St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School

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St. Theresa C.S.S.
St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School 2007.jpeg
Cura Et Audax Virtute
Care and Bold Power
Address
135 Adam Street
Belleville, Ontario, K8N 5S1, Canada
Information
School number 851752
School board Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board
Superintendent Terri Slack
Principal Carey Smith-Dewey
Vice principal Charlene Landry-Kyte
School type Secondary
Grades 9-12
Language English
Mascot Mr. & Mrs. Titans
Team name Titans
Colours Navy Blue, White, Maroon             
Newspaper Titanium (currently inactive)
Founded 1998
Enrollment over 760 (2008)
Homepage Official School Website

St.Theresa Catholic Secondary School (STCSS) is a Roman Catholic Secondary School in Belleville, Ontario, Canada. It operates under the direction of the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board. The school is named after the patron saint, St. Theresa (1873–1897). St. Theresa C.S.S. is a uniform school.

History[1][edit]

St. Theresa C.S.S. opened in September 1998. St. Theresa was built because of an overcrowding at its sister school, Nicholson Catholic College. In the early 1990s when Nicholson simply became too overcrowded the school board finally decided that it was time for a new school to be built.

An opening ceremony was held on November 7, 1999, attendees including Archbishop Francis J. Spence, Principal Dension, former Liberal MPP Ernie Parsons, and Dr. Gregory Cosgrove, the Director of Education at the time.

After the school opened it had a population of just a little over 300 kids and a few years later it had another wing added.

In 2013, the school was presented with the Premier's Accepting Schools Award for its innovative and outstanding leadership in creating a safe and inclusive school. This innovation is can be noticed by reading the banner that hangs on the stairs by the office, which contains all the students signatures and a declaration that the school community has decided to take a stand against bullying. Though much action has been taken to eradicate bullying, which has caused instances of bullying to be greatly reduced, the school is not totally bully free and progressive actions are still being taken to ever improve the system.

Administration[edit]

As of 2012, there are over 70 teaching staff, six support staff and two administrators. The leader of the administration is the principal, followed by the vice principal. The administration generally operates with managerial elements and according to rigid policies set out by itself, the school board and the Ontario government. Students are not allowed to go against policy and have generally limited power to legally combat policies and the will of the administration, yet teachers have slightly more clout through unions such as OECTA.[2] Students, parents and staff who have concerns about the administration can voice their opinions to the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board at board meetings, visiting the board office at 151 Dairy Avenue, Greater Napanee or by contacting the board by phone, fax or email (contact information available at www.alcdsb.on.ca).

Student views on the administration vary with subjectivity playing a large role in their opinions. The closeness of the Catholic school community gives opportunity for the administration to communicate with students at events such as school mass and liturgies, fun events, and through student participation in athletics and extracurricular activities. A phrase often used by staff and the administration when describing their expectations for students is "work hard, play hard, pray hard", which signifies the encouragement for students to do their best in academics, have fun and excel in areas such as athletics and skills students' extracurriculars are based upon, and to continuously strive to deepen their faith life.

Academics[edit]

All students who attend St. Theresa are taught under the Ontario Secondary Curriculum. From 2002 to 2004, St. Theresa had success rates below 80%. In the 2007 school year, the success rate was up to 92%.[3]

Joe Stafford, a history teacher at St. Theresa, has been awarded the Governor General's Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History. Stafford was presented with his award on November 17, 2008, at Rideau Hall. The announcement of the winner was delayed due to the calling of the 2008 Canadian federal election.[4]

In a 2012 report from the Fraser Institute that ranked Ontario secondary schools in terms of academics for the 2011-2012 school year, St. Theresa scored 6.1/10, ranking it 378th out of the 725 Ontario secondary schools included in the report. Out of the other high schools in the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School received the lowest score in terms of academic achievement, behind St. Paul Secondary School, which scored 6.8/10. The decline in academics in recent years is a startling one, as St. Theresa had maintained an exceptionally high academic standing in years past, as it ranked highest in the school board during the 2010-2011 school year with a score of 8.6/10. Despite this, St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School's score is still above the provincial average.[5]

Uniforms[edit]

Students are required to wear a certain style of uniform, as is required by school and board policies. Students are given a choice of three types of shirts, including a dark blue polo shirt, a white polo shirt, and a light blue dress shirt. Males wearing the dress shirt are required to wear a dark blue tie with a maroon and yellow plaid pattern. All shirts bear the school's symbol in red stitching. Both genders have the option of wearing tan coloured dress pants or shorts, yet female students can also wear a kilt that is of the same or highly similar pattern as the school tie. All students are required to wear black shoes. A recent addition to the uniform policies, (which were also implemented in Nicholson Catholic College) that was put into effect in the 2013-2014 school year was the requirement for female students to wear leggings with their kilts. The recent reform was unpopular among students. There are also a number of school sweaters that range in colour from dark blue to maroon, all of which bear the school's symbol or crest.[6]

On certain days, usually once a month, students are allowed to wear civilian clothes. Such 'civie days', as they are called, still adhere to principles of a proper and appropriate dress code. Students are also allowed to wear certain colours, costumes, or spirit wear during special events organized by the school, or by certain extracurricular groups such as Student Council and JEDI. These special days are met with much enthusiasm by students.

