General Amherst High School

General Amherst High School recognizes students for academic achievements



By Jolene Perron


More than 300 students were recognized last week during General Amherst High School’s Academic Awards Ceremony at the Ciociaro Club in Tecumseh.

“It’s always nice to reward kids in this day and age when a lot of the things we are rewarded with, everyone gets a prize,” explained principal Melissa DeBruyne. “Well, not everyone gets a prize here, it’s just those who have worked really hard for something very special.”
Students were recognized for their achievements in the year prior, gathering Grade 10, 11 and 12 students together with their families for an evening of dinner and awards.

General Amherst High School held its annual academic awards banquet last week at the Ciociaro Club in Tecumseh. This year’s “Top Dog” Award winners were Megan Fishwild for Grade 11 (left), Jeremie Bornais for Grade 10 (centre) and Abby Orchard for Grade 9 (right). The awards were for the highest averages in each grade.

This year’s Top Dog Award Winners were Abby Orchard for Grade 9, Jeremie Bornais for Grade 10 and Megan Fishwild for Grade 11.

“I’m very proud. I know Jeremie works very hard. I know that it’s something he has put a lot of effort into and I’m very happy,” said Jeremie Bornais father, Jeremie. “He is the type of kid that sets goals and goes after those goals and achieves them, so I’m very proud of him. We know how well and how hard everyone works and we know that everyone has the ability to be the top, so we are very impressed.”

Michael Thompson receives his certificate of honors during General Amherst’s Academic Awards Ceremony last week.

Jeremie explained his son is the provincial chief squire for all of Ontario and not only dedicates himself to his school work but he also dedicates a tremendous amount of time to help those less fortunate than himself. His family was proud to watch him receive his Top Dog award last week.

“I am always inspired when I see this, and I get excited about the kids crossing the stage,” said DeBruyne. “When I see how they light up, or they’re scared but they look out to see their parent or guardian who is there for them, it’s a pretty proud moment.”

General Amherst students hold ALS run in memory of legendary coach



By Jolene Perron


Carol Buchner once said, “they may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Each year, students in General Amherst’s leadership class are given the task of putting on a fundraiser or activity. This year, students took it upon themselves to honor Dave Scott, a teacher and coach whose recent death recently had a large impact on the school.

“The support from the school has been so overwhelming,” said Katie Scott, Dave’s daughter. “I always knew my dad was an amazing man, I am so honored to see how they have all come together to show their respect and keep his legacy alive. He would be so proud, as am I. I can’t thank them enough.”

Sharon Colman, president of ALS Society of Windsor Essex County speaks with students at General Amherst before they begin their walk Monday morning. The event was in memory of former Amherst coach and teacher Dave Scott.

According to the ALS Society of Windsor Essex County, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a motor neuron disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It destroys the motor neurons that transmit messages to the voluntary muscles. Death occurs due to respiratory muscle involvement. The prognosis for those diagnosed is often two to five years.

Celina Varacalli and her project partner Katie McEvoy have held a run in the name of coach Scott, who passed away September 14. The run cost $5, and students were able to get out of class to participate. Members of Scott’s family also came out to the event. The team also sold shirts for $15 leading up to the event to raise even more money. They shirts has “ALS” on the front, with a quote on the back, a paw print and “For Coach Scott” on the bottom.

“I personally wasn’t close with him, but my partner had him as a coach for several events and he was well known around the school,” explained Varacalli. “I knew him, I’ve talked to him, he was such a nice guy and he did so much for the school. He put so much time and effort into our school. He was a student here, he taught here, and then after he retired he still came back and coached. I feel like, even though I wasn’t close with him personally, being a student at General Amherst we should still do something in honor of him and his family.”

General Amherst coaching legend Dave Scott passes away


General Amherst teaching and coaching legend Dave Scott has died.

News of Scott’s passing was learned Thursday. Scott spent approximately 43 years coaching at General Amherst.

Scott was also a student at Amherst, starting in 1959 and was a key component of the newly created football program, founded by Jack Wilson and George Pringle in 1961. Scott, the team’s quarterback, scored the football program’s first-ever touchdown.

The team went undefeated the next two years and General Amherst won the SWOSSAA “B” championship in 1963. Scott was the quarterback the first three years of the program and was named the school’s top male athlete in 1964, the first time that award had been given.

Scott was captain of both the football and basketball teams from 1959-64. In 1961, the junior basketball team won the ECSSA title and travelled to London for the WOSSAA championship, where they lost by one point in the final.

