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Riverdale's Mr. Reid Retires After Amazing 50-year Teaching Career

Posted by slazarus on June 21, 2017 at 09:36 am

Article originally appeared in The Montreal Gazette

By: John Meagher

Published: June 21, 2017


When David Reid walks out the main doors of Riverdale High School next week, he’ll be saying goodbye to a remarkable 50-year teaching career that began in 1967.


“I’ll miss this place,” said Reid while sitting in his time capsule of an office at RHS in Pierrefonds.


The walls of Reid’s narrow “gym office” are adorned with old team photos, banners and mementos of a teaching career that spanned six decades and touched thousands of students along the way.


Reid still remembers the names of the students from the championship basketball and volleyball teams he coached at Riverdale in the late 1970s.  


“I still keep in touch with many of my former students,” Reid says wistfully, adding that he is not exactly sure what will happen to all the souvenirs on his office wall. He’ll likely pack them up and bring them to his home in Pointe-Claire.


At 71, Reid hardly looks his age. He says the job of a phys ed teacher kept him fit and more importantly, young at heart.


Asked why he didn’t pack it in earlier and collect a pension, Reid smiled, his blue-eyes twinkling, and said: “To me it wasn’t a job. I work in a gym and you have to remember at least 95 per cent of the kids in a gym want to be here. They run around and make noise; they’re not sitting at a desk.”


“Usually people are counting down the days till retirement,” he added, ” I was usually counting down the days in August when I could go back to school,” he said.


Reid’s secret to teaching sounds pretty simple.



“The bottom line is you have to treat the kids fairly. If you give respect, you’ll get respect. And when the students talk to you, you listen.They always have something to say.”


Kimberly De Clercq, a fellow teacher at RHS, said Reid’s popularity with students stemmed from his genuine interest in their well-being.


“Mr. Reid was a great listener. He always cared about the students. He made school a safe, fun place to be. He was always positive and only had good things to say about everyone.”


De Clercq said Reid will be missed by staff and students.


“The thing that we will miss most about him will be his caring way. He always asked how your weekend was and how things were going. He made everyone feel unique” she said.


“David was also independent and strong, had a mind of his own but valued your opinion… The school will never be the same without him.”


Reid’s first teaching stint was at Herbert Symonds Elementary in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, where he grew up. He joined the staff at Riverdale in 1974, and later taught at Malcolm Campbell High School in St-Laurent in the 1980s before it closed. He also served as a long-time instructor with Rod Roy ski schools in Montreal.


While high school students have remained largely the same over the decades, the world outside the school has undergone dramatic changes, he said.


“With the economics of today, there are more two-parents working,” Reid noted. “So the kids don’t have the support at home. If you look at the 1960s, usually one parent was at home. The students are lacking that now.


“And in some cases there are more needy parents than there was back in the day.


“But overall, if you look at the students I have today and the students in had in the ’70s, they’re still kids. They want attention, they want to do well. I’m not saying I inspire them to do better but … (he laughs).”


Reid’s career also overlapped with the explosion of drug culture in high schools that began in the 1960s and continued in the 1970s and beyond.


Although demographics have changed in Pierrefonds and Dollard-des-Ormeaux, he said Riverdale remains a multi-cultural community school.


“The kids today all get along. The brown kids, the black kids, the Jewish kids, they’re all in classroom together. We have no problems here. It’s just a pleasure to see everybody mixing and having a good time.


“This school is the best-kept secret on the West Island,” he said.


Reid is looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren, but will miss teaching Riverdale, home of his beloved green Spartans’ teams. 


“I’ll miss the students, the camaraderie. You can get away with saying a few things in (gym class) you can’t say in a classroom,” he said laughing.


“It’s a tremendous job to play games for 50 years.”



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Social Justice & Philanthropy: All In at Allion

Posted by slazarus on June 16, 2017 at 09:42 am

Allion applauds its student leaders and celebrates its deep philanthropic spirit with some special guests in a motivating pep rally; complete with song, dance, and kudos.


Allion students have spent months organizing and coordinating social justice and fundraising initiatives as part of WE schools. These amazing students took charge of every aspect; from coming up with ideas, spreading the word within and outside the school, and even letting the administration know what they could do to help.



Grade 6 students demonstrated their Peace Pal project with a brief but impactful skit. Peace Pals offer peer-mediation in the schoolyard by encouraging students to resolve conflicts through non-confrontational methods like talking it out or walking away. The crowd was so engaged in the skit. When asked which students might be interested in becoming Peace Pals, nearly every hand was raised.


With spiritual animator Mary Anne Fyckes’ guidance, the students are encouraged to research causes that are important to them and to coordinate the fundraising efforts from start to finish. The results were incredible as the students succeeded in raising $703 for the Montreal Children’s Hospital, $289 for Sophie’s Dog Adoption and $836 for WE Charities’ Health Pillar.



Some students spent the day being completely silent (they were able to communicate in class through written notes) to raise money for transportation to St. Michael’s Mission where for 4 years now Allion students’ visit leaves a lasting impression. Mr. Green from St. Michael’s Mission added that meeting with Allion students and seeing their social justice projects is always a highlight.


