Parent Newsletter

Macdonald Drive Junior High, May 2019

Dates to Remember

  • May 16 - Grade 9 Carnival
  • May 17 - PD Day
  • May 20 - Victoria Day Holiday
  • June 1 - School Grounds Cleanup Day
  • June 5 - Spring Concert
  • June 27 - Last day of school

What's been going on...

Mental Health Awareness Week

May 4 to 8 was Mental Health Awareness Week at MDJH and it was a great success. As part of our WEareWELL campaign, our students wore green on Monday to show support and we were treated to mental health tips daily on our morning annoucements. On Wellness Wednesday, we plastered our school with positive messages of love and acceptance. Special thanks to the Student Council and Student Outreach group for their support with this initiative. So proud of our MDJH community for promoting the importance of mental health.

Public Speaking

On Wednesday, May 8, the English department held its annual grade 9 Public Speaking contest in the cafeteria. Students presented on a host of wonderful topics ranging from anxiety to rap music. It was a wonderful, entertaining period for all listeners. The judges, Ms. Pike, Ms. Watton, and Ms. Power, had a challenging decision to make.

The winners are:

  • In third place, we had a tie with Maggie Carew and Ahmed Shehata.
  • In second place, Nicholas Cummings.
  • In first place, the person who will be representing our school at the District Speaking Event on May 15 is...Rachel Dawe of 9-4!

Congratulations to everyone who participated and to the great listeners in our audience. Please note that all winners will receive a monetary award at the year-end assembly.

Macbeth - The Scottish play lives on at MDJH!

As a part of a drama unit in English Language Arts, the grade 7-2 class decided to present an abridged version of Macbeth. They received the scripts, reviewed them, auditioned, and then practiced it all over and over. Eventually, they performed for Ms. Pike, Ms. Hardy, Ms. Watton, and Ms. Ward. Everyone had a role whether it was on the stage or behind the scenes. It was a great way to end classes on April 18! A wonderful time was had by all. Mrs. Mills and Ms. Bartlett were very proud of all their students.

Children's Wish MDJH- We Create Change!

As of May 1, we are half way to our goal of $10,000 to grant a Wish for the Children's Wish Foundation! We have raised these funds in less than a year! Thank you very much to all those who have contributed so far, but we still need your help!

We have been busy at MDJH! We dyed Mr. West's hair pink, shaved his head, and pied him in the face! Mr. Tarrant has worn a pink tutu for the day and Mr. Porter loves Crocs so we designed a special pair of duck shoes for him to support our cause.

We hope to grant a Wish by the end of June! Not only are we excited about granting a Wish, we are also excited about becoming the first junior high in metro St. John's to do this and become designated a "Children's Wish School"! We are hoping to have the funds by June, and once we reach our goal, there will be a ceremony in our gym when we will grant the Wish and a banner will proudly be displayed on the front doors of our school! Our whole school community will be invited to attend this very worthwhile event!

We are asking everyone to help us with this endeavor. Please donate! There is nothing more rewarding than granting a child their Wish. Wishes have been as simple as viewing an aircraft, or as elaborate as a trip to Florida. For some children, this Wish is a powerful motivator for getting through treatment, so please donate - every cent helps!

Tax receipts are available for donations above $20 and please make cheques payable to Children's Wish MDJH. The Children's Wish Foundation will then issue a receipt to your home address so be sure and include the correct address. For any questions, please contact Mme Stacey at 753-8240.

Thank you and we hope to see you all at our Wish granting ceremony in June!


The MDJH ROV team had a great year at the MATE International, NL regional competition, which took place at the Marine Institute’s School of Ocean Technology, on Friday, May 3. The team members: Miller Tulk, Vincent Burton, Beth Whalen, Jacob Critch, Saleh Abdel Rahim, Kaitlin Healey, Keegan Riggs, Ahmad Saady, Emma Penny, Brendan Booth, and Benjamin Versteeg, participated on competition day, under the guidance of Mr. Caleb Thorne, Mr. Phil Smith, and Mr. Tim Mehaney.

