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Spring 2020 Newsletter 316
Spring 2020 Newsletter

 RHHS   English  Department  Newsletter—Spring  2020

The start of the second semester of the 2019-20 school year has been a very successful one with numerous activities and awards in our English program. In addition, there are numerous student achievements that we would like to acknowledge. First, we would like to congratulate Caitlin Chu for winning the OSSTF Creative Writing Contest with her poem "One Strong Woman," Dani Fox for winning the Marie Pick Award for Proficiency in English Writing, and Vicky Xie for winning the Robert MacDonald Award for Excellence in English Literature. The students who received the awards for highest marks in their courses were: Katelyn Wang (ENG4UE), Donia Zeng (ENG4U), Freya Abbas (EWC4U), Sahra Sultani (ENG4C), and Andrew Lin (OLC4O). Continuing this tradition of excellence we would like to recognize Vicky Xie for winning the Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Essay Contest and Dani Fox for placing first out of ten thousand students across Canada, in the prestigious Turning Points Essay Competition. The results from the 2019 AP English exams were fantastic: nearly half of the ninety participating students received perfect scores on two separate internationally recognized AP English exams.

We held our second annual Poetry in the Park event on October 29th, which featured poetry written and performed by students from across our school. Students and teachers gathered in the garden behind the portables to enjoy an evening of poetry, food, and music, hosted by RHHS’s slam poetry club. Performers shared passionate poems on topics that ranged from depression, to lacrosse, to the fear of growing up. Slam poetry club members and other volunteers helped to put together a stage, supply blankets, hang lights, and give out food and drinks during the event. In addition, audience members judged the performances to inspire some friendly competition. The event had a great turn out, and both the audience and performers enjoyed listening and gaining insight into each other’s lives through the words that were shared. With lights hanging in the trees and candles framing the stage, it was a beautiful evening where students had the opportunity to showcase their thoughts, emotions, and creativity.

We would also like to acknowledge last year’s Slam Poetry team of Annika Pavlin, Iris Xie, Apisha Mahenthirarajan, Matthew Ao, Caitlin Chu, who finished as finalists in York Region. Students who are interested in joining the RHHS Slam Poetry Team can drop by the RHHS Slam Poetry Club every Tuesday after school in Room 1062 to sign up, or see Mr. Cimetta in the English Department office for more details. 

In November we kicked off our literacy month celebrations by participating in numerous literacy initiatives including  the Turning Points Essay Contest, the Richmond Hill Public Library Short Story Contest, the Marion Drysdale Creative Writing Contest for Poetry and Short Fiction, and the Canadian Poet’s League Poetry Parade.  Sir Kenneth Branagh’s world renowned “Shakespearience” interactive workshop also made a stop at Richmond Hill High School. Our students had the opportunity to gain a new appreciation for Othello and to discuss the craft of professional acting in Canada with two very distinguished actors from the Stratford Festival, Robert McClure and Marvin Karon.

This year the English department is sponsoring several field trips as extensions to our academic English program, including an insightful trip to the ROM for students to study the history and culture of Elizabethan England, an animation workshop at the National Film Board of Canada, and a day of film production workshops at the TIFF Centre. If you have any questions regarding the English program at RHHS please feel free to contact the English department at any time. 

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