Led by bricklayer Lori Martin (left), Izzy Robinet, Sam Dubuc, and Liam Parsons got to know each other and learn a little about masonry during a Fun Tech Worksop at Stratford Northwestern secondary school Wednesday as part of the Avon Maitland District school board’s Adventure Days programming. (Galen Simmons/The Beacon Herald)
Stratford students going into grades 7, 8, and 9 at Stratford Northwestern secondary school will be a little more familiar with their new school and its programs and classes, thanks to a two-day program this week.Dubbed Adventure Days, the program encouraged students from Stratford Central secondary school – closed for renovations next year – and several feeder schools to get to know one another through fun games and activities. The students enjoyed an opportunity to familiarize themselves with Northwestern, as well as the Stratford YMCA and St. Paul’s Anglican Church, where some classes will be held next year to accommodate the influx of students, while participating in a series of FunTech workshops ranging from robotics to cosmetology.“We wanted to do some work in terms of educating our students about post-secondary opportunities and programs that exist in the high-school setting,” said Jodie Baker, a superintendent with the Avon Maitland District school board specializing in student success and pathways. “We know that if we start talking to students younger about pathway opportunities, they have a better awareness.”One of those pathways, which perhaps hasn’t traditionally been a focus for students, teachers and parents in the secondary school system, is working toward a career in the skilled trades. As a supplement to the workshops, students also heard from two guest speakers, both women, who talked about what they did in high school to become iron workers.
Aimen Ansari fires a marshmallow gun at her soon-to-be Stratford Northwestern secondary school classmates during the Avon Maitland District School Board’s Adventure Days programming Wednesday morning. (Galen Simmons/The Beacon Herald)
“It’s important for them to know that if they don’t choose to go to college or university, the skilled trades are in great demand and … they (can) be paid for co-op and work placement and apprenticeships and all those things,” Baker said.The workshops themselves, which are normally held on Saturdays throughout the year for roughly $60 per student for the full day, were hosted free of charge in conjunction with a long list of community partners, including Let’s Talk Science, Bruce Power, the Stratford Festival, and Off the Wall Stratford Artist’s Alliance.Because students’ interests vary, they were asked prior to Adventure Days about what interested them and were split off into groups to attend workshops based on those interests.“The idea that (we’ve) been working on for the past two years is to give everyone an opportunity to do (these workshops),” said Jodi Froud, an experiential learning co-ordinator with the school board, “so they’ve chosen a workshop. We’ve done our best to put them in one they’re interested in, and it just gives everyone – like 500 kids – the chance to do one.”In addition to the workshops, the students were also at the Stratford Rotary Complex where staff from Aventureworks! Associates led games and activities designed to create deep and meaningful connections between students.“We’ll do a whole bunch of stuff where they’ll start mingling, and then we’ll do some activities where they’ll start to learn a bit more about each other just to kind of break down some barriers because we understand the transition (next year) is going to be kind of difficult,” said Shawn Stetson, Adventureworks! vice-president of programs, prior to students’ arrival at the Rotary Complex Wednesday firstname.lastname@example.org
Stratford Central secondary school students Kyleigh Denstedt and Lara Sutcuogou practice their Nova Scotia handshake during an activity facilitated by Adventureworks! Associates at the Stratford Rotary Complex Wednesday morning. (Galen Simmons/The Beacon Herald)