Char-Lan’s ‘cul­ture of car­ing’

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

Char-Lan District High School prin­ci­pal Cather­ine Cooper re­mem­bers the day last fall when the Up­per Canada District School Board an­nounced that her school was be­ing con­sid­ered for clo­sure.

“On the day the news came out, we all gath­ered to­gether in the cafe­te­ria,” she says. “I ex­plained that it would be a long process but we weren’t go­ing to let it de­fine us. I told the stu­dents that they still needed to have a great year.”

Ev­i­dently, the stu­dents took their prin­ci­pal’s ad­vice and pro­duced a school year that has proven rich in ath­lethic ac­com­plish­ments, aca­demic achieve­ments and so­cial in­ter­ac­tion.

Two years ago, Ms. Cooper started an archery pro­gram us­ing a $10,000 Learn to Play grant from RBC. After train­ing five teach­ers in archery, the pro­gram started in earnest. This year, the stu­dents par­tic­i­pated in the Na­tional Archery Com­pe­ti­tion and one of them, Han­nah Rousseau, even won a sil­ver medal.

Char-Lan’s girls’ hockey team won the cham­pi­onship for the third year in a row. The se­nior girls vol­ley­ball and boys soc­cer teams also en­joyed cham­pi­onship sea­sons and Bren­nan Seguin won a gold medal at OFSAA in pole vault­ing.

And once again, Char-Lan won the top fundrais­ing per stu­dent award for its an­nual Terry Fox run.

Char-Lan also joined in on the Canada 150 cel­e­bra­tion, hold­ing a party in Fe­bru­ary that saw young and older stu­dents en­joy­ing ac­tiv­i­ties at the CharLan Rec Cen­tre and at nearby Paul Ro­zon Park.

When it comes to the arts, a whole lot of ink can be spilled about the school’s smash hit mu­si­cal, Love Sick, that was writ­ten by stu­dent Emma Char­p­en­tier.

Re­gard­ing aca­demics, Char-Lan’s EQAO test re- sults av­er­aged out over the past five years were the high­est in the school board. Char-Lan also en­joys the sec­ond high­est grad­u­a­tion rate among the board’s sec­ondary schools.

Cullen St. Clair, a Grade 7 stu­dent who won big at the SDG science fair even had an op­por­tu­nity to at­tend the na­tional science fair in Regina. Also, four of the school’s car­pen­try stu­dents pro­gressed to the Skills On­tario Fi­nals.

Still, when you ask Ms. Cooper what she re­mem­bers most about the school year, she won’t say any­thing about the aca­demic or ath­letic achieve­ments. She’ll talk about the school’s cul­ture of car­ing.

She’ll talk about how, on a given af­ter­noon, the school’s se­nior stu­dents are play­ing bas­ket­ball with some of the in­ter­me­di­ate non-ver­bal kids.

She’ll talk about how high needs stu­dents are wel­comed into the school’s Learn­ing Com­mons for reg­u­lar gam­ing ses­sions.

It is in­stances like these, Ms. Cooper says, that made Char-Lan’s school year so mem­o­rable.

STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON PHOTO

GRAD­U­ATES: Char-Lan grad­u­ates Emily Tourangeau, Macken­zie Smith, Lee-Anne War­den and Chan­tal Vi­varais.

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