Catholic Education Week at Bressani

By Vanessa Spagnuolo, Student Writer

This past week, from April 30 to May 5, 2017, Catholic schools across Ontario celebrated the annual Catholic Education Week. This year’s major theme of reflection was “Walking Forward Together,” with sub-themes including “Walking Forward Together” with God, with Our Families, with Others, with Creation and in Hope.

Father Bressani is one of the many schools across the province to hold events in participation with Catholic Education Week every year, and this year was no exception.

On the first day, two Immaculate Conception Youth Group Members, Joey and Daniel Clemenzi, came in to speak to students about social justice, faith development and how to become involved with the Youth Group. Student’s truly took their words to heart.

“I think they are very dedicated to what they teach,” said Catherine Taniajura, Grade 11 Bressani student. “They seem very genuine. I could see myself possibly volunteering with the Youth Group in the future.”

A Catholic Education Week Mass was held at Immaculate Conception Parish and students were also given the opportunity to celebrate by entering a six word story contest. Students were to provide a complete story about catholic education in only six words. Submissions could be dropped off as a ballot at the front desk, or submitted through twitter to the Bressani Library. Unfortunately, many students were unaware of the contest and missed their chance to enter.

“I wish it would have been promoted more,” said Grade 11 Bressani student, Daphne Alvarado. “I would have definitely entered if I knew about it, but I don’t have twitter so I didn’t see the information, and I didn’t go to the library so I didn’t see the sign.”

On the final day of Catholic Education Week, the school’s chaplains, Mrs. DiNardo and Mrs. Petrolo discussed prayer shelves that would soon be put up in each classroom. They are to be available to students for prayer before a test and to take a moment to reflect and destress. Students have mixed opinions on this idea.

“Personally, praying does not alleviate my stress,” said Alvarado, “but I can understand why some students may like this idea. However, we do have a chapel in service and I feel like we should promote that more for students.” Many students share the same opinion and feel that investing in prayer shelves are a waste of money as students will not use them, but others support the idea.

“I think prayer shelves are excellent additions in our classrooms because we are embracing our Catholic faith,” said Joseph Spagnuolo, Grade 11 Bressani student.

Catholic Education Week 2017 was surely embraced at Father Bressani, as it is important to recognize Catholic Education and unite the communities of catholic students.

“We should be proud that we go to a Catholic school,” said Grade 10 student, Sarah Simone. “We should be proud of our religion and we should all walk forward together with God and our families. Also, the Catholic Education Week mass is important because it showcases our religion and student’s talents.”

Patrick Santarsia, a Grade 9 student at Father Bressani, said, “Catholic Education Week is extremely important for Catholic Youth because even in stressful school years, kids should know the stories, the importance, the meaning, and the benefits our faith has in store for us.”

A huge thank you goes out to all the teachers, students and staff who worked so hard to put together all of the events that were held at the school this past week to celebrate Catholic Education. We look forward to celebrating again next year.

How Quickly the Year is Moving!

It is hard to believe that we are halfway through May!  The rugby season is in full swing and our teams continue to do well!

Senior Rugby action at Friday Night Lights May 5th

On May 5 was the annual “Friday Night Lights” junior and senior games at St. Joan.  Our teams won both games in front of hundreds of fans.

Senior Girls Soccer Champs

Congratulations to our Senior Girls Soccer team who won gold at an 18 team tournament on Friday May 5. These are exciting times for Eagle sports at Bressani !

Huge crowd cheering on our teams to victory

Soon we will also be experiencing the “Scenes, Sights and Sounds”  of the Father Bressani Visual and Performing Arts Department.  On May 25th there will be an art exhibit from 6:30 to 9 pm and our school bands will perform their annual spring concert in the main gym starting at 7pm.  Tickets are available in advance for $10.  For more info contact Mrs D’Amato at the school.

Mother’s Day Tea put on by our FLS students

Last Friday I had the pleasure of visiting our Special Education (FLS)  students and teachers during period two when they hosted a spring tea for their moms. The room was decorated with flowers and there were tables of sweets.  The moms present were treated to a very touching video made by their kids.  This was a very special event and a great way to move into Mother’s Day weekend.  Well done!


On May 16th we had our annual Breakfast of Champions  for students who have quietly shown leadership in their classes or extra-curricular activities.  The 52 students who were invited were from all grades.

Breakfast of Champions
May 16, 2017

A number of staff have officially given notice to the school board of their intention to retire at the end of this school year.  Please congratulate the following staff when you get a chance to:

Mrs Josie Steriovski, Department Head of Business and Computer Studies

Mr Manuel Arruda, Department Head of Religion

Mr. Jim Nigh, Religion Teacher

Mr. Tony Costanzo, Canadian and World Studies Teacher

Please congratulate the following teachers on their new appointments, effective next September:

Ms Helga Iannucci, Department Head of Religion

Mrs Wendy Hofstatter, Department Head of Business and Computer Studies

Here are some important dates….

