2018 Harmony School of the Year Award
Catholic Central High School
By Danielle Desjardins-Koloff, Principal
The students at Catholic Central represent a global and diverse population — all having arrived with unique stories and under unique circumstances. We recognize that each of our students deserves a voice and that some students’ voices are more readily offered than others. We work endlessly to create opportunities that assist students in finding their voices and becoming advocates, mentors and changemakers.
Our African Canadian Cultural Experience initiative provides our students of African descent, regardless of their country of origin or birth, opportunities to connect with peers and adult-mentors to explore pathways, potential, and possibilities. Students are challenged to create and to articulate goals, to share experiences and to see themselves of agents of change in their own lives and in the lives of others.
The group, Dare to Dream CommUNITY, was created in order for our newcomer females to develop friendships and voices. The girls attend mental wellness programming, aikido classes, drama as a second language workshops and leadership camps.
GLOW is a program that was created after many of our international students expressed feelings of alienation and disconnect with the school community. In response, we created a credit course that partners Canadian students with international students. Rather than complete formal tests, students are challenged to participate in project-based inquiries focused on improving school culture and cultural understandings.
In addition, our school celebrates its thriving Gay Straight Alliance. Last year we hosted a board-wide GSA conference during which we celebrated our unique authentic selves alongside local celebrities and one another.
At Catholic Central, we are always searching for new and creative opportunities for every student and every member of our school community to celebrate one another. We are proud to share our educational journey as part of the Harmony Awards Gala.
Danielle Desjardins-Koloff is passionate about finding opportunities to connect youth to community supports and experiences. She is concerned with the promotion of education surrounding equity, diversity, and social justice in her school, in her community, and within the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board. She has also worked provincially on projects and initiatives that support the well-being of LGBTIQ students in Catholic schools.