Pages - February 2015
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February 2015
February 2015
Return to Applause! 2014 - 2015

Applause! is the monthly recognition of significant achievements and contributions by staff, students and community partners at a York Region District School Board Public Board Meeting.
Recognition of achievements is based on alignment with the organizational goals outlined by the Trustees’ Multi-Year Plan in combination with the criteria set out in Staff Awards and Student Awards policies.

City of Markham Recognizes Student Entrepreneurs

In partnership with the Ontario Government, the City of Markham and other business sponsors, the Markham Small Business Centre administers the Markham Business Plan Competition. The competition is open to all high school, college or university students in Markham. The program encourages students to develop a business concept, undertake research to determine feasibility and write a business plan to document their work and plans.

There are two categories of awards: the BDO Award for Excellence and the Seneca Award for Innovation. A panel of judges evaluates the business plans to determine the winners.

Sana PatelBradley Au

This year, there were 7 YRDSB student winners:

Student​ ​School ​Business concept
Mahathi Mundluru ​Markham District High School Jewelry DIY Workshop
Program for people to learn to make their own jewelry
Eddie Wang
*winner in two categories
Unionville High School Verseux Apparel
Retailer of men's suits and shirts made to the individual measurements of the customer
Gordon Sun ​Markham District High School Food View
Mobile application that allows diners to view restaurant menus before even entering the restaurant, with social media aspects to share their reviews and opinions
Bradley Au ​​Markham District High School BAM! Advertising
Creative advertising and marketing agency, and graphic design services for small businesses
Arshaan Bhimani ​Markham District High School MakeItBetter Internet Marketing
Internet marketing, web design and search engine optimization services
Sana Patel Middlefield Collegiate Institute ​Designer and retailer of a line of women’s dresses
​Apivarman Sriruban ​Bur Oak Secondary School Clean Cut Lawn Care Services
Lawn care service

The students were presented with cash prizes at a presentation attended by the Mayor of Markham as well as the Markham-Unionville M.P. and M.P.P..

International Festival of Authors (IFOA) and Open Book: Ontario Writing Contest

Open to students in Grades 5 to 12 across the province, the IFOA and Open Alexandra SwenyBook: Ontario contest invited students to write a story in 500 words or less, using the story-starter provided for their age group by one of four acclaimed Canadian authors – Martha Baillie, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, John McFetridge or Elyse Friedman.

Aurora High School student Alexandra Sweny’s story was chosen out of 30 submissions in the Grade 11-12 category as the winner. All entries were narrowed down by the IFOA team, then chosen by Open Book: Ontario. Winners were chosen based on creativity, ability to stay within the word count, style and overall quality of the piece. One winner was chosen from each age group for a total of four, who each received a cash prize courtesy of IFOA and the opportunity to have their work published online at Open Book: Ontario.

When asked about Alexandra, her teachers had the following to say:


“Alexandra is an excellent writer. Her academic writing is superior and she often earns perfect grades for her assignments. She has also contributed as a free-lancer to local newspapers.”

- English teacher, Ian Lindsey


“Alexandra is simply “the best”. Everything she does is exemplary. Her interpretation of text, use of vocabulary, ability to write analytically as well as creatively is incredible. She is a great pleasure to teach.”

- Studies in Literature teacher, David Campoli


Alexandra has also won prizes for her short fiction from the Canadian Federation for University Women and Young Writers of Canada.

To learn more about the contest and read Alexandra’s piece please visit the Open Book website.

​North Star

Vaughan Secondary School teacher Diane Penafiel is February’s North Star. Below is part of the nomination sent by her colleague Rory Gangbar:

Diane has acted as a mentor towards me since I began teaching at Diane PenafielVaughan Secondary School in the third week of September. Diane embodies collaboration, as she is always available to: co-teach, co-plan, co-debrief, and co-reflect on the teaching we have done. As a new teacher and LTO, having someone like Diane to guide me through the nuances of teaching has made all the difference. Diane has gone out of her way to make herself available to answer any and all of my questions, and has made me feel a welcomed part of the Vaughan Secondary School teaching team since the beginning of my LTO in September. Diane's mentorship has been vital to my practice as a new teacher, and I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from her experiences. I am writing this nomination in the hopes that Diane will be recognized for all her hard work this year and throughout her tenure with the York Region District School Board.

Diane's attention to detail, positive persona, and collaborative spirit, is not only a testament to her dedication to the teaching profession, but also speaks to the professionalism that is embodied by all the staff, and specifically the English department at Vaughan Secondary School. As a new teacher, I appreciate the opportunity to have this type of forum to voice my reflections, as it is teachers like Diane who make it possible for someone like me to become a better, and more experienced teacher.

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