Stella Maris School

Stella Maris students enjoy “Breakfast with Santa”


By Jolene Perron

Students, parents and teaching staff gathered together at Stella Maris elementary school Dec. 15 to enjoy a Christmas celebration together.

“We pulled it together quick because usually we would go to the Verdi Club,” explained kindergarten teacher Candace Zimmerman. “Maria’s actually worked with us and brought the food in and Santa came. This is my first year teaching kindergarten as you know so it was really fun.”

Parker Kehoe sits on Santa’s lap while a teacher takes his photo during Stella Maris’ annual Breakfast with Santa event Dec. 15.

The children sang Zimmerman’s “Rudolph Rap Remix” to Eminem’s background music, created Christmas crafts, enjoyed breakfast with parents who were able to attend, and even got to sit on Santa’s lap. She described the event as a “Christmas celebration full of love and community.”

“Our attendance was crazy good, well over 100 in our gym. Maria’s did a great job servicing us for sure,” said teacher Joanne Burns. “Everyone helped putting this all together and the kids are loving it. It was lots of teamwork. We pulled it together for the kids. It’s fantastic, we love doing this. The joy on their faces this morning, the excitement, it’s so great.”

Spitfire player Michael DiPietro visits Stella Maris



By Jolene Perron


Amherstburg native and Spitfires player Michael DiPietro had a chance to visit his old grade school to speak with students about the importance of education.

Stella Maris students gave DiPietro a very warm welcome when he walked into their gymnasium. Principal Sophie DiPaolo said through the Adopt-A-School program, they get two batches of tickets that they use as incentive for the students. Any time they are a good friend, they show compassion, they’ve made improvements, anything good, the teacher recognizes them with Rockstar tickets. From those Rockstar tickets, the school draws three tickets from primary, three from Junior and three from senior, and they give out packages of four Spitfire tickets for them to go see the Spitfires home game.

Michael DiPietro made a grand entrance into the Stella Maris gymnasium, where students greeted him with cheers, Spitfire colored pompoms, and smiles.

“We’re really fortunate to have that here at Stella Maris and the kids love it, they love the Spitfires,” said DiPaolo. “We try to give back to the Spitfires because of what they do for us and then every year they send a Spitfire player here. This is the first year we’ve been able to have Michael DiPietro because his schedule would never allow it. In High School it’s a little bit harder but he’s in University now so we were excited to know he was coming back here and of course you want to do something special for him.”

In addition to speaking with the gymnasium full of students, DiPietro also had a pizza lunch with a handful of Rockstar students who had the ability to sit and chat with him over a pizza lunch.

“I went to this grade school, I had so many memories here, so many teachers. That’s something that I’ll always remember,” said DiPietro. “Hopefully I can keep coming back and visiting because every time I step in the door I just remember old memories. It’s definitely special.”

During his visit, he also pointed out his fifth grade teacher, Mike Mathieson and gifted a signed goalie stick to him. DiPaolo said no one can say enough good things about DiPietro and he is a great role model for the students.

“Kids always want to look up to someone and he was not only a great student here and does talk about how important education is but he’s a great role model in the community,” said DiPaolo. “He’s just a wonderful role model in general, a good person, good everything, with or without the Spitfire jersey.”

Stella Maris students walk in memory of Terry Fox



By Jolene Perron


Schools across the province participated in the Terry Fox walk/run memorial event last week.

Stella Maris students from JK through Grade 8 met in the gymnasium for an information session about Terry Fox and why he is what Canadians consider a Canadian Hero. After their presentation and learning about Terry, students walked with their classes around the Stella Maris neighborhood.

“In order to raise awareness for the event, each day this week a young student has prepared an informative and inspirational message for the students and has shared it during morning announcements,” said grade one teacher at Stella Maris, Marilyn Durocher. “We want the students to know that each of them, like Terry, can make a difference in the world and change people’s lives. The impossible is possible.”

Stella Maris students walked around the block in the neighborhood of their school Sept. 29 in memory of Terry Fox.

Durocher explained they aim to teach their students the importance of perseverance, hope and compassion through Terry’s story.

Students took to the streets surrounding their school shortly after 9 a.m. September 29 to cap off their week learning about Terry Fox.

“We hope that our students learn to never give up and that together we become stronger,” said Durocher. “They are learning that we have an opportunity to help others. We want them to learn to value each and every day, no matter how tough it gets.”

