Features

{mosimage}TORONTO - With four months to go in 2009, Toronto parishes and religious orders have welcomed 45 per cent more refugees than they did in all of 2006. There will be five more landing in Toronto the second week of September.

The 53 refugees welcomed in the first eight months of 2009, the 72 sponsorship applications submitted to Citizenship and Immigration Canada , the 37 parishes and six religious orders actively sponsoring refugees are just numbers. Every number masks a story.

Quebec court says parents can't pull kids from religion course

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - A Quebec Superior Court judge has ruled against Drummondville parents who want to remove their children from a mandatory ethics and religious culture course.

The parents had sued their local school board, arguing violation of parental rights and religious freedom. But the Aug. 31 decision ruled the course does not violate religious freedom.

More police in Toronto schools this year

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{mosimage}TORONTO - After a successful first year of school-based policing, 20 more officers will be patrolling hallways this  September to bring the total number of officers in schools to 50, says Toronto Police.

“These officers approached these assignments with insatiable energy and dedication. As a result, we have created new relationships with young people all over Toronto. They, in turn have come to respect police officers on an entirely different level,” said Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair in a statement.

Richard Alway to supervise Toronto Catholic board

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{mosimage}TORONTO - It's going to be a tough new assignment, but the Toronto Catholic District School Board's new supervisor says he's up to the challenge.

Richard Alway assumes his new role Aug. 27, taking over from the provincially appointed supervision team of Norbert Hartmann and Norm Forma. The team resigned on Aug. 21. The Ontario government has been running the embattled board since last year when trustees became mired in a spending scandal and failed to balance the board's budget.

Ban of classic novel at Mississauga school is principal's perogative

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{mosimage}MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board says it’s much ado about nothing in the case of a Brampton principal who removed an American literary classic from his school’s Grade 10 reading list.

St. Edmund Campion High School principal Kevin McGuire will add a Canadian novel instead of the Pulitzer-prize winning and controversial book To Kill A Mockingbird, says board spokesperson Bruce Campbell.

New OECTA president, James Ryan, gets his priorities straight

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Limiting “data-driven education” and ensuring full-day kindergarten in Ontario are some of the key priorities for the new president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.

James Ryan told The Catholic Register that these issues are on his priority list for his two-year term.

On the issue of testing, Ryan said North American schools, especially in the United States, have been swept by a “plague of accountability.” This is a trend, he said, which the association will oppose in Canada.

Schools need to take advantage of technology

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{mosimage}TORONTO - When Saskatoon Catholic Cyber School student Erika Shervan has a basketball or volleyball game, she doesn’t have to worry about catching up on her math homework. Shervan can take her Grade 11 math class at home or anywhere with an Internet connection.

This flexibility and the ability to learn at your own pace are the main selling points of taking the online course, said the 17-year-old.

Schools need to wake up to the digital reality of students’ lives and learning habits, says a new report by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association .

Parent leader brings passion for education to new role

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{mosimage}TORONTO - As Aimee Gerdevich’s daughter and her senior kindergarten classmates shivered in the winter months in their newly renovated classroom, the 39-year-old mother of three developed a passion for educational advocacy.

Becoming more involved in school council meetings led her to “have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in my child’s education,” she told The Catholic Register from Thunder Bay, Ont.

Edmonton students open up to refugees

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{mosimage}Eleven-year-old Mikylie Shapka joined classmates at Edmonton’s St. Martin Catholic School in presenting close to $3,000 worth of gift cards to three refugee families just before the school year ended in June.

Shapka says it’s a way for students to help others in need.

“We learned that it is hard to live in other places where girls are not allowed to go to school,” she told The Catholic Register.

High school lessons prepare baseball prospect for future

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{mosimage}TORONTO - It was a school camping trip in Algonquin Park that helped baseball prospect Jerome Werniuk define his future goals and the leadership role he would like to take on in his life.

The 17-year-old Texas Rangers draft pick says leadership camps like the one he took with students from Toronto’s Neil McNeil High School have helped shape his outlook on faith, baseball and education.

Werniuk was the 604th player chosen in this year’s Major League Baseball draft.

Perfection is satisfaction for Bishop Allen Academy scholar

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{mosimage}TORONTO  - It was a perfect year for Jana Cmorejova. The 17-year-old Bishop Allen Academy High School student scored the best marks in the Toronto Catholic District School Board, earning a perfect 100 per cent in all six of her Grade 12 subjects,

Cmorejova credits hard work and a passion for education as the keys to her success.

“I want to make a difference somehow in life, to make the best of what I can do and be the best I can be,” she said. “I believe that’s going to happen to me through education and university.”