Loughborough Public School (LPS) grade 3 Anishnaabe student Nescia Giangrosso travelled to Winnipeg, early last month, to be part of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Imagine a Canada – Youth Leading Reconciliation workshop and national celebration, which took place at the Turtle Lodge International Centre for Indigenous Education and Wellness in the Sagkeeng First Nation.

Imagine a Canada also includes an art project. Youth across Canada “invited to submit an art piece about the way they envision Canada through the lens of reconciliation”.

Nescia was invited to participate in the workshop because the mixed-media art piece that LPS had created was chosen as the Ontario entry for 2019. 11 or the 16 classes at the school (aprox. 70% of the students) from grades Kindergarten to grade 8 participated in creation of the art piece.

The 13ft long piece, which hangs in the school, is called “From What Dish Do You Want to Feed Your Grandchildren From?” was inspired by the treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississauga and Haudenosaunee First Nations in 1701 that bound them to share the territory and protect the land along the Lake Ontario basin. The treaty carries a message of peace and unity, and it is its environmental underpinnings that make it so valuable in a modern context. This was the inspiration for the art piece.

But the idea of one bowl (or one dish) one spoon is an old one in North America, signifying an agreement to share hunting grounds between neighbouring peoples. It refers to sharing the harvest as well as ensuring that there is plenty left for future generations to share.

The idea for the piece came from a walk that Nescia took with her mother and her little brother along a creek bed that runs through their backyard. When their mother Janza knelt down and thanked the creek, it sparked the idea that led to the art piece that the Loughborough students ultimately made, and idea about reconciliation with the natural world.

When Anishnaabe elder Deb St. Amant and Anishnaabe parent Janza Giangrosso shared the teachings about One Dish, One Spoon, and the wampum that it has inspired (see photo). They included some text from John Burrows about the wampum.

“We all eat out of the dish, all of us that share this territory, with only one spoon. That means that we share the responsibility of ensuring that the dish is never empty; which includes taking care of the land and the creatures we share it with. Importantly there are no knives at the table, representing that we must keep the peace,” he wrote.

The classes decided to "What do you want your grandchildren to eat?" - detail look at what they ate and where it came from, and ask the question, ‘what dish do you want to feed your grandchildren from?’.

They had the idea for the art piece. On one side it would be wrappers and garbage that litters the community, it would have beaver pelts in the middle, and birch bark on the other side.

They cut out squares of birch for one side, and cut out wrappers and other found materials for the other side. Then they sewed them together to make a very large installation. They each reflected on the piece and wrote their thoughts in many of the squares.

Each side of the piece represents an option for the future.

In her presentation in Winnipeg, Nescia said “Reconciliation is more than just reconciling our relationships with each other. We need to reconcile our relationship with nimamaki (mother earth). She has loved and supported us for generations. We learned about the honourable way to harvest gifts from the earth. This awareness can significantly impact my ecological footprint, as it is our grandchildren that will carry the burdens of the decisions we make today.”

The submission from LPS was an effort of the entire school community. Students from upper year grades helped with the cutting and sewing process, and the school’s ongoing food initiative dovetailed with the project.

Janza Giangrosso, who was also with the project from start to finish, said that a number of passionate teachers in the school and their students made the project what it was.

“We really warmed the ground and as a community, got a taste of what Indigenous education can look like and what is possible when members of the Indigenous community are invited into the classroom to share teachings alongside educators”.

The submission that accompanied a photo of the piece, which was much too large to transport to Manitoba, concluded with the following statement on behalf of the school: To imagine means “to form a mental image or concept of”. This was more than just a dreamy conceptualization of reconciling this country. This work created a safe space within our school community, where multiple perspective, narratives and world views came together to engage in a real, visceral conversation about sustainability and the future lives of our grandchildren.”

Published in SOUTH FRONTENAC

Ken Garrett Memorial Park in Inverary was a hive of activity on the weekend as the first ever 3 Pitch, 3 Chords Spring Fling drew crowds in an effort to raise funds primarily for accessible washrooms.

