General Amherst High School

Public school board seeking input into design of new high school

 

By Ron Giofu

A site has yet to be announced for the new public high school, but the Greater Essex County District School Board wants input on what the public wants the school to look like.

The public school board has posted a survey to its website (www.publicboard.ca) as well as the websites of General Amherst High School, Western Secondary School and all public elementary schools in Essex County asking for feedback on “the way they feel the school could prepare students for the future and how this new building can play a role in the community.”

Scott Scantlebury, public relations officer with the Greater Essex County District School Board, noted that all elementary schools in Essex County were included in the survey due to the fact that there are students who may consider the specialized IPRC learning program that is offered at Western Secondary School.

Scantlebury noted the survey is “generally about design” with questions designed to be open-ended. The first question centres on what the public believes is important in a school to prepare students for the future.

General Amherst High School

General Amherst High School

Scantlebury said that could include classroom spaces, technology, skilled trades opportunities and other amenities that could assist student learning.

“Those are the kinds of ideas we are looking for,” he said.

There is a “general site plan template,” Scantlebury noted, but the size of the school will also be determined by whatever site is chosen. The second question is regarding layout of the building, he stated.

“Since this is the consolidation of two school communities, there could be varying opinions of what the layout should look like,” said Scantlebury.

Whether Western students and General Amherst students would have their own specific parts of the building has not been decided yet, Scantlebury added, though public opinion through the survey could help figure that out. He noted size and budgetary considerations will also factor into that decision.

“Those things have yet to be determined,” he said.

The third question pertains to community partnerships and how the school could best serve the community.

Western Secondary School

Western Secondary School

Scantlebury indicated a decision on where the school will be located could come relatively soon.

“We are getting close,” he said of the site selection decision.

There is no timeline for a decision, he said, but the public board would like to move forward “as soon as possible.”

Potential sites have been narrowed down, Scantlebury noted. There has been talk of the school either being located at Centennial Park or as part of the Libro Centre property, but Scantlebury said he couldn’t speak on specific locations. Once a site is chosen, “it’s a matter of completing the negotiations.”

It will likely be several years before a new school is open to students.

“There are a number of steps,” said Scantlebury, noting the site plan template has to be approved by the board and province once that plan is finalized.

“Once we have acquired the land, the architects will take over the design phase,” he said.

The design phase can take anywhere from nine months to one year, he added, with the overall design also needing approval of the board of trustees and the province.

From there, the project would go to tender and the actual construction is likely to take 14-16 months.

Funding from the Ontario government for a new public high school in Amherstburg was announced Oct. 31, 2016. The Greater Essex County District School Board announced it received $23.8 million for a new public high school that will combine General Amherst High School and Western Secondary School. The new building will be able to accommodate 819 students.

The survey is open for submissions until June 9.

Local schools hold test drive events in conjunction with local dealerships

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Local schools stand to benefit after test drive events run in conjunction with Amherstburg car dealerships.

General Amherst High School was the latest to have a test drive event, holding a Buick Drive for your Students event May 13 at Amherstburg GM. Greg Scott, the fitness and leadership teacher, explained that it was the third such event run in conjunction with Amherstburg GM and that this one was put on by 15 of the students in that class.

“They are implementing the skills they learned on how to run an event,” said Scott.

Abby Gorgerat, Dakota Lucier and Avery Laliberty stand with one of the vehicles that was part of the recent “Drive One 4 UR School” test drive event held at Amherstburg Public School with the aid of Joe Meloche Ford.

Abby Gorgerat, Dakota Lucier and Avery Laliberty stand with one of the vehicles that was part of the recent “Drive One 4 UR School” test drive event held at Amherstburg Public School with the aid of Joe Meloche Ford.

Those who filled out a form and took a test drive got to donate to the club or team of their choice. The goal was $10,000.

“It’s been going pretty well,” he said. “People have been coming in and taking test drives.”

Students were out trying to raise awareness, and money, at local businesses including No Frills, Movati, Canadian Tire and Sobeys with people at those businesses encouraged to come out and take a test drive.

Scott said the other 15 students in the fitness and leadership class helped sign people out for the Run for Rocky, the result of that being that General Amherst won for having the most participation of any school. Their prize will be a June 2 pizza celebration.