As students in elementary schools in the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board are not obligated to wear any kind of uniform, the school uniform rule enforced at St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School is a significant change for students transitioning into high school. Student opinions on uniforms vary, as some enjoy the simplicity of not having to spend excessive time deciding what to wear, and some agree that uniforms help to prevent bullying based on social class or what clothes students wear, as it limits the wearing of brand name garments. Other students do not like uniforms because they are, though of good quality, expensive, and because they limit creativity. Students are generally opposed to the strict uniform policies the school imposes, which have involved students being kicked out of class for having shoes that were dark brown instead of black. Concerns have also been raised that the combination of the uniform pants and dress shirt are almost a match to the uniforms used in Alcatraz prison. The shocking similarity can be observed in the movie Escape from Alcatraz, starring Clint Eastwood.

Facilities[edit]

St .Theresa is equipped with a wide range of athletic facilities. Because of the school's close location to the Yardmen Arena, that is used for the Canadian Hockey Skills Academy classes. Because of the growing student population a new wing was built, housing a new art studio, office and life skills room. The wing was officially opened during the 2005 school year.[7]

The school property includes two soccer fields, referred to as the upper and lower fields. The upper field is rugby and football compatible while sporting a gravel running track that envelops it. There is also a sand area with posts for a beach volleyball court, yet this has been neglected over the years and now the court is nearly overrun with foliage, and someone put birdhouses on the volleyball posts. There is a paved walkway from the school to the Quinte Health and Wellness Centre parking lot, providing students with access to further sports facilities.

St. Theresa also has a number of off campus classrooms that it shares with Sir James Whitney School, where welding, mechanics, cosmetology and construction programs are taught.

Murals[edit]

There are a great many murals on the walls of the school that colour it with a variety of artistic styles. Analyzing the paintings is a good way to view the evolution of students' artistic perspectives.

  • On the northern entrance to the cafeteria, the space around the doors is covered with painted roses, and a painting of St. Theresa, the school's patron saint, is depicted praying and holds a rosary. There is no verifiable date as to when the mural was completed, but it is estimated that it is probably the oldest mural, dating back to 1999 or the early 2000s. The painter(s) are unknown.
  • On the side of the stairs closest to the southern entrance to the cafeteria, there is a very detailed painting of a sailboat on the Bay of Quinte, which includes a depiction of Belleville's Bay Bridge. The water, sky, and surrounded tree-filled shores are expertly painted. The piece was painted by a former student, and was most likely completed in the early 2000s. It has been neglected over the years, and the paint on the bottom is starting to peel.
  • The southern entrance to the gym is adorned with a number of black silhouettes sporting the school's athletic uniforms, and are depicted playing various school sports. This mural was painted by a small group of students in possibly the mid 2000s.
  • In most likely sometime in middle or late 2000s, a group of students led by the art teacher at the time painted a number of graffiti words that depict various Catholic virtues, including "Patience" near the entrance to the computer labs, "charity" and "control" near the entrance to the new wing, "piety" between the two sets of double doors at the southern entrance to the cafeteria, "goodness" near a doorway in the new wing, "love" on either side of the space between two sets of double doors on the western side of the school leading out to the portable classrooms, and possibly others. One upstairs near the science room was removed in the late 2000s.
  • The Clockotorium, a classroom with an abundance of clocks, was painted in the early-mid 2000s by students (this mural depicted a multitude of things that referenced to the lives of students an staff, and then was repainted by a hired professional in 2012 to depict large monarch butterflies and clocks. The inside of the Clockotorium door has the golden rule painted on it in a number of languages.
  • Room 201 sports a mural that references to Catholicism on its northern wall. Not much is known about this mural, and it was most likely painted by a teacher or a small group of students in the early 2000s.
  • In May 2013, a group of students painted a mural in the new wing, depicting a large globe held up by black silhouettes of students, with the silhouettes on the outside holding Olympic style torches. A yellow banner runs across the top, displaying an excerpt from John McCrae's poem, In Flanders Fields, that reads, "The torch be yours to hold it high". The mural is set against a light blue, sky-like background. It signifies the lasting legacy staff and students of St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School maintain throughout the school's changing generations.

