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Award Name School Board Grade
1st Keara Graves Father Leo J. Austin CSS DCDSB 11
Julia Marriott Father Leo J. Austin CSS DCDSB 11
2nd Jane Gillis Holy Trinity C.S.S. PVNCCDSB 11
Paul Bastian Holy Trinity C.S.S. PVNCCDSB 11
Jack Griffin Holy Trinity C.S.S. PVNCCDSB 11
Stephanie Wilson Holy Trinity C.S.S. PVNCCDSB 11
3rd Madison Bulins Clarington Central SS KPRDSB 12
finalist Alexis Strickland Father Leo J. Austin CSS DCDSB 11
Daniella Petralito Father Leo J. Austin CSS DCDSB 11
finalist Trenton Kellar Holy Trinity C.S.S. PVNCCDSB 11
Mallory McKnight Holy Trinity C.S.S. PVNCCDSB 11
Nick MacLean Holy Trinity C.S.S. PVNCCDSB 11
Matthias Kelly Holy Trinity C.S.S. PVNCCDSB 11
Morgan Fyfe Holy Trinity C.S.S. PVNCCDSB 11



Award Name School Board Grade
1st Rebecca Villemaire Father Leo J. Austin CSS DCDSB 12
2nd Thad Pasco Archbishop Denis O’Connor CHS DCDSB 9
3rd Calista VanDerVleuten Brock High School DDSB 9
finalist Luc Comire Bowmanville High School KPRDSB 11
finalist Emily Wentland Bowmanville High School KPRDSB 12
finalist Taylor Beam Brooklin High School DDSB 10
finalist Omar Cabello Father Leo J. Austin CSS DCDSB 11
finalist Sarah  Sales Pine Ridge Secondary School DDSB 11
finalist Jacquie Girard St. Stephen C.S.S. PVNCCDSB 10



Award Name School Board Grade
1st Victoria Puzej Archbishop Denis O’Connor CHS DCDSB 10
2nd Abigail  Robson Brooklin High School DDSB 10
3rd Anish Panday Archbishop Denis O’Connor CHS DCDSB 10
finalist Samantha Djetvay Bowmanville High School KPRDSB 9
finalist Rebekah Belyea Clarington Central SS KPRDSB 12
finalist Allyson Jefferies St. Stephen C.S.S. PVNCCDSB 9
finalist Mackenzie Cook St. Stephen C.S.S. PVNCCDSB 9



Durham Creative Minds Contest 2016

By Jackie Kovacs

Poverty, Time To Act Together

On May 18th, 2016, IDI hosted their annual Creative Minds Contest for Durham Region at the Ajax Convention Centre. The theme for this year was Poverty, Time To Act Together. The master of ceremonies for the evening was award winning actress, Melinda Shankar. The music was provided by Latin jazz band Track 4.

Fatih Yegul, IDI’s Executive Vice President for GTA East, thanked the co-organizers of the contest, which are the school boards for Durham region involved in the contest. These include Durham District School Board, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, and Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic School Board.  He thanked Martyn Beckett, Director of Education for DDSB, who was instrumental in starting the contest five years ago. Mr. Yegul also brought attention to the silent auction of the art pieces in partnership with Northern Lights Relief Foundation for the benefit of the Fort McMurray wildfire victims.

This is the fifth year the contest is being held and it keeps growing and gaining more interest. This year IDI added a new category of video entries and decided on a name change—Creative Minds, instead of Art and Essay Contest. The new logo to go with the new name symbolizes that art is a combination of emotions and intellect.

The keynote for the evening was delivered by Phyllis Novak who is the Artistic Director and Founder of SKETCH, which is involved with working arts for street involved and homeless youth. She began by thanking and acknowledging the caretakers and first stewards of this land, the First Nations and the Metis.

Ms. Novak explained that poverty is the result of colonialism and spoke of her privilege as a white skinned woman of German descent. She encouraged the audience to understand that if someone was experiencing privilege in their life, it was probably as a result of someone else experiencing violence (an all-encompassing definition of violence). It is not an individual cause, but due to the framework or system that is in place. Individuals themselves can work to make the lives they touch better. It is important to think about who is setting the power and position in society.

Ms. Novak gave an anecdote of working with homeless youth who were living under the Bathurst bridge. She explained that it almost looked like a Brazilian favela with an aesthetically pleasing aspect. The homeless youth in that area had created an equitable system in which each person had their respective roles for which they were responsible. They lived there for eight months before Toronto public health stepped in to provide safer living conditions, with the coming of winter.

When Ms. Novak spoke to one of the young girls who had lived there, the young girl explained that the anger she (and the other youth) had was not due to losing her belongings, but that no one had asked them what they wanted. Many of them had not lived at home since they were eleven and did not see themselves as capable of holding down stable homes, let alone did they want this. Ms. Novak explained that what we could do is acknowledge that there are different ways to live, that for some people a nomadic or homeless life is part of people’s journey.

There is a need to connect on a pro-social level, to acknowledge that youth are co-creators in inclusive spaces. There is especially a need to include people in plans that will be affecting them.

Ms. Novak stressed that the young people in the room had an amazing ability to see a bigger picture. They are not yet locked down in the past, they can intuit the future, and they can synthesize these two together. We need to integrate this creativity into planning for communities.

She stressed a backdoor approach of using the creativity and entrepreneurial talents of young people, to invest in them and integrate them in more than just a token way.

Ms. Novak presented a theory of systems change to the audience. She explained that systems are created to solve problems and then they fortify themselves into social infrastructure. The institutions we have today, like education, were developed and solidified once the system had reached a certain plateau. In doing so, however, systems would begin to exclude people. As a system grows change and a pushback against the system also begins to form. Young people are part of this change—they are called edgewalkers—and as critical mass grows, the system itself changes it. In response the system will try to fortify itself further, but there are people who are working to hospice older systems.

Ms. Shankar, the MC, shared her story of visiting Haiti to help out after the earthquake. Echoing Ms. Novak, she explained that even though the Haitians had just suffered from the devastating earthquake, there were still smiles and good spirits as they were rebuilding.

The evening concluded with the handout of the awards and the students got to find out where they placed.