Learn and Earn: Pizza for Chatting with Mentors

Through the LBPSB’s Family and School Support and Treatment Team (FSSTT), Beurling Academy brings career mentors from the local community and high school boys together over lunch hour to chat about real-life careers. Students earn their pizza lunch by showing that they have taken notes from conversations with at least three mentors.Talking to mentors who are from their own area, who are like them, encourages boys to stay in school and pursue a career path.


Joanne Graham with a student

Four years ago the high school boys at Beurling Academy (BA) who knew about the “Girls Action Foundation” career day asked the FSSTT program Social Work Technician, Joanne Graham, “Can we have something like that, Miss?” Joanne got busy and put together the BA Annual Believe & Succeed Day for Boys.

It’s not actually a full-day event–it takes place over a lunch hour on the first Wednesday of April. Planning starts in the fall with the request for an Entrepreneurial Grant from the LBPSB, then picks up speed in the spring once the grant has been approved.

Interesting, local, within reach


Representing the Alouettes

What do a firefighter, a police officer, a realtor, a barber shop owner/barber, a liaison to the Alouettes, a nurse, an engineer in hockey equipment, an aircraft mechanic, an aeronautics worker, an actor, a radio personality, a physiotherapist, a chef, and entrepreneurs in vending machines, sports t-shirts, video gaming, and the restaurant industry have in common? They are all on the Beurling Academy career day mentor roster.

It’s an opportunity for boys to learn that they can strive and thrive on a good career path by continuing their education.

Each year around 10 mentors gather in the library to talk about their jobs to the kids. The message is clear: we are from around here, we grew up here, we work here, and we are just like you. So stay in school and you can have a chance to land good, interesting job, too. “It gives the boys a chance to see beyond their own bubble,” says Joanne.


Learning about fire fighting

Joanne tries to change it up a bit each year because the boys start participating when they reach high school. They don’t want the same mentors year after year. They actually help with recruiting the mentors by suggesting people they know. They also make requests to Joanne when they would like to talk with mentors who work in specific sectors.

Students make it happen

Beurling%20Academy%20info3-articleIn addition to helping recruit the mentors, the boys distribute posters in advance of the day, and on the day of the event, they help setting up the tables in the library, putting out the food, and cleaning up afterward. Some are also responsible for meeting-and-greeting the mentors, students, and staff, and others are posted at the library door flagging the boys to “come on in and join the fun.”

It’s important for the boys to know that there are local role models within their own community who are people just like themselves.

The Principal supports the event, as does the librarian, the other FSSTT staff, and some of the teachers.

Pizza lunch

Beurling%20Academy%20info-articleIt’s not a free-for-all and there is a tangible reward involved. The students have to earn their pizza lunch! Students receive passports when the arrive and are required to use them to makes notes of their conversations with at least three of the mentors. They have to show their passports to get their pizza.

GOAL-inspired connections

Kids are learning about their interests and aspirations as well as social roles as event volunteers. Besides enriching their knowledge of the world of work, many are also learning what might be a fundamental value for them: stay in school to take ownership of your own career path.

The 2016 4th Annual BA Believe & Succeed Day or Boys


The t-shirt business

This year’s event will be held on Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in the library. For more information, contact the LBPSB’s Beurling Academy.

Photo credits: Rita McDonough, The Weekender


The FSSTT Youth Outreach Service

The FSSTT was created in 1995 to better support students experiencing difficulties within inclusive classrooms.

The Youth Outreach Service (YOS) was introduced in 2012 to re-engage students at risk of dropping out by providing support to schools, students, and families at critical points in their schooling. YOS activities can include the following:

  • Working with the student and the family to develop and implement a plan to re-engage the student in school;
  • Collaborating with the school team to explore alternative strategies;
  • Acting as a liaison between the student, family and school team;
  • Facilitating successful transitions from one school or program, to another; and
  • Collaborating with community partners to provide additional support services to students and their families, as required.

In 2014, the FSSTT was recognized by the Quebec English School Boards Association with an Excellence in Education award which celebrated the work that the FSSTT accomplished in bridging public education and the community.

For more information, visit the LBPSB Student Services page for the FSSTT: http://sservices.lbpsb.qc.ca/eng/FSSTT/page.asp.

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