Amherstburg Public School

Local teacher receives Outstanding Service Award from Greater Essex County District School Board

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A local high school teacher has been honoured by her school board and she is humble about the award she received.

Jaclyn Balogh, a French and civics teacher at General Amherst High School, was one of the recipients of an Outstanding Service Award and joined colleagues from across Windsor-Essex County in receiving the honour at last Tuesday’s Greater Essex County District School Board meeting.

“I was so surprised by it. I didn’t know I had been nominated for it,” said Balogh.

Balogh learned that she won one of the awards when she received a letter from director of education Erin Kelly.

“It’s been a really humbling experience,” said Balogh.

Balogh later learned it was Amherstburg Public School teacher Aubrey Charlton who nominated her for the award, with Balogh stating “it speaks volumes” for the kind of person Charlton is as well. Balogh and Charlton work together as the older students made crepes for the younger ones and also go to the elementary school to read and work with the younger students.

Jaclyn Balogh (left) is recognized as an Outstanding Service Award recipient during last Tuesday night’s Greater Essex County District School Board meeting. Also pictured are director of education Erin Kelly, board chair Kim McKinley and vice chair and Amherstburg/LaSalle trustee Ron LeClair. (Submitted photo)

Jaclyn Balogh (left) is recognized as an Outstanding Service Award recipient during last Tuesday night’s Greater Essex County District School Board meeting. Also pictured are director of education Erin Kelly, board chair Kim McKinley and vice chair and Amherstburg/LaSalle trustee Ron LeClair. (Submitted photo)

“I’ve been taking them to Amherstburg Public School to do some reading with their kids,” Balogh explained. “My older kids love it.”

Not only do her students enjoy working with the younger students, Balogh added they are getting something out of it as well.

“It’s nice to see them use French in a purposeful way,” she said. “It was a really nice experience to see that.”

Balogh has also tried to perform outreach into the community through her civics students. She cited their involvement in helping Micah Vander Vaart in collecting supplies to help the homeless last year as one of the issues they tackle.

“The kids really seem to enjoy doing it.”

Balogh remained modest after learning of the award, reiterating that “it’s been a really humbling” experience.

“I’m just doing my job,” she said. “It’s all about the students.”

Jaclyn Balogh (foreground, holding young student) brings her General Amherst French students to work with Aubrey Charlton’s class at Amherstburg Public School. Balogh was honoured last week with an Outstanding Service Award.

Jaclyn Balogh (foreground, holding young student) brings her General Amherst French students to work with Aubrey Charlton’s class at Amherstburg Public School. Balogh was honoured last week with an Outstanding Service Award. (Submitted photo)

Being nominated by Charlton has extra meaning for Balogh as well, as Balogh learned under Charlton’s mother Lynn, who was teaching at Sandwich Secondary School at the time. Balogh learned early on she wanted to be like Lynn Charlton, who was known to put the students first during her career.

“To have her daughter nominate me is extra special,” said Balogh. “This is really meaningful.”

While she is a recipient of the Outstanding Service Award, Balogh is quick to point out there are others at General Amherst who also deserve such an honour.

“General Amherst is an excellent school,” she said. “It was nice to be recognized.”

Amherstburg Public School raises over $800 as part of Vow of Silence

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Staff and students at Amherstburg Public School fell silent recently as part of the school’s annual “Vow of Silence.”

The vow was to give those less fortunate and those who are bullied a voice and also included a march around the town as students walked from the school with their teachers and walked some downtown streets to get exposure for their cause.

The Grade 7 classes helped lead the cause with Melisa Mulcaster, one of the Grade 7 teachers, saying they also raised over $800 for Save African Child Uganda (SACU). Mulcaster said the message is important to the students and that the vow was a proud moment for them. The other Grade 7 teacher who organized the day was Joanie Cotter.

Amherstburg Public School students gather outside of the school just prior to going on a community walk. The walk was part of the school’s recent “Vow of Silence” that was led by the two Grade 7 classes.

Amherstburg Public School students gather outside of the school just prior to going on a community walk. The walk was part of the school’s recent “Vow of Silence” that was led by the two Grade 7 classes.

While the students couldn’t speak, several provided written comments about what the day was about and why they were taking part.

“We are trying to make a difference by giving a voice to those who don’t have one,” explained Eric Harris. “We are doing this because we feel like it is unfair.”
Harris said they are sponsoring two Ugandan children and that those children need three meals per day, education and a uniform. He added he feels that it is unfair for children to live in poverty.

