Category Archives: CCH People to Know

If I Were Shakespeare, This Would be a Couplet

Good morning, Oki, Bonjour and Konnichiwa Catholic Central Community.

Thanks to Mrs. Hartman and “Cougars With Quills” for inviting me to submit a blog post on the occasion of my graduation from Catholic Central.  Shakespeare liked to end his Acts with a beautifully succinct couplet – two lines that effectively summarized the preceding events.  Would that I had Shakespeare’s talent.  This one is going to be a little longer.

I have been a teacher for longer than most of my students have been alive.  That truly is the definition of life-long learning.   After that length of time, one should have managed to internalize a few lessons. 

The first lesson, to use the words of the writer Robertson Davies, is simply this:  It does no good to be afraid.  In other words,  Be Brave.  Anxiety is not the same thing as fear; anxiety is nature’s way of telling us that we need to be prepared because something unique or new or unexpected is happening.  Anxiety will remind you to make some preparations, to ask for advice and to proceed with a degree of caution.  Fear is different.  Fear paralyzes our will and prevents us from action.  So I say again – Be Brave.  Don’t be afraid to fail, to make mistakes, to look foolish.  Try new things.  Stand up for what you believe.  Speak out when you see injustice.  Take on challenges and try something new even if you don’t know the outcome.  At CCH, you are part of a community who will support you,  and I hope we’ve taught you a little about the importance and power of prayer.  The Universe was designed to work.  Don’t be afraid to discover all its infinite possibilities for you.

The second lesson: Details matter.  When we talked to you about “striving for excellence” or being held to a higher standard, we were talking to you about the importance of paying attention to details – or recognizing that “good enough” is not enough.  (If you were at the closing Mass, you can insert the Van Halen and M and Ms story here.)  So – when I made your lives difficult over things like hats, and cell phones, and dress code, and being late – it’s because I want you to be more than just “good enough”.  It is a competitive world out there and the fine details matter – like saying “Please” and “Thank-you”, cleaning up your table in the cafeteria, being on time, being respectful during prayer or moments of silence.  When you pay attention to those details, you show your best self. 

The last lesson:  Everyone you meet in your life has something to teach you.   That means that every person you meet has a gift for you and, in return, you are teaching others, whether you realize it or not.  Ideally, it’s a positive lesson – someone models for you an action or says something wise and memorable.  Sometimes, it’s a negative lesson- one that leaves us thinking, “I’ll NEVER be like that”.  Either way, everyone you meet can teach you something,  and, by the way, I mean – meet face-to-face- not through (anti-) social media.  If you recognize that everyone has a gift for you, then you will automatically treat each person you encounter with respect and compassion.  You will see that every person is truly a potential teacher and student, and you will be more likely to grow from your experience.  One of the most cherished memories I will take of my years here at CCH are the many  gifts and teachings I have received from the students I encountered every day. 

Like the graduates, in September I’m going to be in a new place, surrounded by a  different culture, hopefully learning a new language and taking the first steps on the next part of my life.  Thanks to the CCH community, I can do that without fear, with a focus on excellence and with a lot of gifts that I know will help me on my journey.  I hope you can all say the same, when it comes time for you to move on from CCH.

May the Lord bless you and keep you all, safe in the palm of His hand.  You have made 37 years seem like a couplet.  Thanks.  It was fun.

  • Carol Koran

carol grad

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CCH People to Know – Mrs. Spearman

Although my time so far at CCH has been short, it is clear to me already that there are certain people here who every student should get to know. Mrs. Spearman is absolutely one of those people! I first met Mrs. Spearman when I was involved in Santa’s Anonymous during the first quarter and she kept me connected while I was unable to attend the weekly meetings at the East campus. All through Santa’s she continued to check up on the students at the West campus who were a part of the club to make sure that we knew where we needed to be and what the next event was. Even though we had only met a few times for Santa’s Anonymous she always remembered the students who had come together for Santa’s and that made me feel a little more like I belonged in my new school of CCH.

Mrs. Spearman always had a smile on her face and every time she saw a student she recognized in the hallway she said hello and asked how they were doing. The atmosphere on the West campus was one of my favourite parts of taking classes there and Mrs. Spearman’s friendliness added a huge amount to this atmosphere of an overall calm and close knit community. She was always up for friendly conversation and it made me feel like I had someone to talk to should I ever have a need for this connection.When I think about Mrs. Spearman, two parts of Catholic Central’s creed as defined by the school website come to mind: to be a community of welcome, and to be a community of service. Mrs. Spearman helped me to feel welcomed as an individual and showed me what it meant to use our time and talents to help others in need both through Santa’s Anonymous and the help she gave to the teachers at the school.

