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Jordan Todd works in the Ottawa Catholic School Board's communications department. He graduated from Carleton University's journalism program in 2015 and creates content for the OCSB blog and other social media platforms.
Apr
25

OCSB celebrates exceptional students

Ali Witol, a student at St. Anne School, was recently among the OCSB students recognized at the annual Celebrating Excellence event. This annual event celebrates and recognizes one exceptional student from each of our schools. Students are chosen by their peers for exemplifying one or more of the gospel values: faith, hope, love, community, justice, dignity of persons, excellence, and stewardship of creation.

Ali demonstrates the gospel value of excellence on a daily basis in her school community. She strives to do her best for herself and for others, not just academically, but also in the yard, in clubs, and in her social interactions. She always has a ready smile, even when a task is difficult. She demonstrates a strong ability to persevere through any challenge, and always does so in a positive manner. The St. Anne and OCSB communities are very proud of Ali and her many accomplishments this year. Congratulations, Ali!

Ali Witol with her father at the OCSB's Celebrating Excellence event.
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Apr
25

Elite basketball program wins national championship

Canada Topflight Academy (CTA), which operates out of Notre Dame High School, has won the inaugural National Preparatory Association (NPA) league tournament. The NPA is a new league for elite-level prep basketball teams from across the country. It currently includes nine teams.

CTA came into the event as the third seed, with a 10-5 record. After losing their first five games of the year, they were riding a 10-game winning streak going into the tournament. Eventually, they would reach the finals against the fifth seed London Basketball Academy, who had upset the tournament favourites, Central Tech. After a tough game, the first-year program from Ottawa came out on top.

Canada Topflight Academy celebrates after winning the national championship.

Their success this year would not have been possible without the support of everyone at Notre Dame High School. CTA looks forward to building on the first year momentum and will start recruiting for the 2017-18 season immediately.

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Apr
13

Simone Oliver honoured by OCSOA

Simone Oliver, OCSB Superintendent of Student Success (Elementary), was recently awarded the OCSOA-CASSA EXL Award at the Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers' Association Annual General Meeting. The annual award is given to an administrator who is dedicated to improving children's educational experiences, increasing the scope and quality of school programs, and creating environments that foster positive attitudes towards learning. In her years as an OCSB Superintendent, Ms. Oliver has led collaborative teams that helped shape both the Special Education and Student Services Department, as well as the Student Success Department (Elementary). She was nominated for the award by the OCSB Executive Team.

The entire OCSB community is indebted to Superintendent Oliver for her tireless work as a champion of Catholic education. Congratulations, Simone.

Simone Oliver (centre) receives her award from OCSOA President Deb Crawford (left) and OCSOA Executive Director John Kostoff (right).
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Apr
12

St. Elizabeth School wins new instruments

St. Elizabeth School recently applied for and won the MusiCounts Band Aid Program grand prize of $10,000 to go towards musical instruments for their school. The school community provided MusiCounts with a wish list of instruments and the program purchased them. The instruments were unveiled at the announcement assembly by the Spouse of the Prime Minister of Canada, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, and Juno Award winning artist Ruth B. There were also special performances at the assembly by Ruth B, and the school band. Check out the video & photos from the event.

Juno-award-winning artist Ruth B and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau at the MusiCounts assembly at St. Elizabeth School.
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Apr
04

OCSB students take part in mass band performance

Students from 9 of our high schools - Sacred HeartHoly Trinity, St. Mark, St. Matthew, St. Pius X, St. Peter, Lester B. Pearson, St. Patrick's, and St. Francis Xavier - recently took part in a mass band performance conducted by Alexander Shelley of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Over 1300 kids took part, and more than 350 of them were from the OCSB. Watch the performance below.

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Mar
30

St. Peter teacher receives 2017 Mayor’s City Builder Award

LeeAnn Napiorkowski, St. Peter High School's High Needs Coordinator, has been awarded a 2017 Mayor's City Builder Award for her extraordinary commitment to making her community a better place for all. She uses her passion for coaching as a way to guide, support, and encourage her players on and off the field.

