The Sudbury Catholic District School Board joins communities across Canada in honouring and praying for the 215 Indigenous children whose bodies were discovered on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Tk-emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation territory.
To honour their lives, flags at all SCDSB schools and board buildings will be lowered for nine days (May 31-June 8) – a total of 215 hours to represent each of the 215 children. As a sign of our collective mourning, the Board will also be participating in the National moment of silence at 2:15 p.m. today as we honour and acknowledge the children who never returned home.
“Today, we honour the lives of the 215 Indigenous children who will not be coming home. It is a heartbreaking tragedy and while there are no words to truly express the deep mourning those impacted are experiencing, we humbly offer our prayers that they and their families will find healing. We also acknowledge the pain and trauma this brings to all Indigenous peoples across the country, and we recognize the need for ongoing truth and reconciliation. May God continue to watch over the 215 souls and their families,” said Michael Bellmore, Chair of the Board of the Trustees for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board.
“All Sudbury Catholic District School Boards schools and facilities are standing in solidarity with communities across Canada in honouring the 215 Indigenous children. While it is indeed an unspeakable tragedy, we send continued prayers and healing to all those affected and to the Indigenous communities in the Sudbury area and across the country. We have lowered all flags for 215 hours and will join the National moment of silence at 2:15 p.m. As a system, we are also wearing orange shirts on Wednesday, June 2 and will unite in a collective prayer service as a reminder that every child matters,” said Joanne Bénard, Director of Education for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board.
Students at Sudbury Catholic Schools were challenged to apply themed makeup applications in a local contest that promotes the skilled trade of aesthetics. Over 100 students from grades 7-12 participated.
Robyn Lafortune Indigenous Support Worker at Bishop Carter Alexander and Tina Trudeau Indigenous Support Worker at Marymount Academy challenged students even further by asking students to plan Indigenous themed makeup application. The challenge was to use their face as a canvas to communicate a message of strength, resiliency or as a call to social action.
Grade 12 student, Miranda Monzon placed first in the board-wide competition.
Miranda states: “This challenge really touched my creative side, I have always wanted to do a really dramatic makeup look but never had the motivation to do it. As soon as I found out that I could participate I immediately wanted to join. The theme was traditional Indigenous makeup and since my family is Indigenous I thought it would be perfect.The theme I went for was standing up for all the missing and murdered Indigenous women, that’s what the red hand- print over my mouth has meant. The colours I chose to do on my eyes was just inspiration from some of the jewelry my grandmother had sent me for the contest and I wanted to match the head piece I had worn. The makeup on my chest was to show the earth and how our land was stolen from us. I decided to go very deep into this look but I did for my grandma and my family because I want to stand up for what she had to go through”.
Staff and students throughout the Sudbury Catholic District School Board joined hundreds of others across Canada by participating in Orange Shirt Day on Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
By wearing orange shirts, we recognize the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and well-being and it serves as a symbol of our commitment to reconciliation. Since it began in 2013, the phrase “Every Child Matters” has been used as part of the movement to recognize the value of every child and for communities to come together.
“The Sudbury Catholic District School Board firmly believes that every child matters and as such we will continue to honour Orange Shirt Day year after year,” said Joanne Bénard, Director of Education. “We are committed to Truth and Reconciliation and we strive to find opportunities for our staff and students to come together in support of intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect.”
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s Chairperson’s Award. All three individuals embody the Board’s mission, vision and values. They are each passionate about Catholic education and demonstrate an unwavering commitment to student success.
Cathy Spencer is an Educational Assistant at Bishop Alexander Carter C.S.S who always strives to put students first. She has worked tirelessly to meet the needs of students at risk, often taking the lead on projects such as the Open Doors program and the Breakfast Club. Through Cathy’s everyday positive attitude, she is a beacon of light for staff and students alike. She is regarded as a kind individual who brings a smile to all who meet her in the halls at Bishop and makes everyone feel welcome and included.
Ginette Toivonen is the Indigenous Education Facilitator for the Board. Through this position, she ensures that the Catholic values are integrated with the Ojibwe Seven Grandfather Teachings. As Indigenous Lead, Ginette has created many opportunities for students to feel comfortable and safe at school while learning with their peers about Indigenous knowledge and World views. Ginette is an innovative, caring and inclusive individual with a true passion for what she does.