May 18   Parenting for Successful Kids, for new grade 9 parents, 7pm

May 25  “Scenes, Sights and Sounds”

May 26  Celebrate Bressani Day

June 1   Catholic School Advisory Council Meeting 7pm

June 13 Graduates Breakfast at the school

June 13 Athletic Banquet 6:30pm

June 20 Grade 12 period 4 exam (12:30), Regular classes for grades 9-11

June 21- 27 Exams at 9am

June 28 Exam Review Day

June 29 PA DAY – Graduation 7pm at Immaculate Conception Parish

June 30 PA DAY – Prom at Le Jardin

I would like to encourage all our students to keep working hard at their studies and for those on school teams, keep up the fine efforts representing us!

D. Zaroski


2018 Costa Rica Trip


By: Christian Santilli, Student Writer

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The students of Father Bressani are being presented with an exciting, once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to beautiful Costa Rica.  In March, 2018, Mr. Gorys and Mrs. Puopolo will be leading a student excursion to the tropical Central American country, with an itinerary including some of the most breathtaking locations the country has to offer.

The trip, planned in conjunction with EF Customized Tours will be an eleven-day tropical adventure, at a cost of $3200 (insurance costs are extra).  In this article, I will highlight some of the incredible locations and activities planned for students during their Costa Rica tour.  

The first stop for students after a five and a half hour flight is San José, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. Students mainly use San Jose as a springboard to their adventure but get a chance to drive through the cultural downtown, the cultural centre of the country.

The next morning the group will head out through banana plantations while travelling to the beautiful Tortuguero National Park on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast.  The tour includes a guide through the historic Tortuguero village- home to just 700 inhabitants, and only accessible by boat.

Students will enjoy their third day exploring the lush natural scenery of Tortuguero National Park and the Tortuguero Canals which are home to exotic species such as howler monkeys, macaws, toucans, and caimans.  

The adventure continues the next day as Bressani students will board a bus to travel to the mountainous Arenal region, home to the mile-high Arenal Volcano, an active volcano soaring high above the tropical hills.  In this outstanding setting, the group will partake in a student favourite visit to a local sustainable farm where they are guaranteed to learn, laugh and be fed with all organically grown food.  

On the outskirts of La Fortuna, the main town in the Arenal region, students will complete their international community service opportunities with a visit to a Costa Rican school and an Childcare House (their version of a small orphanage). During this time students will deliver packages of supplies and donations they collected throughout the first half of the school year. They will be given time to learn about the Costa Rica school system and their rich culture.

“Students have often cited the community service aspect as their favourite part of the trip,” said Mr. Gorys. “The bonds that they create in the few hours with some of the students is actually amazing to see. We never leave a school without some form of tears falling from faces, not wanting to let go of new found friendships. The competitive soccer games with those kids are pretty intense too…some of those kids are small but they are fierce and refuse to lose!”

 After this the Bressani group will head to the Arenal Hanging Bridges, where they will be fully immersed into the remote rainforest of Arenal.  To finish the day, students can relax at one of the region’s many natural volcanic hot springs. “Words can’t describe the looks on students faces when they walk into the hot spring resort. The place is stunning and amazing and so relaxing. It is definitely a highlight,” said Mrs. Puopolo, the other teacher supervisor.  

And this is all just the first five days!  The next days include activities such as horseback riding with the Pacific coast in sight, swimming alongside waterfalls,  exploring numerous tropical jungles and coastlines, relaxing on the gorgeous Pacific coast beaches, and experiencing Costa Rican traditions, food, music, and entertainment at a special dinner on the last night back in San José.  

This Costa Rica excursion is unlike anything else that Father Bressani has to offer, as it allows students to fully immerse themselves in a foreign culture, and experience exotic scenery unavailable to them in Woodbridge.  It teaches students about our environment and highlights the great importance on “green technologies” that are going to dominate the future economy.  Students drive past and learn about the Costa Rica Silicon Valley where major worldwide computer technology companies have opened businesses and expanded operations to Central America.

Do not miss your chance to experience all the natural wonders of a tropical environment in one of the world’s most environmentally-friendly nations.

Mr. Gorys, the trip organizer, has traveled to Costa Rica several times, and he explains, “For a great life experience, there is no trip better than Costa Rica.  It has a little bit of everything, and something for everyone.  Students can gain independence, and learn some useful travelling skills, all while enjoying great weather, and an awesome environment!”

Remember that everyone is welcome to come explore Costa Rica with Father Bressani, so tell your friends and talk to Mr. Gorys for more details!  There is a parent meeting regarding the trip on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.  

