Mental Health Week at Father Bressani

By Madison Geddes, Student Writer

Mental health has become an increasing issue among

Canadians, and especially among the high school students. There are a multitude of mental illnesses afflicting this demographic of young people, and the top five most common include:

Anxiety; uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks. Symptoms include shortness of breath and dizziness. It can be caused by anything ranging from too much caffeine, to types of heart abnormalities, to stress from any source in one’s life.

Depression; a common mental illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Symptoms include fatigue, persistent anxiousness or sadness, decreased energy, difficulty concentrating and thoughts of suicide or feeling of hopelessness. Depression is treatable through therapy, prescribed medication, and proper sleep and nutrition.

Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviours; Mental illness involving thought on how to kill oneself which can range from a detailed plan to a fleeting consideration and does not include the final act of killing one self. Symptoms include, self harming behaviour, sleeping difficulty, excessive sadness, etc. Causes and help can be traced back to depression.

Marijuana Induced Psychosis; Delusions or hallucinations that can harm a person while in Psychosis. Marijuana is the most commonly used drug amongst teenagers in the York region. Symptoms include hallucinations, paranoia, and disorganized thinking. The THC(Tetrahydrocannabinol) in marijuana increases the brain processes that lead to psychosis. It interferes with the more important brain functions.

Eating Disorders; Any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. There are different types of eating disorders like Anorexia Nervosa, having an obsessive fear of gaining weight, or Binge Eating Disorder, which is when someone loses control over his or her eating. Eating disorders can be treated through therapy and nutritional monitoring.

These are just five of the many mental health issues plaguing the students in our Canadian high schools, but many of those very same students don’t know, or know very little about them. This is why at Father Bressani, we now have Mental Health Week.

With Mrs. Stanevicius at its head, during the month of the two exam weeks–January and June respectively–we have every year for the past three years, Father Bressani’s Mental Health Week is held. It serves to bring awareness to these mental illnesses, as well as help students through the issues they pose.

During the week there are activities like rock painting, bubble wrap popping, or the ever popular therapy dog visit. The activities take place all throughout the school all week and there are posters and announcements and tweets advertising them, but turnout to them usually seems minimal.

“I didn’t know about some of the activities,” said grade 11 student Vanessa Spagnuolo. “The ones I did know about I didn’t go to, because I have been busy and I’m decently confident in my mental health.”

According to Mrs. Stanevicius, the lowest turnout was about 10 students at the journaling activity. However this does not discourage because as she put it, “If there were 10 kids there, then we helped those 10 kids. That’s what we hold those activities for.”

Mental Health Week at Father Bressani comes from the awareness of mental health issues and the desire to help those most in need of them. It would be for everyone’s benefit, if more students were to participate in the relaxing events our school holds in the following years.


Silent Auction

Written By Nicholas Suppa (Student Writer), Edited by Christian Santilli (student editor)

June 6, 2017

On June 6th in room 227, Ms. Nagy’s business leadership class held a silent auction to generate funds for a donation to Share Life. The event was very successful, with a lot of money donated and a big turnout from teachers. The auction raised a total of $1460. Father Bressani regarded this auction event as very successful!  Teachers were welcomed into the business leadership classroom with refreshments, and students handed out raffle tickets as they arrived in the classroom. The winning tickets was given to Mr.Buttigeg, Ms.Filipe. The room was beautifully decorated with posters and thank you letters for all the sponsors that donated items.


The event was well thought out for months and took a lot a preparation by Ms. Nagy’s students. Many students had a great time working on this event and gained much knowledge and experience in relation to teamwork, leadership and collaboration with peers and most importantly gained corporate experience within the classroom. All vital skills needed in the business world. The attendance for the auction met expectations when 60 staff members attended.


The event started during third period and went on during A and B lunch. At first the event seemed to be going slowly but after the first ten minutes, teachers were participating and were bidding on various items that were being auctioned. The number of bids being made by teachers made it seem like there would be no items left to auction!


Items donated were auctioned from many different organizations, including Nike, Sport Chek, Adidas, Canadian Tire, Starbucks, Cineplex, The Keg, and Fortinos just to name a few. Some of the items being auctioned off were TFC tickets, which went for $90, and cineplex and keg gift cards, which went for $66. The highest item auctioned off was a Sportchek gift card and it went for a whopping $100.


The marketing committee spent many hours designing and placing posters around the school and also around Room 227. The Financial committee tracked bids and collected payments from staff, Logistics committee made sure the right equipment was at the auction as well as laying out the room to make the auction looks presentable and the sponsorship committee wrote letters for donations making sure that donations were arriving from organizations.  All students and teachers who participated in the silent auction had a great time raising money for a good cause in a fun and exciting way!