LeeAnn Napiorkowski (middle, red sweater) with educational assistants and the students from her Inclusion Room before receiving her award.

As the head coach of St. Peter High School's senior boy's rugby team, her leadership has translated into success for her students, both in sports and in life. Her teams have reached several city championships, but, more importantly, her players regularly take part in fundraisers and community charity events. Outside of her school, she also volunteers as a coach for the Ottawa Beavers-Banshees Rugby Football Club and other provincial and regional teams.

LeeAnn's tireless commitment to the principles of inclusion and respect have led her to establish an ambassador program to help connect the parent Beavers and Banshee Rugby clubs with junior players. LeeAnn raises money for financially challenged players who cannot afford registration and equipment, including one player who qualified for the Eastern Ontario Championship, and wouldn't have been able to go without LeeAnn's fundraising support.

On top of all that, LeeAnn's compassion led her to help the family of John Kelly, a St. Peter student who tragically passed away, establish a memorial award in their son's name. Thanks in part to LeeAnn's efforts, The John Kelly Memorial Award remains a living tribute to John's life, and helps other students pursue their rugby goals after graduation.

The Mayor's City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has demonstrated a strong commitment to making our city a better place. LeeAnn more than qualifies. The OCSB family sends a big thank you to LeeAnn for everything she does, and for being an inspiration for us all.

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Mar
23

Sacred Heart grad named a Women of Worth

Everyone should have access to healthy, affordable food. It's this belief that's fuelled Eva von Jagow's mission to combat food insecurity in Canada over the past half decade. Through her tireless and inspiring work, she's truly making a difference. And now she's being recognized for it.

Eva, a recent Sacred Heart High School graduate, was selected as one of the 10 inaugural members of Canada's L'Oréal Women of Worth, a program that promotes and celebrates inspiring Canadian women who strive to improve the lives of people across Canada. Chosen from over 300 nominations, she is being honoured for her role with DueNORTH, a not-for-profit she founded that aims to fight food insecurity for children and youth in Canada's Far North.

Eva's journey began in 2012, when she was in Grade 11 at Sacred Heart. That's when she first learned about food insecurity, and how it impacts many Northern Canadian people every day. When she found out that many children don't have reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food to live an active and healthy life, she knew she had to do something about it. So, she got to work founding the All That Glam Fundraiser, which sells used jewelry and handbags to support breakfast programs in Nunavut. To date, it's raised over $100,000 with corporate matching. That's a lot of full stomachs.

From there, Eva went on to found DueNORTH, with the goal of providing even more healthy breakfasts for children and youth in Northern Canada. Under the organization's four guiding principles of fundraising, engagement, awareness, and connection, DueNORTH strives for a Canada where everyone has access to nutritious, affordable, and culturally-appropriate food.

Eva is truly living out the Catholic Graduate Expectations by showing compassion, integrity, and initiative. She saw a problem, and became part of the solution. The OCSB is extremely proud of all of Eva's tremendous work, and we look forward to seeing the all the great things she'll do next.

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Mar
10

St. Peter shows solidarity with local mosque

A poster with messages from the St. Peter school community.

When members of our community are hurting, our faith calls for us to offer love and support. So, in the wake of the tragic shooting at a Quebec City mosque, the St. Peter High School community reached out to a local mosque to show them that the staff and students cared.

After speaking with Imam Mohammed Badat of Masjid Balil mosque, teachers Scott Searle and Linda Roe decided to show sympathy and compassion by making cards and posters for the members of the mosque. Linda brought the idea to her leadership class, and they leapt at the opportunity. People in their community were grieving, and the students wanted to help. The class got together after school and began making posters and writing kind messages. Word spread quickly, and, pretty soon, the whole school was taking part. The leadership class put their big poster in the chapel for other students to sign, and other classes took time to make their own cards and messages of support. The whole school came together to offer some love and kindness to those who needed it most.

