Behind the Scenes of the NAC20’s T-shirt Project
Ella Zubec

“I think a lot of what we want to achieve is awareness. Awareness of the fact that a lot of Indigenous artwork is stolen, and a lot of the orange shirts we wear are sort of a form of tokenism, if they don’t genuinely give back. Awareness to issues in our country surrounding Indigenous people. As well as just awareness of what true reconciliation is.” – Elsa (student in NAC20).
For the past two months, the NAC20 class has been working hard on a project to design orange shirts for Indigenous Heritage Month that will directly give back to Indigenous ...

Nepean Students Voting in the Provincial Election
Hugh Kelly

For many 18-year-olds at Nepean, the Ontario provincial election on June 2nd was their first ever chance to vote. In the week leading up to the election, I asked these students some questions to help me understand their feelings about voting for the first time.
Almost every person I talked to who was eligible (18 years or older on the day of the election) said they planned to vote or had already participated in advance voting. Some were very excited about this, but most were not particularly invested in it. They were happy to contribute to our democracy, however didn’t feel ...

The future isn't concrete. Here are four alternative eco building materials
Lilian Cheng

Concrete. A universally durable and versatile construction material, concrete is the second most consumed substance in the world, right behind water.
As it stands, it’s hard to revise the widespread use of this material, which has been in use since its origins in Rome, 200 BC. The UN Population Division (2022) estimates that 56% of the human population now lives in urban cities. This intensifies the need for concrete for high density in infrastructure ranging from schools and office buildings to skyscraper living areas (Giatec Scientific, 2017).
Watts (2019): Concrete uses nearly a 10th of the world’s industrial water use, ...

Introducing the new generation to music: A step in the right direction
Karina Groza

Towards the beginning of this month, Nepean’s music program put together a small concert to introduce the new students to the possibilities that the program offers. This event was made to inspire a new generation to take up music by introducing a myriad of different options, from the school choir to the Jazz Band, and even a song composed and performed by the grade 11-12 Jazz Combo.
In the morning, the musicians and singers performed in Nepean’s very own auditorium - with this being the first time it’s been used for a concert since the start of the Covid-19 shutdown ...

Key Club Clothing Swap
Yana Golic

This year, Nepean’s Key Club came up with an exciting new initiative, the clothing swap. The first clothing swap happened on April 28th and was a hit with students. This was Key Club’s first in person event of the year and the group was very happy with the turn out and the chance to host an event to bring students together. Key Club got a giant donation of clothing from a local second hand store, Plato’s Closet, and students could either swap their own clothing for another item or buy an item of clothing. All proceeds go to supporting the ...

Youth in Action and NAC20 Bake Sale

Do you like brownies or cupcakes? Well then, I hope you were present for the bake sale which took place in the main hall at lunch on Friday, June 17. This wonderful event was organized by the Youth In Action Club, as well as Ms. Samuels’ NAC20 class.
From cookies, to donuts, there were dozens and dozens of baked goods generously made by students for the NAC20 and Youth in Action’s bake sale. In addition, there were the kindly donated treats from Maverick’s Donuts and Strawberry Blonde Bakery for those students with food allergies or dietary restrictions.
The bake sale was created ...

Relay For Life 2022
Nina Beck

On June 2nd over 600 Nepean students participated in Nepean’s annual Relay For Life fundraiser in support of the Canadian Cancer Society. A long-standing Nepean tradition, Relay for Life has continued on over the past two years in a modified online format, with this year's fundraiser being the first in-person event since 2019. This year, Nepean students raised a truly impressive amount of over $113,000, beating their original goal of $70,000 with flying colours. Some very dedicated students in particular spent the month of May fundraising and managed to raise over $1,000 each.
This year being the first in-person RFL since ...

Athletic Banquet at NHS
Georgia Jones

On June 10th, Nepean’s dedicated staff and students hosted the Athletic Banquet as a way to honor the achievements of the school’s student athletes. The event consisted of an assembly and an awards ceremony, as well as free pizza at the end for those involved.
The assembly began with coaches of the different teams giving brief speeches about the year’s highlights, celebrating their team, and presenting an MVP award to one student who best demonstrated the team's values. Once each team's coach had spoken, eight more awards were presented to select athletes. These included the Coaches Award, Vincent Frank Memorial ...

What the NHS Music Department Has Been Up to!
Ella Zubec

This semester has been packed with opportunities for students involved with our music department. Read through to see what we’ve been up to!
NHS students in the instrumental music program were practicing vigorously for their adjudication at Capital Region Music Fest. The Concert band and Wind Ensemble recorded the week of April 25th. Capital Region Music Fest is an opportunity for schools across Ottawa to perform, and receive feedback on their musicality. A professional musician watches each school’s performance and adjudicates them (gives them feedback), and gives a score. On Thursday, May 12th, Mr. Chris ...

