All posts by Mr. D. Zaroski

Mr. Zaroski is the Principal of Father Bressani Catholic High School. This is his third high school appointment within the York Catholic District School Board.

Grade 10 Muskoka Woods Retreat


On October 17, 2018, 185 students, 10 teachers and 2 administrators traveled to Muskoka Woods on Lake Rosseau.  This was the inaugural year of this three-day, two-night retreat for grade 10 students.


No venue could be more tranquil, pristine and inspiring than Muskoka Woods, located on the Canadian Shield, bordered by Lake Rosseau, and covering acres of native Canadian trees, home to a multitude of animal species.   Facilities are welcoming, modern, functional and most important, student-friendly and accessible.

From High Ropes to Zip Line and Escape Room to Nature Hike, students had the opportunity to engage in as many activities as they wished. During this time, I witnessed the greatest learning taking place, as they encouraged and assisted each other in trust activities.


The spiritual focal point of the retreat was the plenary on the significance of The Eucharist and what it means to be followers of Christ.  Students had the opportunity to write a letter to themselves, to be revisited at the retreat in their graduating year.  Mass was celebrated by Father Peter Selvaraj of St. Michael Roman Catholic Parish in Muskoka.


It was truly moving to see genuine peer encouragement and collaboration.  Unlikely friendships were forged and others were reacquainted and strengthened.  Undiscovered talents were showcased at the Camp Fire.  The cold temperatures were muted by the general warmth and collegiality of the student group, as they cheered on their peers.  Perhaps, the favorite activity amongst students was the dance, which took place on the second night of our stay.  The Muskoka Woods’ DJ captured the hearts of his audience, with his carefully-selected repertoire of dance music.  The dance was definitely an inclusive, bonding experience.


Student testimonials highlight their experiences:

  • Muskoka Woods is a great experience where I met different people and made lifelong friends. It taught me to be more independent and it allowed me to really pay close attention to the beautiful surroundings!
  • The Muskoka Woods Retreat Experience allowed me to make new friends.
  • This experience was truly life-changing…I made new friends with people I may have never talked to at school.
  • It was a really fun experience. I think it will be one of my favorite high school memories.

Clearly, this retreat achieved our goals—community building and opportunities for students to exercise understanding, compassion, and awareness of self, other, and the environment, within the parameters of our Catholic values and faith tradition.

Ms. Capozzolo, Vice Principal

**Thank you to Ms. Capozzolo and the office staff for organizing this awesome event.  Thanks as well to the staff who volunteered to supervise! Well done!


Awards Night 2018

One of the most auspicious and joyous nights of the school calendar is the Awards Ceremony. On the evening of October 25th, we acknowledged the hard work of last year’s honour roll winners, subject award winners, Waterloo math contest “Participants of Distinction” and various School and Community Award winners. In all, 412 students were eligible for these awards. Our principal, Mr. Dan Zaroski , congratulated all the students and also acknowledged the role that our teachers and the students’ parents had in their success. The awards committee, who organized the event did a marvelous job and the evening progressed without a hitch. The gym was beautifully transformed with two huge and gorgeous flower arrangements which made an appropriate backdrop for the proud parents wanting to take pictures of their children.

by Mr. R. Lefaive, Vice Principal

**a special thank you to Mr. Lefaive and the Awards Committee for all their work on this event; a team effort all around!

Guest Speaker: Ken Yasinski

Last spring we learned about a Canadian Catholic Speaker, Ken Yasinski.  Ken has been a speaker for almost 20 years. Located in Saskatoon, Ken travels wherever his speaking events take him, in Canada or the US.  His personal journey as a young university student helped him to identify his calling to speak to Catholics about their faith. He has experience as a youth minister in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, is an author, and has a growing family of 5 children.  Ken was a great choice for our Staff Faith Day on September 24th.

A charismatic speaker, Ken opened the day in prayer and invited us to greet our table neighbors with the greeting “hello beautiful.”  This greeting made everyone smile and laugh as we started the day.

Ken’s morning session was titled “What is the Purpose of My Life?”  He shared the story of his own journey as a university student when he came closer to God by reflecting on his own failings.  He shared a quote from Dr. Phil, “You can not change what you do not acknowledge.” In his case, he acknowledged the emptiness he felt and realized that to live a good life, God must be a part of one’s life.  Using a cell phone as an example, he explained how items can break when used in contradiction to their design/purpose. His message was that when we do not use our lives properly,  in the service of God, we too can become broken spiritually. He challenged us to welcome Jesus into our lives by encouraging four ways of coming to know Him.

First, we must come to know Jesus by fostering relationships with others.  Second, we must learn to love Jesus. Third is to serve and help others.  And the fourth is to share with one another.

In his second session “Living with an Internal Perspective,” Ken focused our attention on a simple question:  how would you like to be remembered after you die? Ken states that we are all called to holiness by stating three principles of sainthood. The first is to live a saintly life by focusing on the “now”.  We must live in the moment and make decisions that are made with love, bringing us closer to Christ. Trying not to dwell on the past or focus on items / issues that preoccupy our future will help us live in the “now.”  We all need to focus on the “now” in order to live positive, loving, saintly lives.  The second is that sainthood is here by making the decision to forgive.  Our faith is not perfect but if we ‘Do The Next Loving Thing’ by forgiving one another, we will move toward the goal of sanctity.  The third call to Sainthood is that it is for ALL, especially when we pray and receive the sacraments.