Needless to say, the members of the mosque were touched by the heartwarming gesture. They invited the leadership class to visit the mosque to see their cards and posters on display, and to see the positive impact they were having. Imam Badat even told the students that he could use their kind and inspiring messages as inspiration for his weekly prayers for the rest of the year. The mosque even made cards of their own for the students, and presented the school with a commemorative plaque to show their gratitude.

"Our students were happy that they could do something to reach out to their friends and help them feel a little bit better, knowing that we all stand together as one human family."

Linda Roe

The entire St. Peter community has done a wonderful job of demonstrating the Catholic Graduate Expectations by spreading love, kindness, and compassion in their community. The OCSB family is extremely proud of St. Peter for going above and beyond to make a loving difference in their community. Take a look at some of the cards and posters in our Facebook album.

"All of us are proud to work in a faith-based environment that shows such love and solidarity with people of different religious backgrounds."

Scott Searle
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Mar
01

St. Pat's senior boys win city basketball championship

St. Patrick's High School's Senior Boys basketball team recently defeated Collège catholique Franco-Ouest to take home their third straight city championship. The game was a nail-biter, coming down to the very last second. Their defense came through in the clutch, holding Franco-Ouest scoreless in the last three minutes, and they took the game 62-60.

The St. Patrick's High School Senior Boys basketball team poses with their trophy after winning their third straight city championship.

It's been a good year for the St. Pat's Irish. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year after graduating nine seniors last year. But a pair of Grade 12 students, Alston Harris and Eugene Kanku, helped lead the team to another successful campaign. They won both tournaments they entered, and finished the season with a record of 18-4. The boys will be heading to North Bay for the AAA OFSAA provincial tournament from March 6-8.

The Irish have established something of a city dynasty in the past 20 years. This is their second city three-peat, having also won from 1999-2001. It's also their sixth straight trip to the city finals, of which they won five. With this win, they also take the record for most city championships with 11, one more than Sir Robert Borden High School. All 11 of their wins have come since 1999. Keep it going Irish, we'll be rooting you on in provincials.

Recent comment in this post
Guest — MrTurcotte
Way to go Eugene. I always knew.
Tuesday, 07 March 2017 5:05 PM
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Feb
07

All Saints artists honour Chanie Wenjack

When All Saints High School art teacher Graham Mastersmith first heard the tragic story of Chanie Wenjack, he was deeply moved and decided to share it with his Grade 9 students.

Fifty years ago, Chanie Wenjack, a young First Nations boy, died cold and alone beside a railroad track in northern Ontario after running away from an Indian Residential School. His story is recounted in a series of videos and songs by Canadian musician Gord Downie and a graphic novel by artist Jeff Lemire entitled "The Secret Path."

After watching the Secret Path, Mastersmith and his class decided to undertake a collaborative art project to remember and honour Chanie Wenjack and the thousands of other Indigenous children who never came home from residential schools.

Remembering Chanie and a step towards healing -- This painting of Chanie Wenjack was done collaboratively by the Grade 9 Art Class at All Saints High School with their teacher, Graham Mastersmith, and Mohawk artist, Kirk Brant. Written into Chanie's clothing by the students are excerpts from the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions final report.

Working in collaboration with Mohawk artist Kirk Brant, students learned about the history and legacy of the residential school system and its devastating effects on generations of Indigenous people across Canada. Brant explained his role with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and introduced the 94 recommendations put forth in the commission's final report. One of the recommendations called upon Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to undertake collaborative projects and produce works that contribute to the reconciliation process. This call to action inspired the project.

Students were tasked to read and condense the recommendations and write them within the body outline of Chanie Wenjack.Then, Mastersmith and a few of his students added the final details and shading. In addition to assisting with the mixed media painting, Brant helped create 20 hand-screened shirts for everyone involved in the project. Additional shirts have since been created and sold to OCSB staff to raise money for the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.