She was always popping in and out of classrooms helping teachers to get things printed and copied, so that the students didn’t have to lose valuable teaching time because the class was short a few note packages. It really was a bit of a mystery to me how she could be in and out of so many classrooms and help so many teachers all day long, while still having the energy to say hello to every student she knew as she passed by them in the hallway. My first few weeks at the West campus would have been a lot different if Mrs.Spearman hadn’t been there to make me feel welcome and updated on everything I felt like I was missing at the always bustling East Campus. For that reason and many others Mrs. Spearman is an important person for all students, especially grade 10’s and Westsiders, to get to know.

~ Hannah

fullsizeoutput_14a4Hannah Couture is a grade ten student at CCH. She has a love for reading good books and for writing. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her analyzing music and watching Montreal Canadiens’ games on TV. She’s brand new to CCH, but so far her favourite thing is Flex time and being in the Honours classes.

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Past Valedictorians

This year Catholic Central is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and on that occasion, Cougars With Quills decided to locate some of our past valedictorians. Let’s be honest: we all wonder what happened to these bright students. On that, we decided to ask them a few questions. Here is Lindsay Amatto (Class of 2015), Quentin Golsteyn (Class of 2015), and Dr. Ian Miller (Class of 1990).

  1. Please tell me a little about yourself.

Lindsay: My name is Lindsay Amatto and I graduated in 2015. I am currently attending the University of Lethbridge working towards a degree in biological sciences. I hope to eventually pursue a career in medicine.

Dr. Ian Miller: My name is Dr. Miller and I graduated in 1990. I am a dentist at Legacy Dental.

Quentin: My name is Quentin Golsteyn. I graduated in 2015 and I am now pursuing an engineering degree at UBC in Vancouver.

 

2. What is your best memory of your high school years?

Lindsay: It’s hard to pick my best memory, but a lot of them happened on the road with the sports teams at tournaments, and making it to provincials and things of that sort!

Dr. Miller: My best memories were the friendships formed at CCH with diverse people and teachers. We didn’t have any cell phones at the time so we had to make face-to-face connections. It was somewhat harder to make friends but I believe the bonds were tighter. It was the good old days! Other than that, playing for the basketball team with my former teammates was also very memorable.

Quentin: By far, my best memory at CCH was making YouTube videos for the school’s YouTube channel. Being a videographer for the school allowed me to attend and help at practically all events organized throughout the year. However, the most memorable aspect of being a videographer was having my videos played in front of the school audience, where I had the chance to truly appreciate the importance of my work.

 

3. Are there any lessons you have learned at CCH that were surprisingly valuable?

Lindsay: Not too sure yet, but I guess time will tell!

Dr. Miller: During my high school years, I learned the importance of learning continually throughout your life. Knowledge is something you can never have too much of. High school classes give you the perfect “starter pack” for success. After this milestone, it is your own choice to continue to grow and improve your own person by learning and staying open-minded to the world we live in.

Quentin: At the beginning of our grade twelve year, Mrs. Koran gave us a speech about the year ahead. In her speech, she asked a question that truly inspired me: “What legacy are you leaving behind?” Indeed, it may be tempting to think that high school is a place where knowledge goes one way, from the teacher to the student. However, as I progressed through my studies at CCH, I realized there is also an expectation to give back to the community. This way, the school itself can learn and grow into an inclusive and rich learning environment. After high school, the same idea can still be applied in our workspace and in our postsecondary school. If we try to do our best to improve our surroundings, wherever we are, it allows us to truly make a positive impact on our everyday world.

 

4. Have you been back to CCH since you’ve graduated? If so, how has it changed?

Lindsay: This question is a little hard because it’s only been a year, but I’ve heard that that have made a lot of new clubs such as Interact. This one isn’t directly about CCH, but the development (of all the houses and new stores) around Campus West is crazy!

Dr. Miller: Since I left CCH on my last day of grade twelve in June 1990, Catholic Central has seen many changes such as a brand new campus on the west side as well as renovations. I wonder how this rich community will continue to grow.

Quentin: I have been back to visit some of my former teachers. Regarding any changes, I don’t have any in mind except the new Tim Hortons near Campus West. (Lucky students!)

 

5. What would you tell your “CCH self” today?

Lindsay: I would probably say something along the lines of (as cheesy as it is): “Never lose sight of where you came from. but always look toward your future. Always keep the values and skills you learn in your high school years (and develop on them), but know that you have so much potential and so far to go after high school.”

Dr. Miller: I would tell my former self to stress less about the future and simply enjoy the moment because your high school years do really go by quickly. University life is quite the ride, and years do fly away, so it is important to enjoy every moment. Your last game, the day you get to wear your gown, or the last time you step out of your high school as a grade 12 student will all be memorable moments, so enjoy them as much as you possibly can.

