Students at Bishop White School in Port Rexton rallied on this month to show their support and appreciation for one of their own. Although World Autism Day typically falls on April 2nd, students and staff at the school marked a special day on April 18th for their classmate, Jaxson Tremblett.
Reporter Kevin Curley of the local paper, The Packet, got an opportunity to speak with the family and learn just how important Jaxson is to both the school and the community.
In early January, Principal Patti Collins Yetman issued a challenge to the students of Acreman Elementary in Green’s Harbour. She challenged all 144 students to perform 1500 acts of kindness in two months – from January to March. While it seemed like a huge undertaking, it only required the students to perform an average of one act of kindness per week. If they were successful, the students would help her shave off her husband, Mr. Yetman’s beard with each class promised a fruit tray and bottled water as an added incentive if they reached the goal before the March deadline.
Staff were so very impressed to see the amazing acts of kindness undertaken by the students - helping kindergarten students when they come in the mornings, setting up and cleaning up after chess club, tying up shoe laces, and helping out their teachers were just some of the many example. This type of activity encouraged feelings of respect, kindness, empathy, friendship, and social justice within the school. One student bought a book for his class at our recent bookfair and another student organized an awareness-raising event by getting the school population to wear jeans in recognition of those who suffer from rare and unusual diseases.
Not only was the goal of 1500 acts of kindness met but it was exceeded two weeks before the deadline! The classes received their bottled water and fruit trays in recognition of their efforts. Teachers reported that students enjoyed this activity, as students actively looked for ways to help each other out and, amazingly, not all students wanted to be recognized for their acts.
In late March, all the students met in the school gym along with school staff, to perform the shave, with a representative from each class selected to help with the shave. Mr. Yetman pulled a garbage bag over his clothes and sat on a chair on the stage. Ms. Collins Yetman was pleased to assist, so it was a clean shave and to ensure no medical personnel were needed during the activity. Mr. Yetman went to each classroom personally to thank the students for their help.
Ms. Collins Yetman noted that while this was the end of Mr. Yetman’s beard, she is certain it will not be the end of the students of Acreman performing acts of kindness, as she anticipates this school initiative will have long-lasting effects.
In early April, staff and students of St. Lawrence Academy celebrated World Autism Awareness Day. The school community was encouraged to "Light it up Blue" and considering the school is considered the ‘home of the blues,’ it was not a difficult task! They participated in a range of activities including grade-related presentations on what Autism is, which helped students to understand the behaviours and actions of a person with Autism. Students were also shown videos that helped them to see and further comprehend the difficulties that some people with Autism experience daily. Students and teachers had open in class discussions and finished this off by learning the symbols for Autism. Each student then coloured a puzzle piece which, was then displayed in the school’s main lobby. To cap off the day, the school community came together in the gym to take a group photo to show our support. The school celebrated the day with cake and juice, as this was a very educational day showing the support shared within the school with the Autism community. St. Lawrence Academy hopes to build on our activities for next year.
It was a big weekend for Newfoundland and Labrador children’s performers, The Swinging Belles, in Calgary, Alberta. The group took home the Juno for Children’s Album of the Year at the pre-show Saturday evening in advance of the main ceremony Sunday evening. The Swinging Belles snagged the only Juno for performers from this province, though a number of talented Newfoundland and Labrador artists were nominated. The trio, whose album More Sheep, Less Sleep was released in 2014, consists of teachers Laura Winter (Bishop Feild Elementary), Erin Power (Larkhall Academy), and local musician Duane Andrews.
Congratulations Belles! You surely have an ‘attitude for gratitude’ and from your many young fans and their families, your students and colleagues throughout the province, we ‘think you’re great’ and can’t wait to see what other adventures swing your way!
The school communities of Bishop Feild and Larkhall Academy were happy to welcome their Juno winners back to class this week! Click on the link below to see the local media coverage.
Grade 9 students at Templeton Academy completed the Citizenship Challenge presented by Historica Canada, as part of their social studies curriculum. The students scored the highest class average in the country, beating out over a 1000 schools in the process. The students were rewarded for their win with a Citizenship Reaffirmation Ceremony in the gymnasium. Sergeant Paul White (Ret.) of the Canadian Forces gave a moving tribute focused on the importance of active citizenship.
The Grade 9s were presented with certificates for completing the challenge. The students were also treated to a pizza party as a result of their win.
In early March, the grades 7, 8, and 9 students of Belanger Memorial in Doyles had the pleasure of being a part of an incredibly powerful presentation by Leah Parsons, mother of the late Nova Scotia teenager Rehtaeh Parsons.
Leah, speaking as a voice for her daughter, spoke of her Rehtaeh's struggles in the weeks and months leading to her suicide at the age of 17. Rehtaeh took her own life as the result of sexual humiliation and bullying by her peers, which continued for months after initially being raped while hanging out with friends.