“We are doing this to break the cycle of poverty, bullying, (and to help) those denied basic human rights and an education,” added Evi Girard. “If we raise at least $700, we can keep sponsoring two children – Ronald and Hadijah.”

Girard added: “We are trying to make the world realize what we are doing and why we are doing it. We are silent for those who don’t have basic human rights. We will rise by lifting others.”

Amherstburg Public School students head out on their community walk as part of their recent “Vow of Silence.”

Amherstburg Public School students head out on their community walk as part of their recent “Vow of Silence.”

Lily Court said the vow of silence is “a pledge to stay silent on a certain day for as long as possible. This is very hard for everyone because we are so used to talking. We stay silent for people around the world who don’t have voices, like people who are bullied or who don’t have access to the basic human rights.”

Grant McGregor recalled a school project about people in sweatshops and said “poverty affects people in a lot of countries because a lot of them don’t have laws and regulations to pay people minimum wage or laws that regulate hours that people work. Sometimes it happens right here and it’s just families who can’t afford shelter, food or water because no one in the family makes a good amount of money.”

McGregor added another reason they went silent was because “there are people everywhere getting bullied every day and no one speaks up for them.”

SACU is an organization that was started by retired teacher Geri Sutts. Retired Amherstburg Public School teacher Ingrid Heugh has also become involved with Heugh speaking to the children at a kickoff assembly a few weeks ago.

Amherstburg Public School taking a vow of silence

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Public School will be going silent April 26 even though it will be a regular school day.

The school will be holding its third annual “Vow of Silence” next Wednesday and held a kickoff assembly to promote the event last Thursday morning. The “Vow of Silence” event is being organized by the Grade 7 classes taught by Melisa Mulcaster and Joanie Cotter.

Amherstburg Public School students will try to “Be the Change” as they will hold their third annual vow of silence April 26. The students are going silent so that less fortunate children and those who are bullied can have a voice of their own. A kickoff assembly was held April 13.

Amherstburg Public School students will try to “Be the Change” as they will hold their third annual vow of silence April 26. The students are going silent so that less fortunate children and those who are bullied can have a voice of their own. A kickoff assembly was held April 13.

“We’re going to be silent for the day,” explained student Erica Ayres. “We’re going to be silent for those less fortunate and those who don’t have access to basic human rights or clean water.”

“We are falling silent to give others a voice,” added classmate Breanna Lee. “Sometimes we take our human rights for granted.”

Lee noted that children in third world countries don’t have the same privileges they do with Ayres adding that some children in poor countries have to walk kilometres to get water that might not even be clean.

“People think that because you’re one person, it won’t make a difference, but it will,” said Ayres.

The Grade 7 classes showed the rest of the school a video showing those who are bullied and those in poorer countries need to have a voice.

“First world problems aren’t problems,” said Lee.

Ingrid Heugh speaks to Amherstburg Public School students on behalf of Save African Child Uganda (SACU). Heugh is a retired Amherstburg Public School teacher.

Ingrid Heugh speaks to Amherstburg Public School students on behalf of Save African Child Uganda (SACU). Heugh is a retired Amherstburg Public School teacher.

The classes are also trying to raise money to support two children they sponsor in Uganda through the Save African Child Uganda (SACU) program. Through the sale of T-shirts, they hope to allow the children – named Ronald and Hadijah – to stay in their Ugandan village and get an education.

Ingrid Heugh, a retired Amherstburg Public School teacher who now volunteers with SACU, said SACU now educates 145 students in Uganda. The students are fed breakfast and lunch each day.

Heugh said the children in Uganda want to be educated and that SACU is trying to help them.

“We all have rights because we are human,” said Heugh.

Local schools open their doors for prospective JK students

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Local elementary schools opened their doors recently to welcome prospective new students.

Open houses were held to showcase the schools and what they have to offer. For Amherstburg Public School, they are now accepting registration for the second year of its French Immersion program. Principal Mark Campbell said there has been a lot of interest again in the French Immersion program, but a lot of interest for the traditional English-stream as well.

Joshua Sutton pedals a tricycle around the gymnasium at Stella Maris School during the Catholic elementary school’s recent open house.

Joshua Sutton pedals a tricycle around the gymnasium at Stella Maris School during the Catholic elementary school’s recent open house.

The first year of the French Immersion program at Amherstburg Public School has gone well, he stated, with 21 students currently enrolled.