Multi-Sport Athletes During the Pandemic
Olivia Milley

Bryn Robins (left) dunking a basketball. Sophie Milley (right) with a soccer trophy.
In the past two years, the unpredictable pandemic has caused more cancellations and postponements than anyone could have imagined. Athletes are among those who have been particularly affected by all this, as rescheduling has become a regular occurrence, and many sports have been scrapped part way through seasons. Even when practices have been allowed, games, tournaments, and events have often been considered too much of a risk. At these times, players were limited to training with just their teams.
2022 has shown promise in the return to “normal” ...

Teacher Appreciation Week
Nina Beck

May 2nd through 6th is recognized by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board as Education Week, often referred to as Teacher Appreciation Week elsewhere in the world. Over the past few years, with countless sudden changes to school operations, it’s fair to say that our teachers deserve some appreciation. I recently spoke with a few of Nepean’s many wonderful teachers, to learn what drew them to this profession, and what inspires them as educators.
First, I talked with Mrs. Hunter, who has been teaching music and English at NHS for the past two and a half years. When asked why she chose ...

Nepean's Music Program: 'Getting Back on Track'
Georgia Jones

Nepean’s music programs are making a tremendous effort to lead the way in our return to regular life, with students and teachers alike paving the way for incoming grades. On June 2nd, Nepean’s music department will be giving performances for grade seven and eight students at Broadview and Fisher Park Summit Alternative School (FPSA). The primary goal of the event is to reintroduce students to the importance of music in schools, and inspire them to take part in their own school music programs.
Earlier this week, I was given the opportunity to sit down and discuss this event with Mr. Carter, ...

How Musicians Enact Change With Song—From a Civil Rights Activist to NHS Musician Sarah Hume
Ella Zubec

Last week, I had the opportunity to talk to a classmate and friend of mine: Sarah Hume. Sarah is a grade nine musician, and she was one of the performers at our Black History Month Assembly. We spoke about her musical journey, and what led her to be the person she is today.
Earlier this year, she covered “Don’t Make Me Wait”, by Hunnah, an Ethiopian singer from Toronto, by singing and playing the piano. Her performance was showcased in our Black History Month assembly. You can watch the video on Nepean’s Diverse Student Union’s Instagram, here. Hunnah is a ...

There is no ‘Planet B’; How the Nepean Environment Club contributes to a greener Earth
Olivia Milley

April is Earth Month, so I took the opportunity to speak with Emily Drummond and Timmy Lewis, two senior members of the Nepean Environment Club. They were excited to tell me about their club’s eco-initiatives and how community members can have a positive impact on the environment in their daily lives.
Drummond has been involved in the club since her first year of high school, and has taken on more of a leadership role these past two years. Lewis, also a grade 12 student, joined the group through his Resource Management class and has since been an active member.
The ...

What Ramadan Means to Me
Grade 12 Student

April 2 marks the start of Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims. Ramadan officially begins when the month of Shaban, the eighth month of the Islamic (Hijri) calendar, ends. As the Islamic calendar is based around the lunar cycle, Ramadan rotates by approximately ten days each year. Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, worship, as well as the most known action — fasting from sunrise to sunset.
During Ramadan, Muslims are encouraged to take more time out to read the Qur’an (a religious text, much like ...

The Hydroponic Tower
Younesse Krama

On April 6th, a wonderful collaboration occurred between the Environmental Sciences class, the Youth In Action Club, and the Leadership class at Nepean High School. The Environmental Science Class and Environmental Club grew over 95 veggie plants, mainly consisting of lettuce. From this number, 45 were donated to the Britannia Wood Food Pantry, with the help of Youth In Action. The Leadership class coordinated the sale of the remaining lettuce to students/staff at Nepean High School and over $135 was raised. This money was both given to the Britannia Wood Food Pantry and used to maintain the hydroponic tower system. ...

Muslim Student Association Cultural Event
Serena Manouchehri

The Muslim Student Association (MSA) was formed many years ago, but it wasn't well known to most of the student body. However, when Ms. Ibrahim came to the school this year, she made it her mission to make the club more well known and take on initiatives to celebrate Islam as well as discover false misconceptions of Islam. She wanted a space where students could go to learn more about Islam and have a safe place at school to practice their religion.
The club's purpose is to organize events within the school to present students with a learning opportunity about ...

