Catholic Education Week is in full swing across the province as students and staff demonstrate through their actions and prayers what it means to “Walk in the Light of Christ.” Today’s Good News post highlights the difference our students are making to the lives of the most vulnerable close to home and thousands of miles away.

Our thanks to the students and staff at the Northeastern Catholic District School Board and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Boards for sharing their stories.

Northeastern CDSB Student Action Changes Lives in Ethiopia

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Last year, Michelle Lohuis, an Educational Assistant at O’Gorman Intermediate Catholic School (OICS), visited the village of Ropi in Ethiopia.  During her visit the local priest informed her of a critical drinking water situation affecting the people of the area. The condition of the nearby water source – a river – was so bad that many times the animals would refrain from drinking from it.

After hearing about this, students at O’Gorman Intermediate Catholic School decided to launch a “Penny Fundraiser” to collect pennies and coins that could be used to help bring clean drinking water – one of the necessities of life – to the village of Ropi.

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Ted Weltz, OICS principal, recently announced that students had raised over $3,000.00.  The funds collected by the students of O’Gorman Intermediate Catholic School will go towards the digging of a new drinking water well.

Congratulations are extended to Mr. Seguin’s Grade 7 French Immersion class for raising the most money of any class in the school.  Special mention also goes to Spencer Lahaie, a grade 7 student who brought in over $500.00 himself.  Spencer organized a car wash and asked for and received a donation from Toyota.

With Catholic Education Week, taking place May 6 to 11, the students at OICS are truly demonstrating the Catholic Virtue of Charity and how small acts of goodness can multiply into life saving measures for others.  Truly OICS is an example for all to follow!

Algonquin and Lakeshore CDSB Students Demonstrate Servant Leadership Close to Home


Algonquin-StVolunteers-Lee-Waddell-cropStudent Volunteer Recognition Awards: From l-.r: Secondary Student Award Winner, Elizabeth Lee, Algonquin and Lakeshore CDSB Vice-Chair, Trustee Kathy Turkington, and Elementary Student Award Winner, Emma Waddell.

Each year, the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board acknowledges the many student volunteers who give so generously of themselves to serve others in their school communities.  The Student Volunteer Recognition Awards recognize an individual who have provided exemplary services to a school, to the benefit of the students and staff of that site.

The elementary award winner for 2012 is Emma Waddell, a Grade 8 student at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Belleville. The award was presented during a Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Kingston celebrating Catholic Education Week.

Emma exemplifies in all that she does that she is committed to living a Christ-like life, inspired by a devotion to servant leadership, and celebrating with humility and charity the gifts that God has given her.  She arrives to school early each day to prepare for and support the school Breakfast Club program.  She can be counted on to assist with the Parent Council Move-athon, Terry Fox events, and the school’s efforts to qualify as an Eco school.

Visitors to the school might hear her welcoming voice on the morning announcements, or be greeted by her, as she serves as an Administrative Assistant in the office at noon hour.  Emma is a member of the school choir, and a cast member for the school musical.  In St. Michael’s Parish she is an active member of the Youth Group and of Spirit Blazers.  Emma has made a consistent commitment to volunteering to support the needs in her classroom, in the school, and in the broader community.

The secondary volunteer award recipient for 2012 is Elizabeth Lee, a Grade 12 student at Nicholson Catholic College in Belleville. The award was presented during a Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Kingston celebrating Catholic Education Week.

Elizabeth is a dedicated and very busy volunteer, who goes about her volunteerism in a quiet unassuming way, yet makes a difference in so many areas.  She is a member of the Social Justice Club and volunteered at the annual Street Retreat.  She is also taking the lead this year in activities promoting the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace within the school community.

Elizabeth is a member of the Eco Team, the School Band, the Cheer Team, and the Yearbook Club.  She shares her academic abilities with others by tutoring an ESL student in English, elementary students in French, and other secondary students in science and chemistry.  As a Youth Ambassador for the local health unit, Elizabeth has been instrumental in the VIBE NCC program which delivers events and activities to promote a stress free environment in the school.

Outside of school, Elizabeth extends her volunteerism to a variety of organizations including the Belmont Long Term Care Facility, the Canadian Cancer Society, and Quinte Conservation.  She estimates that she volunteers about 460 hours per year!

Elizabeth participated in the National Student Leadership Conference during the summer of 2011, focusing on medicine and healthcare issues.  She hopes to attend McGill University for Life Sciences, and her goal is to become a neurosurgeon.