“We’re happy with where we’re at,” said Campbell. “We’re hopeful to have 20-25 kids in the program next year.”

Campbell estimated that roughly 15 families expressed interest in French Immersion during the open house. He said another 20-25 students would help keep the program sustainable. Eventually, the plan would see French Immersion run from JK-Grade 8 in addition to the English stream.

Students who choose to take French Immersion could write a French proficiency test once they arrive at high school, Campbell added.

Chloe Maziak tries her hand at some of the musical instruments at Amherstburg Public School’s recent open house.

Chloe Maziak tries her hand at some of the musical instruments at Amherstburg Public School’s recent open house.

“It opens a door for them if they follow through with it,” said Campbell.

There was interest split between the English and French Immersion streams, he said.

“It’s (the families’) choice and they can register for whichever they prefer,” said Campbell.

“Both are fantastic programs,” added vice principal Christina Pottie.

Stella Maris School also welcomed possible new students and principal Sophie DiPaolo reported it was a good turnout there as well.

“We’ve had a lot of people come in and take packages,” said DiPaolo.

Now that students from the former St. Bernard School have integrated into Stella Maris, DiPaolo believes it led to a higher turnout.

Journey Laframboise creates some artwork during the recent JK open house at Amherstburg Public School.

Journey Laframboise creates some artwork during the recent JK open house at Amherstburg Public School.

“I would say it’s up from previous years,” she said.

DiPaolo said she loves seeing the children excited to come to school in the fall and said they enjoyed the activities and tour of the school, which is an indication they are doing something right.

“They liked being here and they liked the interactive activities,” said DiPaolo.

Amherstburg Public School’s “Vow of Silence” exceeds its goal

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Public School’s #BeTheChange campaign and its accompanying “vow of silence” hit its targets for 2016.

The recent initiative, led by Melisa Mulcaster’s Grade 7 class, raised $832 with the goal being $700. #BeTheChange was to recognize those children who can’t normally speak for themselves with the proceeds being donated to Save African Child Uganda (SACU).

Mulcaster said that allows the school to feed the entire village in Uganda that SACU supports with bananas and oatmeal.

Students at Amherstburg Public School held their "vow of silence" May 5 and raised $832 for Save African Child Uganda (SACU).

Students at Amherstburg Public School held their “vow of silence” May 5 and raised $832 for Save African Child Uganda (SACU).

“The students showed an amazing amount of dedication and compassion towards this cause!” said Mulcaster. “We are beyond proud of the APS student body. When they set their mind to something, they achieve it. Ronald and Hadijah sent us a video all the way from Uganda and are thrilled about their sponsorship! It’s definitely a feel good initiative!”

Students took to heart what they were doing and were eager to help children who don’t have basic human rights or freedoms such as the ability to go to school.

“I cannot believe why all this stuff is happening and we do nothing to stop it,” said Dakota Lucier. “It’s not good and we really have to do something about it.”

As for why he was participating in the “vow of silence,” Spencer Gallant stated “I can’t believe how some people live in poor countries. When we are young, we are full of joy but in some countries, kids are in fear and pain.”

“A lot of things like this are going on all the time and we tend to brush them off thinking ‘well, this is not my problem’,” added Nigel Harte. “But the truth is, it is your problem and it is my problem. It’s all of our problem.”

Some students observed the #BeTheChange vow of silence with tape over their mouths and cards around their necks explaining what they were doing. (Special to the RTT)

Some students observed the #BeTheChange vow of silence with tape over their mouths and cards around their necks explaining what they were doing. (Special to the RTT)

Hayden Zimmermann added: “Food, water, basic health care – these are the things we need to use to stop poverty. If we get together, we can convince the government to save a bit of money so we can get the countries in poverty the things they need for a year and then they can improve their country.

Another student, Tyler Ryan, stated “these kids need our help. Every day we complain about how our Internet sucks or how pizza can be expensive while these kids can’t even feel the satisfaction of a warm slice of pizza or even the wonderful feeling of cold water tricking down their throats.”

Harley Brooker said they participated in the silent day for the second year in a row to support the children who can’t speak up for themselves and to put themselves in their place to see how it feels to have no voice.

“We are trying to raise awareness,” said Brooker. “We are not the only ones who need fresh water or education. We are all human beings.”

“I am doing this is to show I care, that I want to make a change,” added Karlie Simon, “to say ‘I know you’re there and I want to help.”