Special events[edit]

Renaissance Society History Conferences[edit]

Every year the Renaissance Society of St. Theresa holds a conference "Celebrating Canadian Culture: Past, Present and Future". The conference has estimatedly been running since the late 1990s-early 2000s and has famous guest speakers such as the author Frances Itani who spoke about her novel.[8] Regular organizations who attend these conferences include the Hastings County Historical Society.

Dances[edit]

School dances are organized and run by the school's Student Council and are widely enjoyed by students. Supervision is provided by staff members and police to ensure acceptable behavior. Each dance has a specific theme to make each one a new and unique experience. Dances usually take place in the school's Great Hall. Oftentimes, the music is provided by a hired DJ, and is in most cases a combination of fast and slow songs. Students engage in a variety of dancing styles.

Graduation Ceremonies[edit]

Each year, the school throws a graduation ceremony to celebrate each grade 12 class' completion of secondary school. Graduates wear a maroon gown and traditional graduation cap. Festivities include the giving out of Ontario Secondary School Diplomas and other academic awards, some of which include a monetary allotment. A valedictorian chosen by staff and students gives a speech, and an adult guest speaker is invited to say a few words of encouragement. Graduations are an assemblage of teachers, parents, administrators, and students to recognize the successes of each graduating class, and to collectively hope that the students continue to experience success in their futures.

Athletics[edit]

St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School provides a number of athletics for students, including but not limited to hockey, football (as of 2013), soccer, rugby, golf, skiing, cross-country running, track and field, basketball, baseball, volleyball, badminton, and tennis. The school is most well known for its highly skilled hockey teams.

Cross Country[edit]

The cross country team demonstrate exemplary dedication and team spirit. Some athletes have won Bay of Quinte and COSSA level cross country meets, and the efforts of athletes and coaches are very much the reason for the team's success. Some of the school's cross country athletes have even made it to the OFSAA cross country championship meet.

Curling[edit]

The curling team has done exceptionally well in recent years, and its athletes have participated in a variety of tournaments. In recent years, it has been successful enough to make it to the OFSAA level.

Badminton[edit]

The badminton team participates in practices each year, which culminates in the Bay of Quinte Championship. A number of students enjoy playing badminton, since the badminton team generally has a multitude of members. Student athletes engage in doubles and singles matches during weekly practices and inter-school competitions. All equipment, including nets, rackets, birdies, and protective goggles, are provided by the school.

Basketball[edit]

The basketball teams have been very successful over the years, maintaining a long standing rivalry with Nicholson Catholic College. Outstanding athletic performance and sportsmanship, accompanied by great coaching has led the school's basketball teams to victory in a number of local and regional championships throughout the school's history. The school community provides an enormous amount of support for the teams, as a number of pep rallies have been organized when the school hosts basketball games and tournaments, and students participate in events known as 'buyouts' where they pay a small amount of money to wear spirit wear during the school day in support of the teams.

During the 2012-2013 school year, the school hosted the COSSA tournament for the junior and senior girls' basketball teams. The Broadcast Club recorded much of the tournament, and showed highlight's on the following video announcements. Whether the footage still exists or not is inconclusive.

Football[edit]

During the 2012-2013 school year, a decision was made to create a football team. A number of grade 9 and 10 student athletes participated in a series of practices that year to get ready for the upcoming season that would start during the 2013-2014 school year. As grade 11, 12, and fifth year students in 2012-2013 would be ineligible for the team, they were denied participation in the practices. The 2013-2014 school year involved the football team displaying a commendable athletic performance on the football field, marking the beginning of the school's football legacy. Before each football game, team members were allowed to come to school in dress shirts, ties, and in some cases, full formal attire.

Hockey[edit]

On March 20, 2008, the boys' hockey team won the 2008 COSSA title, winning 8-3 against Holy Cross Secondary School (Peterborough).[9] The St. Theresa boys' and girls' hockey team won silver at OFSAA hockey in 2011. The school's hockey program and its proximity to the hockey arenas at the Quinte Health and Wellness Centre have contributed to the hockey teams' many successes.

Soccer[edit]

The junior boys' soccer team won a silver medal at COSSA in 2009. In 2010, the junior boys' soccer team lost all of its games, scoring only one goal in the entire season against the Prince Edward Collegiate Institute (Picton), which made the score 11-1.