Feminism from Childhood to Adulthood
Olivia Milley

Growing up, I constantly heard the term “Girl Power”. I was fueled by the idea that I, as a girl, could accomplish anything I wanted. A naive but determined child, I was hopeful for my future and armed with my pink flowery notebook and inspirational quotes from women like Michelle Obama and Taylor Swift. It was only later that I learned why I received so much encouragement: an attempt to remedy the poisons of sexism and misogyny that have consistently polluted our society.
From scientific discoveries, to politics, and everything in between, women have been historically underrepresented in achievements of all ...

How the Women in STEM Club Promotes Inclusivity in Science
Khalid Filali

Maggie Vandenberg is a Grade 12 student at Nepean High School and a founding member of the Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (WiSTEM) club. She is passionate about math and sciences and plans to earn a degree in biomedical engineering after high school.
Maggie was inspired to pursue STEM in university by her older sister, who is currently studying to become an engineer. Maggie’s sister gave her amazing advice and shared her own experiences as a woman in a male-dominated engineering program.
When asked why she started the WiSTEM club, Maggie said, “I noticed that there was an opportunity to ...

Bake Sale For Ukraine
Nina Beck

On Wednesday the 9th of March, Nepean students hosted a bake sale on Princeton Avenue in order to raise funds to support the people of Ukraine as the Ukraine-Russia conflict continues to escalate. In only a few days of preparation, these students pulled off an incredibly successful bake sale, raising $1273 in one hour. The money raised will be a split donation towards The Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.
I went to the bake sale on Wednesday as both a patron and observer of this event. Despite how quickly the whole event had come up, the word had really spread ...

Mental Health Week at NHS, and What YIA Has Planned Next!
Ella Zubec

In October 2019, Younesse Krama found himself at Nepean’s annual club fair. Because he moved here from Calgary, he had a clean slate, knowing nobody from Ottawa. After being pulled to the Youth in Action by the promise of We Day, Younesse found a community within the club of like-minded people.
Fast-forward a few years, Younesse is now in Grade 12 and is one of the co-leaders of the YIA club, along with Sara Thiessen and Ellie Towaij. These are the same three people who led the organisation and execution of Nepean High School’s Mental Health Week.
Through bi-weekly meetings, YIA ...

Interview with the Intersectional Feminist Alliance
Nina Beck

Nepean offers many amazing clubs sudents can partake in, one of which is the Intersectional Feminist Alliance (IFA). In case you’re not familiar, intersectional feminism is a movement that recognizes the different aspects of one’s identity such as race, class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality and uses that to address feminist issues.
I spoke with three Grade 12 members of the IFA: Kate O’Donnell, Hillary Wright, and Faye McBride (pictured above, left to right). As they put it, the IFA works to create a space at Nepean where students can feel safe to discuss feminist issues in their own lives as well ...

Earth Week Announcement from the Environment Club!
Michael Jones

My name is Michael Jones, a member of the environment club, and I wanted to let you guys know about Earth Week. Our club has some fun initiatives and activities planned for the week all focused around the theme “waste”, culminating with a community cleanup on Friday, April 22nd, which is Earth Day! There will be big prizes to be won by individuals and classes, so to keep up to date follow @_environmentclub on Instagram! ...

Interview with Nepean’s Black History Month Organizers
Hugh Kelly and Olivia Milley

This month we were fortunate to interview Heaven-Lee Emond and Gloria Rwentambo, two executives of Nepean’s Diverse Student Union (DSU), who are currently co-organizing our school’s Black History Month events. In response to our questions, they emphasized students’ enthusiasm to celebrate this month, but also the need for more open conversations about racial issues in education.
Heaven-Lee and Gloria have both been members of the DSU for multiple years, and are now excited to be leading the club’s initiatives for Black History Month. Gloria says she enjoys being a representative for Black students in the school, and looks forward to bringing ...

OCDSB Black Excellence Day at Nepean High School
Ella Zubec

Wanda Robson holds a ten dollar Canadian bill picturing Viola Desmond, her sister.
“It’s really important that we show that we support [Black people], and that they’re in a safe environment.” — Amaya, a Nepean High School student.
On February 3rd, students and staff across the OCDSB school board wore black to support Black excellence in all areas of life, despite intentional inequalities that have been present for them. This day was chosen because it is the day the province of Nova Scotia repaid the fine and court costs associated with Viola Desmond’s 1946 court case.
The evening of November 8, 1946, Viola ...