Melanie Johncox is an Literacy & Basic Skills instructor at St. Albert Learning Centre who supports our adult students at the Sudbury District Jail four days per week. In her role, Melanie works directly with students on their individual learning plans, approaching each student with a caring and supportive approach and ensuring that they have the resources that they need to succeed. Melanie models Jesus and our Catholic values in her interactions with all learners and is seen as an empathetic and compassionate member of the St. Albert Learning Centre community.
“Each year, I have the honour of recognizing individuals who are difference makers and leaders within our Catholic learning community,” said Michael Bellmore, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “These individuals are always inspirational and are a true representation of what it means to be a leader in learning and faith. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are proud to recognize the recipients and thank them for their continued service and commitment to Catholic education.”
This year’s award winners were recognized at the April 21 Board meeting and will be honoured formally at a later date.
Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come. Orange Shirt Day recognizes the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and well-being, and is an affirmation of our commitment to ensure that everyone around us matters.
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board participated in Orange Shirt Day on September 30, 2019. Staff and students throughout the system participated by wearing these shirts or their favourite orange shirt as a reminder of the importance of this day.
Recently our secondary schools students had an opportunity to attend a sweat lodge building and ceremony as part of the “Bundle Roots Program”. The event was hosted by Indigenous Education Secondary Support staff & teachers. At this event we had students from various cultures take part. The turnout was great and the weather was wonderful. There were three secondary schools that took part in this activity. The Sweat lodge was held on Atikameksheng Anishnawbek territory.
The sweat lodge is a structure, which is dome shaped made using natural materials given to us by the land. sweat lodges are used by Indigenous people on Turtle Island for ceremonial prayers. The ceremony and traditions associated with the sweat lodge vary from region to region but are similar in nature.
Students were able to partake in constructing the sweat lodge which was a rich learning experience for all staff and students. All the young men and women took part in constructing the sweat lodge. The Elders were both helpful and insightful for the youth and the staff, and shared their knowledge.
We completed our very full day with a very delicious feast, along with a spirit plate given back to our sacred helpers during this ceremony.
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board hosted a secondary Powwow on June 1st 2016 at St. Benedict School. This was an opportunity for our Indigenous community to share their culture with non-Indigenous community members. Some of the dancers at the Powwow were secondary school students who attend our schools. It was exciting for our participants to see the dancers. Students were also able to share their culture and the style of dance. Those who partook in this event were able to celebrate Indigenous tradition and culture.
Through SCDSB we integrate First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures, history and perspectives in our curriculum. As an indigenous support worker we try to bridge gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Having a celebration like this brings people together.
The Pow wow celebration was our first this year for our Catholic secondary schools. Many of those who attended the Powwow have never experienced a cultural activity such as this. It is with hope that with the continued support of secondary staff we can strive for more exposure of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Culture. Our students and faculty were given the opportunity to see dancers in full regalia. The students shared songs and the drumming was breathtaking Miigwetch.
Once again this year, the boys from grade 9 participated in Bishop Alexander Carter’s Wolf Project. The Wolf Project is designed to help the boys transition into positive and productive young men. The boys participated in various activities throughout the school year, and each activity focused on one of the seven Aboriginal teachings of Respect, Courage, Humility, Honesty, Wisdom, Truth and Love. The boys in the program had the opportunity to practice Humility and Truth by preparing lunch, and then serving it to someone else. That someone else was mystery staff member. As our Saviour taught us to be humble and to serve others, so did the boys as they spent the entire morning in the kitchen preparing a delicious lunch for their mystery staff member. While they put together a succulent menu of vegetable soup, salad, sausage or chicken salad sandwiches, as well as chocolate chip cookies, the boys also learned some basic kitchen skills. Then they sat down and broke bread with their mystery staff member. Many of the boys came back pleasantly surprised to have learned that teachers have lives, interests and hobbies outside of school. Staff commented on the great food, but most of on how pleasant and polite the boys were while serving them lunch and during their lunch chat. This activity was beneficial for all as it allowed both the students and the staff to see each other in a different light.