"I hope that this collaborative project helps foster reconciliation, but more importantly contributes to the responsibility of ensuring that the tragic story of Chanie Wenjack never happens again."

Graham Mastersmith

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines art as "something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings." What an appropriate way to describe this empathetic project and restorative journey Mastersmith has guided his students through. This mixed media painting has invited the artists, and now the the viewer, to ponder "how can we honour the life and tragic death of Chanie Wenjack?"

Recent comment in this post
Guest — MaryJoanHale
very touching. So wonderful to see young people of this generation learning about residential schools. When I was young we were t... Read More
Thursday, 09 February 2017 6:06 PM
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Feb
02

OCSB artists shine at Artistic Fusion

On January 23rd, the Ottawa Catholic School Board hosted Artistic Fusion, a fun and inspiring evening dedicated to celebrating all the incredibly talented artists in the OCSB family. Organized by Katie Lewis-Prieur and Kristen Charles, the annual event showcases the beautiful art of OCSB employees, art teachers, and students.

Dozens of participants from all across the Board came out to proudly display their creations. Their work took many forms: sculptures, photographs, stained glass, water paintings, jewelry, acrylic on canvas, pottery, and much more. OCSB Director of Education Denise Andre and OCSB Chair Elaine McMahon were on hand to offer congratulations and enjoy the artwork.

The night also featured the annual gallery-style showcase of student art called Art Days. This year, Anishinabe elder Albert Dumont from Kitigan Zibi taught the young artists about the 13 moons of the Indigenous calendar. Using celebrated Métis dot painting artists Christi Belcourt, Leah Dorion, and Jaime Koebel's works as inspiration, students were tasked with making a painting based on one of the moons. The finished pieces were personal, powerful, and reflective.

All in all, it was a lovely evening and a chance for artists and admirers to gather and appreciate art in all its forms. Check out pictures and samples of the artwork from the event in our Facebook album, and join us next year!

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Jan
18

OCSB helps kick off #Ottawa2017 celebrations

Celebrations for Canada's 150th birthday have officially kicked off here in the nation's capital. Throughout the year, Ottawans will be coming together to commemorate our country's amazing people, history, and heritage. The opening ceremony was held on New Year's Eve, as over 400 youth from our city (including more than 70 OCSB students) formed a human chain that brought the fire from the #Ottawa2017 Cauldron all the way to the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill. The OCSB will be working with the city on a number of events and contests throughout the year. Check out our Facebook Album to see photos from the #Ottawa2017 Celebrations Kick-Off. There's also an awe-inspiring video from the night's festivities.

Photo courtesy of Prabhakar Street (pjtstreet.com)
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Jan
16

Notre Dame students win Cardboard Boat Race

A talented team of students from Notre Dame High School took home first prize in the Ottawa region at Skills Ontario's annual Cardboard Boat Race in December. The event is an opportunity for students to use teamwork, creativity, and problem solving in a fun and competitive environment. In teams of four, students have two hours to build the fastest and strongest boat they can, using a limited amount of cardboard and duct tape. Their boats are then tested to see how fast they complete a race, and how much weight they can hold.

Notre Dame's team of Jackson, Ethan, Jason, and Ralf worked together beautifully to construct their prize-winning boat. It finished the race in 21.5 seconds and successfully held 772 pounds. With their first-place finish (out of 28 teams), they have qualified for provincials in March. Good luck!

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Jan
16

Ontario creates new licensed child care spaces

The Government of Ontario is creating 81 new licensed child care spaces in Ottawa to promote early learning. St. Luke Nepean will be retrofitting two licensed child care rooms to create 39 new spaces for toddlers and preschoolers, while Prince of Peace School will be retrofitting its one currently licensed child care room to create 24 new preschool spaces.

