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Christmas cheer at Westmount Terrace Retirement Home


On Tuesday, December 12, Bishop Tonnos’ prolife group V.O.I.C.E. visited Westmount Terrace Retirement Home. Prior to their visit, students worked hard to create personalized Christmas ornaments for each resident.  During their time at Westmount Terrace, students chatted with the residents, played board games, passed out the Christmas ornaments, sang Christmas carols with the residents, and a student even played the piano for the residents. . As the school’s prolife group, V.O.I.C.E. members strive to promote the dignity and value of all human life, from conception till natural death.  That is why for the past 11 years, group members have been visiting with residents from Westmount Terrace Retirement Home. V.O.I.C.E. members look forward to returning to the Retirement Home to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the residents.

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St. Martin’s Manor Visits Bishop Tonnos

On May 31st students in Bishop Tonnos’ pro-life group, V.O.I.C.E attended a presentation from St. Martin’s Manor’s Young Parent Navigator, Sarah Anderson. St. Martin’s Manor offers a number of programs, education, and a residence to pregnant and parenting youth under 21. St. Martin’s is a welcoming and nurturing environment for young women who chose to give their child life, and provides services to enrich the lives of young families in a safe and welcoming environment. 

The V.O.I.C.E group (Voice of Innocent Children Empowered) represents the belief that all life is sacred from conception until natural death, and was thrilled to be able to witness the amazing work that St. Martin’s Manor does for young women (many who are the same age as members in the group) in our community. 

Sarah brought with her a young mother who told the story of how she chose to give her child life when she became pregnant at 15. Knowing that having a child at such a young age, the V.O.I.C.E group wanted to show this young mother how strong and brave they thought she was, and so after the presentation, the group threw a surprise baby shower, presenting mom with clothes and toys for her daughter, as well as much-needed baby supplies for St. Martin’s Manor. 

This experience reinforced to each student the belief that life is precious and valuable, and as God’s own children, we are called to defend and protect human life.​

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Bishop Tonnos' pro-life group V.O.I.C.E. Stands Up For Life

On May 11-12, 23 students from Bishop Tonnos’ pro-life group V.O.I.C.E. (Voice of Innocent Children Empowered) attended the National March For Life in Ottawa. The March celebrates life and advocates for the rights of all human life, from conception till natural death. Students were joined by 100 high school students from our School Board and another 15,000 individuals from across the country. On Thursday, students had the opportunity to hear speeches from multiple Members of Parliament, various leaders in the pro-life movement, as well as individuals from Silent No More, an organization helping women and men who have lost their child due to an abortion.

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The crowd of 15,000 people marched through the streets of Ottawa giving witness of the beauty and value of all human life. Later that day, students attended a Youth Banquet where they heard from Steve Karlen, the North American Director for 40 Days For Life, and watched a performance by Transform DJ, a pro-life electronic dance group. On Friday, students attended Mass as well as a Youth Leadership Conference. The two keynote speakers were 18-year-old Saira Blair, House Representative in the State of West Virginia, and Dr. Christina Francis, OB-GYN, board member of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and speaker for Life Training Institute. Students also attended various workshops that focused on educating them on various pro-life issues and encouraging students to use their gifts to stand up for life. Overall, the trip reinforced in each student the belief that each life is precious and valuable and as followers of God, we are called to defend and protect all human life.  


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Bishop Tonnos' pro-life group V.O.I.C.E. visit Westmount Terrace Retirement Home

Students from Bishop Tonnos’ V.O.I.C.E. group believe that every human life, from conception till natural death, is valuable. That is why for the past 10 years, group members have been visiting with residents from Westmount Terrace Retirement Home. Students visit with the residents multiple times throughout the year. Last week, students made their yearly Spring visit. As always, students brought personalized gifts to each resident. This year, students worked hard to create personalized flower vases for each resident. During their visit, students talked to the residents, played board games, and V.O.I.C.E. member Sarah shared her musical talent by playing the piano. V.O.I.C.E. members shared many stories and laughs with the residents. The students are eager to return to Westmount Terrace in September. 

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Bishop Tonnos C.S.S. Competes In The Hunger Games

As Catholics, it is our duty to participate in acts of charity and social justice.

