Fair Trade Designation Announcement

We have some amazing news to share!

On behalf of the St. Brother Andre CHS Community – as of June 2018, SBA has become the FIRST FAIR TRADE Designated school in the York Catholic District School Board! 20th in Canada!

Fair trade is an initiative that promotes livable wages, decent working conditions and fair prices for farmers and workers in various industries around the world. From cocoa and coffee, to sugar and cotton, many consumer goods rely on the exploitation of workers and their environments to gain profit. Alternatively, supporting Fair Trade means supporting the development of thriving farmer and worker communities that have more control over their futures while protecting the environment in which they live and work.  

As a Catholic community, we at SBA support Fair Trade because it is an opportunity to put our faith into action. By supporting the rights of farmers and workers in the global south, we stand in solidarity with them, we ensure their dignity, promote economic justice, preferential treatment of the poor, the common good of all, while supporting the stewardship of God’s creation.  

SBA’s Social Justice council, Luke 4:18 and their leading teachers began the Fair Trade initiative last year.  In that time we:

  • Established a Fair Trade committee made of students, teachers, admin and guest speakers
  • Held Fair Trade Awareness Weeks (Banner Signing, Distribution of Education materials & buttons, Video, Selling of Fair Trade products including chocolate dipped bananas, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Teas, and Iced Coffee)
  • Permanently switched over to Fair Trade Teas and Coffee in our Cafeteria
  • Purchased Fair Trade T-Shirts for our council and for our humanitarian trip to Peru from Assisi Garments (An organization and factory founded by Franciscan nuns in 1994 to create a livelihood for 300 underprivileged women & nearly 120 physically challenged people in S. India with fair trade wages, health care & other benefits)
  • Had teachers in different subjects teach about it in their classrooms
  • Gave a presentation to Parent Council who gave their full support, and will be offering fair trade teas / coffee our future meetings
  • Held meetings with students and teacher leaders from other schools to encourage them to become Fair Trade

SBA will continue to commit to our FAIR TRADE initiative each year to ensure that FAIR TRADE products are sold in our school while raising awareness through events and teaching about in our classrooms.

SBA is the 3rd high school in Ontario, 1st school in YCDSB to become FAIR TRADE Designated. The good news is that more and more Elementary schools, High Schools and University Campuses across Canada are becoming Fair Trade Institutions! SBA has become a model Fair Trade school and we encourage more schools to join us in becoming Fair Trade Designated.

SBA is thrilled to have received this Fair Trade Designation and even more excited to know that our purchases are supporting workers and producers of the Global South.  4201F5EA-0633-43C7-BBAA-453BDCC99921.jpeg

A special thanks to:

Luke 4:18 Members & Exec Team: Mandy Lau, Peyton Clapperton, Isabel Simpliciano, Justina Yu, Samantha Hudson, Angelo Mirando, Angel Abraham

Teachers: Margie Orsi, Sharon Smyth, Daniela Raponi

Admin: Eugene Pivato, Christine Cosentino, Christian Scenna, Dan Bruni

Expert Panel: Anthony Muhitch (Retired Teacher) & Darryl Reed (York University Professor – Green Campus Coop)

Fairtrade Canada: fairtrade.ca

Canadian Fair Trade Network: cftn.ca

If any school, teacher, or council is interested in becoming Fair Trade Designated, check out the website http://www.cftn.ca/programs or contact Margaret.Orsi@ycdsb.ca


Partner Remarks:

“Congratulations to the students and staff of St. Brother André Catholic High School in Markham, Ontario who are celebrating the end of the school year in style by becoming Canada’s 20th designated Fair Trade School. With a strong steering committee, teachers committed to covering fair trade issues in the classroom as well as in extra-curricular programs, and a supportive parent council, St. Brother André sets a great example for other schools in the York region to follow. Enjoy your well-earned summer break and we look forward to seeing what fair trade activities you get up to when school starts again in the fall.” Julie Francoeur – Executive Director, Fairtrade Canada.