School officials and local MPPs on hand for child care space announcement. Back row, right to left: Superintendent Simone Oliver, OCSB Chair Elaine McMahon, and Director of Education Denise Andre.

"On behalf of the Ottawa Catholic School Board, I wish to thank the Ministry of Education and their Early Years and Childcare Office for the funds to retrofit space in two of our schools to accommodate preschoolers. These types of supports from our provincial government continue to make schools vital community hubs where families know they can rely on safe and caring environments." - Elaine McMahon, Chairperson, Ottawa Catholic School Board.

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Dec
21

Richard Lussier wins award for supporting students financially

From left to right: OCSB Associate Director of Education Tom D'Amico, OCSB Chair Elaine McMahon, President and Founder of the Help Our Students Program Richard Lussier, & Director of Education Denise Andre.

Richard Lussier has been chosen to receive the 2016 Growing Up Great Award in the Healthy and Thriving category after being nominated by the OCSB for his generous work providing financial support to hard-working high school students in Ottawa. The award "acknowledges an outstanding individual working so that every child's basic needs are met." Mr. Lussier does just that with his Help Our Students Program, which gives deserving students living in difficult financial circumstances $100 per month from September through June to help foster their learning journey. The students are chosen by school administrators who can confirm the student's dedication to school and financial difficulties. The program currently supports two students from each of the OCSB's 15 high schools. On behalf of the entire OCSB: thank you, Mr. Lussier.

Learn more about the Help Our Students Program, and read some student testimonials about how much it's helped them.

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Dec
15

OCSB takes part in the Hour of Code

From December 5th to 11th, schools from all across the OCSB took part in the Hour of Code, a global movement designed to celebrate computer science and to show that anybody can learn the basics. Not only does learning code promote problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity, it also creates a foundation for success in the 21st century. And on top of all that, our students absolutely loved it.

OCSB students and staff shared their Hour of Code experiences on social media using the hashtag #OntarioCodes. Take a look at our Storify for some highlights.

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Dec
09

2016 OCSB Christmas Card Contest

This year, the OCSB held its first ever Christmas student card contest. Students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 across the city were invited to design a Christmas card that celebrates the Christmas story of faith. The breadth and depth of student talent made choosing the winners a tough decision with almost 100 thoughtful, creative, and inspiring designs to choose from. The entries will be rotating through the Student Art Gallery at the first floor of the Catholic Education Centre throughout the month of December. These designs will be tweeted out using the hashtag #OCSBarts.

Design by Emma, Grade 3, St. Cecilia School

The winning designs will be on OCSB Director of Education's Christmas cards for the next three years. The talented artists for each design will also receive prizes. See all the winning designs and honourable mentions in our Facebook album.

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Dec
08

2016 United Way Campaign

This year's Ottawa Catholic School Board United Way campaign was another huge success – the Board raised $517,784.37, with $384,530.99 being directed to the Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa. We also met our goal of 80% participation among staff – a new record for the OCSB. At the reveal event on Thursday, CEC staff heard speeches from OCSB Director of Education Denise Andre, President and CEO of United Way Ottawa Michael Allen, Co-Chairs of the OCSB Campaign Kelly McKibbin and Bill Walsh, and United Way Campaign Co-Chair Kathleen Kemp.

OCSB staff and distinguished guests from The United Way (UW) reveal the big number (from left to right): Sandra Falcomer, OCSB Campaign Reporting Coordinator; Denise Andre, OCSB Director of Education; Bill Walsh and Kelly McKibbin, OCSB Campaign Co-Chairs; Michael Allen, President and CEO of United Way Ottawa; Kathleen Kemp, UW Co-Chair; Carole Gagnon, UW VP of Resource Development; and Bridget Burgess, UW Officer, Revenue Development Community Campaign.

Over the past 10 years, OCSB employees have raised over $5.5 million for The United Way Ottawa. For the sixth year in a row, the OCSB was one of the top workplace campaigns in the City of Ottawa. The campaign is just one of the ways the OCSB works to make our community a better place for everyone. Check out our Facebook album for more photos from the event.

