Discovery Day: Mentoring Students at South Carleton High School

I made a great discovery at South Carleton High School on Thursday, March 31. The heavy rain did not dampen the spirits of the many students who gathered in the gym to hear the keynote speaker, Jay Gosselin for Discovery Day.

Candace Carson, Instructional Coach for Co-op, OYAP, Dual Credit, and Pathways at the Ottawa Carleton District School Board told me about the day. She said,

Discovery Day was born out of a desire to provide hands on experience for students in high school who need to see the many possibilities available to them in their future.  The most efficient way I could conceive of doing this was to bring the community to the students. I needed to bring community partners representing a variety of sectors, services, and interests to the school to share their expertise, and even more importantly, to share the details of their own personal pathway. We wanted them to tell students how they got from where they were as a student in high school to where and who they are today. The hope was for students to have opportunities to engage in authentic conversation with the community partners around pathway planning, to develop some skills in areas of general interest, and to experience something new.”    

After listening to him speak, I found some more information on Jay Gosselin’s website and it is clear that his personal experience led him to identify a gap for students. High School students often don’t know what careers are available, and they don’t know enough about themselves to make significant decisions about the future. Jay offers an interesting mentorship program for students who leave high school and want to take a “gap year”.

Some students visited classrooms and heard presentations about college or University programs. I had the opportunity to introduce students to health care options at Ottawa U.
These students went on a field trip to Versailles Academy 

Other students had a yummy visit from Edible Sins


and there were so many options for everyone.

I came away from Discovery Day thinking about the significance of this event for all high school students. In fact, it felt like a day could not be enough, but I know the event left the students with a sense that they have options, that they can actively consider a future in post-secondary education, and in the world of work.

Even more impressive to me was the list of teachers who helped make the day possible and who welcomed me to the event. I’ve heard it said that South Carleton High School is a gem in the OCDSB and I got to experience this first hand.

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