Ken was well received by the 70 secondary and 100+ elementary staff who were present at this lecture.  He helped us to focus on our personal encounters with Jesus and to remember that to live our lives right is a decision that we each must make on a regular basis. Thank you for a good day Ken!

by D. Zaroski  and  Monica DiNardo

*On September 25, Ken gave a similar talk to an assembly of our grade 11 and 12 student.

Spirit Wear and Civvies Days

In every school where students are expected to wear a school uniform the students all ask the same questions….when is the next Civvies Day?  or when is the next Spirit Wear day?

We get the same questions at Father Bressani.  As we start this 18-19 school year, school admin spoke at each grade level assembly and reminded the students about our uniform policy and to wear their uniform with pride.  They were also told that Civvies Days and Spirit Wear days will occur once we see that students are demonstrating that they can wear the school uniform properly.  We are getting there…and soon there will be some special non-uniform days.  Students should listen to announcements and watch twitter for such announcements.

Our school uniform provide is DGN Kilters:  This company also visits our school every two weeks.  The next Tuck Truck Days are October 1, 15 and 29th.

The company that supplies our Spirit Wear is FM Promotions: that are located near our school at 90 Winges Road, unit 7&8.  Spirit wear items are sweatshirts, t-shirts and other athletic gear with our logo on them.  Last year we had Spirit Wear Wednesdays…..these will be starting soon!

In conclusion, students…..keep wearing your school uniform properly and you will get a Civvies Day and/or Spirit Wear day(s) soon!




Grade 8 Open House 2018

As November approaches, so too do the annual open house events that take place in high schools across York Region.  Grade 8 students, who have only been in grade 8 for a few months are asked to start thinking about high school…..

The Father Bressani Open House is on Wednesday November 7th at 7pm.  At this event, students and parents will…

  1. listen to an overview of our school programs and culture by student leaders, parent council members and school admin
  2. see presentations about our Pre-AP program, Special Education, and French Immersion Program
  3. tour the school and speak to staff and students about the courses and activities offered at the school
  4. start the registration process for those families that live within our boundary area but attend public or private schools (see school boundaries on the YCDSB website)
  5. start the application process for the Pre-AP and FI programs
  6. have all of your questions answered so that you can make your choice of high school with confidence

It is important to visit a number of high school open house events in order to compare schools, programs etc. and make the right choice for your child as they start high school.

Father Bressani has a student population of 1015 students in grades 9 to 12.  Please have a look at our website for other information about the school….just google “Father Bressani.”

If your child is entering grade 10, 11 or 12 next year, and you are considering a move to Father Bressani, you are welcome to come out and visit us on November 7th.

All registration questions can be directed to Mrs Capozzolo, Vice Principal. 905-851-6643

Follow us on Twitter to keep up with all that is happening at Father Bressani: @FrBressaniCHS

We are looking forward to seeing you at our Open House!

News and Reminders September 2018

September 20, 2018

Dear Parents and Students,

Here are some reminders and news from Father Bressani….

  1. Monday Sept. 24th is a PA Day.  Teachers at Father Bressani will be hosting a number of our elementary schools that day as we listen to special guest speaker Ken Yasinski.  Ken is an international Catholic Speaker from Saskatoon. Check out his website:    On September 25, Mr. Yasinski will speak to our Grade  11 and 12 students.
  2. The week September 24-September 28, 2018 has been designated as “Safety Awareness Week”. During this week, we will be rehearsing a variety of emergency school procedures to acquaint students and staff with the precautionary steps to take in the event of such things as a warning of severe weather, an intruder or a gas leak.  In addition, throughout the year we will hold practice drills to acquaint students with various emergency protocols.  Teachers will review these procedures with students in class prior to our practice drills.
  3. Thus far, our students have been doing a good job wearing the school uniform properly.  Please continue to encourage your son /daughter to keep showing their school pride by being in full and proper uniform.
  4. A reminder to all:  please drive slowly and carefully in our school parking lot as students may be walking across the lot at any time during the day.
  5. The Grade 10 Muskoka Woods trip is fast  approaching! We will be holding an assembly for the grade 10s on October 2nd to provide more info and answer any questions they have.  For those gr. 10s not attending, they are expected to attend school and participate in the alternative learning activities that will be planned for those days.
  6. The first Catholic School Council Meeting will be on Thursday September 27th at 7pm in the school’s conference room (beside the main office).  At this meeting our new executive will be formed.  Nomination forms were emailed to all parents back in July.
  7. The Grade 11 Semi Formal has been set for Friday November 23.  More info will be shared as Student Council organizes this annual event.
  8. A reminder to all parents to call your child’s teacher if you have any questions about course work, test scores etc.  Good communication between home and school is important!

             If you have any questions or concerns, call or email me at the school.

Dan Zaroski, Principal                                                         

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