General Amherst High School

Social media seminar coming to town, all parents welcome


By Ron Giofu


Ever wonder what your kids are up to online?

Do you want to know about who they are interacting with on the internet and where they are posting to?

A social networking and online safety seminar is coming to Amherstburg Nov. 6 with speaker Paul Davis, who travels the country conducting these seminars, to talk about social media, smart phones and digital trails, cyberbullying, texting, sexting, online gaming and online security.

Teresa Conte, parent council president at Malden Central Public School, said she saw Davis speak twice, including a few years ago in Kingsville. She believes that more people in Amherstburg should see him speak.

Davis will be presenting to students at Malden Central, Anderdon and Amherstburg public schools as well as General Amherst High School Nov. 6-7.

However, the Nov. 6 evening presentation that is being held at General Amherst High School is open to all parents, regardless of school, as well as to those who work with children or youth.

“We’re opening it to the entire community,” said Conte, of the Nov. 6 evening presentation that starts at 6:30 p.m.

Conte said that parents need to learn about social networking and online safety before they can teach or guide their children.

Guest speaker Paul Davis will talk about how to use social media responsibly to students and parents. The seminar for parents is Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at General Amherst High School. Everyone is welcome.

“We live in a rapidly changing digital world where our busy lives as parents don’t always allow us to keep up with the latest trends in technology and potential risks that affect our children and teens,” she said. “Parents need to make attending this evening session a priority just as they do with attending their children’s sport, music and school events.”

Conte believes that poor parent attendance at previous community social networking and online safety presentations is the result of fear—”the first being the fear of finding out what potential dangers their children are being exposed to in their own town and neighbourhood, the second fear is having to examine their own social networking/online behaviour and then making the necessary changes to correct them.”

Parents and those who work with youth should attend the public presentation so they know what is going on, Conte stated, as she said there are online problems happening locally on a regular basis.

“It’s worldwide. It’s going on in the community schools,” she said. “Parents don’t want to believe it.”

The Nov. 6 evening presentation to the public will be about 90 minutes, she added.

“After attending both of Paul’s past presentations, I made some changes to the amount and type of information I post online.  I expect to learn more in this upcoming presentation and I will continue to make changes because I want to teach my children by modeling the behaviour and not just lecturing to them,” said Conte.

Conte said she joined Malden Central’s parent council committee five years ago “because it seemed like a natural progression after a 20 year career of working at an organization whose mission was to teach and guide pre-teens, teens and young adults to make healthy life choices and decisions.” She hopes parents will come out Nov. 6 to learn about the dangers that can exist online, as she didn’t fully grasp it herself until she first saw Davis speak.

“I think parents need to understand how social media works,” said Conte.


Grade 9 Day organized at General Amherst



By Ron Giofu


Grade 9 orientation day was one way to get new students acclimated to General Amherst High School.

Now, thanks to teacher Greg Scott’s fitness and recreational leadership class, the new students had another way to get used to their new educational home.

A Grade 9 Day was held recently prior to the school’s Terry Fox Run/Walk where the new students got to have some fun with the guidance of the older students in the leadership class.

Grade 9 students at General Amherst High School were given a further welcome thanks to a Grade 9 Day. They took part in various activities that were organized by the school’s fitness and recreational leadership class.

Cassidy Zelle, a student in the fitness and recreational leadership class, estimated it has been over two decades since General Amherst last had such an event.

“This is the first time we’ve had a Grade 9 Day at General Amherst in 23 years,” said Zelle. “It’s a way to get the Grade 9’s involved and let them get to know their classmates.”
While those were goals of the Grade 9 orientation day, Zelle added this was another way of getting the younger students involved particularly since they are now more comfortable. There were games and team activities and “they are having fun and doing chants. It’s great.”

Zelle said she hopes this will become an annual event, adding that the student council also got involved by getting lunch for the Grade 9 students.

General Amherst High School raises over $5,500 at Terry Fox Run



By Ron Giofu


The students and staff at General Amherst High School hit the walking track next to the school all in the name of cancer research.

The school held a Terry Fox Run/Walk last Thursday. As of Thursday morning, about $4,000 had been raised for the Terry Fox Foundation. When all was said and done, General Amherst High School had brought in $5,500.

The event was organized by General Amherst’s fitness and recreation leadership class and student Abby Orchard said it was not just about raising money for the Terry Fox Foundation, but to raise awareness as well.

“The run is really to raise for cancer research,” explained Orchard. “Hopefully, we can reach our (fundraising) goal. Regardless, I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished here today.”

Orchard pointed out that “everyone has been affected by cancer at some point in their lives” and that the class and the entire school wants to raise awareness and funds so that the disease can be cured once and for all. She added they are thankful to all of those who supported the Terry Fox Run/Walk.

Public health nurse Dawnice Kavanaugh recalled seeing photos of Terry Fox when he was running in his “Marathon of Hope” in 1980.