Dave Scott poses with his track team shortly after the team surprised him with a cake to celebration his 40 years of coaching. This photo was taken in 2012. (RTT File Photo).

After obtaining an honours in physical education, he returned to General Amherst in 1968 and started his teaching and coaching career. In his first year, he coached football, basketball and started the track and field team. He became health and physical education department head in 1971.

Scott coached the senior football team to ECSSAA championships in 1972 and 1974 and began junior football in 1980. From 1980-85, Amherst won five straight junior football ECSSA championships. In 1993, the senior team had a perfect 8-0 record with the junior team winning that year as well. The juniors also won in 1999.

After retiring from teaching in 2000, Scott returned to the sidelines in 2004 and resumed coaching track and field as well. His track and field coaching credentials are impressive as well, as he led the team to 19 straight ECSSAA championships from 1971-94 with the team also winning SWOSSAA the first 16 years of that streak as well. The team has also achieved significant success at the provincial level, winning 14 gold medals at OFSAA.

Not only did he help lead General Amherst to success on the track, he helped build the local track and football complex. In 1984, Scott formed a committee with Dave Bailey and Mike Nedin to study the feasibility of building a track and field/football complex. They worked with the town in creating Centennial Park, and received help from then-mayor Bill Gibb and administrator Tom Kilgallin in obtaining the government funding required.

On the basketball court, he coached at the senior level from 1968 until his retirement in 2000 and continued to coach juniors after his retirement. The senior boys ended a 28-year dry spell in 1975 by winning the ECSSA championship, a feat they also accomplished in 1978. Teams led by Scott also won WECSSAA “AA” and SWOSSAA “AA” titles in the late 1990’s. Scott also has an Ontario District High School championship in 1998.

Scott has also won a variety of awards during his career. He was a recipient of the Ontario Bicentennial Volunteer Award, given by then-Premier Bill Davis. He was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013, won a Watson Hallock award for contributions to General Amherst, has been recognized by the town of Amherstburg, was awarded a WECSSAA plaque in 2000 for three decades of dedication to youth in track and field and won the Honourary Bulldog Award from General Amherst in 2009. Scott also won the Labatts Award from the Kinsmen Club of Windsor as their “Sports Person of the Year” June 6, 1983.

Scott also recalled the events he helped plan, from parades and hay rides to homecoming events and dances. He said the town would shut down in the early 1970’s for some of the homecoming parades that were held.

“It’s always been a great experience. I’ve never had a bad experience,” Scott said in a September 2016 interview with the River Town Times.

(NOTE: This story contains excerpts from a story the RTT published on Scott last year, when he was forced to step away from coaching due to his battle with ALS.)

New school year officially underway



By Jolene Perron


Buses, enrollment and education, oh my!

The 2017-18 school year has officially kicked off, and both of the school boards as well as Sharp Bus Lines are gearing up for what they plan to be another fantastic year.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth in French Immersion, especially at St. Joseph in River Canard, as well as in our International Baccalaureate programs (at Assumption and Cardinal Carter) and academy programs,” explained Stephen Fields, communications coordinator for the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board. “In fact, we now have 457 students in our sports academies. The really nice thing about the growth in French Immersion at St. Joseph is that, as we add new grades for those students as they advance, they will be able to go directly into the Villanova French Immersion program after completing elementary school, which will help solidify the high school’s French program.”



Fields went on to say they have done some hiring in the elementary and secondary panels, as well as make additions to their occasional teachers list. Last spring they also announced the creation of a new construction academy at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Windsor, which will see 20 new students starting there in September. The goal is to help address a skills gap in local trades. Additionally, they are launching a new STREAM – Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics- Academy at Holy Names. They currently have about 65 students registered.

“At Villanova, we continue to build on the strengths of our very successful robotics team, which performed admirably in both national and international competitions last year,” said Fields. “We received some new funding to create an Apple Mac lab there, which really enhances our existing computer tech courses, where students are doing coding and building apps within the context of those courses. This will really provide a great foundation for these students as they move into post secondary education and eventually, related careers. This is also connected to the coding programs that are being integrated into our elementary curriculum at St. Joseph and Stella Maris.”

In the public school board, public relations officer Scott Scantlebury said after years of declining enrolment, they have finally stabilized, particularly at the secondary level. There has been some hiring of teachers over the past couple years, however, Scantlebury said they will have a better idea what their needs are for this year once they see enrolment numbers. As for major development, Scantlebury noted their new cloud-based learning program – Edsby.

