Anderdon Public School

Schools celebrate eco-school status



By Ron Giofu


St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School has undertaken environmental initiatives for a number of years but now they are being recognized for it.

The Catholic secondary school has been awarded gold status and teacher Andy Paling said this is the first time they have put in for any sort of designation. Villanova has been performing a number of environmentally-friendly activities for years, he stated, and that is the reason they achieved gold so early in the designation process.

Anderdon Public School’s eco-team helped earn their school platinum status.

Among the projects undertaken at Villanova have been recycling, composting, creation and maintenance of a butterfly garden, a number of tree plantings, maintenance of a trail around their County Road 8 property. They also have an “eagle’s nest” program where Paling said they can view a nest on a neighbouring property through a telescope.

“It’s bringing awareness of what is going on around us,” said Paling.

Anderdon Public School achieved platinum status again this year. Their eco-team performed many different activities with Harrison Kulic explaining one of those was a “boomerang lunch” where garbage is brought home so parents can see how much trash is created.

Anderdon encourages re-usable containers with Claire Brown stating they do garbage audits and have litter-less lunches as well. Sofia Kulic said such things as plastic straws and bags were banned on eco-day with Ava Soucie stating there have also been “lights out lunches” as well where the lights were turned off to save on utilities.

Other projects have included trying to attract bees, recycle batteries and working with a Harrow church to turn milk bags into blankets for those in third world countries. They also compost and do a variety of other environmentally-themed activities.

St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School earned gold status the first time they entered as an eco-school.

Teacher and eco-team supervisor Jodi Nolin said they have diverted probably in the neighbourhood of 10,000 milk bags from the landfill over the years.

Nolin added that Anderdon Public School welcomes community groups and parents to help them with projects.

Amherstburg Public School also achieved a gold eco-schools status for the most recent school year as did St. Joseph School in River Canard. Stella Maris School earned a silver designation.

Anderdon Public School students stage “Willy Wonka Jr.”


By Ron Giofu


A production that was eight months in the making took to the stage at Anderdon Public School last week.

The public elementary school presented “Willy Wonka Jr.” with the opening night being last Wednesday and shows running through Friday. Approximately 120 students, staff and parents helped present the musical with rehearsals dating back to September.

Sonia Donatelli-Scott, one of the teachers and directors, thanked the students in front of the crowd last Wednesday night in the school’s gymnasium. She praised their dedication in helping to put the musical together.

“You took the time and made this a theatre family,” she told the performers and crew after they assembled on stage.

Principal Pam Badiuk pointed out that auditions date as far back as the 2017-18 school year.

All of the students that participated had some sort of a role they had to fulfill, whether in front of or behind the curtain, she added.

“Every child has a job,” Badiuk said after last Wednesday night’s performance.

The students also had a big hand in creating the sets, she added.

“Everything is created by the kids,” she said.

“Willy Wonka Jr.” gave the students “a chance to shine,” Badiuk added.

Students were known to encourage each other during rehearsals and Badiuk agreed with Scott that they came together as a group.

“It was a great lesson on how to become a community,” she said.

For more photos from the performance, check out our Facebook album.

Local volunteer recognized as a “Champion for Education”


By Ron Giofu


Darrie-Ann Richard has been volunteering at Anderdon Public School for about nine years and that has led her to winning an award.

Richard was one of ten people or groups recognized by the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) as a “Champion for Education” during the public board’s April 17 meeting.

“I’m very overwhelmed,” said Richard. “I received an e-mail (notifying her that she was a recipient) three weeks ago.”

Awards were accompanied by certificates with reasoning of why the “Champions for Education” were nominated. They were read aloud at the board meeting by GECDSB public relations officer Scott Scantlebury.

Darrie-Ann Richard was one of the “Champions for Education” that were recognized last Tuesday night by the Greater Essex County District School Board. From left: director of education Erin Kelly, board chair Kim McKinley, Richard and board vice-chair and Amherstburg/LaSalle trustee Ron LeClair.

“Darrie-Ann has a profound appreciation for literature and the arts, both of which she has helped spread throughout the Anderdon Public School community,” Scantlebury read. “She’s the parent of two students, an Anderdon graduate and a current Mustang. But a perceptive youngster has discerned her secret identity. She is the Book Fairy.”

Richard was described as “an enthusiastic co-ordinator of the school’s annual book fair” for over nine years. She has also served as a guest reader in classrooms and has staged school events as birthday parties for Dr. Seuss.

Richard joked the staff at Anderdon is “sneaky” and that if she had known they were going to nominate her, she wouldn’t have let them. Much of the staff attended the board meeting in support of Richard.

“I just like being at the school with the kids,” she said. “It’s nice being part of the community.”

Darrie-Ann Richard is surrounded by her family as well as Anderdon Public School staff and students after being recognized as a “Champion for Education” April 17.