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Dec
08

OCSB re-elects Chairperson and elects Vice-Chairperson

Elaine McMahon, OCSB Chairperson

The Ottawa Catholic School Board has re-elected Elaine McMahon as Chairperson and elected Trustee Joanne MacEwan as Vice-Chairperson at the Board's Annual General Meeting held Tuesday evening at the Catholic Education Centre.

Chairperson McMahon shared heartfelt remarks, expressing deep appreciation of the support she received in her first two years as Chair from outgoing Vice-Chairperson Betty-Ann Kealey. "Thank you, Betty-Ann, for being a mentor and a true friend to me and to Catholic education." Ms. McMahon thanked all OCSB staff for their service each and every day as they touch hearts and inspire young minds. "You are valued and appreciated."

His Grace, Archbishop Prendergast, presided over a Mass and joined Board Chaplain Father Peter Saunders and Father Geoff Kerslake at the meeting. The OCSB Children's Choir sang O Canada and charmed the audience with two selections.

Denise Andre, Director of Education, presented the 2016 Director's Annual Report. The report highlights the accomplishments of the Board over the past year. Focused on the Board's priorities, Multi Year Strategic Plan, and the Deep Learning Framework, the report illustrates how students are gaining global competencies through a faith-filled lens. Director Andre thanked the thousands of collaborative professionals at the OCSB for their dedicated service and praised the commitment of parent and student groups for their leadership.

Chairperson McMahon is the Trustee for Zone 6 – Knoxdale-Merivale/College. Ms. McMahon has served as a trustee since 2014 and was first elected Chairperson in December 2014. Vice-Chairperson Joanne MacEwan is the Trustee for Beacon Hill-Cyrville/Innes and was appointed trustee in 2012 and elected in 2014.

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Dec
07

St. Luke Nepean's "Little Free Pantry"

When the Grade 5 teachers at St. Luke School (Nepean) began brainstorming a science project for their students to cover the science curriculum "Forces Acting on Structures and Mechanisms" they had no idea that the project would turn into an opportunity for students to live out the OCSB's Spiritual Theme, Sent to be the Good News. But that's exactly what happened.

One of the teachers came across a video about the Little Free Pantry movement. The Little Free Pantry is a community tool where those who are able leave foodstuffs and other items, and those in need are free to take what's been left. Not only would this allow the students to build a stable structure, effectively covering the science curriculum, but it would also give them a chance to make a difference in their school community for many years to come. After discussing it with their students, they decided to move forward with the project.

The Little Free Pantry project started with each student using what they've learned to design their own pantry. The students then evaluated each design and voted on which one would be used. They then raised funds for the project by writing letters to companies requesting donations. Their letters helped them get a $50 donation from Home Depot and a custom metal roof from Premier Home Improvements. The students even explored the Gospel values associated with their Little Free Pantry project in religion class. Currently, they're even working on commercials, print ads, and radio announcements to further promote it.

The Little Free Pantry currently sits outside St. Luke School (Nepean) so those in need can readily access its contents anonymously. It's paired with their logo, which incorporates the Little Free Pantry's motto, "Take what you need, leave what you can," and the OCSB's Spiritual Theme, Sent to be the Good News.

At the Ottawa Catholic School Board, we've been implementing Deep Learning practices in our schools, encouraging students to explore, create, and use knowledge in a broader context that's connected to real-world purposes. The entire OCSB community is very proud of St. Luke Nepean for taking this curriculum-related project and turning it into an opportunity to be the Good News for others in their community.

See our Facebook album for more photos!

Recent comment in this post
Guest — DeniseParnell
Thank you Jordan Todd. You have a great soul. I hope your idea spreads all over Ontario and Quebec. Keep up the good work.
Saturday, 10 December 2016 2:02 AM
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