The Petawawa, Deep River and Chalk River schools of the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board kicked off October with several social justice activities and a fun-filled calendar of learning and social events.
At St Anthony’s School in Chalk River, Principal Shelley Montgomery reports that students “rallied once again this year to support the fight against cancer in partnership with the Terry Fox Foundation. Students big and small canvassed the community to raise over $2,500 this year,” Principal Montgomery reports.
St. Anthony’s also has a new play structure, Montgomery reports. “Our Parent Council has been actively working for three years to raise money for a play structure. We were able to strike a deal with Children’s Junction Daycare in Deep River to buy their three-year-old play structure at a lower cost, as they were changing locations. It was a win-win for all involved,” Montgomery says.
At Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School in Petawawa, Principal Christina Brown reports that $513 was raised for cancer research in that school’s Terry Fox run. “We were very privileged this year to have Terry’s brother, Fred, visit us prior to the walk,” Principal Brown says, “to share stories about what it was like growing up with Terry and about Terry’s vision to help others who were ill like him. Fred left us with these powerful messages: ‘Work hard, finish what you start and respect one another.’ This is what Terry did.”
The school also is offering extended French this fall for Kindergarten and Grade 1 classes, Principal Brown reports, and its music program is going gang-busters. “We are so blessed to have a wonderful music program under the leadership of Mrs. Elgar. She, along with Mrs. Chapeskie, has formed an enthusiastic school choir. They are a talented bunch!” says Brown. “We also are hosting private instrumental music lessons on site during the school day. Private piano lessons are offered Monday and Tuesday, and private Fretlight guitar lessons are offered on Wednesday and Thursday.”
Brown says the Before and After School program at Our Lady of Sorrows, in partnership with the Petawawa Military Forces Resource Centre, continues to grow and is working well. The school also will start a breakfast program, funded by the Food for Learning Program.
Meanwhile, senior classes are focusing on social justice activities. Grade 6 students organized a Food Bank drive before Thanksgiving, while several classes engaged in global and local social justice initiatives in preparation for We Day on Nov. 10.
At St. Mary’s School in Deep River, students and staff welcomed the Children’s Junction Daycare into a wing of the school building at the end of October. The daycare will accommodate preschoolers as well as before and after school students up to age 12.
St. Mary’s Principal Cheryl St. Elier also reports that Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre donated some logs to the school playground. “You have never seen kids have so much fun,” St. Elier says. The school also received two stone buddy benches for the playground from Mr. and Mrs. Tracy Lance. “The buddy benches were the brainchild of our Equity and Inclusion committee last year,” says St. Elier. “Many thanks to the Deep River Inclusion Project’s Denise Rochat.”
In October, the Grade 5 and 6 classes also were treated to a Pembroke Lumber King game in Pembroke, by the Lumber Kings and the RCCDSB. “This class is also curator of the signed Senator jersey that we were awarded by the Me-to-We organization,” St. Elier says. “I can’t wait to see how this authentic lived experience translates in curriculum expectations, reading, writing and especially math!”
At St. Francis of Assisi School in Petawawa, Principal John Leitch says that students have been exploring the services of local community agencies, including visiting the library. “We invite the community to come into the school but we also feel it is important to introduce our children to the services and agencies in the community. These are life skills at the most practical level. Libraries are changing and members of the library are able to connect to the internet, borrow tools, sports equipment and, yes, great books!”
St. Francis students also hold regular Friday morning gatherings in the school’s Town Square for community prayer, song and praise, says Principal Leitch. “As a faith community we gather and offer up the successes of the week to our brother Jesus.” Leitch adds that respect and unconditional love will remain a focus for students throughout the year. “At the end of the day we want our children to give a ‘thumbs up’ to the experience of being at St. Francis.”
October 26, 2015
For further information, please contact:Michele Arbour, Director of Education Renfrew County Catholic District School Board 499 Pembroke Street West Pembroke, ON K8A 5P1 Phone: 613-735-1031 or 1-800-267-019l