To help Out of the Cold’s vision to eliminate hunger in Hamilton and support local Equal Opportunities schools’ breakfast program, Bishop Tonnos hosted its first ever Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a competition between Period 5 classes (who have each been assigned a particular district number) to see who can bring in the most cereal boxes.

Led by BT’s pro-life group V.O.I.C.E. (teacher advisors Mrs. Salverda and Chaplain Kim), the students worked very hard to organize a creative event that will not only educate students on the issue of poverty in their community, but also encourage them to recognize the dignity and value of all human life.

The Hunger Games consisted of three rounds. The first round was the Flag Creating Contest. Each class was assigned a district number and challenged to create a district flag that would be posted on the classroom door for the duration of the event. It was important to both Ms. Pastrak and Mrs. Salverda that students became educated on issues surrounding poverty in Hamilton and then combined with their desire as Catholics to promote social justice, feel the need to help those who are less fortunate. Each flag was thus required to have a statistic on poverty in Hamilton as well as a district motto. Members of V.O.I.C.E. judged each of the flags and awarded Mr. Puglia’s grade 10 Religion class the winner, giving his district a 10-point head start.

The second round was the Cereal Distribution Competition. Period 5 classes were given two weeks to bring in cereal boxes. Each cereal box earned the district one point. Making this event truly cross-curricular, Mrs. Gelsie Riverso-Casella’s Grade 11 Marketing class worked with Pastrak and Salverda to promote the event by creating posters and a SnapChat, as well as collecting the cereal boxes each day and updating each district’s total. Period 5 classes were even visited by President Snow himself who encouraged students to bring in cereal boxes to “support the capitol.” After two weeks, the winner was announced: Ms. Sarah Berezuik’s grade 12 Math class who brought in 456 boxes. In total, Bishop Tonnos students brought in 1750 cereal boxes, which were donated to Out of the Cold and breakfast programs at the Board’s Equal Opportunities schools.

Proving that the spirit of the Hunger Games was truly contagious, teacher and coach Mike DiFrederico hosted a girls basketball "Hoops For Hunger" buyout where students could pay $2 to buy out of their period 5 class to attend the game and the proceeds would go to the Hunger Games initiative. The buy-out raised over $900.

The third round of the Hunger Games was the Tribute Battle where the tributes of the top 5 classes participated in various competitions during a Hunger Games Assembly hosted by Student Council. President Snow presided over the competitions until one tribute remained and a winner was announced.

The Hunger Games initiative definitely succeeded in helping students recognize that as followers of Christ, they are called to see all human life as valuable. As a result, when one of our brothers and sisters is suffering, it is our responsibility to offer our assistance, and in turn provide hope. With compassionate hearts, faith was put into action to promote love and justice for those in need.


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V.O.I.C.E. Stands Up For The Unborn

As followers of God, we are called to value all human life and thus, we must protect the most vulnerable - the unborn.

On Sunday, October 2, 2016, students from V.O.I.C.E. (Voice of Innocent Children Empowered) joined students from each of the H.W.C.D.S.B. high schools to participate in the Life Chain, a one-hour silent public witness to promote the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death.  In solidarity with the unborn, students silently held their signs at the intersection of Upper James and Mohawk Road in Hamilton.

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V.O.I.C.E. Advocates The Rights of the Unborn

On May 12-13, 2016, Bishop Tonnos' prolife group V.O.I.C.E. participated in the annual March For Life in Ottawa. 26 students were selected to attend this trip. Each student showed a commitment to spreading the prolife message through their involvement in various prolife initiatives in the school throughout the year. BT students joined an additional 120 HWCDSB students as well as 25,000 people in front of the Parliament building and passionately advocated that all human life, from conception till natural death, is valuable. In the evening, students participated in the Rose Banquet, an event that highlighted the obstacles that exist in society that work to diminish the sanctity of life and ways students can become leaders in the prolife movement. The following day, students attended Mass as well as a Youth Leadership Conference where they had the privilege to hear Obianuju Ekeocha, an international prolife advocate who started the organization Culture of Life in Africa and travels worldwide spreading God’s message on the value of life. The group participated in various workshops that centered on ways today's youth can be leaders and advocates for life. Overall, this event highlighted that as followers of God, we are called to stand up for life and give witness to the belief that every person is valuable. We must all be given the right to life.


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