“Everybody thinks this is a Township-owned park but it isn’t,” said Shawn Pearce, president of the Inverary Youth Activity Group, which owns and operates the park. “It’s used six, seven nights a week and we have nine minor ball teams — the most we’ve had in years.

“I grew up here and I’d hate to see it die — I even took a week of holidays this week to work on it.”

By all accounts, the Fling was the brainchild of Kimberly Allen, who, among other things, owns Little Texas Roadhouse in Kingston.

“I was very pleased when Kim approached me with this idea,” Pearce said.

Allen, who is originally from the 509 corridor north of Sharbot Lake, now calls Rickards Road home. She’s played her share of ball at Ken Garrett and other area diamonds, and she likes music.

“Growing up, I used to go to the Ompah Stomp,” she said. “This is my Ompah Stomp.”

To that end, she closed up Little Texas for the weekend, allowing all her staff to donate their time to this venture, if they so chose. Most did.

And so did 16 musical acts, all part of the musical family at Little Texas.

“Ninety-five per cent of the bands will just jump at the chance to do this for her,” said stage manager Ken Hemlow, who also played on Sunday. “We had one band who had to cancel because their drummer hurt his back but another one jumped right in.”

Country singer Courtney Kane is just getting started in the business and saw it as good exposure.

“I’m trying to make this full-time,” she said. “I’m working on a website and doing my own thing.”

Besides the ball tournament and concert, the day featured a beer tent, a kids area as well as several food and merchandise vendors.

They even brought the mechanical bull in from Little Texas.

“That bull has been all over,” Allen said. “It’s even been to the Havelock Country Jamboree.”

Even the mayor was there, but not in an official capacity.

“It’s wonderful that they’re fixing this up,” said Ron Vandewal. “It’s not a Township-run facility so thanks to all the volunteers donating their time.”

While Allen was very pleased with the way the weekend was unfolding, this may be only the beginning.

She can see potential to make it a yearly festival and has talked to local contractors and friends about fixing up an area for camping, just like many of the music festivals operating in Southern Ontario.

“This would be my Ompah Stomp,” she said.

Published in NORTH FRONTENAC
Wednesday, 29 May 2019 13:46

Exploring the Arts in local schools

On May 14, several girls and staff from Granite Ridge Education Centre and Sydenham High School tried their hand at blacksmithing. This event was arranged to show the girls that there is no job they cannot do. Stefan Duerst, Artist Blacksmith from Godfrey, Ontario, led the students through a logical sequence of techniques including forging, twisting, scrolling, and bending.

After covering safety and the basic techniques, Mr. Duerst let students work on their own to plan and make items. Mr. Duerst stressed that with the proper techniques and equipment, anyone can work with metal – it is not necessary to be built like Thor.

Students worked hard all day, and came home with several items they had made. A Grade 8 girls’ group will be going to Duerst Artist Blacksmith in June, from Land O’ Lakes Public School, Granite Ridge Education Centre, and Prince Charles Public School.

On May 15 and May 23, David Francey led songwriting workshops at Sydenham High School in the morning, and Granite Ridge Education Centre in the afternoon.

Many students participated in these intensive sessions, working alone or with partners.

David Francey has won three Juno Awards, the SOCAN Folk Music Award, the Grand Prize in the International Acoustic Music Award and the Grand Prize in the Folk category for the John Lennon Songwriting Award.

These events are part of the initiative focusing on the Arts, Indigenous Learning, and non-traditional pathways funded by various combinations of AIREE, GREC Parent Council, Live Wire Music, Blue Skies, Gillianne Mundell, and Pez.

Published in FRONTENAC COUNTY

Last week was a busy one at Prince Charles Public School in Verona beginning with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) night, a concert by the Blue Skies Community Fiddle Orchestra, a play from the 1,000 Islands Playhouse Young Company and then on Thursday afternoon, the school’s Grandparents & Games gathering.

“There’s a common misconception that there are two kinds of people — math people and non-math people,” said Principal Peter Mouncey. “That’s not true.

“Everybody can do it (and) math is fun.”

