There’s Power in Your Voice

Dear Chaminade Brothers, 

This is your student council president, Emmanuel Adegboyega. 

I hope the summer is treating you well and I know that this has been an incredibly difficult time for all of us. We miss the school, our friends and our teachers. Although it has been challenging , we should all be inspired by the strength of our community. For you my peers, be inspired by your own voice. 

Last month I was featured as part of the front page story of the Toronto Star with my Chaminade brothers Jimmy Huynh and Vincent Pham.

This opportunity is still very surreal to me as I write this blog post. Before I was blessed to serve as your student council president, I was already yearning to be an effective leader in my community. When I became student council president, I knew my understanding of leadership had to evolve. I needed to be  someone my peers and entire school community was going to look up to. I knew I was going to need to make difficult decisions and take strong actions like I did in the Toronto Star article. I had to share my story and be a positive and real voice.  

I have a passion to be an effective leader. So, when the opportunity came, I had to have my voice heard. Collaborating with the journalist from the Toronto Star was a great opportunity for me to be a mature young voice for the black community and speak to topics that are difficult to be addressed by the media. I shared my personal experience so I can connect to the many individuals out there who have felt or experienced injustice. Actually, just this past Saturday another Chaminade brother, Jeffrey Okoromo had his opinion on what it means to be Black shared in the Toronto Star. We should all be so proud of our alumni brother Jeffrey and inspired by him.

More now than ever, I hope young people feel inspired to speak up,  share their stories, and empower others to make a change in the world. As you can see, this is a progressive process which requires not just me speaking up but others sharing their stories, respecting the voices of others and standing as a diverse and faith-filled community. 

As such, looking to the next school year, I am so proud to be the Student Editor of a new digital publication called Voices. Moderated by Mr. Perrotta and Ms. Lo Gatto along with the support of many other wonderful teachers, this publication will be an inclusive space where all Chaminade students are welcome to participate and share their voice. From perspectives on what’s happening politically to celebrating hobbies and personal passions, this monthly publication will harness digital technology as an enabler of student voice and perspective. Share who you are!  Share your skills and talents.

From the written word, to pod-casts, short films and more, Voices will be a space for Chaminade student voices to be heard and experienced as future Catholic graduates. 

More information on this will follow at the start of the new school year.  

I truly know how it feels to share your voice. I hope to hear your stories and urge you to be a positive influence in your community. 

Thank you all for your support and encouragement, it means so very much. Be proud of who you are and be the change agents that the world needs.

Sincerely,

Emmanuel Adegboyega

President of Student Council, Chaminade College School

Poco a Poco: Living Faith Everyday

Congratulations to Chaminade’s Nicholas De Castro, winner of this year’s Radio Maria Faith Talk Contest.

Dear Chaminade,

My name is Nicholas De Castro and I am thrilled and humbled to be the winner of this year’s Radio Maria Faith Talk Contest.

During a Chaplaincy meeting, Ms. Achong, the chaplain at Chaminade, handed out flyers for a contest, organized by Radio Maria and the board’s Nurturing Our Catholic Community (NCC) Team, that invited students to write a two-page proposal about how they are living their faith today. When I was looking at the flyer for the first time, I felt something tug on my heart that urged me to take the challenge. But, despite this feeling, all I could think about was, “What could I write that would make a difference in someone’s faith life? I am just an ordinary student doing ordinary things every day.” With that attitude, I put the contest on the back burner for all of March and April.

Now, this is where things got weird. Though, I felt God was calling me to write this proposal, I put it off entirely. Once April 15 passed, which was the initial due date of the contest, I thought I was going to be finally free of the strange feeling that’s urging me to write it. People always say “God works in mysterious ways,” well, I can tell you that is absolutely true. To my utter surprise, they extended the due date to May 26. Not only did I have another month to reconsider writing the proposal, but I had another thirty days with this strange feeling on my heart. All I could think about now was, “Okay, God, I heard you. I guess you really want me to do this. One thing though, please tell me what to write.”

After a few days of praying about this, God answered my prayer. I realized that all God wanted me to write was about my ordinary life. I am not a student trustee nor am I a child celebrity, all I am is just an average tenth-grade student. But, the thing is, God uses everyone. If God can use a small rock to make a giant fall, a mute old man to lead an entire nation, and a few loaves of bread and pieces fish to feed thousands of people – imagine what he can do in your life.

Looking back, I am glad that I wrote this proposal. During the process, I learned so much about myself and especially my relationship with God. When you listen my submission, I hope that this little backstory can help you gage some perspective of where it’s coming from – “an ordinary teenage boy who does ordinary things every day, but in no ordinary way for God.”

Also, be sure to stay tuned because, as a prize for winning the contest, I am going to have a forty-five-minute interview with RadioMario Canada sometime in the future.

I hope you enjoy my submission! God Bless!

Nicholas De Castro

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