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English Department Spring 2022 Newsletter 316
English Department Spring 2022 Newsletter


RHHS English Department—Spring 2022 Update


The second semester of the 2022 school year has been a very successful one with numerous activities and awards in our English program. First, we would like to congratulate Monique Ingram for winning the Marie Pick Award for Proficiency in English Writing, Anastasia Blosser for winning the Robert MacDonald Award for Excellence in English Literature, and Leiah Nay for winning the Edna Izzard Award for Proficiency in English and Drama. The students who received the awards for highest marks in their courses were: Gaby Lin (ENG4UE), Annika Pavlin (ENG4U), and Khaleeq Rana (ENG4C).

We would also like to congratulate Soren Mohammadinasr and Alyssa Vorobey who were both finalists in this year’s OSSTF Creative Writing Contest. In addition we would like to pay tribute to Matthew Pechen-Berg and Huzaifa Safri for finishing in second and third place respectively in the Canadian Human Rights Poetry Contest, as well as to Rodaina Abolelea, Jonathan Wu, Jasmine Yang, Ethan Zhang, and Derek Chen who were top 20 finalists in the same contest. We also would like to acknowledge the great turn out for the first two internationally recognized online Advanced Placement English exams, with over fifty students representing RHHS. The results from the 2021 AP English exams were fantastic: nearly one quarter of the fifty participating students received perfect scores on two separate internationally recognized AP English exams and the students’ mean scores were fifteen per cent higher than the Global average.

In November we kicked off our literacy month celebrations by participating in numerous literacy initiatives including the Richmond Hill Public Library Short Story Contest, the Marion Drysdale Creative Writing Contest for Poetry and Short Fiction, the Unsung Song Writing Competition, an online conference with author Gwen Strauss, and our first Poetry Slam event of the year. On Monday, November 1st students participated as judges for the finalists in the Unsung Song Writing Competition. Through this initiative students were able to discuss current social justice issues specifically relating to juvenile justice reform. On November 4th several classes attended a virtual seminar at the Richmond Hill Public Library in honour of Holocaust Education Week. Author Gwen Strauss discussed her book, The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany, which was inspired by her great-aunt.

On Tuesday, March 8th, the Slam Poetry Club hosted the RHHS Slam Poetry Championship after school in the library. The club invited all RHHS students to come out and perform an original poem, offering them an opportunity to share their thoughts and voices with their peers and teachers.  A number of remarkable performances filled the afternoon of verse, showcasing the literary and creative talents of RHHS students. Although each student's performance was moving and memorable, the following were the top five performers: finishing in fifth place with her heartfelt piece "If You Tell Me To Breathe, I'll Scream" was Alyssa Vorobey. In fourth place was Shireen Dhalla with her passionate performance of "Red or White." Darcy Lock placed third with her engaging piece "Will it Start with You?" Second place went to Roxanna Raffiei for her wonderful recitation of "Roses," and finishing in first place was Sarah Jagani with her moving verse, "The Final Embrace." These top five performers from our school-wide RHHS Slam Poetry Championship will form the team that will move on to represent RHHS at the YRDSB Slam Poetry Championship on March 31st. For any students interested in joining, the Slam Poetry Club is welcoming new members. The club meets every Tuesday after school in Room 1060. If you have any questions about slam poetry, you can email the club's president, Aarani Selvaganesh, or Mr. Cimetta.

 Our Grade 10 students are currently preparing in their English classes for the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test which will take place at the end of April. Our Grade 11 and 12 AP students are currently studying for the AP English Composition and Literature Exams that are scheduled for the first two weeks of June. We are anticipating that more than 60 students will take part in these prestigious international examinations this year. If you have any questions regarding the OSSLT or the English program at RHHS please feel free to contact the English department at any time. Take care and stay safe.​




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