Melissa DeBruyne

Grade 8 Night at General Amherst sees strong attendance



By Ron Giofu


Grade 8 students from around the area converged on General Amherst High School with the local public high school showing them what the school has to offer.

Grade 8 Night was held recently with students welcomed to the building and given a tour with information given on the various courses and programs offered. Principal Melissa DeBruyne was pleased with the turnout.

“I felt like it was very well attended,” she said. “The comments I got back from families was that it was a family school, a close knit community school.”

Demonstrations were held during Grade 8 night at General Amherst High School, including in the school’s science department.

“People liked the school spirit,” added vice principal Bonnie Desjardins, noting many staff and students were dressed in the school’s black and gold colours.

DeBruyne said there were a lot of current General Amherst students on hand to help with all of the departments having displays of what they offer. Food was prepared, shop and technology classes were active, business presentations were made and other activities available to let prospective students know what they can expect if they enrol at General Amherst High School. Many students were intrigued by presentations from the mathematics department, she stated.

“The biggest thing is that we’re a family school and a community school,” said DeBruyne.

Desjardins pointed out the communication technology students prepared an introductory video about General Amherst. That video has now been made available on YouTube.

The General Amherst band performed at the recent Grade 8 open house. (Photo by Wyatt Trudelle)

The fact there is a new building on the way, to be built on the southern 15 acres of Centennial Park, wasn’t a huge selling point, she added. DeBruyne stated that a new building won’t alter the fact that General Amherst High School is a community school.

“I don’t think it will change who we are,” said DeBruyne. “A fancy new building doesn’t change what we do for kids.”

The current enrolment at General Amherst High School is 626 students.

General Amherst High School recognizes their top academic students



By Ron Giofu


General Amherst High School took time out last Wednesday night to pay tribute to those students who made the honour roll last year.

Students and their parents, grandparents and guardians were at the Ciociaro Club for the banquet with principal Melissa DeBruyne noting that she often reflects on the journey that students take to get to where they are. She said making mistakes is part of the journey and that mistakes are how a person learns.

“This is a celebration of excellence and we are so proud of the students we are recognizing,” said DeBruyne.

Emma Fleming, Jeremie Bornais and Abby Orchard were this year’s “Top Dog” award winners.

DeBruyne noted that success is also something that happens because of the parents, grandparents and guardians as well as the community.

Parent council chair Julie Wingerden congratulated the students as well as the parents, grandparents and guardians. She credited staff for not only teaching the students, but spending extra time with them with sports teams and clubs.

“There are so many things happening at our school and it wouldn’t happen without the time they give to the school,” said Wingerden.

Wingerden added that every student is different as some have to work for every grade they get while others are able to get good grades easier. She encouraged students not to be jealous of one another but to concentrate on the things they can do well.

Grade 9, 10 and 11 honour roll students were recognized last Wednesday night.

“Chances are you can do something they can’t,” said Wingerden.

Vice principal Bonnie Desjardins said the academic banquet was one of her favourite events of the year and encouraged the students to keep working hard.

“Keep up the great work,” said Desjardins. “We look forward to celebrating your achievements next year.”

Among the list of award winners included the three “Top Dog Award” winners, which is for the highest grade averages in each of Grade 9, 10 and 11. The Grade 9 award went to Emma Fleming while Abby Orchard won the Grade 10 award. The “Top Dog” in Grade 11 was Jeremie Bornais.

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.

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 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.





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.


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.