A day at the fourth annual Frederick Banting Wellness Day

(Frederick Banting Alternative School on Stittsville Main Street held their annual Wellness Day on March 12, 2020. Graphic: Frederick Banting Alternative School)

Poetry, pancakes and homemade maple syrup. Just three of the simple things that were part of the Wellness Day on March 12 at Stittsville’s alternate high school, Frederick Banting. The day marked the 4th annual year for this event.

The day began with a breakfast for the students followed by a resource fair. There were 15 booths with a variety of resources and learning materials for these students.

(Frederick Banting Alternative School on Stittsville Main Street – March 2020. Photo: Carissa Fortin)

Some of the organizations who participated with their exhibits were:

  • Youth Net – An organization that is connected to CHEO. Their motto is “For Youth By Youth”. They give presentations to schools and around the community on Mental Health. Representative Kim Webber said the following about this organization, “we like to describe ourselves as the kids that grew up in CHEO’s basement.” To find out more: http://ynra.ca/
  • Ontario Works – They provide financial assistance as well as employment opportunities for youth and social services support.
  • YMCA Gambling Awareness – They talk to teens about gambling in video games. This can include purchases made in video games.
  • Budha and Spoken Word Poet “An ArRay Of Words”. They do weekly intensives where they teach drumming, dancing and meditation.

Other organizations who return every year, included the Stittsville Food Bank and the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre to name a couple.

The students had the option to complete a “passport” of all the booths they visited to win prizes like Banting Swag and gift cards to local retailers.

The keynote speaker for this year was Spoken Word Poet “An ArRay of WoRDs”. After the main session, there were three smaller workshops for the students to participate in. There was an Art Therapy workshop, a workshop on how to make Medicine Pouches and another workshop entitled Party Smart with the Ottawa Police, Ottawa Public Health and Rideauwood Addiction Centers.

(Spoken Word Poet, An ArRay of WoRDs was the morning Keynote Speaker at the Frederick Banting Wellness Day on March 12, 2020. Photo: Frederick Banting Alternative School)

Before everything kicked off, I was given a tour of the school where I got to meet the teachers and a few of the students. I was informed by Janet Perry, one of the science teachers, “that the school is a Platinum Eco School”  which means that they use no plastic. As we entered the staff room where the breakfast was being served, she was keen to show off the organic maple syrup made by the Banting students and staff.

             (Artwork created by students at Frederick Banting – drawing of a Five Guys milkshake cup and a Floating Sunflower. Photo: Carissa Fortin)

Janet also showed me the shelves and clothing racks where students and teachers can take clothing home, as well as bring their own clothing that they don’t wear and put it there for others to use. The untouched clothes go to the Welfare center downtown. It’s a project that the school has had for 10 years.

When I walked through this school and talked to the students, I was surprised to learn about all the different things that Banting offers them. As I walked, I noticed a large wall displaying the artistic talents of Banting students.

(A collage of just some of the artwork created by the Frederick Banting Students that flank the walls of the school. Photo: Carissa Fortin)

As we entered her classroom, Janet was quick to tell me that the school has the highest waste diversion across the school board. Every Friday, the staff and students sort the bins and recycle what they can. The school has two awards for this initiative that they call the Green Frog Award which is the no cross-contamination award and the Turtle Award which is an award for having nothing in the garbage.

One of the students showed me how they make compost liners out of newspapers. The same student also showed me their green wall where they grow tomato, basil, rosemary and sage, and many other things as well as 4th gen potatoes.  The school also has a butterfly garden, nectarine and medicine gardens. Their green focus led them to create a blog called Banting Green.

The students at Banting, along with their teachers are also holding a Plastic Bag Challenge where they are collecting plastic bags until April 17th. These bags will then be dropped at Walmart to be processed into plastic pellets that will be used to produce a variety of plastic related products like garbage bags, as well as planter pots and plastic lumber.

The evening Parent/Guardian Information Night featured Dr. Catherine Horvath as the keynote speaker. Dr. Horvath is a clinical/forensic psychologist. She provided a lens through which to decode their children’s behaviour to better understand why their child tends to “go off” out of nowhere for no reason and tend to display this challenging behaviour in the home. Dr. Horvath offered some strategies so parents could respond to their children when they are being ‘dysregulated’.

A question and answer period followed Dr. Horvath’s speech and parents had the opportunity to ask her and the teachers questions.


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