For the Love of Learning: COVID-19 and Beyond

Dear Chaminade Family,

Mr. Perrotta here.

It goes without saying that we’re living in unprecedented times. Never in my wildest imagination would I find myself is this particular narrative. Like a fantasy or horror film, we find ourselves facing an unknown force that has pushed us to our own sense of personal extremes. For nearly two months, we’ve been self-isolated, physically distancing and facing our own anxieties and fears. However, amongst all of the darkness there comes so much hope. This hope is our shared faith and individual outlook that will transcend this moment in time. So, with all the bad comes so much good. 

Personally, as I continue along this journey as a husband, parent and VP, I’ve found myself reflecting on my possible mindset if I were a high school student during this time. The thought is a daunting one.

To rewind:

I always enjoyed school but not necessarily “schooling.” This is to say that Mr. Perrotta of high school (1994 – 1999) was not the most studious student. I loved being in particular classes, socializing with friends in and out of school and always had a love of movies that I was fully engaged in. However, in regards to “schooling,” I wasn’t all that mature yet to understand my relationship with learning. Although,I flourished in creative courses that harnessed my imagination, I rested on the outskirts of others. This wasn’t because I couldn’t handle a particular course but rather because learning was equated to marks on tests and quizzes. I didn’t see learning as something greater than “schooling” itself.

So, as I think about what you as students must be experiencing during COVID-19 distancing learning, I recognize this extremely unique time and ask myself this question about assessment: 

What would I do as a high school student if I knew my mark couldn’t go below a particular threshold?

Frankly, I would probably find myself playing Sega Genesis, watching VHS after VHS and using dial up modem internet connection to play emulators. I would most likely disengage as I would look at “learning” as shaped by a mark in a course.  Writing this very fact now makes me incredibly disappointed in my high school self; I could have and should have done so much more during those years beyond the courses that spoke to my sense of creativity.  

Now as an adult who is a dedicated life long learner, I know that learning for a love of learning is truly empowering and transformational. Whether it’s learning a new recipe (I love to cook) or taking a professional learning course to support my improved educational practice, I wish I was a high school learner that appreciated that schooling was so much more than marks. It was and is about the personal journey of transformation. The more we learn the more we grow. As I say with my own children at home, “the more we know the further we go.”

Furthermore, learning must be personal and valued. I first realized this as I moved from my hometown of Niagara Falls to Toronto after high school to study film and television production at Humber College. Living in residence, paying hefty living and tuition fees, I quickly learnt that ALL learning is valuable. Although, I was specializing in film, I was enrolled and engaged in elective courses that broadened my perspective and shaped how I learn. I was deeply falling in love with learning regardless of subject.

The high school me, would have thought that courses not media focused (preparing me for film school) wouldn’t be of value. I soon realized as a post-secondary student that ALL learning is valuable and my own intrinsic motivation was the enabler  – not marks or a potential job. I was motivated by new learning in and of itself.

So, this is all to say that although marks can’t go below a particular threshold, doesn’t mean the learning stops during COVID-19 distance learning. Learning lives beyond marks and this is an important time to remind us that learning and school is about improvement – building upon successes and next steps.

As we continue to move along our distance learning journey, I encourage you to embrace learning as about more than a single mark in a course. Learning is about your transformation. Whether it is particular course content or the skills learnt along the way, all learning is transferable beyond a single course of study and importantly within this unique situation, slow and steady will win the race.

Importantly, part of learning is self-regulating. This means you know how you learn, reflect, and acknowledge where you are on your journey. So, if you need any support along this COVID-19 journey, please know you are not alone. Please reach out and connect. We all must take care of ourselves and focus on wellness and balance in our approach. So, as I encourage you to embrace your learning with a focus on improvement, please be well and know that your emotional well-being is so critical and important when looking to support your academic success.

Wishing you all the very best. Thinking of you and your families.

God Bless!

