Each school year begins with a guided ‘odyssey’ trip, a trip that takes the class of Grades 7 and 8 away from the school and out onto the land for about nine days. For example, on the Northern Lights’ odyssey trip, students leave on the first day of school and travel by bus, train and canoe to The Cree Indigenous Community of Moosonee/Moose Factory on James Bay.
Each year there is a different Odyssey trip so that the experience is new for returning as well as new students. Each adventure sets the tone for what is to come in the classroom, and is a key learning and bonding experience that students cherish for a lifetime. Odyssey trips allow students to physically and mentally challenge themselves, in a safe way, as they bond together as a community.
Through concrete experience the trips introduce students to the physical geography that forms our land, the experiences of those who lived, explored and developed our country, and the reality of life for Canadians in different communities than their own. When the students return to the classroom, the Odyssey trip informs and animates the academics throughout the year.
Odyssey Trip (September 2017)
Cooking Lunch for Themselves
Student cooking teams are responsible for following a budget, sourcing recipes, and grocery shopping in order to provide the class community with a well-balanced, nutritional lunch three times a week. The students carry out the entire preparation, service and clean-up of the meal.
Each year students work in groups to develop a small business for their group such as baking and selling breads. Through this activity students create items of real value which they can exchange for real money, learning about entrepreneurship, production and exchange. Students take responsibility for all aspects of their business which provides countless opportunities for learning. This experience is essential to the development of self- reliance and economic independence in the adolescent.
Regular seminars provide the students with the opportunity to read articles on a variety of subjects and come together to share their perspectives, engage in discussion to further their understanding, and develop the ability to participate in group settings.
Weekly meetings provide students with the opportunity to review what the group achieved in the previous week. “Thank yous” are expressed and favourite moments are reflected on. This is also an opportunity wherein the students can identify any needs of the community and arrive at agreed upon solutions.
The e1 students work with the faculty to find appropriate community service opportunities. Activities vary but include working for The Ottawa Food Bank and their Community Harvest Program, whereby the students help to plant and weed crops in the Spring and harvest crops in the Fall. Our students have also fundraised and participated in the Youth Sleep Out for Homelessness event.