MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 15, 2011- The 12th annual English Montreal School Board (EMSB) Career Fair took place November 2 and 3 at St. Pius X Adult Centre in Ahuntsic for Secondary V students. Jack Dym of Pipe and Piling Supplies Ltd. and RBC were the event’s title sponsors.
Among the guest speakers were RBC sponsored athletes Caroline Ouellette (hockey), Christine Robinson (water polo) and Benoit St-Amand (sledge hockey). Several on air personalities from 92.5 The Beat FM were also be on hand to talk to students about careers in broadcasting. Morning show hosts Cat Spencer and Sarah Bartok, newscaster Murray Sherriffs and promotions director Linda Fraraccio (a graduate of the EMSB’s Honoré-Mercier Elementary and Laurier Macdonald High School) took to the stage to speak. Shaun McMahon, the morning show producer (and a graduate of the EMSB’s John Caboto Academy and Vincent Massey Collegiate), worked The Beat’s booth and engaged in dialogue with students. A Montreal firefighter and members of the Canadian Armed Forces were among the other speakers.
On one of the evenings, the Career Fair hosted an open house to the community-at-large. This was a good opportunity for parents to attend with their children as they look towards post-secondary education options.
Noted veejay and motivational speaker Malik Shaheed, a graduate of Westmount High School, was back as the emcee. Susan Freed, a guidance counsellor at LaurenHill Academy in St. Laurent, returned as the Career Fair chairperson. The Student Services and Adult Education and Vocational Services Departments of the EMSB coordinate this program. Ms. Freed notes that the main objective of the Career Fair is to provide students with an in-depth exposure to the various educational opportunities available to them. All students took part in a brief general information session in the St. Pius X auditorium. Students then had the chance to visit the various exhibition/information booths staffed by representatives from English vocational centres, CEGEPS, universities, the Canadian Armed Forces, McDonald’s, Bench apparel and some private business colleges.
Ouellette has been a member of the Canadian National Women’s Ice Hockey Team for 12 years, winning gold medals at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games and placing first at five World Championships. She hopes to represent Canada again at the 2014 Winter Games in Russia. “I would not be successful at the international level with only my hockey skills,” she told students. “I needed to become fitter and a better athlete overall. I also needed to learn the benefits of good nutrition. since then, I have strived to be as fit as I can be and take pride in being successful in the off-ice aspect of training.”
A graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she double majored in criminology and women's studies, as an RBC Athlete Ouellette believes she will pick up on things that will help in her sports and post-athletic career. “Past and current Olympians have appreciated being part of the program for years, and I feel lucky to now be one of them,” she says.
Robinson started playing water polo when she was 12 and she did not wait long to make a name for herself in the Canadian Water Polo community. She made the junior national team in 1999 after only three years of water polo experience and has been playing internationally for Canada ever since. She captained the 2003 Junior National Team to Canada’s first gold medal performance at a World Championship since 1981. At the event she finished in the top 10 in scoring with an impressive 16 goals and excelled in the center forward position for her team. Christine made her debut with the senior team in the 2004 qualification tournament for the Olympic Games. Her play at that event secured her a spot on the roster for the 2004 Athens Olympics, fulfilling a lifelong dream. Christine’s most recent accomplishment was a silver medal at the FINA World Aquatic Championships last summer in Rome. She hopes to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. A resident of Lachine, she graduated in physiology from McGill in 2009.
St.-Amand has always been passionate about playing sports, especially hockey, which he began playing at the age of three. A resident of St-Hubert he was diagnosed with a malignant tumour on his right tibia at 15 years of age and after many months of operations and physiotherapy, he consented to have his leg amputated above the knee. This was a tough decision for St-Amand, but he was anxious to get back to an active lifestyle. The ordeal taught him to think and act positively, living his life one day at a time.
After watching a broadcast of the Canadian sledge hockey team playing at the 2002 Paralympics, Benoît was determined to play for his country. A couple of months after the 2002 games were over, he started to play sledge hockey in Montreal. After only two years of playing, he earned a spot on the national team as a forward and eventually made the switch to goaltending.
St-Amand was a member of the gold medal team at the 2006 Paralympics in Torino and on the team which played in Vancouver last winter. He also has gold medals from the 2008 IPC Hockey World Championships and the 2007 World Sledge Hockey Challenge. He has his own website at www.benoitstamand.com.