Amherstburg police investigating early morning shooting

UPDATED STORY (as of Friday night):

The investigation into a shooting in Amherstburg has led to Windsor and the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has become involved.

The Amherstburg Police Service were dispatched around 2:25 a.m. Friday to a home in the 100 block of Sandwich St. S. for a report of a male with a gunshot wound. The victim, a 31-year-old Amherstburg man, was transported to hospital with what was originally described by Amherstburg police as a life-threatening injury, though police updated his condition, stating later Friday morning that he was in stable condition in a Detroit hospital.

Sandwich St. N. was closed for several hours but re-opened around 1:30 p.m., though access to Stella Maris School was maintained.

Windsor Police were contacted and the investigation determined that a male wanted in relation to the shooting was believed to be at a residence located in the1500 block of Betts Avenue in Windsor.

Members of both police services attended the area and secured the residence. Local school boards and the public were informed that the target residence was contained, and there was no threat to public safety, Windsor police add.

At approximately 2 p.m. Friday, officers located a deceased male in a garage at the involved residence in Windsor.

Due to these circumstances, Windsor police state that officers continued to secure the scene and notified the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

SIU has invoked its mandate and as such, Windsor Police Service state they are not in a position to release any further information at this time.

The Amherstburg Police Service asks that if anyone witnessed the incident or has information relevant to the investigation, to contact police at 519-736-3622, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-8477 (TIPS) or online at

Amherstburg Police were dispatched to the 100 block of Sandwich Street North for a report of a male with a gunshot wound Friday morning around 2:25 a.m.
Police say the victim, a 31-year-old Amherstburg man has been transported to hospital with a life-threatening injury. Police remain
on scene and the shooting is under investigation. Sandwich Street between Texas Road and St Arnaud  St. is closed and remained blocked off as of 8 a.m.
Amherstburg police ask that the public avoid area and use an alternate route until further notice.
Amherstburg police added, via Twitter at 6:52 a.m., that there are no safety concerns in relation to the investigation and that schools, including Stella Maris, are open. Access to Stella Maris is via William St.
Updates to follow
The Amherstburg Police Service asks that if anyone witnessed the incident or has information relevant to the investigation, to contact police at 519-736-3622, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-8477 (TIPS) or online at

Stella Maris’ Grade 8’s clean up yard as legacy project



By Ron Giofu


The Grade 8 students from the 2016-17 school year at Stella Maris School may now be gone, but they’ve left something for future students to remember them by.

The classes taught by Jenna Cole and Mike Mathieson completed a garden restoration project in front of the Girard St. school featuring trimmed hedges, the removal of dead plant materials, the placement of ground cover, edging and decorative stones and the display of memorial stones dedicated to teachers and principals that passed away.

“It took them two-and-a-half days,” explained principal Sophie DiPaolo.

Not only did the students perform physical labour, they also used their minds as they did the math to figure out how much ground materials they would need.

“Then they got to work,” said DiPaolo.

The Grade 8 classes at Stella Maris School completed a legacy project at the school by cleaning up the front gardens.

The Grade 8 classes at Stella Maris School completed a legacy project at the school by cleaning up the front gardens.

DiPaolo also pointed out there was involvement from the community as well.

“All the materials used in our landscaping clean up were generously donated to the school by Gyori Farms and Landscaping.  They provided the ground cover, edging and decorative stones for our project,” she said.

The memorial stones are dedicated to a former Stella Maris principal as well as another teacher, with the third stone having been brought over from St. Bernard School.

DiPaolo added it is still a bit of a “work in progress” and a bench and other components may be added. She praised the outgoing Grade 8’s, saying it’s a legacy project for them.

“It’s the first graduating class of two schools coming together,” she said, adding they were also recently designated as an eco-school.

The students were also happy with their work.

Memorial stones from both Stella Maris and St. Bernard School are part of the refurbished gardens at Stella Maris School.

Memorial stones from both Stella Maris and St. Bernard School are part of the refurbished gardens at Stella Maris School.

Nolan Crain said their front yard didn’t look that appealing, but after putting down some stones and cleaning up the plant material, it improved the school’s look.

“It looks better,” said Crain.

Owen Kempster said he was happy with how the project turned out.

“It looks good,” he said. “It makes our school look better from the outside.”

“I think we did a good job,” added Brianne Palenkas. “We worked as a team. It turned out really well.”