“Buying fair trade products is way for each of us, every day, to contribute to the building of a better, more fair world. Becoming a Fair Trade Designated School takes that one step further, committing to educating and engaging future leaders on the impacts of the choices that we make. Congratulations to everyone who made this designation happen. – Sean McHugh, Executive Director.



By: Ms. J. Osawe, Business Teacher

On May 30th 2018, eleven students from Ms. Osawe’s Grade 10 Introduction to Business Class took part for the first time in the University of Waterloo Literacy Contest, a competition organized by the School Of Accounting and Finance at University of Waterloo. The competition helps secondary school students to build and challenge their knowledge of personal finance and wealth management to become confident in their financial security as they navigate through an increasingly complex world of finance.

This year over 400 students participated from 33 different schools across the province. 



Congratulations and a Big shout out to Rocco Racioppo who received a Silver Star Certificate ranking 26 overall, Alexander Wagner and Joell Sebastiampillai both received Bronze Star Certificates ranking 36 and 68 respectively. Every other student received a participant certificate. Overall, our school ranked 10th. Good job guys!


We happily look forward to next school year competition.

Ben Smith Appointed CEO of OSTA-AECO

Congratulations to Ben Smith, Sr. Student Trustee at the YCDSB, who was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Student Trustees Association (OSTA-AECO).
The Ontario Student Trustees’ Association, officially branded as OSTA-AECO, is a registered not-for-profit organization, and the largest student stakeholder group in Ontario. OSTA-AECO’s mandate is to advocate on behalf of students at the provincial level, working closely with the Ministry of Education and other educational stakeholders. OSTA-AECO also provides professional development for Ontario’s student trustees in the form of three annual conferences.
Ben’s role will be to oversee and lead all the day-to-day activities of the Association including membership services, government relations and professional development. One of his main functions will be to provide strategic advice and direction to the incoming Executive Council and also serve as a member of OSTA’s Board of Directors.
The SBA community wishes Ben the best of luck in this very exciting opportunity!

Lukies are Trailblazing and Raising Awareness for Fair Trade!

Prepared by: Luke 4:18 Council

We are excited to share that St. Brother Andre’s Luke 4:18 Social Justice Council is well on its way making our school Fair Trade certified! SBA will be the first high school in Ontario and the YCDSB to reach this designation.

For the past two years, SBA’s Luke 4:18 Social Justice Council has been striving to incorporate the concept of Fair Trade into the school community through a variety of initiatives and encourage the student body to become more aware of their purchasing power. Fair Trade ensures fair prices, humane working conditions, and livable wages for workers in developing countries and protects these workers from exploitative industries, commonly involving the production of cocoa, sugar, cotton, and coffee.

In an effort to inform our students on the important of Fair Trade, our council has been working to integrate Fair Trade lessons into the curriculum. With the support of teachers, our goal is to provide an opportunity for more students to learn about the importance of Fair Trade and gain a deeper understanding of its positive impact. As Catholic students, this is also a great opportunity live out our faith in the real world by being mindful of our purchasing decisions and striving to uphold many of the social justice principles such as dignity of the worker, solidarity, preferential treatment of the poor and the common good.

fair trade















To reach our goal of becoming fair trade certified, Cafe Andre has switched out its regular coffee and tea and replaced it with fair trade products, which are available daily. We have also purchased some of our council t-shirts with organic fair trade cotton t-shirts from Assisi Garments, which trains, educates and employs marginalized women in India, and is run by Franciscan Nuns.  Our school has also dedicated an entire event, Fair Trade Week, to raise awareness and provide students with an opportunity to purchase Fair Trade products. The students were offered Fair Trade tea, iced coffee, bananas and chocolate, as well as pins, educational pamphlets, and stickers throughout this week. Luke 4:18 also did a fantastic presentation to Catholic School Council and it was met with great enthusiasm and support by parents!

Thank you to everyone who worked on this valuable and worthy campaign and for everyone’s continued support.

