General Amherst High School

Gas leak forces one-day evacuation of Amherstburg Public School

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The presence of a natural gas smell forced the evacuation of a local elementary school last week with the situation being resolved without injury.

Amherstburg Public School students and staff were cleared out of the building last Thursday after a natural gas smell was detected in a science classroom.

“There was a gas valve that somehow got turned on in the science room,” explained principal Mark Campbell.

The gas line emanated from the roof and fed into the science room and the valve on the roof was the actual cause of the smell.

“Somehow, it got turned on,” Campbell stated.

Amherstburg police and fire attended the scene as did Union Gas. The gas line was capped so that it could not happen again, said Campbell.

Amherstburg Public School principal Mark Campbell gets an update from a Union Gas worker following the evacuation last Thursday. No one was injured and all staff and students were transported to General Amherst High School.

Campbell noted that emergency officials were also called to the school the previous night for the smell of natural gas but the school was given the all clear. The next morning around 8 a.m., a teacher noted the gas smell again and the school was evacuated. Classes had not yet begun, Campbell noted.

Students were transported to General Amherst High School where they congregated in the gymnasiums. High school students were helping to direct people where they needed to go as parents and guardians picked up many of the children. Others who couldn’t be picked up right away were entertained with movies and pizza.

Superintendent of education Lynn McLaughlin praised Campbell’s handling of the situation with both of them thanking General Amherst High School for their assistance in accommodating the students.

“Mr. Campbell did exactly what he needed to do,” said McLaughlin.

Students and parents were able to pick up belongings at the school later in the day Thursday and classes resumed Friday.

 

General Amherst bringing “Run for Rocky” to Amherstburg

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The “Run for Rocky,” a fundraising event for local high school Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA’s), is coming to Amherstburg.

After five years of the event being in Windsor, where April 9 is Run for Rocky Day, General Amherst High School is hosting their own event April 26. Teacher Greg Scott, whose fitness and recreation leadership class is helping to organize the event, said the Campana family’s five-year commitment to run the event is over but they hope it will continue in school communities. The event is in memory of Rocky Campana.

“Their thought was that individual schools would do something on their own,” said Scott. “We decided to keep the run going and give it a try at our school.”

Linden Crain, student parliament prime minister, said it will involve not only General Amherst students, but students from Amherstburg Public School as well. The general public is also invited to drop by the school and donate or show up the day of the event and take part.

“It’s a minimum $5 pledge,” said Crain. “Any other donations are greatly appreciated.”

Rocky’s father Rob Campana is expected to attend the April 26 event. Rocky’s uncle Dan is a teacher at General Amherst High School.

Proceeds will go towards a project fund with GSA’s from any school able to tap into that fund to help pay for guest speakers, library materials and other projects. Trevor Klundert, a guidance counsellor at General Amherst and the GSA staff liaison, said the next national GSA conference will be in New Brunswick and funds could be used to help pay for travel to that event.

“Even though it’s taking place in Amherstburg, it helps other schools too,” Crain said of the local Run for Rocky.

Student parliament prime minister Linden Crain and Karlie Simon, a member of General Amherst’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) stand near a poster promoting the GSA and the Run for Rocky. General Amherst High School is teaming with Amherstburg Public School to hold a Run for Rocky 5K event April 26.

Karlie Simon, one of the five Grade 9 students in the General Amherst GSA, said the event will also showcase what GSA’s can do and promote what they are and how they help. She said people don’t have to be from the LGBTQ community to help out. Klundert added that the April 26 event will also show students who may not have come out yet that other students “have their back” and will make it more comfortable to let them be who they want to be at school.

The 5K run/walk will start next to the high school and proceed to Toddy Jones Park. It will then go down Dalhousie St. to Front Road South (near the Blue Haven Motel) before coming back. There will be food and music at the start/finish area.

“We’re keeping things to the sidewalks,” explained Scott, adding they don’t plan on asking for any road closures.

The event will run from 12:30-2 p.m. April 26.

According to the Run for Rocky website (www.runforrocky.com), “Run for Rocky was a charity run/walk that took place in Windsor, Ontario for five years which was inspired by Rocky Campana who passed away in 2012 after attempting to take his own life. The Campana Family, along with the Windsor Pride Community, Education and Resource Centre, wanted to share Rocky’s story. Through their collaboration, they have been able to fund GSAs in the local high school and post-secondary school systems, ensuring that parents, educators and youth have the knowledge and funding needed to help create Safe Schools, and creating a support system for youth in times of crisis. Rocky paved the path to make a difference while living, and the Run for Rocky Legacy Fund will continue to make a significant difference in his absence for years to come.”

Local high school student’s machining skills getting him noticed

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The machining talents of a General Amherst High School student are taking him places. Devin Paquette captured the gold medal in precision metal trades at the “Get Skilled” competition at St. Clair College March 24. His success there entitled him to compete at the “Skills Ontario” competition in Toronto May 7-9.

Paquette said he had to create a jack screw from raw materials, including bringing it down to size and machining it. He got furthest along on the project during the “Get Skilled” competition in Windsor and claimed first place.

“It’s nice to be the best,” he said. “You feel you actually accomplished something.”