The presentation brought forth several issues, including how a situation can get out of control, how our actions affect others, and how a person's life can be destroyed by our words and actions.
Gabrielle Keeping, a Grade 8 student, was moved by Leah's presentation. 'It was very sad, and very powerful, and the fact that her mother actually came in, and talked about all that happened to her was amazing.'
Leah Parsons presentation reinforced District and school policy against bullying and cyber bullying, in particular.
On February 24th, schools across this province and the country recognized Pink Shirt Day. The Student Council at St. Mary's All-Grade in Mary's Harbour, Labrador, did a phenomenal job spearheading and coordinating activities for the day at their school. Everything from anti-bullying activities in the classrooms' motivational videos' and school wide kind gesture initiatives made this day such a feel-good event for the small school. Principal Verna Brown noted that it was wonderful to see their Student Council take on such an amazing leadership role for this very important initiative. Brown stated that the students obviously feel very strongly about anti-bullying initiatives and, by educating their peers, it helps to go a long way in making the school a better place where all feel safe and respected.
Students and staff at Labrador Straits Academy are being exposed to a new program, thanks to the work of instructional resource teacher Maisie Groves. Best Buddies Canada is a not-for-profit organization that encourages friendships and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. Four schools in the Eastern region are already taking part in the program, but LSA is the first school outside the region to sign on.
Recently, the local newspaper the Northern Pen spoke with school organizers about the program and how it is impacting on the level of inclusion and empathy at LSA.
A Grade 6 student from Roddickton has been named the province's top speller, after winning The Telegram's 4th Annual Spelling Bee in St. John's February 27th. Eleven year old Mattie Cull competed against 66 other young people, going 17 rounds to win the competition and qualifying for the Scripps National Spelling Bee taking place near Washington, D.C.
Hosted by The Telegram's Steve Bartlett, reporters were on hand to share news of Mattie's win. The Telegram story, with photos from photojournalist Keith Gosse, can be found below.
The Telegram (February 27, 2016) - View full story HERE
Other media outlets covered the amazing competition over the weekend. Find more stories of interest below:
CBC News (February 28, 2016) - View full story HERE
NTV News (February 28, 2016) - View full story HERE
School Sports Newfoundland and Labrador staff were on hand at St. Matthew's Elementary in St. John's to promote another fabulous partnership. The School Milk Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador has been an important sponsor and an integral part of helping SSNL provide healthy choices at SSNL events for many years.
School Milk Foundation NL Promotion and Education Coordinator, Jessica Murphy and SSNL Executive Director Karen Richard celebrated this partnership with the students and leaders of the St. Matthew's Elementary SSNL Participation Nation Unplugged program. The PN Unplugged Program is an afterschool program that combines active play and nutritious snacks, so that students continue to make healthy choices an important part of their lives. Thanks to Mr. Greg Jackman for hosting this visit.
During a time of the year where health sometimes takes a back-seat and anxiety is high amongst studying students, Marystown Central High has instituted a monthly 'Wellness Wednesday.' The after-school program offers a variety of options to the MCH school community, including stress management and anxiety reduction seminars and activities, a fitness class and even staff yoga.
Reporter Colin Farrell from the local community paper, the Southern Gazette, recently spoke to school guidance counsellor Susan Bursey about the initiative and the school-wide-wellness wave that's hit MCHS.
The Southern Gazette (February 2, 2016) - View full story HERE.
The newly elected Student Council at Newtown Elementary in Mt. Pearl recently came together to raise funds for the local SPCA. Student representatives helped to showcase their efforts by displaying all the food, treats, toys and supplies they were able to generate.
NTV's Sharon Snow and the SPCA's Ken Reid stopped by the school recently to speak with the students and find out why this cause was one of their first official initiatives as a new student council.
The Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at Gros Morne Academy held a Rainbow Day in early December where staff and all students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 wore a color of the rainbow. The day was an effort to show acceptance and equality for all individuals.
Throughout the day, grades 7 to 12 teachers delivered a lesson around respect and acceptance for LGBTQ. For students in Kindergarten to Grade 6, teachers focused on discussing respecting each other's differences, as well as different types of families. As a follow-up and to continue the important conversation about respect, grades 7 to 12 students also received a presentation from The Get REAL Group Inc. once they returned to school after the New Years' break. Get REAL is an inclusivity workshop at the middle and high school levels, with a focus on eliminating LGBTQ discrimination and bullying. Thank you to all our colourful students for your attention and respect!
Students and staff at Labrador Straits Academy celebrated the Christmas holidays and the coming of winter with a collection of decorated doors.
The activity was a great success this year, as students from Kindergarten to Level 3, staff, and outside agencies located at the school participated, festively decorating the doors of classrooms and offices.
It was an activity that highly motivated students, as they settled into the spirit of the holidays, enjoying their own creations to the fullest.
Everyone is a winner, and will be treated to hot chocolate & muffins on the last day of school for 2015.
Happy Holidays to all!!!