Promised initiatives going ahead at Seaway High District School

Seen above, Ross Video CEO David Ross poses with laptops he and his company donated for Seaway District High School's mobile computer lab. Also shown are students and principals from Iroqupis and Morrisburg Public Schools. From left (front): Kaylyn Garvell, Jack Croteau, Kerri Kelly, and Jordan Elliott. From left (back), IPS Principal Sarita Anderson, Hudson Urquhart, Kelly Bergeron of Code Heroes, Sophia Raycroft, and MPS Principal Krista Mano. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

Code Heroes program benefits from donated laptop computers

Kelsey Smith
Nation Valley News

Kelly Bergeron of Code Heroes. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

IROQUOIS — Seaway District High School (SDHS) filled Room 152 to capacity yesterday as representatives from the Municipality of South Dundas, the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB), and Ross Video cut the ceremonial ribbon — minus an actual ribbon — for new technology and coding initiatives arising from an earlier lobbying effort that successfully staved off the school’s closure earlier this year.

Evonne Delegarde, Mayor of South Dundas, exclaimed with a tone of delight, “This is a great day for South Dundas schools and our community.”

David Ross, CEO of Ross Video, expressed how he was “thrilled to be here and very excited for this next phase.”

As he addressed the gathering, Ross noted “it wasn’t very long ago that we didn’t even know we’d be standing here at all” — alluding to the proposed school closure that mobilized the community to prevent that outcome.

Delivering an important push to the “Save our Seaway” campaign last fall and last winter, Ross’s attendance at the Sept. 29 event clearly signalled his intent to follow through with promised partnership initiatives to improve the institution and secure its future — following the UCDSB’s March decision pulling Seaway from the chopping block.

As part of that push, Ross Video had already begun to improve access to new technology for Seaway last year when they introduced a mobile computer lab in the school.

The multi-million-dollar firm donated 30 barely-used “state of the art” computers that can be wheeled around to any classroom on a cart. He reported being told that the units are the “most powerful” computers in the school.

Code Heroes

The announcement specifically focused on how the UCDSB — through Seaway and Morrisburg and Iroquois public schools — has teamed up with ‘Code Heroes’ to create a digital literacy and coding program for students. Based out of Cornwall, Code Heroes offers student workshops in digital literacy, coding, graphic design, game design, and digital marketing.

Code Heroes’ Kelly Bergeron visits the school once a week to teach a class — often making use of those Ross laptops — while long-time veteran teacher Jason Edge donates his time to teach Seaway students once a week after school.

Bergeron expressed her gratitude to Edge, describing the teacher as “phenomenal. He’s a great support and I’m looking forward to teaching with you. Thank you.”

She also thanked Ross and his company for their generous donation and for everyone involved in the new initiative. “It’s amazing for this small community to be coming together” for the benefit of many students for years to come, she said.

Ross noted with irony that he would be attending an event at Ottawa’s Innovation Centre later that same day — preceded by taking part in the tech event at the local high school. “Does anyone see the link here?” rhetorically asked Ottawa’s CEO of the Year.

South Dundas Innovation Center?

Meanwhile, South Dundas itself is understood to be working on setting up its own Innovation Centre — as proposed by the municipality to the UCDSB during the frantic — and successful — lobbying effort to save Seaway last winter.

Such a Centre had been pitched as a way to both incubate local entrepreneurs and support students in a new Specialist High Skills Information and Communications Technology stream the municipality also proposed for Seaway District High School.

However, the Sept. 29 announcement dealt only with the continuation of the Code Heroes program that debuted last February, when the municipality began partnering with its local schools to offer new technology and build the case for keeping Seaway open.

Both Ross and Mayor Delegarde stressed the importance of students’ participation in Code Heroes, while Dundas County Trustee Armer praised the Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) process — which initially pondered Seaway’s closure — for giving rise to the program.

“I’m proud to see positives coming through from our recent ARC process which enhance our fantastic technology programs while strengthening partnerships with the community,” said Armer.

“I would like to thank the township, Ross Video, and Kelly from Code Heroes for supporting these important programs both here at Seaway and with our partners at Morrisburg and Iroquois Public Schools,” Seaway District High School Principal Don Lewis also remarked at the occasion.

UCDSB Chair Jeff McMillan said the board was “thankful for these enhancements to our already tech-friendly schools,” also observing that the laptops furnished by Ross support “this important aspect of our curriculum.”

The UCDSB has touted recent tech upgrades across its jurisdiction, including a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ program, staff and student WiFi capabilities, and other  programs.

Ross Video CEO David Ross (left) discusses the initiative while Councillor Archie Mellon and Mayor Evonne Delegarde look on. Smith photo, Nation Valley News


The crowd mills about Room 152 at Seaway District High School. Smith photo, Nation Valley News


Upper Canada District School Board Chair Jeff McMillan (left) and Director of Education Stephen Sliwa. Smith photo, Nation Valley News



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