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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
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!

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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!

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Nov
18

We Day helps students focus on serving others

On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, over 16,000 students packed the Canadian Tire Centre in celebration of We Day – an inspiring day where young people get to hear world-renowned speakers and award-winning performers. What's remarkable about this annual event is that you can't buy a ticket to attend. You earn your spot by performing one local and one global action that contributes to changing the world, for the better.

The night before We Day, two OCSB students were given awards for their outstanding contributions to their communities. Matthew Smart, a recent graduate from All Saints High School, was given the Governor General's Sovereign Medal for Volunteers, as was Warner Schaettgen of St. Michael Corkery.

There were countless inspiring stories shared throughout the day, each as unique and moving as the people telling the stories. It's no wonder people often describe We Day as being a life-changing event. Here are five of some of the most impactful messages from this year's We Day:

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprise appearance and uplifted students by stating they're not leaders of tomorrow, they're leaders of today.
  • Margaret Trudeau helped break the stigma around mental health by encouraging young people suffering from mental illnesses to "get out there and ask for help."
  • A young girl who was a victim of bullying and stereotyping described how she chose to "rise above" bullying and challenged others to look at each other as so much more than a single label.
  • Mike Downie, brother of Gord Downie from Tragically Hip, held hands with Pearl and Daisy Wenjack, two women who survived living in an Indian Residential school, and said "there is no single solution to reconciliation" and invited listeners to take an active role in the restoration of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.
  • Hani Al Moulia, a photographer, teacher and actor who also happens to be legally blind, challenged our mindsets by inspiring us with his stories of overcoming obstacles.

It's hard to not be bothered every time we turn on the news and hear of the pain and brokenness that is happening throughout the world on a daily basis, but it is definitely encouraging to know there are young people in our city and around the globe who are determined to make a difference and improve our world. Although there may always be pain and suffering, these young leaders in our schools are living out our spiritual theme and being "Good News" in their communities on a regular basis and impacting the world with the love of Christ. That's pretty cool.

Check out our Facebook album from this inspirational day!

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Nov
18

St. Benedict's inspiring school opening ceremony

The newest OCSB school, St. Benedict School, held its official opening ceremony on November 17, 2016 in the Barrhaven community of Half Moon Bay. The special evening welcomed several special guests who spoke genuinely about the incredible new school and its impact on students and the greater community.

It was clear from the remarks of Director of Education, Denise Andre, that the Board is extremely proud of its latest addition. She pointed out the complexity involved with undertaking such a project, which included everyone from architects and engineers to lawyers and landscape developers. These contributors were in attendance and stood up during the ceremony to be acknowledged.

St. Benedict's Principal, Lynne Charette, thanked the incredible staff at the new school – teachers, early childhood educators, caretaking staff, and educational assistants – and expressed her gratitude for the work being done every day to make the school a comfortable place for students to learn. The gratitude for school staff, including Principal Charette, was evident from the cheers from parents and students in the audience.

The Most Reverend Archbishop Prendergast, S.J. was in attendance for the Liturgy and Blessing of the School, along with Parish Priest Father Frank Brewer. The Archbishop delivered a warm homily about his knowledge of the life of Benedict, the Saint, and pointed out meaningful connections between the Saint's journey and the symbolism included in the school's new logo.

Before unveiling the official school plaque and cutting the red ribbon, Chairperson of the Board, Elaine McMahon, offered a truly inspirational message to students about building community. "When you're walking past someone in the hallway, say hello. Everyone has the right to be acknowledged to be included, to be seen." The uplifting student choir's song "Who Is My Neighbour" resonated further with MPP Lisa MacLeod, who recalled just recently attending the opening ceremony for neighbouring OCSB school, St. Cecilia. She echoed the Chairperson's message of caring for each other in genuine ways.

The event was emceed, in both French and English, by students Diya Chakravarty and Matthew Buentiempo, who also introduced an inspiring student reflection by Katie Deiros Hernandez. Trustee Spencer Warren, Ministry of Education Officer, Glenda Stevenson, and a representative for MP Chandra Ayra also spoke during the ceremony, offering encouraging sentiments about the excitement ahead for this new school. Other special guests included St. Francis Xavier High School's Roy Ketcheson, who designed a breathtaking wall mural for the front entrance of the school, and the school council's co-chairs, Travis Loughery and Charlotte Nortthrope, along with numerous other Board Trustees, Superintendents, and Board staff who have been influential in the success of the new innovative school.

View more photos in our Facebook album.

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Nov
15

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!

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