Fair Trade Committee

Luke 4:18 Council & Exec Team:  Mandy Lau, Peyton Clapperton, Isabel Simpliciano, Justina Yu, Samantha Hudson, Angelo Mirando, Angel Abraham

Teachers:  Margie Orsi, Sharon Smyth, Daniela Raponi & VP Christine Cosentino

Voter Information for Catholic Rate Payers


The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association has produced an information sheet called “Voter Information for Catholic Ratepayers.” Please click on the link below to view the document.

Catholic Ratepayers Information 2018

Students Learn About Pregnancy First-Hand

Students taking HPC3O1 – Raising Healthy Children – had a unique experiential learning opportunity recently that allowed them to feel what it was like to be pregnant. Students in this course learn about a variety of topics related to conception, labour and delivery,  and the care of children the various stages of development. Recently, students in the class reflected on their experiences in wearing a pregnancy vest, which allowed them to experience the physical demands that pregnancy brings:

Ciara Connelly
My experience with the pregnancy vest was amazing! It was a very different feeling than anything i’ve ever experienced. It felt very different to have a big baby belly and bigger size breasts, it made me feel very aware of every move I made. From trying to sit down to walking in the hallways, It was very difficult to move around the way I do normally. Being a dancer, I’m always very used to being light on my feet and moving around easily and quickly. So, to be restricted all throughout my body was a feeling I was definitely not used to. The pregnancy vest, although uncomfortable at time, felt very natural for me. I was most comfortable sitting in math class with my hands over my belly listening to a lesson. I quickly figured out the easiest ways to sit, stand, and carry my backpack without pain. During my time with the vest on, I saw Ms Pinto and we shared feelings of pregnancy. She talked about how when you stand you want to pull your hips forward to ease the back pressure and how your ankles feel a lot of pressure. As Ms Pinto was explaining these feelings to me, I could understand her struggles and uncomfortable feelings. People’s reactions to the vest were all different. Some people would stare at my belly as I walked by as if they thought it was possible I was pregnant and other people asked to feel my belly and asked how it felt, knowing it was only a suit. My friends were very supportive and helpful during my time with the suit and made it a fun experience by always referring to me as “Mama Ciara.” I was kind of nervous that once I stepped out of the supportive environment of parenting class people wouldn’t understand the way our class does, but people were very lighthearted and made it enjoyable. The thing I will always remember about this experience is how hard it was to breathe! At times I took break in between sentences to catch my breath. It was definitely a weird and uncomfortable feeling. Overall, I didn’t want to take this vest off! This vest did not change my mind about having a family in any way and if anything, this suit got my excited for when I am pregnant and about to have my first child. Thank you for the opportunity and experience!
Alyssa De Paola
My pregnancy vest experience was quite enjoyable. I felt more aware of my surroundings and I wanted to ensure that I didn’t do anything that would put more strain on myself or the baby. The vest didn’t cause any discomfort, however, the piece that restricts breathing did, but it was manageable. I would recommend sitting up straight because if you slouch, the belly puts some pressure on your bladder. I would also recommend wearing a sports bra or bralette as the underwire in a normal bra might cause more discomfort. I’m naturally a warm person so by the end of the experience my whole midsection was the warmest it’s ever been. It was a whole different experience when second period ended, our class was so supportive of the idea and excited for their turn, I didn’t want that joy and wonder to end. Contrary to what I expected, no one noticed as I was walking to class, and if they did, they didn’t make a big deal out of it. When I got to class a few people were surprised and others were excited and wanted to take a picture. My teacher, and a lot of my classmates wanted to touch my belly and ask how I was doing. My teacher even asked a couple of other teachers to come and see me in the vest and feel the belly. Overall, the main thing that I’ll remember is the joy that it brought to myself, and those around me.
Vanessa Mizzi
The pregnancy vest was a great experience! During the time I had the vest, I was very hot and out of breathe often. Going up and down the stairs was definitely a struggle, and it was hard to bend over and pick up things on the floor. As for peoples reactions, everyone wanted to touch the belly and I got a lot of stares during class! My third period teacher is also pregnant and was very intrigued and excited when I walked into the class. I will always remember how out of breathe I was and overall exhausted! It will definitely be a lot worse when I get older and am actually pregnant, I am for sure not looking forward to that part of pregnancy! However, overall it was an amazing experience and was great to get a little hands-on insight to being pregnant!

