Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School

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Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School
700 Stevenson Road North
Oshawa, Ontario, L1J 5P5
Coordinates 43°54′40″N 78°53′36″W / 43.9112°N 78.8934°W / 43.9112; -78.8934Coordinates: 43°54′40″N 78°53′36″W / 43.9112°N 78.8934°W / 43.9112; -78.8934
Motto "Veritas Bonitas"
("Truth and Goodness")
Founded 1962
School board Durham Catholic District School Board
Superintendent J. Bowyer
Principal Mrs. S. Duane
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 854 (2015[1])
Language English
Colour(s) Blue and gold
Team name PD Saints

Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School is a Catholic Secondary School located at 700 Stevenson Road North in the city of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.


The present Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School started in September 1962 as St. Joseph High School (on Simcoe Street North), thanks to the vision and commitment of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Monsignor Paul Dwyer and other Catholic priests in Oshawa who identified the need for the continuation of Catholic education from elementary to secondary school. St. Joseph Catholic High School moved locations and became Oshawa Catholic High School (O.C.H.S.) in September 1965. The name was changed to Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School in 1976 in memory of Monsignor Dwyer, who gave generously to the Oshawa community and especially to the development of Catholic education in Oshawa. The school was renamed after the late Msgr. Paul Dwyer who had not actually founded the school but petitioned constantly to have a Catholic school during his lifetime. Currently, Msgr. Paul Dwyer C.H.S. serves the Catholic population of northern Oshawa and other municipalities as far north as Port Perry. The school is one of eight secondary schools in the Durham Catholic District School Board (D.C.D.S.B).

The Sisters of St. Joseph[edit]

The Sisters of St. Joseph had been an educational presence in Oshawa since 1858. The Sisters taught at three elementary separate schools and played a key spiritual role in the community. The story of Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School cannot be told without detailing the major efforts of the Sisters, who filled teaching positions at the newly formed St. Joseph High School on Simcoe Street North in 1962.

With the original start-up class consisting entirely of Grade 9 students, Sister Mary Sheila (principal) and Sister Constance faced the growing pains of this new vision for Catholic education in Oshawa. With the assistance of Monsignor Dwyer, the Oshawa Separate School Board, and support from the community the Sisters vision for Catholic education took shape. The Sisters remained at St. Joseph H.S. for two more years, until Oshawa Catholic High School opened in September 1965.

At O.C.H.S., the Sisters of Joseph – Toronto Archdiocese willingly agreed to finance half of the $1 million construction cost of the school. The local parishes were responsible for the other half. The Sisters functioned as principals, teachers, secretaries, cooks and cleaners. They fully reinvested their salaries into the school to keep it from severe debt. Even so, the school operated at a loss.[citation needed]

The Sisters built a new residence adjacent to O.C.H.S. for the increased staff of nuns. It was the Sisters’ hope that the high ideals and academic excellence that were implemented and nurtured through the years would continue to motivate all involved at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School. Sr. Mary Sheila visited the school many times after 1967 and was joyful to “have seen these ideals fostered, encouraged and achieved.” The work of the St. Joseph religious community continued through principals Sister Conrad Lauber (1967–1979) and Sister Anne Schenck (1979–1988).


On March 30, 2010 at the school's bus stop, student Michael “Biggie” McDonald, 16, died of a stab wound after a fight with another student.[2] Arrested soon after the incident, which was witnessed by dozens of students at a bus stop, was Dwyer student Jacques “Junior” Amakon. In June 2012 Amakon was sentenced to five years in prison for the killing of the school football player.[3] However, he was released after serving about 28 months of his 60-month sentence. Upon his release, Amakon was contacted by City News Toronto and given the opportunity to speak out on the situation and his perspective.[4]

Years later, on November 24, 2016, a man pulled up beside a seventeen-year-old student as they were walking to school, slashed the student with a knife and then drove off. Immediately after the stabbing, staff and students performed a successful hold a secure, which was lifted before long, as police did not believe the attack to be random.[5] The student survived with minor injuries and was responsive after the attack. Randy Chessman, 21, was later charged with assault, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and possession of dangerous weapons pertaining to this incident.[6]


Students enrolled in the school must take a mandatory religion class every year.[7] Students must also take a variety of classes including science, math, English, geography, history, gym and more, depending on their grade. The school typically receives low to average EQAO scores,[8] and according to the Fraser Institute in 2015-16, the school received 5.1 out of 10, putting it at the fourth best secondary school in Oshawa, and the 544th school out of 740 in Ontario.[9]


In a report from November 27, 2016, the DCDSB proposed plans for a new high school to replace Paul Dwyer's apparently aging facilities.[10] However, in a September 25, 2017, report, the DCDSB instead made an alternative claim, stating that location was actually the primary factor behind the proposition to move the school. Nevertheless, approval from the province has not yet been granted and there are few signs of progress towards this concept's eventual completion outside of the initial proposal.[11]

See also[edit]


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