With a youth and adult sector population of more than 37,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines. Our network consists of 77 schools and centres.
When the score didn't matter: Marymount Adult Education Centre's unique hockey day
By Gregory Caltabanis
Moskovitch Arena in Côte Saint-Luc was the venue and hockey was on the
agenda, but what transpired on the ice
was an afterthought to the whole spectacle.
A few hundred special needs students
from Marymount Adult Education Centre and John Grant High School made their way
to the arena to take in their first ever hockey game. “We also have students
from over 75 countries learning French or English who have never seen a game.
It’s part of our job to have them share the culture,” said
Jacques Monfette, the principal of Marymount Adult Education Centre.
A great time was had by all.
Monfette, watching the students engaged in the action is like no other feeling.
“If you associate
Montreal with one thing, it’s
hockey,” he said. “We provide them
with this and I always get a kick of seeing their reactions once the game
begins or once they see the speed of the puck in person.”
This year it was a special needs
student named Carlo who kicked off the event with the traditional opening puck
drop. Carlo was at the Philip E. Layton School for the Blind and has been at
Marymount Adult Centre since September. He and his friends relished the
opportunity to participate in this year’s Hockey Day. Once the game kicked off,
the arena was buzzing with excitement. For the first few minutes of the game,
most students were on their feet cheering on the teams. If you didn’t know any
better, one would think we were taking in a Montreal Canadiens game at the Bell Centre.
Marymount’s second Annual
Hockey Day would not have been possible without the help of Hockey WithoutBorders, who provided the teams for the game. “I told
the organizer Scott Berish that I needed two teams and he came through
for us,” said Monfette.
Without Borders is a non-profit organization which looks to promoting health
and activity to youth. For Berish it was all about showing everyone a
good time. “I really hope they
had fun because it’s just an amazing
event,” he said. “For
me, on the other hand, it’s more of a
Over the past 10 years, Berish has
conducted skating clinics for the blind and continues to give back to the
community. He particularly enjoys
Marymount’s Annual Hockey Day as it gives the special needs students the
possibility to do something they would have otherwise not had the chance to do.
“They are vulnerable in a way that we all are and we get to provide them with
this amazing day,” he says. “They just love hockey and we do it to connect and
share the experience with them.”
Weekes, a teacher at Marymount Adult Centre, shares a similar sentiment to
Berish. “I’m happy to see them
go to a hockey game as it’s an opportunity
that they don’t always have due
to facilities and whatnot. It’s
really a great inspiration and serves as an example to the rest of the
community,” he said.
Without Borders’ ambassador Ron Perowne was also in attendance and helped
with the puck drop. “I was encouraged
when I saw the crowd,” said Perowne. “It’s truly inspiring. “
was coincidentally Perowne’s
birthday. He would go on to say that
seeing the students’ reaction to the
game was “the best birthday
present I could have ever asked for.”
also touched upon the importance of his school’s hockey day. “It’s a binding
experience for our Marymount community,” he said. “The
teachers and students have been excited all week. All I want is for everyone to
go home and to tell people on Monday how proud they were to attend our Hockey
was the second Annual Marymount Cup and it appears to be staying for years to
come. “We typically bring
the students apple picking or to Cabane à Sucre but this
event has become an annual thing for sure,” said
Monfette. looking ahead to the future.
it was all said and done and the students boarded the buses back to their
respective schools, no one even mentioned the score of the game. The fact of
the matter was that, quite frankly, it didn’t
matter. What truly mattered was seeing countless students revel in their first
ever hockey game.
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NEW DIRECTOR GENERAL: Ann Marie Matheson has been appointed the new Director General of the English Montreal School Board, succeeding Robert Stocker who stepped down last month and now serves as a senior advisor. Ann Marie Matheson Ms. Matheson’s connection to the EMSB dates back to the beginning of her 23 year career in education. As a member of the Student Services Department of the former Montreal Catholic School Board (MCSC), she was directly involved with programs meant to reduce absenteeism and increase student success rates in all high schools, including St. Raphael, St Pius X and Paul VI schools. For three years, from 2011 to 2014, Ms. Matheson was an EMSB commissioner for Ahuntsic. Additionally, Ms. Matheson served as the International Baccalaureate Program Coordinator at Marymount Academy International in its founding years and was on loan-of-service to the Ministry of Education and had responsibility for the École Montréalaise Program in English schools – 19