Tennis[edit]

The tennis team has been a fairly new edition to the school's array of sports. Though the team is small in number, athletes take part in various tournaments, such as the Bay of Quinte championship. Since few schools have tennis teams in the Belleville area, there are a small number of teams that compete in the local competition. Athletes who emerge victorious at the Bay of Quinte championship move on to larger and more prestigious meets.

Track and Field[edit]

The school's track and field team has done exceptionally well over the years, and has even sent solo athletes and relay teams to compete at OFSAA track and field meets. The team's success is due in large part to the dedication and determination of athletes and coaches.

Volleyball[edit]

The volleyball team is very dedicated, holding its ground against the other high schools in the Bay of Quinte area. It played exceptionally well during the 2012-2013 season, with a number of seasonal wins including a success over Marc Garneau Secondary School, a school in Trenton, Ontario known for its exceptional volleyball teams.

In October, 2009, St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School hosted a Catholic Class Volleyball Tournament, to which a number of Catholic Secondary School volleyball teams from across Ontario arrived to compete. The school's own senior men's volleyball team participated in the exhibition tournament.

Extracurricular Activities[10][edit]

There are many clubs and organizations within the school community. There are four main groups which keep events running for the student body. These four groups are known as 'The Four Pillars' they include: ICE (Intramural Council Executive), JEDI (Social Justice Group), Student Council (formally S-Unit) and The Broadcast Club (STBC TV). The extracurricular community works best when 'The Four Pillars' operate in collaboration with each other, for their combined efforts unite a wide variety of student interests.

ICE (Intramural Council Executive)[edit]

ICE organizes intramural events for students and supports athletic teams by running pep rallies and other spirit-building events. The group runs a number of in-school tournaments for sports such as floor hockey and indoor soccer. Students have the opportunity to form a team with a group of their friends, and make their own jerseys, cheer, etc. to compete with other teams. Players on winning teams are granted commemorative t-shirts.

JEDI[edit]

JEDI is a social justice group that seeks to help those in need through a number of charitable events. One of its popular initiatives are its annual food drives that get the entire school community involved in helping people who are not able to buy food. Its principles are rooted in the teachings of the Catholic faith.

A subgroup of JEDI, known as JEDI Green, has surfaced in recent years. JEDI Green tries to help the environment by running the school's compost program and by raising awareness about events such as Earth Day and Earth Hour. From 2010-2011, JEDI Green ran a greenhouse where it grew vegetables and herbs that it donated to the cafeteria staff.

Student Council[edit]

Student Council is the school's student government. It organizes events for students such as dances and assemblies. It does not have a current constitution. Student Council sends delegates to regular meetings of the ALCDSB Student Senate. The group is overseen by two staff advisers.

Positions[edit]

  • President: the leader of the student council
  • Senior Boy: represents senior male students
  • Senior Girl: represents senior girl students
  • Junior Boy: represents junior male students
  • Junior Girl: represents junior female students
  • Secretary Treasurer: takes minutes of meetings and manages finances
  • Communications Officer: informs students of upcoming Student Council events, often making appearances on the morning announcements
  • Tech Liaison: Organizes and runs technological aspects of Student Council events and ensures communication and cooperation between Student Council and The Broadcast Club

Elections[edit]

Student Council members are chosen through democratic means. Initially, all students who wish to run for Student Council are interviewed by the group's staff advisers. A number of applicants are chosen to run for each position. After a brief time allotted for candidates to campaign, during which they are to say a speech to students recorded by The Broadcast Club, Student Council Elections are usually held in the second semester of the school year. All students currently enrolled at the school are eligible to vote as of 2013 when grade 12 and fifth year students who would be leaving the school after the current school year were granted suffrage by the Student Council Staff Advisers and the school administration. All elections are carried out according to the principle of secret ballot. Newly elected candidates begin their one year terms the following school year. Some believe that incoming grade 8 students should also be granted the right to vote in Student Council Elections, yet as of 2014 they are not allowed.

In relation to other secondary schools in the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board (ALCDSB), St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School is behind in its election campaign process, for Nicholson Catholic College, St. Paul Catholic Secondary School, Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School and Regiopolis Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School all have campaign processes that involve candidates giving a live performance in addition to a video. On the positive side however, St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School was not banned from having dances during the 2012-2013 school year, unlike most of the other secondary schools in the ALCDSB. Based on this evidence, it can be said that St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School's Student Council is more efficient with respect to dances and similar initiatives, yet is less political, which provides reason to deduce that it operates in a more businesslike fashion in comparison to the other secondary schools.