The staff allows her to be around the students and work with the kids, she said. Richard also helps with the school plays, as Anderdon is staging “Willy Wonka Jr.” May 2-4.

“The staff is outstanding,” said Richard. “It’s a special place. They are a very supportive bunch. To have them all here was a little bit overwhelming. They made me feel welcome from the very first day.”

Richard added her husband travels for his job and she uses her time helping the students at Anderdon Public School. She noted she enjoys being involved with literacy and the arts at the Middle Side Road elementary school.

“It’s fun to be a part of it,” she said.

Amherstburg Fire Department trains with real scenarios thanks to live fire unit


By Ron Giofu


Members of the Amherstburg Fire Department receive regular training but have had a chance to get a taste of the real thing recently.

The Amherstburg Fire Department has partnered with St. Clair College, the LaSalle Fire Department and the Tecumseh Fire Department on a mobile live fire training unit. The unit resembles a trailer, but fire crews have an opportunity to go in and battle an actual fire.

One part of the unit features cameras and controls allowing firefighters to create the scenario they want to work on and ensure things are going as planned.

Members of the Amherstburg Fire Department have been training thanks to the aid of a mobile live fire unit this month. The unit, which resembles a trailer, can have fires and smoke inside of it thanks to a control room built in another part of the unit.

There are controlled scenarios but they closely resemble what firefighters would have to do at an actual call. Firefighters enter a darkened trailer, with the only light coming from the flames ahead. In the heat and smoke-filled darkness and in full fire gear, the team had to navigate its way down (and then back up) a flight of stairs, put the fire out and find the mannequin.

“It’s a great opportunity,” said deputy fire chief Lee Tome.

Tome noted they don’t always get chances to enter structures with actual fires for training purposes, so the trailer was a good chance to sharpen their skills in a close to real-life environment.

Firefighters from all three Amherstburg stations have been using the mobile live fire training unit. It has been stationed this month at Amherstburg fire station 2. Training sessions see a truck start from Anderdon Public School as if it is responding to an actual fire call and drive to station two where firefighters then begin the process they undergo when the real thing occurs.

Local elementary school student finding a home on the stage


By Ron Giofu


A local elementary school student is finding a home on the stage.

Emily Richard was part of Migration Hall Productions’ “Seussical: The Musical” with public performances having taken place the last two weekends in Kingsville. She played one of the show’s main characters – JoJo – in the production.

The Anderdon Public School Grade 8 student will also be part of her school’s production of “Willy Wonka Jr.” later this spring as she will be playing the role of Violet.

“I just have a lot of fun. It doesn’t matter what role I’m in,” said Emily. “It’s about having fun with the awesome people that are doing it with you.”

Emily Richard (left), a Grade 8 student at Anderdon Public School, took part in Migration Hall Production’s recent performance of “Seussical: The Musical.” She will also be in Anderdon’s upcoming “Willy Wonka Jr.” production. (Submitted photo)

Her mother Darrie-Ann explained that Emily “got the bug” after performing in previous Anderdon shows such as “Annie” and “The Little Mermaid Jr.” They looked for a theatre company for Emily to join and decided on Migration Hall Productions. Her first performance in Kingsville was “Oliver.”

“It’s just a lot of fun,” explained Emily. “It’s hard to explain.”

“When her dad and I watch her (perform on stage), she’s in pure bliss,” said Darrie-Ann.

There have been some nights this fall and winter where they would leave rehearsals at Anderdon and go straight to Kingsville for “Seussical” rehearsals.

“I’ve only done musicals so far,” said Emily. “I want to branch out when I get into high school. I want to try it all and see what I enjoy the most.”

Emily will attend General Amherst High School next year.

Emily started performing at age 9 in “Annie” at Anderdon Public School and started at Migration Hall when she was 12-years-old. Not only does she perform on stage, she assists in building sets and other behind-the-scenes work as well. During “Seussical: The Musical” she performed with people ranging in age from six to 60.

“That’s the joy of community theatre bringing the entire community together,” said Darrie-Ann.

Emily Richard, a Grade 8 student at Anderdon Public School, took part in Migration Hall Production’s recent performance of “Seussical: The Musical.” She will also be in Anderdon’s upcoming “Willy Wonka Jr.” production. (Submitted photo)

Darrie-Ann said Emily has taken dance lessons before but she seems to prefer acting and singing, though dance is still a major part of what Emily does during performances.

“She calls the stage her happy place,” said Darrie-Ann, adding that about 300 Anderdon students watched Emily in a performance of “Seussical” last week.

“The immense support of her school is always a blessing,” said Darrie-Ann.

Drama, acting and singing are options for kids, Darrie-Ann added, and they want to let other students know that as well.

“There’s a lot of opportunities out there if kids are interested,” said Darrie-Ann.