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Public school board hosts seventh annual event at Lakehead University's Orillia campus 0

By Sara Carson, Orillia Packet & Times

Macy Burns, 11, of Hewitt's Creek Public School in Barrie, creates an aboriginal drum during the Simcoe County District School Board's seventh annual Gifted Outreach Conference at Lakehead University's Orillia campus. More than 300 gifted students took part. SARA ROSS QMI AGENCY

Macy Burns, 11, of Hewitt's Creek Public School in Barrie, creates an aboriginal drum during the Simcoe County District School Board's seventh annual Gifted Outreach Conference at Lakehead University's Orillia campus. More than 300 gifted students took part. SARA ROSS QMI AGENCY

ORILLIA - 

Working alongside like-minded peers helps Owen Carruthers feel he belongs for the first time.

“When I went to school before, I was an outsider,” Carruthers said Friday. “I knew more than the other people so people bugged me and tried to bully me.”

The 12-year-old used to attend Ardtrea Cumberland Beach Public School and now feels at home in Orchard Park Public School's gifted program.

“I used to go to Cumberland Beach and I was not getting along with anybody,” Carruthers said. “They just didn't like me.”

On Friday, the Grade 7 student joined more than 300 other students at Simcoe County District School Board's seventh annual Gifted Outreach Conference at Lakehead University's Orillia campus.

“It's good because then you don't feel alone,” Carruthers said.

Macy Burns, 11, of Hewitt's Creek Public School in Barrie, feels the same way.

“It's pretty cool that gifted kids come together and do stuff together,” the Grade 5 student said. “I feel like I'm left out of the crowd at my school, so I like to be with other kids that are like me.”

This year's conference centred around an aboriginal theme.

Students took part in 11 workshops in areas of language, sciences, art, music, physical education and more.

The conference was attended by gifted students in grades 4 to 8.

In a technology workshop based on aboriginal weaponry, Carruthers carved his own spear.

“Hunting for food was one of the most important things,” he said. “I haven't learned much about aboriginals so it's something different and unique to learn.”

All of the workshops were designed by Lakehead student volunteers in Lakehead's bachelor of education program. They were supervised by the Gifted Leadership Team from the school board.

Student teacher Alex McDonnell had students creating aboriginal drums.

“We really wanted to focus on something artistic,” she said. “That's how we came up with combining music and visual arts together with the aboriginal drum.”

Traditionally, drums are made from animal skin stretched across a wooden frame. Students made their drums from tubing, packing tape and brown paper.

“We're going to sit down and talk about how you get the best sound out of them,” McDonnell said. “Hopefully, all the students will get a chance to say something about a significant design on their drum.”

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