Jonray Reflects on Skills Canada

At St. Brother Andre, we are so fortunate to be blessed with the wonderful students we have. They are passionate and full of school spirit. An example of one such student is Jonray Diamante, a grade 12 student who is making is mark in the culinary world and is no stranger to competition. He has recently placed first in the Skills Canada competition. Read his reflection…

The hospitality program and the guidance of Mr. Cook shaped who I am today. I learned a lot of the basics to cooking and it is where I found my passion to work in the food industry. It helped me shape my mentality of learning about food and train to become a chef. I have already worked in several fine dining restaurants such as Dailo, Fring’s and Richmond Station in downtown Toronto. I have met several cooks and professional Chefs throughout the 2 years that I have been in the industry and I am continuing to build connections with chefs and cooks throughout the GTA.

The first time I heard about the Skills Canada Competition was in Grade 10 when I met a former student working on the competition that year. Mr. Cook asked me to do the Skills Canada competition when I was in Grade 11 and I worked hard to earn that 1st place ribbon in regionals, however, I got the 6th place in the provincials competition.

For the competition this year, I learned from my mistakes in my experience last year and I did everything I could to stay organized and focused to work ahead of my schedule even though I got sidetracked during the presentation of the main course. I thought I had enough time since I did the majority of my prep in advance, however, when the time came to present my main course was soon approaching, my heart was pounding and the adrenaline set in.

I started to work faster and messier in order to finish cooking, seasoning and plating my dish. That was the highlight for my competition. I was able to push through even though I made a mess of my station and I eventually managed my dish out on time. That was the same mistake that I made in the previous competition and I got to work not doing the same error again.

Overall, I was very excited, yet calm and prepared for what was to come. There’s a lot of training that I have done to achieve my goal and I did my best to secure that gold. Competitions are stressful and tough but also exciting and fun.

Last year I was stressing a lot during the competition but this year I was more relaxed and confident. The only time I felt nervous was during the awarding ceremony because I wanted to win.

Big shout out goes to my teacher, Mr. Cook and to Chef Kire from Humber College for mentoring and supporting me during this journey. And to my family and friends for their full support and love. The provincials are coming up in a couple of weeks and I am doing my best to go for gold.



Annual YCDSB and YCPIC Conference


2018 Lenten Reflection

On February 14th, we will begin our journey towards Easter through our Ash Wednesday observances. Many thanks to Chaplaincy and the Faith Development Council who have worked hard to prepare thoughtful and meaningful liturgies for staff and students.


The season of Lent is a time of reflection and introspection. It is a time of personal sacrifice and almsgiving.  We are encouraged to pray and reflect on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.  No matter how to choose to engage with God and your faith this Lenten season, know that Christ is walking alongside you in your journey towards the hope that only Easter can bring.

A Prayer for a Fruitful Lent                                                                                                      https://mycatholic.life/catholic-prayers/prayer-for-a-fruitful-lent/

My precious and crucified Lord, I offer You this Lent.

I offer it to You with total abandonment and trust.

I offer You my prayers, sacrifices and my very life this day.

Do with me, Lord, as You will.

I pray that this Lent will be fruitful.

I know You have much to say to me and much to do in my life.

May this Lent be a time through which Your mercy is poured in abundance into my soul,

and into the souls of all Your faithful.

Dearest Lord, help me to especially see my sin, this Lent.

Humble me so that I may see clearly.

Give me courage and strength to confess my sins,

and to turn from them with all my heart.

Enlighten me with Your Holy Word, dear Lord.

Help me to come to know You and to deepen the gift of faith in my life.