To that end, Prince Charles invited grandparents (and other family members) to have a chance to play new and familiar games that promote arithmetic and problem solving skills for Primary/Junior age students (JK-Grade 4).

“In conjunction with the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University, the staff at Prince Charles are participating in a two-year project to help families find fun and effective ways that engage children with mathematics,” Mouncey said. “We will provide all the games, some light snacks and a math card game for each student to take home.”

And by all accounts, it was mission accomplished.

As Grade 6-7 class members Jorja Steele, Maddy Parks, Sydney Leonard and Isaac Badour wandered around the games tables offering cookies and snacks they’d baked as part of their classes, grandparents like Ina Emmons enjoyed the company of their grandchildren and their friends.

“He’s (grandson Tyson Revelle) always at my place but he made a point of wanting to do this this year,” she said. “He said ‘you come, you come.’”

Grandfather Peter Fitzsimmons was part of a larger group playing the card game Uno.

“Nobody knows the rules,” he joked. “They’re (the kids) picking on us.”

SK-Grade 1 teacher Lee Casement said games are a good way to teach concepts like probability, spatial sense and counting.

“This was so successful last year, we just had to do it again,” he said. “I remember being a student here in the ’80s and we’d have a grandparents tea.

“It’s nice bringing this concept back.”

Published in SOUTH FRONTENAC

Granite Ridge Educational Centre can add a couple more names to its growing list of accomplished athletes.

Grade 12s Devin Cooney and Nick Anderson have returned home from the Youth Invitational Special Olympics in Toronto last week (May 14-17) with a total medal haul of five, including two golds.

Cooney took the gold in shot put and silver in both the 200 metres and 400 metres. He was also fifth in the long jump.

Anderson won gold in the long jump and a bronze in the 100 metres (both personal bests) and added a sixth in the shot put.

“This was a big deal because there were 2,500 athletes from all across North America, including Cayman Islands and Jamaica,” said coach Tammy Steele.

“There were athletes from Chicago, North Carolina, Texas, Michigan, Manitoba, Alberta, Quebec,” said Cooney.

The guys are no strangers to athletic competition. Last year, Cooney was on a gold-medal winning basketball team from the school and Anderson took gold on the soccer team. Albeit, those were much smaller events.

Cooney actually likes basketball best, he said, citing Michael Jordan as the best ever. But the Invitational in Toronto was “a lot of fun, evenly fun with basketball.”

Anderson prefers the field events, such as long jump, despite winning bronze in the 100 metres.

“With the running events, after a while my legs hurt,” he said, explaining that he’s had a bout of shin splints lately. “But my goal is to be a weightlifter like my Uncle Murray.”

(Murray Anderson has had considerable success in strongman competitions, including two 12th-place finishes in Ontario’s Strongest Man in 2005 and 2007.)

Both Cooney and Anderson, like most athletes, remember the food at the competition.

“They had good breakfast, lunch and supper,” said Cooney. “And cappuccinos.”

“And Ice-caps,” said Anderson.

Next year, the Invitational is scheduled to be held in Kingston and both athletes are looking forward to it, albeit for different reasons.

The school is looking at taking most of the student body to the Kingston meet to cheer them on.

“The student body is coming to watch?” asked Cooney. “I want that!

“I guess I’ll really have to train harder.” Anderson said that while he likes the idea of competing, having a lot of people there watching him really isn’t his thing.

“No, not really, anxiety,” he said.

The Toronto Invitational marked 50th year of Special Olympics since its inception by Dr. Frank Hyden and Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968.

Published in CENTRAL FRONTENAC

On Saturday June 1 and Sunday June 2, 2019 Little Texas Roadhouse Bar and Grill will be hosting the 1st Annual Inverary 3 PITCH 3 CHORDS Spring Fling in support of Inverary Youth Activities. All proceeds from this event will go toward one-time capital costs to replace the holding tank, to complete major renovations to the washroom facilities and to upgrade the electrical in the canteen.

The idea of the Inverary 3 PITCH 3 CHORDS Spring Fling came from combining my love of live music and baseball.

This family friendly two day event will feature live music, baseball, a large kids zone, vendors, food vendors and a beer tent.