Racism in AI: A Systemic Issue?
Grade 12 Student

When many people think of artificial intelligence (AI), they think of robots or self-driving cars. AI often elicits a sense of amazement, of wonder, of possibility for the future. But just as AI offers advancements, there are also potential consequences — machines are prone to bias, including racism. As Black History Month comes to an end, it’s important to recognize the racial issues in our tech-fueled world, where AI algorithms are present from security cameras to sending a text to your friend. Any bias in these algorithms can result in massive, systemic issues that disproportionately affect Black individuals.
These machines learn ...

The Influence of Music on the Anti-Apartheid Movement
Vanya M.

“The power of music rests in its ability to reach inside and touch the places where the deepest cuts lie. Like a benevolent god, a good song will never let you down.” When Tiffanie DeBartolo stated this in her book, How To Kill A Rock Star, she did it through a fictional musician who uses music to express his pain. While she wrote it for a fictional character, it touched the hearts of countless readers who resonated with the truth it holds. Music, at its core, expresses and evokes emotion. It has the power to make a person feel pain, ...

Our return to classrooms: What’s different this time?
Nicholas Ficara

Across Ontario, classes are returning to an in person learning model after completing two weeks of online school. Throughout the week, I spoke with Nepean High School students to better understand their opinions and to get an understanding of how they are coping with this latest shift. After interviewing these students, the consensus was clear: we were not ready to shift to in-person learning. Many kids were eager to share their thoughts on this divisive issue, and they had decisive opinions.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, students have switched between online classes and in person classes several times. So what’s ...

Experiences of a Hockey Player

Before starting the new season of hockey I was worried. I was worried I wouldn't be strong enough, fast enough or big enough. Three months in, I’ve learned a lot. I know I’m physically strong enough and I don’t know why I was so scared. So far it’s been an amazing season, but the three girls, myself included, have experienced moments that showed us that co-ed hockey (“boys hockey”) isn’t fully adjusted to the concept of girls in hockey. It feels like we will never be seen as hockey players, always as girl-hockey players.
Walking into rinks before games, I’m ...

Anti-Asian Discrimination, COVID-19, and the Non-Profit Organization ‘Dear Asian Youth Ottawa’
Ella Zubec

2020 was a hard year for people all around the globe. When the world familiarized itself with COVID-19, it came with a significant rise in anti-Asian sentiment. Before we knew it, everyone with black hair and almond eyes was burdened with the blame of a whole pandemic. It was entirely not their fault, but what began in a place of pain, eventually blossomed into a community as a group of Asian youth in Ottawa came together to bring awareness to the racism prevalent in the world, and share with us their culture. They call it, “Dear Asian Youth Ottawa”.
DAYO ( ...

Meet Julianne and Rachel, Our Grade Nine Representatives!
Ella Zubec

The student council has a big influence on our school community, and that responsibility lies in the hands of those involved: our student council and committee members, and our grade representatives and co-presidents. With already three of the ten months in our school year passed, the elections have come and gone for each of the positions, and we have had the chance to participate in a spirit week leading up to Halloween. With all the action happening behind the scenes, Knightwatch thought it would be best for the school to get to know some of the people running the show. ...

AIDS Awareness For NHS
Nina Beck

December 1st is World AIDS day. Since 1988, this day has been designated to commemorate the lives lost from HIV/AIDS, and spread awareness about the AIDS pandemic. As of 2020, the virus has killed an estimated 36.3 million people worldwide, and an estimated 37.7 million people are living with HIV today. While in large parts of the world, access to antiretroviral treatment has significantly decreased the mortality rate of the epidemic, lots of developing countries still have very high rates of infection and death because of inaccessibility to proper sexual education, resources about the virus, and lack of proper medical ...

De-streamed Math Classes — One Teacher’s First Impressions
Hugh Kelly

Starting this school year, all grade 9 math classes in Ontario are being offered in only one stream. In previous years, students chose one of three streams (academic, applied, or essential) which had different curriculum expectations and assessment methods. Generally, students taking academic math in grades 9 and 10 then took “university” level math in grades 11 and 12, while applied students moved to “college” level math. Most subjects (English, French, sciences, and geography) are streamed in all grades, while some are not streamed at all, such as the arts, physical education, and Spanish.
The Government of Ontario is de-streaming grade ...

Transgender Day of Remembrance at Nepean
Natasha Mazerolle

As long as there has been a concept of gender, transgender people have existed. The existence of people who catwalked the blurry lines of gender has been shown through history and various cultures. In the pre-colonial Incan civilization, they had a dual gendered jaguar deity known as Chuqui Chinchay who had shamans known as quariwarmi (“men-women”), a mixed gender role. In Madagascar, the Sakalava people recognized a third gender known as Sekrata, boys in the community who exhibited traditionally feminine features or personalities who were raised by their parents as girls; they were even believed to have special souls that ...

