MONTREAL, MAY 10, 2012 – As winners in the Montreal regional competition, Nesbitt Elementary School in Rosemount and Westmount High School have advanced to the provincial level of competition in the Quebec Entrepreneurship Contest. The Desjardins Grand Prize Gala will be held in Québec City on June 20.
At Nesbitt, teachers Luisa Mercadante and Katharine Childs combined their talents to develop two very special projects for their Grades 5 and 6 French Immersion classes: IM_PRESS- Un éveil à littératie pro-active (in which students wrote and illustrated their own books)and Du fond du cœur - From the bottom of our heart (in which students produced thank-you notecards from their interpretations of Van Gogh’s paintings).
Their students were fully engaged in these projects for several months. The resulting books and notecards produced were, in fact, wonderful examples of the type of work fully committed and involved students can produce. Because of this, both projects were selected to be finalists in the Quebec Entrepreneurial Contest in the Montreal regional competition and won prizes: IM_PRESS : Un éveil à littératie pro-active was awarded the prestigious Prix de Persévérance Scolaire (winning an additional $500) and Du fond du cœur : From the bottom of our heart garnered the EMSB Prix Coup de Cœur (and an additional $300). In addition to the beautiful trophies and the cash prizes, the project IM_PRESS : Un éveil à littératie pro-active was chosen the winner for the Elementary Cycle 3 category from among all the projects submitted by the five school boards in Montreal and as such, becomes eligible to compete in the provincial level of competition.
In the Secondary Cycle 2 category, the Westmount High School project, The Westmount Fitness Centre, was awarded the first prize of $500. Noting that obesity is a problem faced by children and adults alike and that high costs and limited access often make a healthy level of activity unattainable, teacher Andrew Robinson and his students decided to open a fitness centre in the school. The students worked together and completely transformed a storage space; they emptied, cleaned, renovated, painted, decorated, and organized it, thus creating the Westmount Fitness Centre. The group even created a Board of Directors where the students have assigned roles and designated responsibilities, such as procuring materials and volunteers, and organizing a schedule. Some students act as managers and personal trainers.
The fitness centre is a service provided for free to all students and staff of Westmount High. Participants receive a fitness training program designed to encourage full body workouts that focus on strength, stability and cardio. The students work with the school’s own Vancouver 2010 Olympian in short track speed skating, Tyson Heung. His expertise ensures that all the students' and staff's fitness needs are being met, and he is actively training a group of student volunteers who are interested in personal training. Mr. Robinson and his students have given their school a safe, clean, and accessible space where everyone is encouraged to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Like Nesbitt’s, the Westmount project advances to the provincial level of competition with a chance to win the provincial Grand Prize.
Over the past 14 years, the Québec Entrepreneurship Contest has promoted entrepreneurship in schools and encouraged students to take part in novel and concrete entrepreneurial experiences that showcase their talents and enable them to discover qualities they did not believe they had. Again this year, the contest organizers are proud of the participation rate recorded in the Student Entrepreneurship division. Over 45 000 young people from elementary school through to the university level submitted 2381 projects throughout the province.
The Québec Entrepreneurship Contest is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support the development of Québec's entrepreneurial culture by rewarding entrepreneurial initiatives throughout Québec. The Student Entrepreneurship division encourages the creation of projects that contribute to the development of entrepreneurial values in the schools. Through its Business Creation division, the contest encourages entrepreneurs who are just starting up a business. Over the last 14 years, the contest has attracted more than one million participants.