“He was a young guy with curly, wild hair and he ran with an artificial leg,” she said.

Kavanaugh noted he ran 42 km per day, equivalent of going from Amherstburg to the Windsor riverfront daily.

General Amherst High School held its Terry Fox Run last Thursday with the school raising over $5,500.
The event was organized by the fitness and recreation leadership class and involved the entire student body and staff.


“He ran in rain, blizzards and the heat,” she said, noting Fox did it to raise money for cancer research.

“I’m proud of you guys today,” Kavanaugh told the students. “You are raising awareness and you are involved in a physical activity.”

Kavanaugh also urged staff and students to avoid cancer-causing activities, such as smoking and staying out in the sun too long without sunscreen.

Cancer survivor Julie Wingerden, mother of student council prime minister Jordan Wingerden, told the students and staff of her cancer journey. That journey began Sept. 2, 2014, when she had to tell her children she had cancer. She has been cancer-free since 2015 but still gets pain stemming from her eight chemotherapy treatments.

The chemotherapy “beat me up bad,” she recalled.

“There were some days where I couldn’t get off the couch.”

Terry Fox runs/walks as well as similar events are very important, Wingerden emphasized, as they raise funds for important research.

“I came to the realization if Terry Fox didn’t do his run, I could be dead today,” said Wingerden.

As a result of the “Marathon of Hope” and subsequent fundraising events, millions have been raised and Wingerden stated “I will be forever grateful.”

Cancer doesn’t discriminate on who it impacts, she added.

“It’s serious. Cancer really sucks and can affect any one of us,” said Wingerden. “I think it’s important we do these walks. We have to hope there will be a cure one day.”

Wingerden challenged students to do nice things for others. She also encouraged the students to do whatever they can to overcome tough times.

“There’s always hope you can overcome it,” said Wingerden.

General Amherst High School hosting Terry Fox Run Sept. 27



By Ron Giofu


General Amherst High School is doing its part in the fight against cancer.

The public high school will be hosting a Terry Fox Run Sept. 27 at Wigle Park, next to the school. The event is being run by General Amherst’s fitness and leadership class.

Max Thompson, a member of the fitness and leadership class, said students will be collecting pledges with the aim of raising $6,000. The class also hopes to spread awareness about the Terry Fox Foundation and cancer research.

While the whole school will be participating next Thursday, local residents are invited to take part as well.

The general public is welcome to attend and donate towards General Amherst High School’s Terry Fox Run/Walk. It will be held Sept. 27 from 11:45-1 p.m. The poster was designed by student Max Thompson.

“Everyone is welcome to come,” said Thompson. “We want to spread awareness. We want to get as many people there as we can.”

All proceeds go directly to the Terry Fox Foundation and donations will be accepted in-person at the event or online at People can follow the progress towards the school’s goal by following General Amherst High School on Twitter at @GAHSBulldogs or at the school website, found through

The event is scheduled to run from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. and will kick off with talks from a cancer survivor. It is a walk/run with music and Thompson said it is not competitive.

“It’s going to be quite a big event,” he said.

For more information on Terry Fox, his 1980 “Marathon of Hope” and the Terry Fox Foundation, visit

General Amherst opens its doors early to Grade 9 students



By Ron Giofu


School is underway but Grade 9 students at General Amherst High School got a sneak peak at their new home last Wednesday morning.

The annual Grade 9 orientation day was held with students learning where their classes were, who their new teachers would be and even how to open their lockers. Principal Melissa DeBruyne said it was a way for the school’s newest students to be able to get from periods one to four properly and to get their books as well.

“It’s a big transition,” said DeBruyne.

Student parliament representatives and peer mentors were on hand to help the new Grade 9’s as well.

General Amherst teacher Jason McLean speaks to the new Grade 9 students during Grade 9 orientation last Wednesday morning.

“That makes it easier for (the Grade 9’s) to see the older kids helping,” said DeBruyne.

The Grade 9 students also got to meet the students in their classes as well as their teachers. The ability to find and open their lockers was something last year’s Grade 9’s said was important, DeBruyne added.

New General Amherst High School students participate in an activity to get to know each other during the Aug. 29 Grade 9 orientation day.

“We interviewed students from last year to ask what we can improve,” she said. “They had a lot of improvements for us to do this year, including their lockers.”

Jordan Wingerden, the new student prime minister, said the older students are “trying to pass along our wisdom” to the younger students.

“They can share stories of high school and teach them the do’s and don’ts,” said Wingerden. “We’re excited to make the Grade 9’s feel welcome.”

Physical education teacher Lisa Voakes meets some of her new students.

Cassidy Zelle, deputy junior prime minister, added that by learning who is also in their classes, the Grade 9 students will be able to get over their nervousness quicker.

“Instead of doing ice-breakers with random students, they are doing them with people in their classes,” she said.

There were also some games and activities for the new students to enjoy and help them get acclimated to their new school.