But after spending most of the day quiet, it was time to break the silence with the loudest cheering, a Sound of Music medley performed by Allion’s choir, and a moving (literally) rendition of the ‘WE Dance.’



David Meloche, Regional Director, wrapped up the rally by congratulating Allion for being a leader in social justice, and never being afraid to take action. We couldn’t agree more.



Great work Allion!


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Lasalle Elementary's Art Expo Wows The Crowd

Posted by slazarus on June 13, 2017 at 09:20 am

It's hard to put the Lasalle Elementary students' artistic talents into words. So we won't.


These pics from Lasalle Elementary's Art Expo offer a snapshot of the students' and teachers' efforts in transofrming the school gym into a colorful, stunning art gallery.




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Elementary Green Summit at Westpark

Posted by slazarus on June 8, 2017 at 11:06 am

This week marked World Environment Day.


To celebrate this important occasion, 12 of our elementary schools gathered at Westpark for a Green Summit; where students presented their school's environmental awareness initiatives and special guests led hands-on, green activities. But before getting started with the special day, each school took a pledge to invite one other elementary school to next year's Green Summit; making sure that all elemetary schools participate. 



The Green Summit introduced students to the complex; but important world of bees (complete with honey sampling of course), the value of composting, benefits of gardening, and how to properly care for injured or orphaned wild birds. The students asked insightful questions and expressed keen interest in these environmental intiativies. The guest speakers were very impressed!




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Honorable MP Baylis Visits Sources Adult and Career Centre

Posted by JHendry on June 7, 2017 at 04:15 pm

MP for Pierrefonds-Dollard visits group of English Language Learners


PIERREFONDS, June 5, 2017 – On Friday, May 26th, The Honourable Frank Baylis (Pierrefonds-Dollard) paid a special visit to the English language students at the Sources Adult and Career Centre.

During the visit, Mr. Baylis took time to discuss topics ranging from parliamentary history to current issues including the fight against racism and discrimination, generously sharing his time and expertise with the eager students. The audience appreciated the knowledge Mr. Baylis shared, delivered with a genuine candor the students could feel. “The language students at Sources come from all around the world,” says Leanna Turner, English Literacy teacher at the Centre. “This visit from our Member of Parliament was a much-appreciated opportunity to learn more about Canadian democracy and our home.”


MP Baylis is no stranger to community involvement: a staple in his career since his time as president of Baylis Medical, the MP oversaw volunteers who raised funds to support the Breakfast for Learning program, amongst other initiatives. As a coach with the Association de ringuette de Beaconsfield-Kirkland and a leader with Scouts Canada, he couples his belief in social justice and his parliamentarian status to fight against discrimination in all its forms for all Canadians.

The Sources Adult and Career Centre, one of seven Continuing Education Centres within the Lester B. Pearson School Board, has long provided English instruction to local students looking to improve their speaking, reading, writing and listening skills. Using practical and guided learning, the Centre offers both day and evening courses to fit any schedule.

For more information about the English language courses or other programs available at the Sources Adult and Career Centre, please visit their website at www.lbpce.ca or call 514-422-3000.

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LCCHS Discovers Environmental Design In Its Own Backyard

Posted by slazarus on June 6, 2017 at 10:08 am

Lasalle Community Comprehensive High School students and staff now have a warm and inviting outdoor hangout space with benches, tables and a garden; thanks to the hardworking and dedicated Work Oriented Training Program (WOTP) students in collaboration with Youth Fusion.


By partnering with Youth Fusion’s Environmental Design program, LCCHS students were encouraged to challenge themselves and “get their hands dirty” by taking an active role in improving their school environment. All while raising environmental and social awareness and promoting teamwork.


Students began conceptualizing the outdoor space back in February. The first step was to coordinate and oversee an LCCHS consultation where all students offered their opinions on what they wanted built and how they hoped to use the space. Simon, Youth Fusion’s Environmental Design coordinator, emphasized the importance of this step. He explained that while challenging, the students learned important lessons around communication, project management, and promotion.



The consultation revealed the school’s vision for their outdoor space: plenty of seating, shade from the sun, tables, room to walk around, and a community garden. It was now time for the LCCHS students to sketch their plans, in preparation for the construction. Some students were surprised that the planning phase took so long, but they recognized its importance. “I wanted to start building right away. Sometimes I was impatient during the planning stages, but I realize now that without all that planning, we’d be very disorganized and probably wouldn’t be able to open our space,” said Max, a WOTP student.



Keyshawn, a fellow student, agreed. He said, “even though the planning took a long time, it made the construction easier. Everyone understood what their job would be and we all worked well together.” While each student was able to access their strengths and interests they were also encouraged to step outside of their comfort zones and take on tasks they might never had done before.



And all that hard work paid off! LCCHS’ outdoor space was unveiled in June with a celebratory BBQ for the whole school. The WOTP students were incredibly proud to see LCCHS use and enjoy their outdoor space. This is only the beginning though. Upgrades and modifications are already underway. Stay tuned…


Congratulations LCCHS WOTP students!