“Kids in the class are getting a lot of practical experience running events and experience troubleshooting at something like this,” said Scott.

Students Alexis DeCarlo and Rachel Shiells said there was a lot of work done to prepare for last Saturday’s event. They promoted it through the school and by passing out flyers around the community. They also used social media to make people aware of it.

General Amherst’s fitness and leadership class helped organize a “Drive One for your Students” test drive event at Amherstburg GM. Students pictured include Danijela Dobrich, Alexis DeCarlo, Rachel Shiells, Jake Simone, Jackie Wismer and Emily Hamelin.

General Amherst’s fitness and leadership class helped organize a “Drive One for your Students” test drive event at Amherstburg GM. Students pictured include Danijela Dobrich, Alexis DeCarlo, Rachel Shiells, Jake Simone, Jackie Wismer and Emily Hamelin.

Amherstburg Public School was hoping to raise $6,000 at a Drive One for UR School test drive fundraiser two days earlier. That was run in partnership with Joe Meloche Ford.

“This is for the entire school,” said organizer and JK/SK teacher Aubrey Charlton. “Joe Meloche Ford assisted us.”

Charlton said they sent forms home with every student and hoped they would be returned. She explained that different programs and departments around Amherstburg Public School could benefit. That would include new gym equipment, technology and other supplies.

“We’re not asking for money from families. We’re just asking them to fill out forms,” said Charlton.

Charlton added that Ford of Canada has donated $4 million to Canadian schools.

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.”

Four Amherst track athletes qualify for OFSAA Western Regionals

 

The SWOSSAA track and field meet was held last week with athletes from General Amherst High School having four qualify for the OFSAA Western Regionals. Those that qualified for regionals have an asterisk by their name.

Abbey Gibb* (2nd in Junior Girls Long Jump and Triple Jump)
Sydney Gosselin (7th in Junior Girls Javelin)
Ethan Hamelin* (4th in Midget Boys 300 m hurdles and 7th in triple jump)
Nia Holmes* (4th in Senior Girls 110m hurdles, 7th in 400 m hurdles)
Taja Holmes (6th in junior girls 80 m hurdles)
Marisa Levy (12th in midget girls 800m)
Owen Martin* (3rd in midget boys 1500m, 4th in 3000m)
Mya Palumbo (7th in junior girls 3000m)
Tyler Rowles (6th in midget boys 3000m)
James Shaw (7th in senior boys 110m hurdles)

 

Three General Amherst business leadership teams do well at competition

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Three business leadership teams from General Amherst High School returned from a competition all having done well.

The teams, comprised of eight students overall, were part of teacher Bryanne Morphet’s business leadership class. Morphet said they participated in a ten-week program with the University of Windsor known as Youthrive, with the competition being the Youthrive YouthX competition.

“During that ten-week time, students had to create a company, create a product, develop that product, do all the research and sell that product,” explained Morphet.

The competition, held at the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business, saw the “Fortitude” team take the win. That company, comprised of Miya Taylor and Angel Espin, creates apparel to support those with cancer.

The “Leilani Skincare” team of Danijela Dobrich and Dakota Wilson created all natural skin care products such as body butter and body oils, said Morphet. They came in third place.

Students from General Amherst High School did well at the Youthrive YouthX competition. (Submitted photo)

Students from General Amherst High School did well at the Youthrive YouthX competition. (Submitted photo)

Also making the final round was the “Puzzle” clothing company, made up of Brett Vandermuren, Kyle Drouillard, Mitch Wright and Jeremy Cota. Morphet said that 100 per cent of their profits went towards autism awareness.

Proceeds were generated through sales of the products at school, to family and friends and at marketing day at the university.

“It was such a great vibe the other day,” commented Taylor.

A lot of people know of someone diagnosed with cancer, she added, thus the reason for the “Fortitude” company and its proceeds.

Wilson said Youthrive helped them gain experience.

“We learned a lot about how to run a business,” she said.

Cota said they learned about autism through a mentor, who has a family member afflicted with the condition. Wright added that it is a good cause and he was glad to be able to be involved.

Morphet stated she was proud of the class for going through the ten-week program and for the achievements they earned along the way.