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Our schools are filled with inspiring students and staff that are making a positive impact on the world around them. These stories highlight some of the wonderful things that are happening in Ottawa Catholic schools every day. If you have a story you would like to share, Tweet the link to us @OttCatholicSB or send us an email at connect@ocsb.ca

OCSB readers celebrate with human library

On June 16th, about 100 students from six schools came together at Mother Teresa High School to celebrate their participation in the Red Maple Reading program. A part of the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading, students read 10 fiction and 10 nonfiction that were featured this year. Students from across Ontario voted on the best fiction and nonfiction book, and both winners have OCSB connections. The winner of the 2017 Red Maple Fiction Award was "Shooter" by Caroline Pignat, a teacher at All Saints High School. The nonfiction award winner was "Child Solider: When Boys and Girls are Used in War" by Michel Chikwanine, Jessica Dee Humphreys, and Claudia Dávila. Michel is a former student at St. Patrick's High School.

Members of the Human Library at the OCSB's Red Maple Reading celebration.

At the celebration, the students participated in a Human Library, where they had over a dozen local guests on hand to answer questions and engage in conversation with students. Award-winning author Caroline Pignat was one of the guests, along with OCSB Chair Elaine McMahon. Other guests included blogger Elle Mills, RedBlacks defensive end Connor Williams, mental health nurse Margaret Robinson, and many other interesting people.


OCSB students propose solutions to global problems

Over 60 Grade 12 students from both the Ottawa Catholic School Board and Ottawa Carleton District School Board participated in The Learning Partnership's first Annual Global Solutions Student Symposium last month. Global Solutions introduced students to a current global problem and provides them the background, tools, and guidance to propose innovative solutions, which they presented to a panel of experts at the Student Symposium. "The greatest impact of this symposium was connecting with students who were both very professional and knowledgeable. I learned the importance of Global Education in schools," said one of the expert panelists.

Participants at the Global Solutions Student Symposium.

St. Patrick's and Immaculata High Schools participated in the inaugural symposium. During their World Issues and Economics classes, students explored problems about birth registration, sanitation, nutrient deficiencies, and banking access around the world. "It gave us a lot of insight into what's going on around the world and not only focusing on ourselves," said one student. Tasked with creating solutions to these global problems, they worked collaboratively and developed their critical thinking and researching skills. Students also prepared and practiced their seven-minute pitch to explain their solution, detailing cultural considerations, challenges, and how it would be financed.

One student looked at micronutrient deficiencies in Guatemala, which have been leading to babies being born with major developmental defects and have been impacting the brain development of young children. She proposed reinventing the look of micronutrient packages called "sprinkles" in order to make the packaging culture-friendly, with clear labelling and instructions. She also looked into teaming up with church leaders to set up booths at local churches, to help educate the people on the importance of sprinkles. Through funding from a local NGO and partnership with the church, people would be able to pay very little for these micronutrient packages.

"Students worked collaboratively and made connections with the research they'd done and the course itself."

Julie Slinger, teacher

Teachers Julie Slinger, Michelle Howe, and Stephanie Pearson noticed that students learned a variety of skills throughout the process. "I think the biggest impact that I saw was in their ability to be critical thinkers. Throughout the project they had to use their critical thinking skills along with problem solving. To make their solutions sustainable I found the students really had to empathize and understand the culture and the people they were going to help," Michelle Howe explained.


OCSB appoints new Zone 7 Board Trustee

On June 20, 2017, the Ottawa Catholic School Board of Trustees appointed Jeremy Wittet as the Trustee for Zone 7, Kitchissippi/Bay area. Justice of the Peace, Paulina Brecher officiated at the swearing in ceremony. Mr. Wittet has worked at Queen's Park, Parliamentary offices, and now works for the City of Ottawa. He is a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament Parish. There were seven qualified candidates interviewed by the Board that replaces long-serving Trustee Betty-Ann Kealey who passed away in April. "We are pleased to have Mr. Wittet join the Board after the loss of Trustee Kealey. We look forward to his contributions as we go forward in our mission of Catholic education," said Chairperson Elaine McMahon.

Photo caption (from left to right): Paulina Brecher, Justice of the Peace; Jeremy Wittet; OCSB Zone 7 Trustee; Elaine McMahon; OCSB Chairperson; Denise Andre; OCSB Director of Education.

OCSB students receive Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards

A number of OCSB students were honoured at this year's Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards held on June 5th at Ottawa City Hall.

Rebecca Kahindo of Lester B. Pearson High School was a recipient of the Academic Perseverance Award. She is a dedicated student who works very hard to achieve her goals. She grew up in Uganda, dealing with the hunger and hardships of living in a refugee camp. Despite this, her outlook remains hopeful and focused on moving forward with gratitude. She is a member of Global Outreach, raises funds for planting seeds in Guatemala, and has raised awareness in her school community about social justice issues such as poverty, hunger, and access to clean water. She also volunteers daily at Lester B. Pearson's breakfast club, regularly visits Alzheimer's patients, and has started her own charity to help young people in the Congo attend school. Rebecca is a great role model who demonstrates compassion and a drive to help others.

Rebecca (middle) at the Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards ceremony with her supporters.

Sacred Heart High School's Tysen Lefebvre received the Max Keeping Award for Personal Courage. Tysen was born with Pfeiffer Syndrome Type 2, resulting in the need for numerous surgeries throughout his life. In 2012, after having his wish granted by the Make A Wish Foundation of Eastern Ontario, Tysen decided to give back, and started his Mission To A Million campaign to raise $1 million to grant the wishes of 100 kids. So far, he's raised over $620,000. Tysen continues to be an inspiration to all those around him.

Tysen poses with Mayor Jim Watson at the Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards ceremony.

OCSB students collaborate to create welcoming schools

Hundreds of OCSB student from Grades 4-6 who are involved in peacemaking or peer meditation at their schools recently attended the 23rd Annual Elementary Peace Festival. 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. It is also a way to highlight and celebrate the many practices used to build and maintain safe schools.

"The Peace Festival aims to create a community of Christian leaders. We strive to have our younger students inspired to help build a society where it is easier for people to be good, highlighting student-led acts of kindness, showcasing their talents and leadership."

Luce Paradis, event organizer

At the event, students heard about the incredible work their peers around the OCSB are doing to make their communities better places: donating hair for wigs for cancer patients, lemonade stands to raise money for cancer, spending time with veterans, raising money door-to-door for a member of their community who has cancer, and so much more. They spent much of the rest of the day participating in fun cooperative games. The day is developed and run by the Leadership Program students at St. Joseph High School.

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