General Amherst student Devin Paquette won a gold medal in the precision metal trades category at the recent “Get Skilled” competition at St. Clair College. He now advances to the “Skills Ontario” competition in Toronto May 7-9.

Paquette said he was pleased to finish in first place in the competition.

“I was pretty happy,” he said. “My dad was there. He was pretty enthusiastic. He’s a machinist too.”

Paquette notes that he works at Centreline in Windsor in addition to still going to school and enjoys training to be a machinist. He said that is his focus for what he wants to with his future.

“I like the creativity and doing your own thing,” he said. “You have to have the skill to do it on your own.

Rodney Levesque, Paquette’s teacher, said each student was eligible for a $500 scholarship by going into the “Get Skilled” competition, though added Paquette wasn’t able to accept it because he is going towards an apprenticeship.

General Amherst’s Devin Paquette (second from right) stands with the winners at the awards ceremony at the “Get Skilled” competition at St. Clair College. (Special to the RTT)

Levesque said practical components in the precision metal competition included milling, lathe work, job interview skills and shop safety skills.

Overall, the “Get Skilled” competition included other components such as construction, automotive, animation, culinary arts, CAD and welding to name a few. Those disciplines are also offered at General Amherst High School.

“It’s a very large event,” said Levesque.

General Amherst donation to Heart & Stroke Foundation doubles last year’s

 

By Ron Giofu

General Amherst High School stepped up to help the Heart and Stroke Foundation with the donation being double of what it was last year.

Student parliament donated $500 last Wednesday morning, with the cheque being presented to Heart and Stroke Foundation area manager Holly Kirk McLean. McLean said that the Heart and Stroke Foundation is about research, education and advocacy.

The money raised will have a direct benefit locally, she noted.

“It funds the research which helps save the lives that we want to save,” said McLean.

Student parliament members from General Amherst High School presented a $500 cheque to the Heart and Stroke Foundation last week. From left: deputy PM Tate Levesque, student parliament Prime Minister Linden Crain, Cassidy Zelle, Heart and Stroke Foundation area manager Holly Kirk McLean and Ethan Richard.

Heart disease has a devastating impact on women, as it kills five times more females than breast cancer. Youth are also seeing negative impacts to their health as obesity rates are up 30 per cent, said McLean, with Type 2 diabetes also being on the rise.

There are reports of youth with cholesterol levels as high as their parents and grandparents, she added.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation also wants to increase access to healthcare to Indigenous people, said McLean. She said there is a big divide in what Indigenous people receive as compared to the rest of the population and the Heart and Stroke Foundation wants to help close that gap.

Educating people on the risks and what they can do to mitigate those risks is important, McLean stated.

Tate Levesque, deputy prime minister at General Amherst, said student parliament held a number of events around the high school including a pong tournament, hat days and candy gram and “crush cans” on Valentine’s Day.

Prime Minister Linden Crain said the donation and the events leading up to it were more than just raising money.

“The first goal is to raise awareness,” said Crain.

General Amherst wrestler takes silver at OFSAA

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

General Amherst had a small but strong wrestling team this year with one of its members coming home with a silver from OFSAA.

Myah Trymbulak, a Grade 10 student, captured the silver medal in the 41 kg girls class. It was an accomplishment she is pleased with but one she will try and improve upon in future years.

“It feels really good,” she said. “I know I put in a lot of work and effort (during the season). I wasn’t expecting it at first but I’m really proud of myself.”

Trymbulak wrestled twice on the first day of the tournament, held at the WFCU Centre in Windsor March 5-7, and twice on the second day. The first match on the second day was one of her toughest, she said.

“I felt she was just as aggressive as I was,” said Trymbulak. “She came at me hard. She wanted to win just as much as I did.”

Myah Trymbulak shows the silver medal she won at the recent OFSAA wrestling meet in Windsor.

Trymbulak said she was nervous at first going into the finals but that wore off as introductions were made. She was placed in a pinning situation and tried to get out of the pin but ended up on the short end of the match.

The OFSAA silver medal followed gold medals at both WECSSAA and SWOSSAA, where she wrestled the same two opponents. She hopes to add a gold at OFSAA next year.

“I would definitely like to make OFSAA and place first,” she said. “I think I have a good chance of doing it if I keep working as hard as I have been the last couple of years.”

Trymbulak started coming to the school and practising while in Grade 7. She first tasted tournament action last year as a Grade 9 and also joined the Windsor Wrestling Club. She thanked her coach at General Amherst, Rodney Levesque, her teammates and family, including brother Matthew.

“He’s the one that got me into wrestling,” she explained.

This year’s Amherst wrestling team consisted of (from left):
coach Rodney Levesque, Myah Trymbulak (1st WECSSAA AND SWOSSAA, 2nd OFSAA), Tate Levesque (1st WECSSAA, 2nd SWOSSAA),Katie McEvoy (3rd SWOSSAA), Matt Belanger. (Submitted photo)

Levesque said two other Amherst wrestlers made it to OFSAA including Tate Levesque in the 72 kg weight class and Katie McEvoy in the 44 kg weight class. Matt Belanger also was on this year’s team.

“Wrestling is one of the hardest high school sports to go into,” Levesque believed. Not only are there multiple practices per week, there were roughly eight tournaments that they competed in.

“We’re talking quite a few weeks that they were competing,” said Levesque.