General Amherst High School

General Amherst High School celebrates its 96th annual graduation

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A total of 162 students have now concluded their high school careers at General Amherst High School.

General Amherst held its 96th annual graduation ceremony last Thursday evening at the Libro Centre and while some students will return to high school for a fifth year, most are saying farewell as they start college, university or a new career.

Ron LeClair, Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) trustee for Amherstburg and LaSalle, congratulated the graduates as well as their families.

“You have an incredible support network,” LeClair told the graduates. “You didn’t get here alone.”

General Amherst valedictorian Aiden Bradwell delivers his address during the school’s 96th annual graduation June 28 at the Libro Centre.

LeClair, who is also vice chair of the GECDSB, encouraged the students to thank their parents, grandparents, family members and teachers for their support in getting them this far. He urged students to stay involved and “take advantage of the opportunities before you.” The opportunities are limitless, he said, restricted only by the graduates’ imaginations.

“Be a lifelong learner,” he added. “Be passionate about your future.”

Dr. Clara Howitt, superintendent of education, congratulated the Class of 2018 on their hard work, perseverance and commitment to learning. She said “our board has the most talented teachers in the province of Ontario” and that applies to General Amherst as well.

 

General Amherst graduates proceed into the commencement ceremony during the 96th annual commencement ceremony June 28.

Howitt thanked the teachers for their work in educating the graduates and also thanked the parents for their efforts. She even quoted actor Henry Winkler who said, “if you will it, it will be.”

Julie Wingerden, parent council chair at General Amherst, offered various words of wisdom for the graduates.

“I hope you guys take a few minutes and realize you worked hard to get here,” said Wingerden. “You need to take a few minutes and appreciate it.”

Wingerden challenged the graduates to map out their futures and make a plan on how they will achieve their goals. Among the words of encouragement Wingerden had were to “be grateful for the things you have, both good and bad” and that people are never too old to ask for advice from those around them.

Principal Melissa DeBruyne also offered her best wishes to the Class of 2018.

Superintendent of education Dr. Clara Howitt takes a picture as Amherstburg/LaSalle trustee Ron LeClair delivers his remarks to the graduates at General Amherst’s commencement ceremony.

“Thank you to the teachers who guided the graduates these last four years,” said DeBruyne.

DeBruyne indicated there is more learning ahead and hoped the skills and knowledge obtained while the students were at General Amherst will serve them well.

“Your future is what you make of it,” said DeBruyne. “You never know where life will take you.”

Valedictorian Aiden Bradwell recalled the four-year experience at General Amherst and said “I’d like to congratulate all of us.”

“I have no doubt everyone at this school will be the best in everything that they try to do,” he said.

Bradwell believed they will always carry a piece of their high school experience and memories with them.

“I am going to miss these days at General Amherst High School,” he said.

For more photos, please visit our Facebook album.

General Amherst art students do something “uncommon” for upcoming festival

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A group of General Amherst High School art students will have a presence at the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival whether they are there in person or not.

Grade 11 students Mackenzie Szwed, Antonio Simone and Grace D’Alimonte created three large paintings depicting scenes from the film “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and they will be displayed during the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival that will be held Aug. 3-5.

Teacher Andrea Craig-Wammes pointed out that students Vanessa Favot and Ryan Sinasac helped out when they could. Craig-Wammes worked with tourism co-ordinator Jennifer Ibrahim on developing a project for General Amherst art students then the students took it from there.

D’Alimonte said working as a team made the project enjoyable and Szwed called it “really fun” to be a part of.

The group spent about 40-45 hours after school on the project with preparation work starting as early as January.

Amherst art students created work for the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival. From left: Mackenzie Szwed, Antonio Simone, Grace D’Alimonte.

“We knew it was going to be a big project,” said Simone.

The paintings depict “three establishing moments in the story,” he added with D’Alimonte stating “it tells the story just by the three (paintings).”

Ibrahim said the paintings will be displayed by the straw maze during the festival.

“It’s something we can look back on,” added Szwed.

Simone said Craig-Wammes encouraged them to “think outside the box” and that it paid off.

“This is a community project,” stated Ibrahim.

Ibrahim added that it showcases the “best in Amherstburg” in terms of artwork and that visitors from around southwestern Ontario and Michigan will be among those to view their work. The plan is to display the paintings annually.

Craig-Wammes added that the project was student-led and that they used outdoor acrylic paint to create the subject matter.

