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Repercussion Theatre

CÔTE SAINT-LUC,  JUNE  4, 2010--To honour the employers who have helped make their Job Orientation Program such a resounding success, the administration, staff and students of John Grant High School in Côte Saint-Luc organized an Employers’ Appreciation Luncheon recently.
Held in the cafeteria of the school, which is located on the ground floor of Cote Saint-Luc’s Giovanni Palatucci Facility (formerly Wagar High School), the first annual event paid tribute to the commitment of the businesses and staff who have given the special needs students a priceless gift this past decade: viable work experience that will prepare them for life once their schooling ends. 
“You have taken this (program) under your wing to show the students skills we are not always able to, in our environment,” stated Principal Roland Desloges during his comments to the invited employers. “This is a very important partnership for us.”
Indeed, the work-study program has given students skills that might otherwise be denied them due to the physical, emotional or mental challenges they must contend with. Dorothy Shaw has been the coordinator of the job program and career advisor for a decade, a commitment that will shortly be placed on hold as she takes a well-deserved sabbatical. “The success of this program has been immeasurable,” she said. “Some students have actually found permanent jobs through the program once they have graduated, but all have developed important life and work-related skills. This is a win-win situation for both employers and students alike.”
Once assigned to a particular employer, the students are then supervised by that person, as well as by the John Grant school staff, who visit regularly. Work-Study educator Solomon Krueger coaches two students working at the non-profit Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC), accompanying them to work once per week. He is also involved with travel training, hygiene, etiquette, fostering responsible work habits, time management and work performance.“I coach them when needed and help them with practicing things like their interviewing skills,” Mr. Krueger said. The assistance the school offers extends beyond the end of the Secondary V academic year, he added, as a certain number of students can return to polish their job orientation skills for up to five years after graduation. The school accommodates 150 students, with 30 graduating this year.
Three of the grads who have benefitted from the Job Orientation Program – Julie Myhr, Allan Fineberg and Jermaine Muckler - spoke to guests about their experiences, showing not only their gratitude, but plenty of enthusiasm and infectious humour. “At Tim Horton’s, my favourite job, I loved putting the jelly in the doughnuts and then eating the doughnuts,” said Myhr, genuinely smiling from ear to ear.    
Teachers and employers alike commented about how well this program has built the self-esteem of the affiliated teens. Carl Levesque, representing the CCAC, commented on how his organization has benefitted “from their (the students’) vibrancy and an upbeat sense of achievement they have brought to the atmosphere of our office. We also help them develop a sense of belonging, as well as accomplishment.”
Guests enjoyed a delicious full-course lunch prepared by the students and were entertained by a Caribbean steel drum band comprised of students and their teachers.
Following the lunch, one graduating student requested that all of her teachers assemble at the back of the room, where she then proceeded in stirring fashion to thank them for according her such a happy educational experience... hardly an occurrence in most latter-day high schools.


Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213