The lineup includes: Rudy & Saddle Up, Hicktown, KnucKel Hed, The Ice Gods, Old Habits, Richard Cranium, White Brothers, Lane Duke, Courtney Kane, Picket Fences, Clem Chesterfield & the La-Z Boy Recliners, Jordy Jackson Band, A night with Elvis, Eastbound by Bytown, Chelsea Road and more

Tickets are $35 for a weekend pass, 16 years and under free. The Kids Zone will have several free activities as well several exciting pay per use activities.

Published in SOUTH FRONTENAC
Wednesday, 15 May 2019 10:10

Local children enjoy Farm Fresh Fun

A special event designed for young children was a big hit in Sunbury on May 8.

Held at Ormsbee’s Mercantile, children were invited to play with rabbits, plant a seed and sample maple syrup.

“This is our sixth year doing the event,” says Jenn Ormsbee, 39. “The whole idea is to bring our community together. It’s nice to see the kids having a great time.”

Looking around the parking lot where children of all ages looked busy and happy, Ormsbee admits she is pleased with the event that is part of the United Way of KFL&A Success by Six campaign.

Speaking on behalf of the Frontenac 4-H, which represented local, future farmers, volunteer leader Amey Brooks notes, “This is really for the kids. It’s all about community.”

According to Brooks, 4-H members attended from the rabbit & cavy club (guinea pigs) and clover buds to promote community involvement and the benefits of becoming a 4-H member.

“One of the big things in 4-H is community,” says Brooks, who has a 13-year-old daughter in the 15-member rabbit club. “This type of event will also help our members with their public speaking skills and give them an opportunity to proudly show-off their rabbits. This type of event helps more kids get involved.”

After this event, the rabbit club will be showing/jumping its rabbits at the Odessa Fair in July and the Kingston Fall Fair in September.

“Who knew I would be driving around with rabbit jumps in my van all summer,” says Brooks with a smile.

 

To learn more about 4H, please go to https://www.4-hontario.ca/4h-in-my-area/frontenac.aspx

To learn more about Success by Six, go to www.unitedwaykfla.ca/programs/success-by-6/

Published in SOUTH FRONTENAC

It was hard to tell who was having more fun last Wednesday at GREC — the organizers of the music workshops going on, or the students participating in them.

“Teaching is an art form,” said vice-principal Kristin Stevens, the main coordinator of the artistic events. “Art finds its way into everything (and) fun is always our focus.”

This particular event, made possible by Al Rankin, Blue Skies and Live Wire Music, the Parents Council and an Arts grant from the Limestone District School Board, featured about 150 Grade 4-8 students from GREC, Land O’Lakes Public School, Prince Charles Public School and Clarendon Central Public School. The students spent the day rotating through music and instrument-making workshops including flute making, indigenous drumming and song, drum making and acoustic instruments.

“The students are making art,” Stevens said. “They’re learning indigenous drumming and the value of arts endeavours.”

Judy Montgomery and Pam Giroux led the indigenous drumming/singing workshop.

“We’re having loads of fun working with the students,” Montgomery said. “We’re teaching them why we have music — why people sing.

“We give thanks to Mother Earth and our connection to the Earth.

“It encompasses the language and gives a sense of peace and well-being.”

And to get a sense of what’s involved in making music, students got a chance to make their own instruments.

Lily Legacy, who’s been known to create symphonies with nothing more than plastic buckets and enthusiasm, led a drum-making workshop where students made their own “indigenous inspired” hand drums out of tubes used for pouring concrete footings and packing tape.

“They’re super cheap,” Legacy said. “And they’re making drumsticks from dowels and hockey tape.

“It’s a good day.”

Over in the wood shop, students were drilling holes in dowels and creating unique flutes.

“When I’m not teaching, I’m making music or doing carpentry,” said teacher Julia Schall. “These kids are super engaged.”

Finally, students got to spend some time with Teilhard Frost, a fiddler by trade but also a music historian and on this day, he was passing along his knowledge of the not-so-common aspects of acoustic instruments, showing how just about anything can be used to make music.

