|LAURIER MACDONALD HIGH SCHOOL LAUNCHES NEW BOOK AT LEONARDO DA VINCI CENTRE|
MONTREAL, DECEMBER 12, 2002- The students and staff at Laurier Macdonald High School officially launched their new book, Once Upon a Journey, on Wednesday, December 11 at the the Centre Leonardo da Vinci in St Leonard. Students presented the project that evening via montages and a short theatrical depiction of the stories.
Since the beginning of time, children have sat with their grandparents listening to stories from the "good old days." Within the last century and a half, since the invention of photography, a visual effect has been added to this kind of reminiscing. Photographs and stories are two things everyone has, and these form the basis of Once Upon A Journey, which was a multimedia, cross-curricular project developed at Laurier Macdonald and designed to engage students in writing, photography, computer technologies and other activities as they researched the history behind selected family photographs and artifacts.
Mutsumi Takahashi, the co-anchor of CFCF Television News, served as the master of ceremonies and she was very touched by the project. She told the audience about coming to Canada from her native Japan at the age of six. "Growing up as a visible minority in Montreal, all I wanted was to just fit in and be like everybody else," said Ms. Takahashi, who is a product of the public education system. "It took a long time for me to realize I have a lot to be proud of... of what I am, what I am not, and where I came from. Because often, you need to understand where you come from in order to realize how far you can go. So many of us never get the opportunity to celebrate our families and our heritage. As I looked through this book, I couldn’t help but think how much easier and less lonely my journey would have been, if I’d had a project like this when I was in high school."
Laurier Macdonald media education teachers Frank Tiseo and Leon Llewellyn headed this project, serving as editors of the book along with Professor Winston Emery of McGill University’s Faculty of Education. Audrey Berner, also a media education teacher at the school, served as a contributing editor while Michele Luchs, presently on loan to the Ministry of Education, assisted in the development.
"For students researching their family histories, rifling through shoeboxes filled with pictures and documents was much like excavating an ancient Egyptian pyramid rich with mummies and hieroglyphics," emphasize the editors. "The stories were written with the soul, the mind and the heart. Some brought tears, others smiles, and some even fear; but most of all, the stories were expressed through the human emotion of fulfillment."
Guest speakers at the launch included EMSB Director General Charley E.E. Levy, Deputy Director General Renzo Orsi, Principal Pat Buttino and Abigail Anderson from the Ministry of Education. Amanda DeMartinis and Benoit Imbeault served as student hosts.
Two years ago the students and staff published a similar book called Rainbow of Dreams.
Michael J. Cohen