The We Remember Learning Walk
Ella Zubec

Did you notice the person who stood behind the school beside the array of posters, pictures, and infographics pinned up against the fence? Did you wonder who that person was? Or what he was standing by? For two weeks leading up to Remembrance Day, there was an exhibit set up outside Nepean High School. Kalan Saunder, an army cadet who attends Nepean, and our librarian, Ms. Mackechnie organized the “We Remember Learning Walk”.
Spring of 2020, Ms. Mackechnie learned about the idea of a learning walk from another teacher-librarian in Toronto, who took apart story books and pinned them ...

The Benefits of Buying Local Food
Grade 12 Environment Class

Here is a video our class made!
Hi everyone! We are the students of CGR4M; the environment resource management class, and we are so excited to give you all some tips and motivation on how to save our beautiful planet on which we all rely.
First off, did you know that changing your eating habits and consuming locally sourced food, can actually have huge positive impacts on our environment? By doing so and choosing to eat locally sourced food, you are not only supporting your local community but also simultaneously reducing your food miles!
Now, while food miles and air miles certainly ...

The Importance Of Being Oscar Wilde
Sejal Joneja

Image credits: Pleming, C. (2014). Classicist’s tour highlights importance of Oxford for Oscar Wilde. [photograph]. Oxford News Blog.
When one talks about English literature and poetry, the name Oscar Wilde doesn’t tend to come up. More often, we hear the names of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen, and while I respect and love Macbeth and Pride and Prejudice, there are some things they don’t offer that Wilde does.
Oscar Wilde was an impressive Irish playwright and poet who lived in London in the 1880’s. He is best known for his story The Picture of Dorian Gray, a novel ...

Accessibility Issues in Canada
Mave Ferri-Pratt

In 2017, a survey on disabilities in Canada found that 22% of Canadians above the age of 15 are disabled. One would think that the Canadian Government would have a more regulated and convenient accessibility policy, yet 73% of disabled Canadians have faced major barriers when trying to use both federal and municipal organizations and businesses across Canada. Additionally, 4.1% of Ontarians (127,240 people) use a mobility aid. This shows that accessibility is a current issue in Canada. Take our school for example: we have no elevator, and all entrances have a staircase either on the outside or inside of ...

Transphobes Stay Off Our Turf: NHS and the Trans Rights Demonstration
Nina Beck

On October 19th 2021, Nepean High School students participated in a counter demonstration to a B.C. transphobe. Chris Elston, known as Billboard Chris on social media, was outside of Nepean, Broadview and Notre Dame. Chris has been travelling across Canada, spreading his opinions on the terrors of gender ideology and gender affirming treatments.
On Monday the 18th of October, there was outrage at Chris’s presence during the beginning and end of the school day. By Monday afternoon, there were large groups of people organizing counter demonstrations to block him from spreading his hateful messages to the young, impressionable minds attending ...

Celebrating Islamic Heritage Month at Nepean High School: An interview with Ms. Ibrahim
Olivia Milley

Despite only being in her first year of teaching at Nepean High School, Ms. Ibrahim has already had an impressive impact on our school community. She founded the Nepean Muslim Student Association (MSA) and has been instrumental in the celebration of Islamic Heritage Month. I talked to her to find out what the MSA does, more about what makes this month important, and how our school is celebrating it.
Ms. Ibrahim told me she started the Muslim Student Association as a space for Muslim students to have a chance to express their beliefs, culture, and religion in a safe and friendly ...

Students Reflect on Homes: A Refugee Story
Ms. Hamer’s Grade 10 English Class

Students in Ms. Hamer’s Grade 10 English class read Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung. They also listened to parts of the audiobook, narrated by Ali Momen. This book tells the true story of the al Rabeeah family’s journey from Iraq to Syria, and ultimately, to Canada, and explores the issues of childhood disrupted by war, and the strength and resilience of family in overcoming the effects of displacement.
After finishing the book, students reflected on the impact of the book, how it had deepened their understanding of the experiences of immigrants and refugees, ...

Back to School – Nepean Students Have Mixed Feelings
Hugh Kelly

Nepean High School students have been back in classrooms for a few weeks now, with kids and teachers adjusting to yet another new system for learning. I talked to students to hear their thoughts on returning to school, the current restrictions and their experiences so far in classes. Overwhelmingly, they said things are “better than last year,” but, unfortunately, that was a low bar to pass.
We are now back to a semester model, meaning students have four courses until February, when everyone gets a new four. However, there are only two classes a day, both lasting 2.5 hours. To ...