Operations[edit]

Student Council has weekly meetings where elected members meet, often with the group's staff advisers, to discuss and plan possible events to increase student interest and enjoyment, as well as to help charitable causes. The Student Council President usually runs the meetings and the Secretary Treasurer records minutes. Sometimes other meetings are required to set up for events. On occasion, the student body has been polled on topics such as dance themes to gather information on a popular opinion. Being on Student Council is a role that requires a great deal of time and effort and Student Council members are greatly respected by the school community for the time they spend volunteering to contribute to the happiness of their fellow students.

As of 2013, meeting minutes from Student Council meetings are not revealed to the student body. Financial statements are also kept secret, despite the fact that hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars of funds paid by students as event costs flow through Student Council. On occasion, it has not been divulged to the student body that the money raised by Student Council was donated to a charity. The need for transparency is great and the mystery generated from the secrecy has troubled radical student thinkers.

The structure of Student Council and its operations have generally kept up old traditions such as dances and assemblies while adding creative and unique elements to them with each passing year.

The Broadcast Club (STBC TV)[edit]

The Broadcast Club's role is to inform students of upcoming school events. It oversees the operation of daily morning sound system announcements, creates weekly video announcements that air every Friday morning through televisions that are installed in the majority of classrooms and chooses which song is to be played each morning when classes start and when lunchtime ends. On occasion, it creates feature short films that entertain students and build school spirit, such as The Lightle Who Stole Christmas (2012).[11] The Broadcast Club often assists the Tech Liaison in running technological aspects of Student Council events.

Many of The Broadcast Club's archival works from 1998-2005 are available on its old YouTube account,[12] yet in 2006 and onward, the club's management stopped taking accurate records and much of their current material is lost. The inaccessible video files, which include videos for Student Council elections, are presumed to have been deleted. One of the key goals of the club as of 2013 is to increase video quality and quantity, replenish its archives, and appeal to a wider demographic. Much effort was made during the 2012-2013 school year to reach these goals and it is hoped by students and alumni that this dedication is continued.

The Broadcast Club's leadership structure is difficult to define, yet in most cases it seems to take the form of student supervisors who are either chosen by club members or its teacher adviser. Supervisors often members with the most seniority, yet this is not always the case. Supervisors edit members' videos and have the power to accept, change or reject them to fit the school's guidelines (principles, morality, Catholicism, etc.). It is important for supervisors to be tolerant and accepting of members' creative works and ideas for club operations to run smoothly.

Other Extracurricular Clubs and Groups[edit]

In addition, there are many other organizations and clubs such as: Band, Choir, Dance Team (junior and senior), Improv Team, Reach For The Top, Travel Club, Debate Club, Shakespeare Guild, Renaissance Historical Society, and Yearbook. The Drama Club has produced several major productions.

It is important to note that a variety of clubs including Habitat For Humanity, R.I.C.K. (Reading Is for Cool Kids (Book Club)), and Titanium (the school newspaper) are currently inactive as of the 2013-2014 school year due to changing student interests and/or a lack of involvement.

Titanium, the school newspaper, was once a strong extracurricular organization that allowed students to develop their writing and journalism skills, as well as to share their opinions and memories with the school community. It also served the key purpose of informing students about events and issues going on in the school. In its early and prosperous days, it distributed hardcopies to staff and students, and was relatively well read. It is estimated that in the 2009-2010 school year, the Titanium group decided to become environmentally friendly and stop distributing hardcopies, instead deciding to post the newspaper online. As a result, few in the school community were aware of the change or where to find the school newspaper online, and readership sharply declined. Since students gradually became less and less informed and even aware of the school paper's existence, the number of student volunteers for Titanium likewise decreased, until there was insufficient student membership to successfully run the paper. By 2012, Titanium had ceased to operate; a key sector of the communications component of the school's extracurricular community had collapsed, leaving only the Broadcast Club to take on the task of informing students.

An Anime and Manga Club ran during the 2010-2011 school year, after which it was discontinued.

A Men's Varsity Dance Team (MVDT) was organized in 2012, and contributed a number of performances to the St. Theresa school community during the 2012-2013 school year. The team was inspired by a school group of a similar name that did performances during the 2009-2010 school year. The old male varsity dance team was forced to disband after a number of its members were suspended after the school administration deemed their performances as inappropriate. At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, the new and slightly more modest MVDT was disallowed participation in school assemblies by the Student Council teacher advisers, and has since been unable to continue its operations. The MVDT established in 2012 used dance as a means to help team members develop a positive outlook and self-confidence. At its peak, the club had about six to eight committed members. Its final performance for the St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School community was during the prom for the graduating class of 2012-2013. Records of the newer MVDT can be found in the 2012-2013 school yearbook.

Notable alumni[edit]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]