General Amherst preparing for the return of the OFSAA “AA” volleyball championship

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Preparations are continuing for the return of the OFSAA “AA” volleyball championship to Amherstburg and Windsor.

General Amherst High School is hosting the tournament, but matches will be played not only at General Amherst but at the St. Clair College Sportsplex as well. Jeff Miller, a teacher and senior girls volleyball coach at General Amherst, said Amherst will host the consolation final as well as the bronze and gold medal games.

The tournament starts March 3, 2019 with the banquet at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts and actual game action runs from March 4-6. It is the second time that General Amherst has hosted OFSAA, the first time being in 2012.

Miller said they are trying to ensure that each team has to come to Amherstburg at least once for a game.

The 20-team tournament will see the champions of the 18 regional athletic associations in Ontario come to the area as well as a second team from the region that has last year’s champion. General Amherst will also play in the tournament as the host team.

“They know about it but I don’t think they understand what it entails yet,” said Miller.

The last time the General Amherst Lady Gens advanced to OFSAA was in 2015, meaning no members of the team the school will have next year will have played in the provincial tournament.

“We’ll have a pretty young team next year but a pretty decent team,” said Miller. “The biggest thing for us from a developmental standpoint is it makes our season three to four weeks longer.”

With OFSAA now a guarantee, Miller said that allows them to gain more practice time and obtain experience playing some of the top girls volleyball teams in Ontario.

“It’s going to help us for the following year,” he said.

The 2012 tournament received good reviews as people enjoyed the drive into Amherstburg and the experience of them being here. Miller and assistant coach Mary Ewer have been to ten OFSAA championships, and they would like to use their past experiences travelling to OFSAA as well as hosting OFSAA to make this tournament the best it can be.

“Ideally, we are trying to create a good experience for the 20 teams the will be coming here,” he said.

Miller said they will be seeking out sponsors in the coming months and will be using a lot of General Amherst students as volunteers during the tournament.

“We’re going to need 40-50 volunteers in all different aspects,” said Miller.

They are also planning to give out information on local restaurants and businesses to people visiting Amherstburg.

“A lot of people coming here have never been to this area before,” he said.

There will be approximately 300 players taking part in the 2019 OFSAA “AA” girls volleyball championship and Miller estimates upwards of 1,000 people coming in total when parents and other supporters are factored in.

General Amherst honours top athletes at awards banquet

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The top athletes at General Amherst High School were honoured last week at the annual athletic awards banquet.

The banquet, held last Thursday evening at the Ciociaro Club, saw major sports awards handed out as well as awards in individual sports. Two of the big winners of the evening were Josh DiCarlo and Reese Jones, who were male and female athlete of the year respectively.

“I’m pretty excited,” said DiCarlo. “I knew I had a chance.”

DiCarlo acknowledged he is only in Grade 11 and said it was a bit of a surprise that he beat out the Grade 12 athletes.

“I worked hard for it and I’m glad I got it,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo, who played badminton, golf and hockey this past high school season, thanked his coaches and parents for getting him this far. Jones was also grateful, believing she had a chance at her award.

Jones thought it was be between her and teammate Brooklyn Prescott for the award, but Jones also thought Prescott had a chance at the top female student athlete award as well due to her intelligence.

“I was really excited,” said Jones, who played tennis, volleyball, badminton and slo-pitch this year. “I was hoping to win it.”

A full list of winners was as follows:

Josh DiCarlo and Reese Jones were named Top Male and Top Female Athletes of the Year.

TOP MALE ATHLETE – Josh DiCarlo.

TOP FEMALE ATHLETE – Reese Jones

TOP MALE STUDENT ATHLETE – Cole Zelle

TOP FEMALE STUDENT ATHLETE – Brooklyn Prescott

MOST DEDICATED AWARD – Payton Laing, Tyler Tofflemire

ATHLETE-PLUS AWARD – Tate Levesque, Linden Crain

SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD – Carly Renaud, Spencer Hawkins

SPIRIT AWARD – Matt Belanger

TOP JUNIOR MALE ATHLETES — Matteo Palumbo, Max Jones, Nathan Maxey, Ty Queen, Emmitt Rosati

TOP JUNIOR FEMALE ATHLETES — Danielle Brindley, Lexi Dodds, Abby Orchard, Allison Dufour, Emma MacVoy

General Amherst High School’s top athletes were honoured last Thursday night including major award winners. Top row, from left: Max Jones, Emmitt Rosati, Matt Belanger, Matteo Palumbo, Nathan Maxey, Lexi Dodds, Allison Dufour, Abby Orchard, Linden Crain. Bottom row (from left): Sebastian Hebert, Reese Jones, Brooklyn Prescott, Payton Laing, Carly Renaud, Josh DiCarlo, Tyler Tofflemire, Spencer Hawkins and Tate Levesque.

