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Bishop Smith students look to the future

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

SEAN CHASE/DAILY OBSERVER
Karen Davies, dean of Algonquin College Waterfront campus, greets these grade 12 Bishop Smith students (front left to right) Kaitlyn Lauzon, Autumn Ogilvie, Kaitlyn Milligan, Olivia Kenny, Nicole Shaw, Jocelyn Hierlihy and Kylie Hebert. The students visited the college Thursday as part of a post-secondary orientation program.

SEAN CHASE/DAILY OBSERVER Karen Davies, dean of Algonquin College Waterfront campus, greets these grade 12 Bishop Smith students (front left to right) Kaitlyn Lauzon, Autumn Ogilvie, Kaitlyn Milligan, Olivia Kenny, Nicole Shaw, Jocelyn Hierlihy and Kylie Hebert. The students visited the college Thursday as part of a post-secondary orientation program.

PEMBROKE - 

The hallways of Algonquin College Waterfront Campus weren't entirely empty during the institution's annual read week.

On Thursday, Bishop Smith Catholic High School moved its post-secondary orientation program to the college where 120 Grade 12 students attended workshops on how to prepare for and cope with life after high school.

This is the first time Bishop Smith has conducted their sessions at Algonquin College. Although the Class of 2016 is still four months from graduation, teachers and counsellors agreed it's never too early for them to begin planning for the next stage in their lives.

“This is their next step,” said student services program leader Tina Noel. “This gives them a taste of the post-secondary life but it's also the last chance for them to be together as a group.”

The sessions discussed the role of faith in tackling life's big challenges, managing stress and mental health and how to responsibly use social media. While cyber bullying is not as prevalent in senior grades, students need to understand how things they post online can follow them.

Students learn to manage their social media reputation and clean up their digital footprint.

“They are much more mature,” said vice-principal Dave Noble. “They realize the benefits of social media and they are more conscious what they put up.”

Although getting out of the mundane schedule of classes is a bonus, the students appreciated the lessons learned from these sessions. Kyle McLaughlin said he found the workshop on mental illness especially enlightening as he gained a better understanding of this growing social issue.

“It has certainly opened my eyes,” said Kyle. “You don't realize how many people struggle with it until you see the stats.”

Fellow student Jessie Roy discovered the social media class to be an even bigger eye opener. She conceded that in younger grades kids will use Facebook to harm others because they don't appreciate the seriousness of their actions in their early teens.

“You don't think about it when you're doing it but it's there forever,” said Bailey noting past things posted on Facebook can't be so easily erased.

In keeping with Bishop Smith's faith-based mission statement, the students also discussed the role of religion in today's society.

“You have to be more knowledgeable of everything that is going on in the community and in your religion,” added Bailey Gibson.

Schase@postmedia.com