The group had to come up with a company name and decided to follow their predecessors’ ORTAD “Ocean Research Technology and Design”, for this year’s theme: “Innovations for Inshore: ROV Operations in Rivers, Lakes, and Dams”, and named the ROV appropriately: ORTAD VII.

The ROV, piloted by Kaitlin Healey was one of the fastest machines at the competition, earning the Most Maneuverable Award. This year’s machine also scored very well for the MDJH crew, who just missed the podium out of 21 teams, scoring 110 out of a possible 160 on its third heat! The score could have been 155, but in the nail-biter of a finish, the ROV dropped an item when it surfaced, costing precious points.

Macdonald Drive robotics begins another exciting season in September.

Duke of Edinburgh Hike

MDJH students in the Duke of Edinburgh program braved the elements for an outdoor hike. Many thanks to our guides and chaperones!
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Talking Circles: A Relationships-First, Restorative Justice Education Practice

“I love Circles” (Liam Oakley (8-4); Izabella O’Leary (8-8); Christian Cooper (8-8) and “Circles are the best thing about this class” (Josh Shallow 8-8) are some of the positive comments that are being made by students. Since the beginning of the year, students in home economics have been opening the first five to ten minutes of their classes with “Talking Circles” to build class community and a sense of belonging.

Students are invited to sit in a circle with a facilitator (“circle keeper”) who suggests some basic guidelines and asks participants if they can commit to following these directions. The facilitator will then invite them to add any other guidelines that will help everyone to be their “best selves”. Next, an open-ended question or topic is presented, and participants pass around a “talking piece” which regulates the dialogue by determining who speaks and when. Whoever is holding this object at a given time is invited to share, pass, or hold it for a time of quietness.

Such an approach to sharing ideas allows students to build connections with each other, practice respectful listening, and develop understanding and empathy for others in the classroom community. Talking Circles, a Relationships First Restorative Justice Education (RF-RJE) practice, which is currently been used in various subject areas within many schools in the district ( creates a safe space and an opportunity for all voices to be heard. Circles can be used for a variety of purposes in a classroom setting: to check-in with each other, to problem solve a classroom issue, to celebrate success, to engage in curriculum, etc.

Since RF-RJE fosters a just and equitable learning environment, it informs and supports other aspects of teaching and learning such as social-emotional learning, mental health and well-being, inclusive education, positive behavior supports, trauma-informed practice, bully prevention, multi-cultural education, increased achievement levels and student engagement (Relationships First Implementation Guide, 2018, pg.12).

Many students at MDJH have responded enthusiastically to the implementation of circles. A common question that is often heard from students is: “Can we do another question?” The following video, “Restorative Practices” can provide a better understanding of how Talking Circles are implemented in classrooms and the benefits of using such an approach:

What is coming up...

Farewell Carnival

This year MDJH will be hosting our 3rd annual Farewell Carnival for our grade 9 students on May 16, from 6:30pm - 9:00pm. The City of St. John's Youth and Recreation Group are helping to organize the occasion and it will include human-sized games, karaoke, a magician, a photo booth, a fortune teller, boxing, archery, video games, a jam session and lots more! Sky High Amusements will be there with First Down Football Challenge, 15ft Dry Slide, Basketball Hoop Zone, Bouncy Boxer, and an Extra Large Fun House. We will have barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers, popcorn, cotton candy, a DIY candy buffet, and smoothies.

We are looking forward to seeing all of our grade 9 students at the carnival as it will be one of the last times to come together as the senior class of MDJH. The cost is $20 per student and students are asked to dress casually. We are also looking for donations of gift cards to give to students, so if you can help, please contact the school. or (709)753-8240.