INDIVIDUAL SPORT AWARD

GOLF – Josh DiCarlo (Lowest Scoring Average)

CROSS COUNTRY – Tyler Rowles (Top Performer), Tyler Tofflemire (Award of Excellence)

TENNIS – Reese Jones (MVP), Matteo Palumbo (Most Dedicated

FOOTBALL – Levi Reaume (Offensive Player of the Year), Spencer Hawkins (Defensive Player of the Year), Bryce Dougan (Lineman of the Year), Matt Belanger (Most Dedicated Player)

GIRLS BASKETBALL – Lexi Dodds (MVP), Brooklyn Prescott (Most Dedicated)

BOYS BASKETBALL – Sebastian Hebert (MVP)

BOYS HOCKEY – Josh DiCarlo (Offensive MVP), Jorden Meyer (Defensive MVP)

GIRLS HOCKEY – Carly Renaud (MVP), Emily Pontini (Corey Meloche Memorial Award)

CURLING – Kylie Parent (Sportsmanship Award)

WRESTLING – Tate Levesque (MVP)

DANCE – Alyssa Jones (Most Dedicated)

GYMNASTICS – Mackenzie Bauer (MVP), Chelsey Deslippe (Rookie of the Year)

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL – Reese Jones, Bryanna France (Awards of Excellence)

GIRLS SLO-PITCH – Brooklyn Prescott (MVP), Alexis DiCarlo (Rookie of the Year)

BADMINTON – Josh DiCarlo (Top Male Player), Jaycie Stanek (Top Female Player)

GIRLS SOCCER – Breana Farias (Coaches Award), Jenna Fiala (MVP)

BOYS SOCCER – Kieron Sweet (Offensive MVP), Griffin Muzzin (Defensive MVP)

BOYS BASEBALL – Sebastian Hebert (MVP), Colton Taylor (Coaches Award)

TRACK AND FIELD – Sydney Doyle (Coaches Award), Tyler Tofflemire (Award of Excellence)

 

Principal Melissa DeBruyne spoke about how students and young people in general can learn from sports. Growing from adversity and difficult times can help young people as they go through life.

“It makes you a stronger person,” said DeBruyne.

Greg Scott, physical education department head, congratulated the Grade 12 players who are graduating and encouraged returning athletes such as the junior-aged players to seize the opportunities put before them.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on at General Amherst is providing opportunities,” said Scott.

Local student’s abilities in machining allows for another competition win

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Devin Paquette, who already won gold at the “Get Skilled” competition at St. Clair College in March, has added another award to his resumé.

Paquette, a Grade 12 OYAP student at General Amherst High School, won the precision machining competition that was held as part of the Skills Ontario event in Toronto. Given two projects to complete in three hours each, Paquette’s came the closest to perfection among the competitors from around the province. The tolerance on a cylinder and a cube was 5/1,000s of an inch, with score deductions for every 1,000th outside the specifications.

During the morning, he worked on a lathe while the afternoon saw him work on a milling machine.

The win sees Paquette advance to the National Skills Championship in Edmonton as part of Team Ontario.

“I’m pretty excited to move on,” said Paquette. “I knew I was doing well at the (Skills Ontario) competition. I knew there were a few mistakes, but I knew I was doing OK.”

Devin Paquette, a Grade 12 student at General Amherst High School, won the precision metal competition in Toronto. (Special to the RTT)

Rodney Levesque, Paquette’s teacher at General Amherst, said the students were given a blueprint of what they had to make from a raw piece of material.

“I had three hours with each machine,” said Paquette.

Levesque said the Skills Ontario competition wasn’t just for machining, but a wide range of disciplines including carpentry, video production, hair styling, and much more. Amherst students Aiden Bradwell and Ethan Lavigne also participated at Skills Ontario in video production.

“Through the OYAP program, Devi has had a placement at Centreline,” said Levesque. “It’s a great program for students looking to get into the trades.”

Paquette is also part of the Specialty High Skills Major program (SHSM).

“It’s going to be a fun trip,” Paquette said of the upcoming trip to Edmonton. “I’m looking forward to spending time with Team Ontario.”

Levesque said more students are needed to go into the trades, as he said there is a large market for people.

“The demand is greater than the number of students that I have to give them,” he said.