To Infinity and Beyond: NASA Champs

First Prize for Nasa Space Settlement International Contest Won by Chaminade College!
https://space.nss.org/settlement/nasa/Contest/Results/2020/index.html

Congratulations to the 10 Chaminade winners, who were awarded the first prize in the international Nasa Space Settlement Design International Contest, for the grade 12 category:

Domenico Didiano, Rui da Silva Marques, Talon De Freitas, Peter Pulcini, Jimmy Huynh, Matthew Di Rito, Jason Rodrigues, Frank Serafino, Noah Corasaniti and Eugenio DiGregorio.

This annual, international contest challenges student to design a space colony that functions in specific imposed, restricted conditions. The contest, administered by NASA Ames Research Center, is open to all grade 6-12 students from everywhere in the word. In this year’s contest, 2,646 design entries, involving 14,359 students, were sent for evaluation.

The Chaminade team developed a space settlement design for Astraios, one of the permanent human settlements. This settlement is located in the Lagrange point L2, the best place to observe the universe, with a very stable thermal environment, on the line defined by the Earth and the sun. Furthermore, the project focuses on explaining aspects of life sustainability, and the economic, social and political systems of the settlement.

Our passionate Chaminade students collaborated effectively, as a team of future engineers and scientists. They proposed a realistic project, based on scientific facts and observations, supported by theories and relevant research. They invested countless afterschool hours, brainstorming ideas, investigating outer space conditions, reading up on concepts, exploring social, financial and economic models, analyzing statistics, planning and discussing various options, performing calculations and writing up the final project report.

All the hard work has paid off, and the Chaminade team was rewarded with a first-place finish. Way to go boys!!!

It is my hope that these enthusiastic students and their amazing project will inspire younger Chaminade students to learn about outer space exploration and develop creative ideas for building extraterrestrial human settlements.

To the bright, innovative Chaminade champions: My dream is that one day I will be rocketing to outer space to visit the Astraios settlement, and see your vision become reality!

With Pride,

Mrs. Georgescu

The Power of a Word

A number of students at Chaminade College gathered weekly to discuss topics regarding African heritage. A recurring theme was the use of the N word. As a group, we discussed the way we saw how the N word was consistently being used on social media, in popular culture (especially in rap music), by the general, public, and by other students. We decided that we wanted to create a video to raise awareness about the use of the N word.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH VIDEO


The origins of the N word can be traced back to the African slave trade. The word was used as an insult and racial slur against black people, and continues to be used negatively today. In response, many people of African descent have fought to be treated respectfully and to promote the beauty of our race. So when we use this word today, the word that our ancestors fought tirelessly to conquer, it is as if we have disregarded the progress of those who have come before us.


The excuses for the use of the word vary. Some black people might say they are entitled to reclaim the N word — to take it back from our oppressors. Some black people believe they have earned the right to use this word simply because they are black. What is more baffling is that some non-black individuals claim they can use the N word because their black peers have given them the N word pass. The word has become normalized in our society and entrenched in
our culture today to the extent that people just absent-mindedly use the word
without knowing what it means.

Post by: Emmanuel Adegboyega,
President of Student Council

The Joy of Drama: Chaminade Players

Dear Chaminade,

The Chaminade Players were born 15 years ago. I remember every show. But as each show ends, we must move on and begin to figure out what we will do the next year. Our only goal is to make each show better than the last. Our choice is always limited by the fact that Chaminade is an all boys school. With that in mind, we are always trying to find the right fit. So it was one day at school, 8:40 am or so, that we heard the ever familiar, “Good morning Chaminade. Here is some music to get you on your way to class.” As soon as the song began, we knew. The song was Stand by Me by Ben E. King. It was then that we knew what our next show would be.

Stand by Me is also the name of a 1982 film by Rob Reiner based on the novella The Body by Stephen King. We have combined the best of the novella and screenplay. It has never been produced as a play so that means it will make its world premiere at Chaminade later this year.

To those new to the school or have yet to check out the wonderful work our students create, the Chaminade Players turn our own Mini Gym in to a dynamic, black box, theatre that can seat just over a hundred people. That intimacy works in our favour as the audience is so close to the action that they cannot help but feel part of the show. It is in this space that we will unveil Stand by Me the play. It is a play about the loss of our innocence and the never-ending struggle to combat the people and the events in our lives that conspire to rob us of all that is right and true. Thankfully, no matter our age or our lot in life, our indelible memories of the seminal moments in our life can never be taken away.

