LO­CAL NEWS Beur­ling opens doors for all its stu­dents

Le Messager Verdun - - DE CHEZ VOUS... - DA­VID COX @tc.tc

EDU­CA­TION. Ver­dun’s Beur­ling Aca­de­my is consi­de­red to be a red zone school, where there is a high concen­tra­tion of at-risk youth. To help keep the kids in school, it has in­tro­du­ced ma­ny re­sources. Their Open House on Oc­to­ber 5 show­ca­sed these ef­forts.

Whe­ne­ver a school is pre­sen­ting it­self, eve­ryone is of­ten on the best of be­ha­vior and there is a sense of re­hear­sed per­fec­tion. Beur­ling had no such pre­tense. As Prin­ci­pal Alix Adrien wal­ked the halls, he was gree­ted warm­ly by stu­dents, tea­chers and pa­rents.

«If you can con­nect with the stu­dents, you feel ener­gi­zed. They are my mo­ti­va­tion and they sense it. It is all about the con­nec­tion,» he says.

Beur­ling uses eve­ry means at their dis­po­sal, from go­vern­ment sup­port to community part­ner­ships to create bonds. Starting with the ba­sics, Share the Warmth and Ma­zon as­so­cia­tions sup­ply food to the school’s Ri­chie’s Lunch Ca­fé , en­su­ring that eve­ry student has a heal­thy meal to confront the gro­wing is­sue of food in­se­cu­ri­ty.

The New Ap­proaches, New So­lu­tions in­ter­ven­tion mo­del is of­fe­red to schools in low so­cioe­co­no­mic areas and sup­ports a more per­so­nal ap­proach for at-risk stu­dents. The school al­so gets ad­di­tio­nal re­sources to en­sure «suc­cess for all».

Uni­ting with the YMCA, Beur­ling ope­ned the first in-school Teen Zone. Ac­ti­vi­ties and sup­port are in place to keep young minds and idle hands oc­cu­pied. For the past year, it has al­rea­dy rea­ped be­ne­fits for the stu­dents, es­pe­cial­ly those from a lo­cal group home who uti­lize the Zone as a safe ha­ven to hang out in.

OP­TIONS ABOUND

Beur­ling is aware that not all stu­dents will be aca­de­mi­cal­ly in­cli­ned and puts a strong em­pha­sis on other op­tions.

Ins­pi­red by the plum­bing ins­ti­tu­tion it shares its buil­ding with, the school has brought back vo­ca­tio­nal op­tions. A need for benches star­ted the wood-wor­king club that has now be­come an op­tion for the se­nior Cycle. A Home Eco­no­mics course has been re-in­tro­du­ced to teach life skills, and arts op­tions bring out crea­ti­vi­ty in­clu­ding Mu­sic, Dra­ma, Set De­si­gn, Dance and Vi­sual Art.

Prin­ci­pal Adrien is dri­ven by the need to of­fer all stu­dents, not on­ly the at-risk ones, a vi­brant school where any­thing can be ex­pe­rien­ced. «By ex­po­sing them to ma­ny things, per­haps they can find their niche. Our school mot­to is ‘Be­lieve and Suc­ceed’, and we en­gage eve­ry student to be chal­len­ged to their full po­ten­tial.»

Beur­ling keeps on evol­ving to of­fer stu­dents eve­ry op­por­tu­ni­ty to bet­ter them­selves. Re­cent­ly, they be­came a pi­lot school for the DELF pro­gram, where gra­duates re­ceive a re­co­gni­zed di­plo­ma for French stu­dies. The hope is that more En­glish school gra­duates will be fluent in French and open more doors to work, live and thrive wi­thin any Que­bec community.

(Pho­to: Cour­te­sy – Tho­mas Swi­ders­ki)

Stu­dents hard at work and ha­ving fun du­ring the Beur­ling Open House

(Pho­to: TC Me­dia – Da­vid Cox)

A per­ma­nent square de­si­gned by Ver­dun re­si­dents them­selves.

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