Baby Pictures wanted for Grade 9 School Leaving Carnival

One of the highlights of the Grade 9 School Leaving Carnival is the baby picture slideshow. Any Grade 9 student who wants to be included in this slideshow must send their baby picture to Ms. Quann. Please email ONE picture only to or you can drop it off at the school. If you are going to drop off a copy, be sure to put it in an envelope and include the student name and homeroom on the envelope so we can return your photo. The deadline for submission of photos is Monday, May 13.

Final Exam Schedule 2019


1. All exams are 2 hours. STUDENTS MUST STAY FOR THE ENTIRE TWO HOURS. Students who need extra time will be given 10 MINUTES EXTRA PER HOUR.

2. Students are allowed to bring ONLY their writing utensils and calculator into the exam room. Paper will be provided. Pencil cases, paper, books and cell phones will NOT be permitted. Students are encouraged to use clear plastic zip lock bags for their writing utensils. Students may bring unrelated fiction reading material to occupy their time until the exam is over.

3. Calculators must be cleared before the exam.

4. Once the exam begins, students will NOT be permitted to leave the room. If there is a bathroom emergency, supervising teachers MUST buzz the office so the student can be accompanied to the washroom.

5. If a student misses a final exam, medical certification MUST be provided. A parent/ guardian note will not be accepted.

6. Bussing will run in the AM and PM as per normal schedule. If a student plans to leave after their exam, a parent/guardian note MUST be provided to the homeroom teacher giving permission.

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MDJH Music

Rotary Music Festival and Spring Concert Update

Congratulations to our students who participated in the Rotary Music Festival. We are so proud of their performances which were well received by the festival adjudicators. Bravo!


Our Spring Concert will take place on Wednesday, June 5 in the school gymnasium. This year we are pleased to present an 80's themed show! Fast pass tickets go on sale May 29 at the school office. Tickets are $5.00 each.

MDJH Sports

Summer Soccer Program

Each summer the St. John’s Soccer Club offers a recreational House League program. In 2014, the St. John’s Soccer Club took over the responsibility for delivering this community soccer program from the City of St. John’s Department of Recreation. The House league program is committed to providing a rewarding and enjoyable soccer experience for all participants regardless of ability or experience. The St. John’s Soccer Club offers a Micro Program for children under 4 - under 6 that runs on weekday afternoons and an evening program for children Under 7 – Under 15. There is financial assistance through Kid Sport NL for those who qualify. For more details on program information, please visit or contact 576-8041.

Student Council News

Canadian Student Leadership Conference 2019

The next Canadian Student Leadership Conference will be September 24 - September 29, 2019 in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The theme is Empowering Inner Resources. The conference theme will flow through the keynote speeches, leadership workshops, volunteer opportunities, and cultural experiences of the conference. Any current Grade 8 student interested in attending this conference next year should see Ms. Quann. Parents can email to express a desire to have their child attend this conference. There may be room for one or two more students so please email ASAP before these spaces fill up. You can visit the website for more details.


You can now order the 2018-2019 yearbook.The cost is $20. Forms are available at the office and from Ms. Quann All students and events are included in the yearbook. It is not a yearbook for Grade 9 students only. Yearbooks will arrive in September 2019. They will be available at school and also delivered to Holy Heart and Gonzaga for distribution.

Yearbook Pictures

Thank you to everyone who has submitted pictures for the yearbook. Please send any team pictures to If sending from a cell phone, please select actual size to ensure the quality is good for uploading to the yearbook.

Celebrating Student's Successes

We want to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of the students of MDJH. We have a Wall of Celebration where we will place a certificate of acknowledgement highlighting participation and success in a variety of activities. We want to know if your child has participated in any plays, musicals, has been on a team that has won some title, or has been recognized in any individual competition. We need your help with this. Please let us know so we can proudly display this on our wall. Please email with Celebrate YOUR CHILD’S NAME in the subject line.

Photography Club

Photography club meets every second Wednesday from 3-4:30. Each month there is a photo contest. Club members are reminded to please submit their photos to

Macdonald Drive Junior High

We are a WE School.

Our background picture is by Silvi Ivardi.