Putting on this play or any play takes a world of commitment and our students have given up all their Saturdays since September and all their Saturdays to come in order to give this story its due. They do so because they love the theatre and they love the idea of a company of players creating something from where there was once nothing. I am in awe of that commitment and I am so honoured to stand with them, or dare I say, Stand by them.

There are so many wonderful things that go on in our school, so we are ever respectful of when we roll out our show. These musings serve as an amuse bouche to whet your whistle and to let you all know what is coming in the first week of June.

Come the end of May we will begin our final push to promote our show. Until then, we thank you in advance for your continued support of the Arts.

Sincerely,

Mr. Costa

From the Hardwood: Coach’s Pride

Another season of senior boys basketball has passed and once again, I’m left applauding the players with admiration of their dedication and pride of what they’ve accomplished both as a team and as individuals. Closing the season with a respectable 10-5 record and narrowly missing this year’s AAA playoffs, the game played and immensely enjoyed by all invested in the team truly transcends sports and speaks to what it means to be collaborative contributors; working as a team and respecting the promise of all members.

With so much good this season, the one sad thing to take from this and all seasons, is that the family that was built since October, is no longer together after school. As an alumnus of Chaminade College, watching and helping these brothers reach their season goals has been an extremely rewarding and fun experience, to say the least.

The team and individual goals set each year, oddly enough, do not relate to wins and losses in basketball, but to much greater skills and life lessons. Primarily, the life lessons include the richness of character development, which is truly inspiring and can never be quantified by season stats or the numbers posted in a game .

Over the past 6 years, I’ve had the pleasure of coaching with fellow alumnus Omar ‘Coach O’ Quamina (@togethercoach_o) who is not only a leader and role model for the team, but also an older brother which whom the players can confide in. Above all else, working alongside Coach O has allowed me to understand the importance of building relationships with the players and valuing these relationships much more than a simple win-loss record. Each player is truly special off and on the court.

Proudly, as alumnus, together with the players and with the support of the entire school community, Coach O and I have worked to create a senior boys basketball culture at Chaminade College that is inclusive, competitive, motivating, and most importantly, fun. The future is very bright for Chaminade Basketball and we are certain it will continue to thrive for the years to come.

Fortes in Fide.

With Pride,

Coach Cioffi

Semester 2 Begins: The Power of Hope

As staff and students gear up for Semester 2 after a tremendously busy and successful first semester, it’s important to take the time to reflect on next steps and the goals ahead. In many schools, especially one as active as Chaminade, the time passes so quickly and the opportunity to reflect is often missed.

So, as Semester 2 begins with vigour, all students are encouraged to take the time to reflect. Reflect on the challenges, successes and next steps that came from Semester 1. This is a time to celebrate what was done well and to actively embrace what can be approved upon. In many ways, it’s the next steps that leads to the deepest learning. With a positive growth mindset (the belief that one can achieve), students can thrive and find their personal success.

It’s important to recognize that reflection and goal setting enables self-regulation and thus an individual’s ability to adapt and thrive. For some students, this can be a challenge, but with a rich partnership between home and school, the power of reflection, goal setting and self-regulation can be tools that shape positive and meaningful results.

Think about this: NBA legend, Michael Jordan was once cut from his high school basketball team and Walt Disney was once fired for a lack of creativity while working at a small local paper. This is to say that all students must have the hope that they can achieve their dreams and that with each new day rests endless possibilities.

So, as we find ourselves in the early start of Semester 2, each student is encouraged to believe in their potential and know that God is with them. It may be challenging at times but with God’s love, hope and positive mindset, anything is possible.

If you need a bit of inspiration, just watch the video below.

As Semester 2 will move quickly, all Chaminade students are to know that they’re not alone. Don’t be shy to ask for help. Success is never found in isolation.

God Bless!

Post By: Anthony Perrotta, Vice Principal