Messy Day on July 19 is one of the special beach days sponsored by South Dundas Recreation and the Ontario Early Years Centre. The beaches project is now in its third season with events also taking place in Iroquois. Dozens of children gathered in Morrisburg to enjoy exciting and delightfully messy activities under the supervision of Ben Macpherson, recreation program co-ordinator and Fiona Carr of the Early Years, and the Morrisburg life guards. With magic mud, gooey slime, volcanoes in the sand, face painting, the Duckie wading pool, a slip and slide, Pie in the Eye, and of course, Shaving Cream Musical Chairs, there was little doubt that everyone could be just as messy as they wanted.
Beginning in September, Seaway District High School will offer a second option in the Specialist High Skills Major program.
On June 12th the province made it official and the local high school is now accredited for the Transportation High Skills Major in addition to the Agriculture High Skills Major already being offered.
According to principal Terry Gardiner, Seaway staff members Robert Knapp, Tanya Crosby and Mark Lewis were instrumental in securing the new accreditation.
The Specialist High Skills Major program allows students in grade 11 and grade 12 to focus on a career path that matches their skills and interests.
The Ontario Ministry of Education offers several options within the Specialist High Skills Major program in addition to agriculture and transportation.
Seaway’s “excellent shop facilities” was just one of the reasons staff chose to pursue accreditation in the transportation program, said Gardiner.
He also explained that “a component of the High Skills Major is co-op and we have partners in the transportation industry that provide co-op for our students.”
In addition, the transportation sector is “a large employer in this part of Ontario.”
Gardiner also pointed out that the two programs, agriculture and transportation, compliment one another. He has students in the agriculture program, for example, who are focused on transportation opportunities within agriculture.
“The High Skills Major program has shown that it engages students. When they are interested in their studies, they do better and they attend more.”
He also pointed out that the program “allows students to explore work options in high school before they make decisions about college.”
They have the opportunity to try a career to see if it fits for them and, as Gardiner admitted, there are students who have said “yes, this is for me” and others who have said “no, not for me.”
The first set of Seaway students to graduate from the Agriculture High Skills Major will do so this year, said Gardiner.
As for the Transportation High Skills Major, students have already begun expressing an interest and signing up for September.
New welcome gardens, which have been installed at Iroquois and Morrisburg, will be complete this week.
“The project was ‘grew’ from the feedback that the Municipality collected during last year’s community strategic planning process,” said Nicole Sullivan, South Dundas economic development officer. “Residents identified a desire for greening/gardening at the gateways and centres of activity. Welcome gardens were one of the suggestions made to accomplish this goal.”
The gardens have been designed to be attractive year round, explained Sullivan and Erin VanGilst, the Master Gardener who designed and planted the gardens. VanGilst runs Create It! Garden Design & Instillation from her home in Williamsburg.
The gardens feature a mixture of perennials that bloom in the spring (Daffodils), summer (Hydrangeas, Daylilies) and fall (‘Autum Joy’ Stonecrop, ‘Karl Foerster’ Grass). There are also shrubs such as a Service Berry that were chosen specifically because their branches are colourful year round.
Each garden also has “structural” elements that will give its shape definition throughout the year including rocks and evergreens.
In Morrisburg, three Serbian spruce trees have been planted, while in Iroquois, the buoys have been integrated into the design.
The Iroquois design is representative of a seaside garden, where stones are being installed to represent the stream and the plants, the waves, explained VanGilst.
“To add an extra element of interest for the public, we’ve also integrated a number of plants that are historic to the area including Lavender ‘Munstead Old English’ and Bluewood Asters,” said VanGilst.
“To identify these plants, we used a list of the area’s heritage plants that the Carman House Museum had compiled to help with the gardening of their Heritage Garden,” added Sullivan.
The cost to have the gardens designed and installed as well as purchase all the plants was just over $13,000, less than the $20,000 budgeted for the project. “We used compost and rocks that the Municipality already had which resulted in some of that cost savings,” noted Sullivan. “The gardens were designed to have minimal ongoing cost with all of the plants being perennials.
Dating is tough.Being set up by friends is tough. But the toughest test of finding true love has got to be the dreaded blind date.
At least that’s the premise of Check, Please! by Jonathan Rand, an hilarious look at the perils and pitfalls of modern dating being presented on Friday, May 11, 6 p.m., at Seaway District High School in Iroquois.
Under the direction of teachers Emma Mayer and Kim Lalonde, 21 senior drama students will perform the timely and funny production as part of the 7th annual dinner theatre night at the high school.
“The actors have been working extremely hard,” said Lalonde. “It’s going to be a great show. There were a lot of funny moments just in rehearsals, especially as the kids began to identify their characters with the costumes and make-up. And,” Lalonde added, laughing, “the day we put the boys into make up for the first time, is now known as David Bowie Day. It was hilarious. However, they’re getting used to the whole stage thing now.”
I had the opportunity to speak to four members of the cast about the play, and about their roles.
Rebecca Helmer, who plays “the Girl” describes her character as a bit desperate, trying to find “the one.” “She can be sarcastic (she’s faced some bad situations), but she’s also a lot of fun to play. Does she find love? Well there is a twist at the end of the play that will let the audience know that.”
Jared Gibson, “the Guy,” is coming from a world of bad dates including one with a rabid Chicago Bears fan, another with a woman who talks only in internet abbreviations. “Everybody has had them, the bad dates, the embarrassment of bad dates. My character is getting a little desperate. He would just like to find a nice, normal, average girl next door.”
Judging from the characters played by Haley VanAllen and Nicole Hallam, that girl next door is going to be pretty hard to find.
“My Cleo is a pyschic,” Haley explained. “The problem is she reads feet. Yup, she’s pretty insane, definitely ditzy. Her version of seeing the future is to say ‘I saw I was going to fail the math exam, and guess what? I did!’”
Does she find love?
“I think we might have to wait for the Cleo spin off,” Jared said straight-faced.
Nicole Hallam’s Mary is the kind of girl who shows up on a blind date carrying a Brides magazine under her arm.
“She has her entire wedding planned, from church and reception to the honeymoon. The only catch: no groom,” Nicole explained. “What she’s really looking for is a guy who will fit into the tuxedo. Thirty seconds into the date, she’s asking the guy if he’d like to help her pick out the wedding dress. She’s hilarious.”
“The script for Check, Please! is very funny, and very well written,” Haley said. “Everyone can relate to these characters, and not feel so bad about their own dating experiences.”
“Everything that can go wrong, does, in this play,” added Nicole.
“Think of worst case scenarios and then think how funny they can be,” Jared said.
“It’s really a laugh out loud play,” Rebecca said. “We all still laugh even in our rehearsals.”
The dinner theatre is being sponsored by the SDHS parents council. The funds raised, including those coming from the silent auction, will go towards new technology for the school. Tickets are $10 per person for the delicious lasagna dinner and the show, and are available in advance by calling 613-652-4878.
Come out on Friday, May 11, to share the laughter and memories of first dates.