In the Old Testament, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, we learn that everything has its time. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” As it was over 2000 years ago, or 57 years ago in 1965, the year in which The Byrds wrote a song based on this same Bible verse, we witness that the time for sports has returned to Saint Oscar Romero CSS.
Students are participating in a Spring Football League, Soccer, Basketball, Track and Field, Volleyball, Badminton, and Tennis. Coinciding with Easter that has just passed, we are truly witnessing new life within the school through sports.
According to the English proverb, April showers brings May flowers however, living in Canada, we also witnessed some snowfall in the month of April. Now in the month of May, we see Romero’s new field blossoming with the addition of new sod. As the weather gets warmer, hopefully the field, and the outdoor learning classroom, becomes a location for community formation.
Whether we gather to celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday, watch a Football or Soccer game out on the field, or cheer for our Home team in the gym, we can be reassured that the Romero is a place where being a ‘Caring Family Member,’ is deeply important.
Nick Saban is the Football Coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide. He has been quoted as saying, “Don’t ever miss the opportunity to say, “Good job”. As the Athletic Director, I would like to say, GOOD JOB! – to the Coaches and Players, to the Teachers and Students, to the Administration and Staff. Let’s keep the momentum going and make next year an even better year for Sports at Romero.
When the students were first presented with the idea of entering a competition that would focus on their gifts, they showed little interest. They didn’t welcome having a camera pointed at them, nor did they think they could finish the sentence “My gift is…”. After brainstorming possible talents, they were able to identify with some examples and create “I”-statements to express their gifts. This exercise of self-analysis and taking personal inventory, which they rejected and considered intimidating at first, gave the students a sense of confidence and empowerment which will influence their ability to take risks in language learning – to voice their ideas and attempt assignments that may seem difficult – and actively participate in a new community.
This video competition also gave the newcomer students the opportunity to build community within the class and beyond. New to the country, province, city, and school, these students have had few opportunities to interact, and so this project created an environment where they learned more about each other – their interests and their languages – and encouraged each other to take risks. The collaboration with Mr. Perrotta, Vice Principal, in creating the video furthered these students’ sense of recognition. Therefore, in addition to the literal experience of seeing each other’s faces, the students felt seen – by themselves, their school, and the greater TCDSB community.
A key highlight of Anti-Bullying Week has been the presentation for Gr. 9 students. The presentation teaches Gr. 9 students how to stand up to bullying in a way that is interactive and informative. Facilitated by Gr. 12 leaders , the goal has been to encourage everyone to lead by trusting in themselves and the Romero Family.
The presentation focused on the effects that bullying can have and what forms of bullying exists. Along with focusing on the “Bully,” the presentation addressed the “Bystander.” Students watched a short-film which showed a series of different decisions a bystander can make – both positive and negative. After the presentation, Grade 9 students participated in group conversation that activated their prior knowledge and new learning. The students were empowered to share their voices from the onset of the presentation.
Along with other activities including Bingo, students were introduced to supports such as the Anonymous Alerts, a web-based application where students can report incidents of bullying. The presentation also included an open floor, led by Gr. 12 students, where participants reflected on bullying, past experiences etc. Of course, every presentation demands a Kahoot. Needless to say, all of the students had a blast answering questions in such a way, especially with prizes to giveaway.
Importantly, the presentation concluded with Gr. 12 leaders, highlighting the results of the student bullying surveys conducted earlier in the week. The results garnered immediate attention by participants as they reflected real life and real people. From this, Gr. 9 students added their names to a pledge wall – promising to take a stand against bullying. Overall, the presentations provided all participants with an opportunity to be Effective Communicators.
Special thanks are extended to all the teachers who participated in the presentations with their Grade 9 classes. This includes: Ms. Aucoin, Mr. Colle, Mr. Corrigan, Mr. Burns, Mrs. Kingswell, Mrs. Reily, Mr. Prudant and Mr. Anthony.
Importantly, huge thanks to the Gr. 9 students for being active participants. Here at Romero, it’s more than just a high school – it’s a family. Family members are called to treat each other with respect, trust, love and care. Thus, all students are called to be caring family members in school and beyond.
Yesterday, we continued with our Anti-Bullying Awareness Week efforts. As our Gr. 12 classmates prepared activities and facilitated presentations, we took some time to reflect on the significance of this week and our continued learning as a school community. In conversation with Ms. Mormile and Mr. Mendes, we took the time to understand fully.
Why is it Valuable for Gr. 12 Students to be Leading Anti-Bullying Awareness Week?
It is valuable for the Gr. 12 students to be leading Anti-Bullying Awareness Week, because we are both showing young students (primarily Gr. 9s) that bullying is not appropriate or morally guided. Equally, we are showing younger students that they can very much lead. This leadership is critical for the St. Oscar Romero school family to thrive and be a safe place for all.
It’s important that the Gr. 12s lead this week with courage, resilience and determination so that a difference can be made. By bringing this vision for the week to life, we hope all students are inspired by our hard work and community spirit. In particular, we hope that Gr. 9 students have more confidence in themselves and stand up to bullying. The St.Oscar Romero Family is an inclusive and safe space for all students and staff, and we want to ensure that everyone feels dignified, valued and respected.
