Sudbury Catholic District School Board
May 05, 2011

Sudbury Catholic Second Annual Turning Points Essay Contest Awards

Students, parents, teachers and invited guests gathered at the Sudbury Catholic District Board office on May 4, 2011 to take part in the SCDSB’s second annual Turning Points Essay Contest Awards ceremony. This essay contest is an initiative which stems from the Learning Partnership which is an organization that champions a strong public education system to deliver innovative programs, credible research, policy initiatives, executive leadership and public engagement across Canada. Turning Points is a character development and literacy program that allows students to reflect on their fundamental values and, through a process of self-reflection and dialogue, write a narrative essay about a significant event, or turning point in their lives. Many of the Board’s secondary 
students took part in this contest and the authors of the winning essays were awarded plaques, a copy of the publication, as well as monetary awards at Thursday night’s celebration.
 At the awards ceremony, the students were honoured for their efforts and several students had the opportunity to read their essays allowed. The audience was visibly moved by these emotional accounts and several of the teachers involved spoke of the courage and strength of their students to be able to write such heart-felt accounts of their experiences. Barry MacDonald, SCDSB Board Chair congratulated the students for their outstanding efforts and encouraged them to continue on their journey of self-discovery and emotional and spiritual growth. 
Allison Simpson, a Marymount English teacher whose class participated in the contest, spoke to the group about her own involvement and connection to the project. “No one can truly train or prepare us for what emerges as these essays take shape and the results are often very personal,” Simpson stated. “Some talk about great tragedies, some revelations. They are vessels into which our students pour their emotions, their questions, their dreams.” Simpson went on to explain the depth of the impact on these students. “More importantly than the writing itself, is the impact that the process has upon relationships in the lives of the authors. Parents have expressed that it has been a true “turning point” in their lives as it opened the doors to sharing with each other the effects of a very difficult time in both of their lives.”
Catherine McCullough, Director of Education expressed her delight at the expansion of the program in its second year. “I am thrilled that the this program once again met with such success, and am so proud and inspired by our students for having the courage to write and speak about their most personal and meaningful life experiences.”

Winning Essays included:
Grade 9/10 Awards:

Honourable Mentions:
• McKenna Urso, Breaking Promises
• Santeria Mulcahey, Unforeseeable
• Kaylee LeBreton, Kristin Rose
• Vanessa Bulfon, My Home Away From Home
• Keitlin Okell, The Trip that Saved My Life

• 4th place: Kayla McDonald, My One Birthday Wish
• 3rd place: Cassandra Durand, When I Became Me
• 2nd place: Jenny Daoust, My Flesh Eating Monster
• 1st place: Melissa Circelli, The One and Only

Grade 11/12 Awards:

Honourable Mentions:
• Bailey Zeman, Truth of Dreams
• Sarah Hunt, Hold Onto Your Heart
• Madison Burton, It’s Just the Way I Am
• Emily Cortolezzis, Calm After the Storm
• Sarah Tkachuk, The Key is Independence
• Taylor Hanson, Family Day

• 4th place: Deanna Falvo, Growing Old Gracefully
• 3rd place: Celine Charbonneau, The Open Armed Angel
• 2nd place: Alyssa Jylha, Thin Red Lines
• 1st place: Crystal Sahadat, A Second Chance in Life

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