Bressani Day 2017

By: Christian Santilli, Student Writer

Tuesday, May 31, 2017

On Friday, May 26 Father Bressani held the event that students wait for all year long; Bressani Day!   The annual event, during which students and teachers come together to celebrate all things Father Bressani, was a huge success.  Thankfully, the rain held up on Friday, so celebrations were able to be held outdoors, giving students a chance to enjoy the fresh air and the warm weather.  

The festivities started indoors, during first period.  Each home room class was asked to send five representatives to take part in a school-wide scavenger hunt, which included racing to find a wanted sign of Mr. Zaroski, and trying to figure out the exact number of classrooms that are in the school.  The scavenger hunt was won by Mrs. Palmieri’s class.  

Outside the school, organizers of the event certainly did not disappoint with any the Bressani Day attractions.  Exciting activities included a huge, inflatable obstacle course in which students could race against their friends to the finish.  Plus, there was a giant blow-up cage filled with a variety of (safe) items that students could use to fight against other students, which is perfect for anyone who sometimes finds their friends to be a bit annoying.  

As for food, Bressani Day offered many delicious snack options that were available for students throughout the day.  In addition to the free burger that was available to students for lunch, snack options for sale included food from “The Big Cannoli”, an ice cream truck, and “Chimney Stax.”  

And possibly the most entertaining part of the day- for students at least- was the “Dunk a Teacher” and “Throw a Pie at a Teacher” events.  This was the perfect chance for students to have some fun embarrassing their favourite teacher, or to get some great revenge on their least favourite teacher!  But don’t worry, the teachers got their revenge during the student-teacher softball game, where Bressani teachers defeated the students in an overwhelming victory.  

Despite the great success that Bressani Day ended up to be, all Bressani students know that there almost was not a Bressani day at all this year!  Things were a bit different this year, and students were told that they would have to pay two dollars for Bressani Day tickets, and if less than 90 percent of students bought tickets Bressani Day would be cancelled.  This understandably concerned many of the students, including grade 11 student Katie Pigott, who explained, “I was just really worried that our Bressani Dat would be taken away.”
In the end, Bressani Day was a great day filled with all sorts of fun for students and teacher alike, and needless to say, everyone is eagerly awaiting Bressani Day 2018!  


Difficulties applying to university outside of Ontario

By Cristina Rulli, Student Writer

Father Bressani Catholic High School has a fairly good support system for those who are looking to pursue a post secondary education.  Whether it be through the guidance department, the teachers, the school’s website or even the Ontario Universities Fair, the students planning to do their post secondary schooling in Ontario have many resources to assist them through the application process and what follows.

However, for those students who are planning to do their post secondary schooling either in another province or abroad, the amount of resources available to them within Father Bressani are significantly less than those planning to stay in Ontario.  The guidance department tries their best to help the students, but they too have limited knowledge on the information the students need in order to make their decisions.

The Ontario University Fair (OUF) happens every September in downtown Toronto. It is where all universities from across Ontario come together in one location for all prospective students to visit each booth and get information about the schools they’re interested in.  However, for students who are planning to go to university out of the province, there are no planned fairs or events for the prospective students to visit and gather the information they need in order to feel comfortable enough to travel abroad.

Some students who want to study outside of Ontario actually make the trip to where their universities of choice are located.  They tour the campuses, meet with admissions counsellors and gather information that was not available to them at home. Which for many students can be very expensive, especially with the loom of upcoming tuition within the next year. I was actually forced to take a trip out to British Columbia in January, over Christmas break, in order to visit the four schools I had applied to; the University of Victoria, Capilano University, Trinity Western University and the University of British Columbia (Vancouver Campus) to have meetings with representatives from each of the different schools.  

In most cases, students are not able to fly out to the universities and must resort to looking for their information online and/or emailing representatives from the schools.  As inconvenient as it is for the students to not be able to go to the universities in person, it does encourage them to be more independent because they must contact the schools themselves and do their own research more so than those going to university in Ontario.  

Guidance counsellors at Father Bressani are very helpful when it comes to applying to university, however, their knowledge is limited when it comes to applying out of province.  The counsellors are on the email lists of universities that are out of province and will therefore tell prospective students about any upcoming events or updates that they need to know about.  The guidance counsellors also get viewbooks from the universities which are available in the guidance office.

Some things that the students should ensure that they do when applying to universities outside of Ontario is that they must authorize OUAC to give your marks to the schools they’ve applied to and visit the Student Life Expo which takes place in the fall in Toronto and has some, but not all, out of province schools attending.

“You must be sure it is what you want to do.  Ask yourself why you want to go out of province.  Knowledge is power.  The more you know about the university the better you can make an informed decision,” Mrs. Venneri, a guidance counsellor at Father Bressani said when asked what advice she had for students applying to university abroad, “make sure it is a realistic goal…be grounded and know who you are.”

Father Bressani does have some services to help out those students who are applying to university outside of Ontario, however, it is a good idea to look into how we can ensure there is more help for those students who apply out of province in future.

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.  

the official newsletter of Father Bressani Catholic High School