High School

The St. Matthew High School varsity boys football team captured their first ever provincial bowl crown after downing the Matthew Power – St. Joseph's Trojans 28-7 to win the OFSAA Metro Bowl. Kian Williams was the MVP of the day, scoring 3 touchdowns on offense and grabbing 3 of the Tigers' 5 interceptions. The Tigers overcame a rough start after a lost fumble on their opening drive and a pair of costly penalties led to the Trojans taking an early 7-0 lead. Those would be the only points the Trojans would score.

The Tigers dominated the rest of the game, holding the Trojans to just 34 yards of total offence and forcing 7 turnovers. The final score would have been much more lopsided if not for the Tigers having 6 turnovers themselves.

Thanks to St. Matthew, the Redblacks aren't the only football champs in the city. Congratulations to St. Matthew and GO TIGERS!

0 Comments
Nov
07

Christian Community Day 2016

Guest speaker Steve Pemberton inspired everyone at CC Day!

On October 7, the OCSB celebrated another inspiring Christian Community Day at a packed Shaw Centre! A major highlight of the day was the guest speaker, Steve Pemberton. His message truly brought the Board's spiritual theme to life by explaining how God brought special people into his life at various moments to be his "Good News." Despite the hardships he endured as a child, he was able to rise above the challenges and find success – and more importantly, people he could truly call family. Needless to say, everyone was deeply moved by his powerful presentation.

Another highlight was the beautiful mass presided over by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast. Director of Education Denise Andre's presentation was thoughtful and exciting. She focused on the Board's accomplishments and helped employees see how everyone at the OCSB, including custodians, play a significant role in helping our students learn in meaningful ways. Associate Director of Education, Tom D'Amico, presented the 2016 Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award to Bishop Christian Riesbeck who was unable to attend but sent his thoughts in a touching pre-recorded video.

The day was interspersed with the lovely music of the talented OCSB Choir filling everyone present with joy and wonder. All in all, it was a wonderful opportunity to bring our whole community together. See the pictures from the event in our Facebook album and Storify!

0 Comments
Oct
26

St. Anthony Celebrates Opening of Brand New School Yard

On October 14, St. Anthony School celebrated the opening of their brand new school yard. Their (much greener) new yard is thanks to their grassroots campaign that led to them winning the 2015 Asphalt to Oasis Aviva Community Fund of $100,000. In going from brown to green and from asphalt to oasis, St. Anthony's new school yard now features an outdoor amphitheatre/classroom and an abundance of trees. Mayor Jim Watson, OCSB Chair Elaine McMahon, OCSB Associate Director of Education Tom D'Amico, and OCSB Superintendent of Continuing and Community Education Peter Atkinson all attended the event, along with many others. It was truly an occasion for celebration - the new school yard will be a learning oasis for generations of students to come.

0 Comments
Oct
12

2016 Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award Winner

This year's winner of the Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award is Bishop Christian Riesbeck. An alumni of St. Pius X High School, he was born in Montreal on February 7, 1970. Over his lifetime, he's earned several degrees: a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Ottawa, a Master of Divinity from St. Augustine's Seminary in Toronto, and both a master's degree and a licentiate in Canon Law from Saint Paul University in Ottawa. He also speaks English, French, Spanish, and German.

Bishop Riesbeck has selflessly served the Catholic church for over 20 years. He was ordained to the priesthood as a member of the Companions of the Cross on October 12, 1996, by the then Archbishop of Ottawa, the Most Reverend Marcel Gervais. After doing pastoral work in the Archdioceses of Ottawa and Kingston for brief periods in the late 1990s, he served as pastor of Queen of Peace parish in Houston, Texas from 1999 to 2008. After obtaining his degree in Canon Law shortly afterwards, he was appointed Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Ottawa in January 2011. Then, on January 7, 2014, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed the Reverend Christian Riesbeck, C.C., as Auxiliary Bishop of Ottawa. At the time of his appointment, he was the Chancellor of the Archdiocese and the Assistant General Superior of the Companions of the Cross – a priestly society of apostolic life founded in Ottawa.

Bishop Riesbeck takes his responsibilities as a Catholic leader seriously. Before taking up his duties at Queen of Peace parish in Texas, he spent seven weeks learning Spanish so he could better serve the area's large Hispanic community. Under his committed leadership, the parish was revitalized: the number of parishioners, religious education classes, and the parish school enrolment all increased significantly.

His nominators describe him as a kind and approachable leader, and say he stands out as a young member of the Church who has chosen to dedicate himself to religious life at a time when ordinations are in decline. Despite always being very busy, he always finds a way to make time to assist with school and board activities. His kind presence is always welcomed by teachers and students, and he has been known to join student hockey games while visiting schools.

For all these reasons and more, Bishop Riesbeck is an inspiration to everyone he comes in contact with, and an exceptional role model for all graduates of the OCSB. There is no one more deserving of the 2016 Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award.

Bishop Riesbeck has chosen to split the $5000 award between St. Pius X High School and Dr. F. J. McDonald School

0 Comments
Oct
11

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.

0 Comments
Sep
23

Mother Teresa Holds Canonization Mass

On Tuesday, Mother Teresa High School hosted an open air mass to celebrate the Catholic Church's canonization of Mother Teresa. Students, staff, and special guests gathered in the back courtyard for the celebration, which was presided over by Archbishop Terence Prendergast. Opening remarks were made by Mother Teresa Principal Gerard Stephenson, OCSB Chairperson Elaine McMahon, and Director of Education Denise Andre. The school also presented Elaine McMahon with a framed picture of Mother Teresa to commemorate the special day. After the mass, a special reflection was read by the head of Mother Teresa's English Department Mrs. Jennifer Simpson, followed by doves being released. It was a truly beautiful and moving ceremony. Check out our Facebook album for more photos of the event.

0 Comments
Sep
23

OCSB to Help Celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday!

The OCSB is proud to announce a new partnership with the Ottawa 2017 Bureau and Mayor Jim Watson in an effort to engage students across the city in Canada's 150th birthday celebrations! The partnership will see all four local school boards working together on a wide variety of programs: finding schools to pair with some of the 150 exchange groups Experiences Canada will be recruiting, gathering and sharing stories of immigration and how "home" is defined, launching a poetry contest, writing postcards inviting friends and family to come to Ottawa for the celebrations, and much more. OCSB Director of Education Denise Andre said that "the occasion of Canada's 150th birthday will be a wonderful learning opportunity for OCSB students, as well as a chance to engage their community and celebrate our heritage and history." Check out our Facebook album for more photos from the event!

Art students from St. Patrick's High School helped create this beautiful chalk mural.
0 Comments
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.
0 Comments
Sep
08

#OCSBFirstDay!


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!

0 Comments
OCSB Blog Graphic