Why is it Important for Gr. 9 Students to Participate in Anti-Bullying Awareness Week?
It’s very important for the Gr. 9 students to be engaged as the newest members of our school community. This is their first year in high school and as the youngest grade, the students have much to adjust to. Starting high school, we’re sure the Gr. 9 students had particular assumptions created by the media they consume. This, includes what the school may feel like. We as seniors, needed to show the Gr. 9 students that to be in high school is to be a leader. This includes making it known that bullying is not acceptable and will not be tolerated at our school or anywhere else.
By being proactive and preventing negative incidents before they occur, we are encouraging the active responsibility of all students. Throughout our four years we want to grow as Responsible Citizens who give witness to Catholic Social Teaching by promoting peace, justice and the sacredness of human life. With our Gr. 9 peers starting off their high school experience with these open, engaging and meaningful conversations, we hope that they grow in understanding what being a Responsible Citizen is and the the importance of coming together as a Caring Family Members.
As the week continues, warm thanks are extended to the entire Romero Family for their support.
In Civics (CHV2O3), students explore the rights and responsibilities associated with being an active citizen, while also identifying important topics from community involvement to environmental engagement and so much more.
The goal for students is to develop their citizenship all while recognizing the critical role they play both in the context of today and tomorrow. As such, it’s crucial that students develop a personal interest in politics, society and work to be engaged as active citizens.
Recently, students were to engage as responsible citizens and effective communicators by reflecting on a key issue that they deemed significant. Students were to write a letter to the appropriate member/level of government with the goal to address a real-world problem through an active discourse.
Once the letters were completed and reviewed, students choose the appropriate politician (and appropriate level of government) to contact via email. A select few students may even hear back from these politicians regarding their suggestions and current action plans. This is a unique opportunity that allows students to address real issues in an experiential way.
Alyssa Da Silva represents our classroom this semester with a successful letter on mental health resources within schools – an issue she feels passionate about and wants to bring attention to. In addition to bringing awareness, Alyssa shows us just why mental health is so important and directly impacts students’ ability to succeed in school and in society. In fact, Ontario Premiere Doug Ford recently replied to Alyssa with the following:
Congratulations to Alyssa and all the students who participated in the letter writing process.
Every student has the potential to be the change the world needs.
Looking to the meaning of Thanksgiving and October as the month of Gratitude at the TCDSB, it’s important to pause and reflect on the role gratitude plays in our respective lives. Although, each of us will be spending Thanksgiving in our own way, we’re connected as a school family with much to be thankful for.
Specifically, Thanksgiving provides us all with the opportunity to embrace the importance of gratitude in our everyday lives. As shared in the Harvard Health Publishing article Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier, “gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, being grateful also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power” (“Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier.” Harvard Health).
Thus, as we continue to grow as Discerning Believers and shape our own unique relationship with God, gratitude can play a significant role in becoming what God intends all of us to be. From our daily interactions in school to how we engage in our broader communities, intentionally practicing gratitude can nurture a positive relationship with self and others.
Looking ahead, take the time to intentionally pause and reflect on what you are grateful for. Perhaps its the warm sun in the morning, the colour of leaves in the Fall, the support of a teacher and the friendship of a colleague. For students it could even be the high expectations of a school that is committed to community, justice, knowledge and the betterment of one’s self in doing what is right and just.
Personally, this Thanksgiving I have much to be grateful for. This includes the Romero Family. Arriving at a new school during COVID is not an easy thing. This is a reality that many of our own students may recognize, including our Grade Nines.
With all things COVID, school life is not really the same (although we’re starting to feel some normalcy again) and getting to know people behind masks and without much social interaction can be isolating at times. However, every encounter I’ve had thus far has been incredibly positive. Let me stress, EVERY.
From TPH screening at the front doors, to hallway chats with staff, to working with students on school initiatives and even when students are not having their best behavioural moments, I’m grateful for it all. These are all moments in time that connect me to others.
Everyday, I have the true privilege to engage with dedicated staff who inspire and wonderful young people who are sent to Romero by parents and caring adults who want their child to be what God intends them to be. There’s so much to be thankful for in recognizing the true gift that comes in working with young people every day. I’m grateful for the opportunity and know the weight of the responsibility.
What are you grateful for?
In the video below, Chaplaincy student leaders share thanks for their friendships, school and relationship with God.
Nonetheless, as we continue with this school year, please reflect on what you are thankful for today and everyday. You’re welcome to share your thanks here on this website; just let me know.
My hope is that you’re thankful for the Romero Family and what it means to be part of a Catholic school community that is deeply committed to ensuring that each family member can be their very best.
Romero is truly a special place.
A special note of thanks to Chaplaincy and everyone who contributed to the Thanksgiving “Civies Day” Food Drive and the Gratitude Wall this past Friday. It was truly heart warming to see staff and students both giving and showing thanks as a loving community.