Father Bressani celebrates Global Day of the Engineer

By Vanessa Spagnuolo, Student Writer

On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, Father Bressani celebrated the second annual Global Day of the Engineer.  This day, presented by DiscoverE, has stemmed from a growing worldwide movement that celebrates engineers and attempts to inspire future generations of innovators.

Communities around the world come together to recognize and bring attention to the revolutionary work that engineers do on a daily basis. All the individuals involved pledge to three things: to celebrate engineers, to engage students and to share local innovation.

Father Bressani, through their commitment to this pledge, decided to celebrate Global Day of the Engineer by setting up challenges in the Library for students to complete during both A and B lunches. With help from the engineering design process that was listed for students, teams were encouraged to complete the tasks as best they could.

One such challenge was for students to design and construct a paper clip chain that would hold the most weight. Each team had only 100 paperclips, two minutes to design, seven minutes to create and one minute to test their structure.

Other similar challenges involved designing structures using various items such as cups, foil. straws, paper rolls, newspaper pages, clothespins, popsicle sticks etc.

Students enjoyed the challenges and had so much fun working together to complete them. The teams were really encouraged to think like engineers.

“I had to make a rollercoaster structure with paper rolls and tape. It made me realize how difficult it is to actually design a sound structure with such limited materials. It was fun to think of creative ways to use such limited materials,” said Christian Santilli, a Grade 11 student who participated in one of the challenges.  

Considering this is only the second annual Global Day of the Engineer, most students were unaware that such a day existed and were pleasantly surprised to find out that Father Bressani was celebrating in the library.

“It’s cool of them to do this. It seems like a lot of fun. I wish it was advertised better because I had never really heard of this before,” said Grade 11 student Madison Geddes.

Pictures and videos of students completing the challenges were posted on social media all day with the hashtags #GlobalEngineer and #GlobalEngineerDay.

“I saw pictures on twitter. I think it’s a good idea,” said Grade 11 student Catherine Taniajura. “I think it’s important to have a day to appreciate engineers and what they do.”

Global Day of the Engineer is still a very new celebration, but schools like Bressani are quickly embracing it. Such a simple thing like setting up little challenges in the library does so much to shine a light on the work of engineers across the world.

Students who did not get the chance to participate in the challenges this year do not need to worry. There’s always next year. Be sure to show your support when Global Day of the Engineer celebrations come back to Bressani in 2018.


Reach For the Top Regional Tournament

By: Christian Santilli, Student Writer

Monday, April 10, 2017

On Wednesday, March 29 Father Bressani’s senior trivia team, “Reach for the Top” participated in the York Regional trivia tournament.  The team travelled to St. Augustine CHS in Markham with librarian Mrs. Girardo to challenge schools from across the region, including public and private schools.  

Our team, made up of grade 11’s Brian Diep, Christian Santilli, and Nic Santos, along with grade 12 Daniel Morelli, has been meeting in the library every week since September to prepare for last week’s tournament.    They practiced hundreds of questions relating to an unlimited list of topics, including Math, Language, History, Science, Geography, and Pop-Culture.

Sadly, at the meet, our team did not advance to the semi-finals.  Bressani went up against five other school teams, losing to Brother Andre, Sacred Heart, and St. Robert, and winning their matches against Langstaff and Norman Bethune.  All matches were incredibly close, with the game against Brother Andre coming down to one question at the very end.  

No matter the outcome, the students had a great time at the tournament, enjoying friendly competition, and learning new, interesting facts.  Plus, a delicious pizza dinner was available for teams after the games were finished.  

When asked what she liked the most about the tournament, grade 11 team member Nic Santos said, “I loved the feeling of pride when you are the only one who knows the question.”

We look forward to cheering on Bressani’s junior trivia team at their tournament on April 26.  Anyone interested in joining next year’s “Reach for the Top” team can speak to Mrs. Girardo for more details.  New members are always welcome!     


Kortright Maple Syrup Festival

by Madison Geddes, Student Writer

Toward the end of the Winter season and the first few colder weeks of Spring is the Maple Syrup Season. During this time, there are corresponding Maple Syrup Festivals all across Canada celebrating one of the country’s  staple products.

Easily the largest one in the GTA is the festival at the Kortright Centre for Conservation, and from March 4 to April 2, Kortright hosts it’s very own Maple Syrup Festival within their 325 hectares of land.

Kortright works with a number of partners and sponsors in order to promote the use of sustainable energy use and for the protection of the natural environment. These include the Earth Rangers, York Region, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Throughout the entirety of the year they hold a wide variety of different festivals and events, even including summer camps for children, to promote their cause and bring environmental awareness  to the public. For students, Kortright also provides an innumerable amount of volunteer opportunities. The annual Maple Syrup Festival is easily one of their largest events.