Show me the plan You have for me,

and place my feet upon the path You have chosen.

My suffering Lord, I thank You for the fullness of Your perfect Sacrifice.

I thank You for holding nothing back,

giving Your life to the last drop of blood.

May I offer You my very life as a sacrifice,

trusting in Your mercy with every offering.

Keep me faithful to my Lenten promises,

and bring forth new life through these sacrifices of love.

Strengthen my prayer and make me holy.

Help me to turn to You, each day,

seeking Your sacred and pierced Heart.

Blessed Mother,

you stood by your Son in His suffering and death,

stand by me, I pray, as I journey through this life.

Pray for me and offer me to Your Son,

that He may take me into His loving embrace.

Lord, Jesus, Son of the Living God,

have mercy on me a sinner.

Lord, Jesus, Son of the Living God,

have mercy on me a sinner.

Lord, Jesus, Son of the Living God,

have mercy on me a sinner.

Mother Mary, Mother of our Crucified Lord,

pray for us who have recourse to thee.


Former Student Reflects on Indigenous Studies at SBA

André Rebeiz, Class of 2012

The Indigenous issues courses offered at our school have tremendously shaped and motivated my personal and professional goals. They have served as a springboard for my

AndreěHeadshotmotivation to conduct further research and to share this perspective with my peers, throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies in Paris. Equipped with the cultural competency skills I gained, I have also been working for the past four summers in remote Indigenous communities in Northern Québec, Nunavut and Labrador, and I have also published a report for the Canadian Education Association (CEA) entitled Land-Based Learning: A case study report for educators tasked with integrating Indigenous Worldviews into classrooms. I will be publishing a second report in the upcoming year. The courses undertake a hands-on approach to learning about Indigenous cultures, languages, histories and traditions, notably through numerous guest speakers and field trips. Only through direct consultation and relationship-building with Indigenous peoples can these cultures be learned with integrity. I am forever grateful to these courses, and to Mrs. Orsi, for providing me this genuine experience that has shaped my ambitions for the long-term. 

Sydney Henzie, Class of 2016                                                                                                            sydUntil I entered high school and took Native Studies course, I had never really heard a lot about Aboriginal peoples. As I continued these courses, my eyes were opened to the major issues and problems that were happening in Canada and around the World.  As I was made more and more aware of the issues that Indigenous peoples are facing I became even more interested.  This Global Indigenous course and the Contemporary Aboriginal Issues course gave me the inspiration and motivation to pursue a career as Lawyer so that I can help to advocate for Aboriginal peoples rights. It made me want to be part of making a difference in the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the rest of Canada, because if not me, then who?  My university program will continue to teach me and help me better understand Aboriginal peoples, their past and present. If it were not for these courses and Mrs. Orsi, I do not think that my future plan would be what it is now. Courses like these are so important and inspiring, I am happy that I was lucky enough to go to a school that provided the opportunity of the course. 

Megan Holman, Class of 2016                                                                                                             megTaking the Indigenous Studies course at SBA helped to expand my worldview. When the course first started I had limited knowledge about Indigenous peoples around the world, including their culture, and past and present issues they face. This course helped me become a more active and informed citizen, which has helped me understand current events, as well as feel more knowledgeable about world issues. Being Metis, it also helped me gain insight into my culture and allowed me to apply for a vast number of scholarships. If you want to become more aware of current issues in the world, I suggest this course about Canada’s unique, strong, and diverse First Peoples!

Current students are invited to consider taking Indigenous Studies. If you have any questions, please see Ms. Orsi.

In the upcoming school year, 2018/2019 ENG3C1 has been replaced with NBE3C1 – Contemporary Native Voices. This will afford students the opportunity to explore contemporary Canadian indigenous issues through works of Canadian literature. Students planning to take ENG3U1 may take NBE3U1 in its place. This focus of this course is very similar to NBE3C1. If you’re curious, you can speak to Ms. Raponi who is currently teaching NBE3U1.

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