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English Department Autumn 2022 Newsletter 316
English Department Autumn 2022 Newsletter


RHHS English Department—Autumn 2022 Update


The Autumn of 2022 marks a period of growth and celebration for the RHHS English department. There are numerous student achievements that we would like to acknowledge. First, we would like to congratulate Andreea Murariu for winning the Marie Pick Award for Proficiency in English Writing, Leah Ben Tzur for winning the Robert MacDonald Award for Excellence in English Literature, and Amanda Saxe 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: Maya Wahby (ENG4UE), Jaeyong Lee (ENG4U), and Daniella Gavrilov (ENG4C).

We would also like to congratulate Soren Mohammadinasr and Alyssa Vorobey who were both finalists in this year’s OSSTF Creative Writing Contest. As well we want to acknowledge the great turn out for the internationally recognized Advanced Placement English exams, with over seventy students representing RHHS. The results from the 2022 AP English exams were fantastic: nearly one quarter of the seventy 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.

Another incredible achievement occurred in the spring of 2022 when for the first time in our school’s history the RHHS Slam Poetry Team won the YRDSB Slam Poetry Championship. Students at all YRDSB schools within the board were invited to come out and perform an original poem, offering them an opportunity to share their thoughts and voices with their peers. teachers, parents, families, and administrators. A number of remarkable performances filled the afternoon of verse, showcasing the literary and creative talents of YRDSB students. Although students on the participating teams all delivered wonderful performances, RHHS prevailed to win the YRDSB Slam Poetry Championship. Congratulations go to the RHHS Slam Poetry Team, and in particular, the team members, Roxana Rafiei for her wonderful recitation of "Roses," Sarah Jagani with her moving verse, "The Final Embrace," Darcy Lock with her engaging piece, "Will it Start with You?", and Alyssa Vorobey with her heartfelt composition, "If You Tell Me To Breathe, I'll Scream." Aarani Selvaganesh​, who performed her poem, "What did we do? and Vanessa Wang, who sang her original composition, "Whylah Falls," ar​e also to be commended for their wonderful performances that rounded out the afternoon's events. 

RHHS English students attended several very engaging virtual creative writing workshops this year. RHHS alumnus Pardis Aliakbarkhani inspired us with a selection of readings from her three books A Drink of the Caspian, The Siren, and For Pomegranates as well as leading us through a poetry workshop focused on self-empowerment. At the 2022 Festival of Literary Diversity students were enthralled by the Spoken Word Showcase and learned valuable lessons from Jack Wang about the creative craft involved in writing a short story in addition to the details that go into publishing a collection. Film producer Abdi Nazemian joined our class live from Hollywood to discuss what it is like to write for film and television and what it takes to build a career as a screenwriter; while Jesse Wente mesmerized students with the stories behind his national bestseller Unreconciled: Family Truth and Resistance. We were also fortunate enough to meet with stage and screen actors John Jarvis and Marvin Karon for a workshop on writing dramatic monologues. These were all wonderful opportunities for our students to explore the immense diversity in the Canadian publishing industry and to ask questions about the various pathways to success in the writing profession.

If you have any questions regarding 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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