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Our Lady of Fatima Robotics Team Partners with Ministry of Transportation to Develop Deer Crossing Warning System 

Members of the Cyber Knights, the robotics team at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Chatham, have helped to develop a system to alert drivers when deer are on the move.

“The students are really excited that officials with the Ministry of Transportation liked their idea and that it is being piloted in the area,” says Dan Rolo, a teacher and robotics team coach at Our Lady of Fatima.

The students participated in a FIRST Robotics Canada competition in Sarnia last December.  One component of the competition was to identify a real-world problem, develop a solution and then present the idea to professionals who work in the field.  The theme was “Animal Allies” and the team decided to look into how to prevent vehicle collisions with deer.

The device they developed consists of a motion-activated exterior light mounted on a post facing away from the highway.  Their thinking was that when deer approach the roadway, the light would be triggered, frightening the animal away from the road.

Mr. Rolo reached out to staff from the West Region Ministry of Transportation, and following a meeting with representatives from the Traffic Section and Operations Office, further refinements were made.  It was determined the light should be fitted with some type of backing to prevent it from being seen from the highway, so that drivers are not distracted.  In addition, the motion sensor will also activate a flashing beacon mounted above a deer alert sign, so that motorists know animals are on the move nearby and to drive with caution.

“It’s so great to see an interest in public safety from such a group of bright young minds like the Cyber Knights. The ministry is very pleased to pilot their invention, and I look forward to the results” says Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation.  Mr. Del Duca, who was unable to meet with the students personally, sent along message via DVD, in which he praised them for their efforts.

"Deer collisions are a serious problem in Ontario," he says.  "Your hard work may help make Ontario roads safer."

Director of Education Dan Parr also congratulated the students.  "This is precisely the kind of 21st Century learning we like to see in our classrooms," Mr. Parr told the students.  "Your teacher has given you the opportunity to use your skills to help solve a real-life problem.  Congratulations on your work!"

The deer alert warning system was installed in April on 40 Highway near Bickford Line in Lambton County, and the results of the pilot will be reviewed next December.

In the photo (top left) with Teacher Dan Rolo and student members of the Cyber Knights Robotics Team are (L-R) Heather Hanson, Supervisor - Ministry of Transportation Traffic Section (London Region); Frank Lucente, Head - Operational Services, Ministry of Transportation.  In the photo (above right) receiving a Roads to Excellence Award on behalf of the school are (L-R) Lisa Demers, Principal, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School; Jennifer Graham-Harkness, Regional Director, Ministry of Transportation presenting the award to Dan Rolo, Teacher and Cyber Knights Robotics Team Coach; Deb Crawford, Superintendent of Education; and Dan Parr, Director of Education.  In the photo (bottom left) the proto-type warning system being piloted on 40 Highway in Lambton County.

May 01, 2017

Informing Teens, Preventing Injuries is the Focus of IMPACT Day at St. Patrick's Catholic High School 

St. Patrick’s Catholic High School held Impact Day, a trauma prevention program created and supported by London Health Sciences.  The presentation, in partnership with the Lambton Safe Roads Committee, is designed to inform teens and prevent injuries.  It included firsthand accounts of the social, economic and health outcomes of risk-taking behaviours.  

“This program is intended to speak directly to high school students and to provide them with the tools necessary to make informed decisions about risk-taking,” says Robert Cicchelli, Principal of St. Patrick’s Catholic High School.

The day included a mock accident in front of the school, which was be seen by all students and staff as they entered the building at the start of the school day.  Sarnia Police Services provided this visual as a clear depiction of the possible harm that can come from distracted or careless driving.

Two guest speakers also provided students with real-life awareness of distracted driving and the risks that come with the use of drugs or alcohol. In addition, Grade 12 students had an opportunity to learn more at information booths that were set up in the gym. 

Partners for the day included: Bluewater Health, Lambton Public Health, EMS, Sexual Assault Survival Centre, Sarnia Police Services, London Health Sciences, Ministry of Transportation, Sarnia Fire and Rescue, MADD, Arrive Alive, The HUB, Northgate Pharmacy and Findley’s Driving School.

“We know this is valuable information for teenagers everywhere; however, some parts of the message were difficult to hear,” says Mr. Cicchelli.  “Counsellors were on hand for the day for any student who needed additional support during any part of the presentation.”

In the photo (top left) are (L-R) Hillary Dagg, Event Speaker; Robert Cicchelli, Principal, St. Patrick's Catholic High School; Student Danielle Green; Brandon Batey, Injury Prevention Specialist, London Health Sciences Centre; and Kathryn Field, Event Speaker.

May 01, 2017

St. Clair Catholic Joins Lambton Student Nutrition Program to say 'Thank you' to Volunteers 

Dozens of volunteers help make student nutrition programs work every day in schools throughout Lambton County ... and today, officials of the Ontario Student Nutrition Program (OSNP) Lambton paused to say 'thank you.'

"Our student nutrition programs would not be possible without the commitment and support of our many volunteers at schools all across the county," says Lana Smith, a nutritionist with Lambton Public Health and Chair of the OSNP-Lambton Partnership.  "We are grateful for the work they do every day on behalf of the program."

Volunteers were invited to an appreciation ceremony at DeGroot's Nurseries on London Road in Sarnia.

"We know the value of this program to our students," says Laura Callaghan, Superintendent of Education for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board.  "The nutritious foods provided through the meal, snack and blended programs help our students to be successful at school.  Thank you for all that you do to support our young people," she told the volunteers.

OSNP-Lambton is open to all students and is guided by three main principles:  It's universal - all students are invited to participate; nutrition and food safety are its foundation - registered dietitians and public health inspectors offer guidance and support in menu planning; and it is a community partnership - programs have many volunteers who give their time to meet the program's needs.

Volunteers with 45 nutrition programs across Lambton County provide healthy snacks every day to 8,400 students.

In the photos are (top) Gregory, a student volunteer in the Student Nutrition Program at Holy Trinity, poses with his mom as he receives his appreciation certificate; and (above L-R) attending the Volunteer Appreciation Event at DeGroot's Nurseries in Sarnia are: Laura Callaghan, Superintendent of Education; Carol Milner, Student Nutrition Program volunteer at Holy Trinity Catholic School; Lana Smith, Lambton Public Health; and Leslie Palimaka, OSNP-Lambton Coordinator.


Apr 27, 2017
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