“After piloting the system at a number of schools, this year parents at all schools in the Board will be able to sign up and have real-time communication with teachers and track their student’s academic achievement, attendance, etc.,” said Scantlebury. “It’s a great tool for parent engagement and involvement. As well we have expanded the access to the elementary literacy programs Lexia and Empower…we’ve seen, where it’s been used, positive impacts on kids’ reading levels, especially with students who were struggling with literacy. We also have changed the way we deliver English as a Second Language in elementary schools. Students will now receive the program at their home schools rather than at a central site, before graduating to their home school.”


Grade 9 orientation at General Amherst High School featured fun activities.

As for the location of the new school, Scantlebury said they have not finalized their plans. Their original projections, which he said they have discussed at the funding announcement for the opening, are still the same. Once the board has a site, a design and approval from the Ministry of Education, the construction will be tendered, which Scantlebury said takes about 14-16 months to build a school once work begins.

Not only are the school boards gearing up for the school year, but Sharp Bus Lines has been preparing as well and is asking a few things from students, parents and motorists.

“Students should arrive at their bus stops 10 minutes prior to pick up time,” said Crystal Williamson, regional manager for Sharp Bus Lines. “Wait at your designated stop in a safe spot, standing back from the curb or roadside yet visible to your bus driver, always remember to stay away from the danger zones outside of the bus, if required to cross watch for your driver to signal it’s safe to do so not before this and the crossing gate extended as well as the overheads and stop arm activated.”

Williamson said they are also asking motorists to keep in mind that school is back in session and asks them to slow down and be very cautious when approaching stopped school buses because “a child who may be running late for their stop could appear out of nowhere and cross the street.”

Over the summer, Williamson they have been preparing by taking all of the buses into the shop for the mechanics to go through, making sure the fleet of buses are safe for the students. The routes are checked for directional errors and timing, to ensure everyone arrives safely and in a timely fashion. Additionally, drivers come in to cover off refreshers and go over new routes.

“We love kids,” said Williamson. “Patience and kindness are the major things that we look for in our drivers.  Children have bad days just like adults so sometimes we need to cut them some slack.  We have hired/trained 8 new drivers over the summer and we are always looking for those special individuals to fill the seat.  As we always tell our drivers – they may be the first smile a child sees in the morning.  Make their day.”

So whether you’re a new or returning student, a parent, or even a fellow motorist, school is back in session and both the school boards, as well as Sharp Bus Lines hope everyone has a safe and happy 2017-18 school year.

Grade 9 students get a tour of General Amherst



By Jolene Perron


Orientation is a great way for Grade 9 students to experience their new high school, at a slower pace with friendly people willing to take the time to show them around before they are on their own.

“A lot of the kids are shy, but that’s high school,” explained student prime minister Linden Crain. “Grade 9’s who come to this school, at first they are going to be shy but I think that we have a warm environment so we’re trying to introduce them around the halls, if they have any questions or they’re scared about something, or they don’t know where their classes are, they are more than welcome to see our council.”

Jenna Fiala, General Amherst minister of athletics, shows a group of students around during grade nine orientation last Wednesday.

Jenna Fiala, General Amherst minister of athletics, shows a group of students around during Grade 9 orientation last Wednesday.

Crain added, he remembers when he started Grade 9 and how scary it was for him, but events like orientation helped to introduce him to the school and ease his nerves.

To help make the day a little more friendly and welcoming, instead of giving the touring groups numbers, they gave them NHL teams. The groups toured the school, took the students through to their classes, showed them where their lockers will be and how to use their locks and answered any questions the students had. They also played games and allowed them to interact with their fellow grade nine peers to ensure they made new friends and recognized friendly faces.

During Grade 9 orientation, students not only got to experience the school and learn about their classes, but they also played games and got to know fellow classmates.

During Grade 9 orientation, students not only got to experience the school and learn about their classes, but they also played games and got to know fellow classmates.

“I’m really excited,” said Jayda Delgatto, new Grade 9 student. “They made it really easy to find all of my classes and my locker, so I am excited. It’s been really fun so far, I really like it. It’s helped me to get to know people.”

Crain said this year, student council is planning on changing up a few things. They are hoping to get students more involved, introduce more spirit and have fun. Their main focus is homecoming and he hopes all of the students will get involved and help showcase their school spirit.