These Walls Speak Volumes about Student Success

John F. Kennedy High School students in “Training for a Semiskilled Trade” have applied their talents and knowledge of the world of work to a project very close to their hearts: the beautification of their school.

By Travis Hall

A student-designed mural completes the restoration work

A student-designed mural completes the restoration work.

John F. Kennedy High School in Montréal has been offering the Work-Oriented Training Path’s Training for a Semiskilled Trade option for several years. The pathway has proven popular among students because of its unique curriculum that blends classroom academics with on-the-job training outside the school. Graduates of the program receive a certificate from the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport.

Connections, creativity and self-esteem

The program has been a great success due to the efforts of teachers Anthony Tonin and Stefan Kazamias. These two educators are always looking for new ways to enrich the learning of their students. Recently, they began working with artist-educator, Thibault Zimmer, to integrate Visual Arts into the curriculum. (Thibault Zimmer is a Concordia University graduate in Art Education.) This initiative has encouraged students to make connections between the classroom and the world of work, to express themselves in a positive manner and to be creative in their use of such common tools and materials as spray paint, plaster and wood.

One of their larger projects to date involved the restoration and beautification of some school walls. This project enabled students to learn and practise skills in plastering and patching, sanding, priming and painting, while also giving back to their school community. A photographic exhibit of their hard work and amazing results was recently on display at the English Montréal School Board.

Travis Hall is a pedagogical consultant, Career Development, for the English Montréal School Board, who is responsible for GOAL and related areas.

Three paths in Secondary Cycle Two

Since its introduction in 2008, the Work-Oriented Training Path is one of three paths available to Secondary Cycle Two students through the Québec Education Program. The other two are the General Education Path and the Applied General Education Path.

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