Category Archives: CCH People

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

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Filed under CCH People, CCH People to Know, Celebrations, Faith Life

Farewell to CCH – 2017

Dear CCH,

I am well aware that in less than  20 days, I will be leaving these halls as a student… forever. Although I know this to be true (as clearly I am writing about it), the fact still hasn’t quite kicked in yet. It seems like just yesterday I was shuttling between campuses and struggling to find my classes on the first day of each quarter… and now that I finally no longer have to take the shuttle and have become quite familiar with these halls, they kick me out!

In all seriousness, my time spent at CCH will be cherished forever. I have learnt many important things here. For one, a math teacher’s calculator is as precious to them as a child. Secondly, the biology teachers keep some nasty eye balls in formaldehyde in the back of their classrooms. (*gags*) And lastly, that teachers can be nearly just as ridiculous as their students… you are who you teach, or so they say.

So I guess this is goodbye CCH. It really hasn’t sunk it yet that I’m actually getting out of here. I guess I won’t believe it until I am truly free and taken captive by another educational institution. Sayonara, old friend.

  • Chloe

 

So this is it. This was high school. There will be no more obnoxiously loud cheering for the Cougars, no more hanging out in the cafeteria exchanging memes or arguing over politics, no more rides between the west and the east campus or pit stop at Timmy’s to replenish our energy with sugar. No more mandatory 8:00 AM classes or morning prayers. No more “buddy” from Mr. Jetten or kind words from Mrs. Leroux. No more admiring Mrs. Polec’s forever flawless fashion sense or hearing Mrs. Koran’s quarterly announcement with the famous “Hello, Oki, Bonjour and Konnichiwa…”.

Yes they were all right; this is bittersweet.

Perhaps the one thing I will miss the most is simply the class of 2017. Every single one of you. My best friends, my friends, my fellow classmates and the ones I crossed in the hallway every single day. I will miss seeing your faces and hearing your stories…what makes every single one of you so special and different. I wish you all the best and I cannot wait to hear what amazing things you achieve.

As I am writing this farewell, all the memories and achievements from these past three years flow into my mind. I remember entering CCH for the first time and sitting down in Mr. LeBleu’s Science 10 class knowing close to no one and with very precarious English. I was fourteen years old, without a learner’s license, and no self confidence.

Today, I came back from a national speech competition and wore my grad dress for the second time to attend the French Immersion graduation ceremony. This is just to show that CCH is a school that will bring out the best and support every single one of their students. CCH taught me the art of badminton, how to correctly swing a bat, gave me the opportunity to meet Buzz Aldrin and Martin Luther King the third, participate in a finance competition and a national science fair,  go to Banff twice to join in a Leadership focused trip, sustain my French while teaching me how to write a critical essay in the language of Shakespeare, and travel to Japan. (Yes, do not worry, I did also study!) CCH forever and always pushed my limits and challenged me to think bigger, better and in a creative fashion while always having other individuals in mind. Thank you CCH.

And so, farewell. I will be back, I am sure of it, but not as a student. You have become my second home.

And like any good friend or family member, it is hard to say goodbye. However, by leaving, I know students will come after me, writing their farewell on Cougars with Quills, remembering all the great memories they have made in those two campuses. They, too, will find themselves and who they wish to become. All of this because of the staff and teachers that are so attentive.

Thank you, and au revoir.

  • Charlène

Editor’s note: It has been an absolute joy to work with these two fine young ladies. They dedicated three energetic and fun-filled years to the Cougars With Quills team. You will be missed. – Mrs. Hartman

 

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Welcome Japanese Students!

March at CCH is well known as being the busiest time of the year. With the show in full swing, the end of basketball season, the start of all the spring sports as well as graduation quickly approaching (OMG!), we can safely say that students are busier than ever. However, while rushing to your Calculus class or your co-curricular activity you may notice several new faces. They may look somewhat disoriented, in shock of the students’ wardrobes and amazed by the snow covering our lawns. Yes, these are indeed the Japanese exchange students that arrived last Sunday from Sendai, Japan.

Eighteen students and three teachers will be joining our community for the next three weeks. They are students from Saint Ursula High School, Catholic Central’s sister school. For most of these students, it is it their first time in Canada or even outside of Japan. They will have to accommodate to the culture, our language and the time difference. (15 hours – yikes!)  Although it is one of the greatest adventures one can live, it is not simple!

Last summer, Mr. Cox, Mrs. Kroker, nine other students and I left for Japan for two weeks to experience the life of the Japanese. After visiting Kyoto and taking the bullet train at 320km/h, we were placed with Japanese families. We had to accommodate to having rice for breakfast, lunch and supper, wearing some type of uniform to school, going to school on a Saturday, paying in thousands for a meal, and having the courage to participate in Japan’s favorite sport: karaoke. We also had to understand how the toilet works. Yes, you read that right: the toilet. I believe that Canada should import Japanese toilets as they are the most magical thing ever. With over fifteen different settings, they can play music, heat the seat, be used as a bidet and other eccentric possibilities.

However, my fondest memory of Japan is the people. They are the kindest, most generous people I have ever met. They did everything for us Canadian students to feel at ease, and help us fall in love with their country. When I questioned my host father why the were Japanese so thoughtful, he wrote me in a letter about the practice of sado and the principle of Ichigoichie:

“In Japanese, Sado describes the manner to drink tea, one of the most sacred practices of my culture. In this custom lays the most important principle: ichigoichie. It is the idea that if you welcome an individual, they are perhaps a person you see for the first time and also for the last time. Therefore you must welcome them with your best hospitality.” –Norio Murooka

For the next three weeks, between their trip to Waterton and their first hockey game, I hope that the Japanese students will be able to recognize the kindness of Canadians. They are people we may meet only once but, as they believe, every encounter is special and may lead to a new understanding of life and one’s view of the world. Our CCH community must treat them with its best hospitality, as we always do to newcomers. 

  • Charlène

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Charlène Golsteyn is a grade twelve student at CCH. She enjoys overbooking her schedule with the many clubs, events, and sports offered at CCH. If she is not doing something with the school, you might find her drawing portraits of her (kinda) cool friends, playing around with E. Coli, or simply talking to her best friend while on the floor eating Nutella by the spoon. Her goal this year is to accomplish everything on her top secret bucket list and leave behind a legacy.

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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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Filed under CCH People, CCH People to Know, Celebrations, Grade Twelve