Quentin: I think if there was one thing I would tell my past high school self, it would be to stay open-minded. High school is a time of discovery and preparation for adulthood. As a high school student, it is extremely important to accept the opinion of others, to try new things, and sometimes be ready to admit defeat and change your plan when things don’t work out as expected. For me, it was that last point that was the most difficult. I never wanted to give up. While it is commendable, I think in certain occasions throughout my high school years I should have allowed myself to change my course of action. So to all graduating students, be ready to make mistakes and to realize you are maybe not going the right way. Once you accept this, you will be ready to prove yourself for success.

Congratulations to the CCH Class of 2016!

  • Charlène

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Charlène Golsteyn is a grade eleven student at CCH. She enjoys participating in many events, clubs, and sports offered at CCH. If she is not doing something with the school, you might find her working on her latest scientific experiment, painting, or trying a new French, baking recipe. Her favourite things about CCH are the incredible teachers and students that make school fun.

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CCH People to Know – Ms. Nordlee

For this week’s blog post, we decided to interview Ms. Stephanie Nordlee, a Phys. ed. and Science teacher here at CCH. We already know she’s a talented athlete and coach, but we wanted to know a bit more about what makes her such a passionate teacher. We asked her a few simple questions and got some pretty interesting answers. Here is some background information on Ms. Nordlee:

How and when did you decide to become a teacher?

When I first graduated high school, I thought I wanted to be a physiotherapist. I originally went to the U of L to get my undergrad degree and apply into that program. I did a summer internship while going to university at a Physio. clinic and decided it was not for me. So, I finished my first degree and spent two years working for Alberta Health Services in Human Resources. I hated my job there and decided to go back to school to become a teacher, and the rest is history!

What’s your favourite part of teaching?

The relationships. I love the relationships I get to build with both my students and my colleagues here at CCH!

If you could do anything besides teach, what would it be?

Besides teaching, my second biggest passion is probably basketball refereeing. I would probably choose to ref. NCAA basketball in the States.

So there ya have it, folks! Ms. Nordlee didn’t know she wanted to be a teacher right off the bat; however, we can say without a doubt it is something she was meant to do! At CCH we appreciate having such a young, fun, and athletic teacher as well as coach. She never fails to put a smile on everyone’s face and our school wouldn’t quite be the same without her.

  • Chloe

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Chloe Devoy is a grade eleven student at CCH. She enjoys playing hockey and soccer, and running cross-country for the CCH team. Her favourite thing about CCH is the variety of extra-curricular activities.

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CCH People to Know – ?

Hey CCH! We’re going to be doing our typical “people to know at CCH” post a bit differently this time around. We will be asking a teacher a number of questions and we’ll let you try and figure out who it is by their responses.

Why/how did you become a teacher?

So…being a typical teenager, when my mom said to me, “You will be a teacher,” I rebelled. I tried: travel consulting, business administration, languages, and fitness training. I couldn’t decide. One day I decided “What the heck? Maybe mom’s right…” (moms usually are) and secretly applied to the University of Lethbridge’s Faculty of Education. The rest, as they say, is history.

What is the best part about your job?

The students of course! They keep me young, make me laugh, keep me on my toes academically, and ALWAYS amaze me with their depth of humour and intelligence.

What has been your funniest teaching moment?

They happen every day. Humour is essential to my being. It’s essential to learning. The one that students never let me forget? On my desk I have a sheet of glass. One day during instruction I popped up to sit on my desk and all you could hear was “craaaaaaccccckkkk”. There was dead silence before we all started laughing and one student piped up with “Hey ________, that’s funny! Your @$$ broke your glass!”

If you could have picked any other career what would it have been?

A photojournalist for National Geographic, BUT I’m afraid to fly, so had to rule that out, or a marine biologist, BUT I can’t swim so had to rule that out as well.

What do you like doing in your spare time when you’re not busy being a teacher?

When I’m not busy being a teacher I like to golf, mountain bike, read, garden…and, of course, being my kids’ number one fan!

Last hint: Plus or minus many students’ reports, our special CCH person-to-know is a favourite teacher at CCH. If you add up all the facts, you may guess who this teacher is. 2 a certain degree, you could even say they are infinitely amazing (much like Buzz Lightyear)!

That’s all the scope we’ll give you readers on this quirky teacher. Now let’s see if you can figure it out!

  • Chloe

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Chloe Devoy is a grade eleven student at CCH. She enjoys playing hockey and soccer, and running cross-country for the CCH team. Her favourite thing about CCH is the variety of extra-curricular activities.

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