|MARYMOUNT ADULT CENTRE HOLDS OFFICIAL OPENING AT FORMER WAGAR HIGH SCHOOL FACILITY|
MONTREAL, OCTOBER 12, 2005- The Marymount Adult Centre officially opened the doors of its new home, the former premises of Wagar High School in Cote St. Luc, on Friday, October 14. With this new expanded facility, the Centre will be able to continue its primary commitment to its students, by fostering the pursuit of knowledge and facilitating the achievement of students’ short term and long term goals by providing a positive learning environment.
At the ceremony, the Wagar Foyer and Wagar Field were formally unveiled by Centre Director Nick Furfaro as a way to pay tribute to the former high school. The Centre previously shared space with Marymount Academy on Côte Saint-Luc Road in N.D.G. Governing Board Chair Rosalia Fata noted that the Centre now has room to grow. Mr. Furfaro reports that while enrolment is down slightly for day classes, evening courses have increased by five. "The Montreal Transit Commission added special buses from the Villa Maria Metro station so access here for our students is excellent," he said. "We are in a state-of-the-art facility which everyone just loves. I know for our next session which begins in January we will see significantly higher numbers."
EMSB Commissioners Syd Wise and Marvin Helfenbaum, Director of Adult Education and Vocational Services Rosario Ortona, Côte Saint-Luc City Manager David Johnstone and Recreation Department Official Harold Cammy were also in attendance. Wagar High School closed last June, 42 years after its birth.
The staff at Marymount Adult Centre wants to make sure that their students are learning to the highest possible standard in a cooperative working environment. At the same time, the students, who are all 25 years of age and over, are being instilled with a sense of duty and responsibility, an attitude of equality, respect and support and are encouraged to display courtesy, proper behavior and personal grooming.
There are three types of educational vocations that make up the backbone of the Marymount Adult Centre’s curriculum: In-Centre Education, Community-Based Education and Special Needs Education. There is also the General Education program, which exclusively focuses on literacy.
The In-Centre Education program gives students a unique opportunity to improve their basic English and/or French skills. Over 360 full time students are involved in the In-Centre Education program, and are registered in 13 full time basic English classes, one full time individualized Pre-Secondary to Secondary II class and one full time individualized Secondary I and II French class. Students are also offered each level of the literacy/math program for a full academic year. All of these classes take place in an environment that promotes superior student retention.
Vocational education is promoted to the students on an ongoing basis by encouraging them to finish Secondary II English and Math (which are pre-requisites for the GDT exam), along with group and individual visits to different vocational education centres, which take place throughout the year.
There are also many student activities, through which they enhance their personal, social and artistic interests. These activities include: English conversation tutorials, Tai-ji instruction before or after classes, three-dimensional decoupage art instruction, social dancing instruction, preparation for the Citizenship Exams and unlimited daytime use of the computer lab. The program also offers three major outings during the year (apple picking, cabane a sucre, and a trip to either Ottawa or Quebec City), which are free of charge.
The Community-Based Education classes offer part-time basic English/Math courses Monday to Sunday, on mornings, afternoons or evenings. Last year, this program taught 630 students in 31 classes in 14 ethnic community organizations throughout the greater Montreal area. The Marymount Adult Centre is the only English adult centre in the province to offer this service.
Marymount’s Special Needs Education program (S.I.S.) is designed to enable an adult who is experiencing adjustment difficulties (mild to severe) of a psychological, social or physical nature to gain access to individualized learning that fosters the acquisition of basic skills to prepare them for their activities and role in society and, if applicable, the pursuit of further studies.
The S.I.S. program operates and functions on six guiding principles, which are:
*Interaction between the adults, their own respective environments, and the exercise of their social roles.
*Setting-up of a process for solving concrete, immediate problems using reality-based learning.
*Respect for the adults’ characteristics and styles, as well as those of their environment.
*Acquisition and development of varied and numerous multidimensional competencies for social integration.
*An approach that enables students to learn, to integrate their learning and to use their learning.
*Reliance on support provided by health-sector partners.
Marymount’s S.I.S. program service approximately 250 part-time and full time students, who are referred to them by the following hospital and community partners: the Allan Memorial Hospital, C.A.R.E, the Douglas Hospital, Forward House, AVATIL, the Green Centre, Jewish Family Services and the Montreal General Hospital.
The Marymount Adult Centre is proud of the fact that its students leave there fully aware that they received a quality education that was focused on their pedagogical, personal and social needs; that they serve the needs of the community at large wherever and whenever these needs exist; and that the marginalized members of our society can and do obtain the pedagogical services they are entitled to, which will help boost their self-esteem.
Michael J. Cohen