As Kortright volunteer Madison Fanelli says, “I found out about Kortright from a friend. I really enjoy volunteering there as it gives me a chance to get closer to the outdoors. The Maple Syrup Festival was fun. It was good to experience those demonstrations and I believe that I learned just as much as any of the guests that came by, not to mention that there were a lot of people who came by.”

There are many Father Bressani students who volunteer there. However, they seem to be outnumbered by those who aren’t too familiar with the centre.

“I think I had heard of it, but I never really knew anything about it,” explains Bressani student Vanessa Spagnuolo. “I’ve never heard about the Maple Syrup Festival.”

“I’ve been there maybe once or twice. I don’t know much about it,” answered student Cristina Rulli.

“I have been there a couple times. I’ve been to the Maple Syrup Festival too. It was okay, I do wish I could have been more involved in the demonstrations though. Other than that it was nice.” student Erica Lombardo recalled.

For clarification, those who attended the festival were given the opportunity to watch live demonstrations of how maple syrup was originally produced by both the First Nations and the pioneers, as well as how the syrup is made and classified today. There are also syrup samples available, as well as a large mass of maple syrup products for anyone to purchase at their own leisure.

Upon the land there are a mass of maple trees that provide the sap for demonstrations on how the sap is taken from the trees without damaging them, and how it is used to make the syrup.

All of this is available with the backdrop of a peaceful nature hike of the Kortright land. While the festival may be over now, you will have a chance to attend next year. If you are unable to, then as stated before Kortright holds a number of other events during the year.

Kortright is a beautiful place that allows people to get closer to nature and learn more about the world upon which they live. It’s worth checking out at least once.

Father Bressani Boys Hockey Team Golden Again


Boys Hockey team 2105

By Christian Manzato, Student Writer

On Thursday March 2, the Father Bressani Boys Hockey Team became YRAA champions for the third consecutive year after winning two straight games against Richmond Green.

In game one, the Eagles coaching staff was not surprised with the talent of players from Richmond Green. Both teams came out fast and hard, neither team gave the other an inch out on the ice.

After the first two periods of the game the score was 3-3. Goal scores for the Eagles were Michael Sorgo, Alessandro Scafati and Michael Linardi. In the last 5 minutes of the third period, a game winning goal came off the stick of forward, Mason McDaid.

Near final moments of the game there was an injury scare involving the Eagles’ goalie, Nicolas Porretta, after a collision near the net. Fortunately, he was able to get up and continue the game. Father Bressani goalie, Andrew Carestia said, “Thankfully Porretta was ok because the team needed him to win the game and also I didn’t want to go in because it was so close.”

The game was tight with a final score of 4-3, with both Richmond Green and Father Bressani trading goals. Bressani goalie, Nicolas Porretta, managed to keep Richmond Green at bay throughout the game to secure his team the win.

Looking ahead to the next game, Father Bressani’s main concern was working on staying out of the penalty box. Head coach Mr. Gorys commented, “We need to stay out of the penalty box, Richmond Green capitalized on two of their off of power play chances during Tuesday’s game. They have a good power play and we can’t give them more opportunities to score.”

Going into the second game there was speculation that a player from Richmond Green was not going t on the roster. This was in fact reality and unfortunately Richmond Green had lost one of their strongest players due injury.

The Father Bressani Eagles used the advantage of Richmond Green being a player down to end the playoffs with a dominant 7-3 win. Goalie Andrew Carestia won the Eagles the game and was helped by goal scorers were Simone Bonanno (2), Michael Sorgo, Andreas Vena, Michael Conicella, Alessio Covello and Daniel Ruocco.

For three Eagles hockey players, this would be the last time they would suit up for a high school game. The players that are graduating this year are forwards Matthew Ruocco and Andrew Critelli, and goalie Andrew Carestia.

Both Matthew Ruocco and Andrew Carestia are Eagles hockey veterans with previous championships including last year’s playoff win. Andrew Carestia was the only player from Father Bressani to win in three consecutive finals. “Graduating and win in the finals this past season will be something to remember for the rest of my life. I’m so grateful for my teammates and coaches that help me along the way, I couldn’t have done it without them,” commented Andrew Carestia, after the final game.

Grade 12 rookie, Andrew Critelli, was happy to experience what it was like to win it all with the Eagles by saying, “I am happy that we are champs this year and I am also thankful for being able to play alongside my teammates. This year’s experience will be something that I will never forget.”

Even though the team lost some grade 12 talent, the future is still looking bright. With Daniel Ruocco, Alexandros Vena, Panos Tsementzis and Christian Forgione as rookies this year, they will help lead the Eagles to a possible fourth straight championship next year.  

the official newsletter of Father Bressani Catholic High School