“I picked some grass in the front yard of the school to show kids how to make notes blowing through it,” he said. “You don’t need anything other than what’s always been around to make music.

“You can be a drumset — without a drumset.”

Frost said he showed the students the relationship between a conch shell and a trumpet.

“You want people to know you’re there,” he said. “And a jug is the basis for hip-hop and beatbox.

He said this is the basis for his acoustic music project — “No Batteries required.”

Published in CENTRAL FRONTENAC

Where could you find a scale model of the CN Tower, complete with elevator, a 3D modelling of your school and a working trebuchet?

That would be the Loughborough Public School Maker Faire, which was on display to the public last Thursday afternoon in Sydenham.

Teacher Alan MacDonald, who was one of the organizers of the event, said this was the third time they’ve done this and this time, it involved the entire student body — from kindergarten to Grade 8.

“This isn’t a science fair, where getting help from parents and neighbours is illegal,” he said. “Here, it’s encouraged.

“The idea is to make something you’re interested in. The spelling of ‘Faire’ is french for ‘to do’ or ‘to make.’”

MacDonald said another way this differs from a science fair is that it’s non-competitive.

“If it were competitive, kids might be more apt to make something they already know how to do,” he said. “In this, kids are much more apt to take risks.”

He said another inspiring attraction for students is that there is lots of choice in what they make.

“There’s really only one rule,” he said. “You can’t do something you already know how to do.

“Oh, and other than the odd mediaeval weapon of mass destruction, it must be school appropriate.”

The mediaeval weapon MacDonald referred to came from Grade 8er Lucas Steele, who along with fellow student Jack MacInnis, built a working scale model trebuchet, which is capable of launching a basketball 50 feet.

“A couple of weeks ago, we were studying levers and mechanical advantage in physics and math class,” Steele said. “Jack looked up plans online and drew up a schematic.

“We built it at my grandparents’ house.”

Edie Hillman and Caitlyn Ball turned their love of all things Harry Potter into their project — butter beer.

“We had butter beer at the Universal theme park,” said Hillman. “We found a recipe online and changed it around a little bit.”

The projects on display ran quite the gamut.

There were plenty of dioramas, but also a Nimbus 2000 (Harry Potter again, it’s a broom favoured by quidditch players), horse treats, homemade cleaning products, a refracting telescope, bath bombs, jams, cookies, homemade essential oils, maracas, a catapult, a guitar and stomp rockets.

One of the more fascinating projects came from Keagan Leonard, who got dad Wade to fly the family drone around the school and then took the data collected to map the entire school yard, complete with elevation and vegetation components.

He then printed out a 3D version of the school.

“The idea just came to me,” he said. “I asked the principal if it was OK to use 3D printers and he said sure.”

Published in SOUTH FRONTENAC
Wednesday, 01 May 2019 11:25

New Playground for NAEC 

On Friday, April 26, 2019, students and staff at North Addington Education Centre gathered around for the unveiling of the new playground, donated and installed by The Township of North Frontenac. Principal Bonham-Carter as he gave a speech expressing NAEC's gratitude towards everyone that helped make it happen, especially the Parent Council and Mrs Salmond (the former principal), joined by Mayor Ron Higgins and Deputy Mayor Fred Perry. Once the ribbon to the playground was cut, students of all ages surrounded the structure with excitement. Caitlyn, a grade five student at NAEC exclaimed, "I love it! This is so awesome and I am really excited to play on it!"

Corey Klatt, Manager of Community Development at North Frontenac explained in an interview how the project all started. The Township was originally planning to install a new playground in Cloyne at the Ball Diamond and Tennis Court facility, but when the council heard that NAEC did not have one at the school for younger students, they arranged to install one there instead. "It was discussed that a playground would be well used at the school and well maintained," he said. As a closing remark when asked how he felt about the success of the project, Mr. Klatt said, "It felt excellent to see the students so excited about the playground today and we are pleased that everyone will be able to enjoy it for years to come."

The playground is a big hit among the students and staff of NAEC, and the generosity of The Township of North Frontenac is greatly appreciated by all.

Published in NORTH FRONTENAC
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