Parent Newsletter

Macdonald Drive Junior High, End of year - June 2020

Dates to Remember

  • June 25 - Report cards released - Parents can view in PowerSchool
  • June 25 - Virtual Awards Ceremony 9:30

What's going on...

Black Lives Matter

This website is a great place to go for people interested in reading about heightened awareness of issues of racism in North American culture since the murder of George Floyd.

It is the edublog of Larry Ferlazzo, a well-known American educator of English Language Learners. He compiles various media and online links to education-related topics. This particular one is specific to George Floyd but if you look through his very extensive website, there are many other connections to Black Lives Matter, race, racism and equity.

Here is a new and valuable website we can all use to help children develop their own racial consciousness and empower them on their journey towards awareness and change.

In connection with these topics, here is an excellent poem, "Colour Blind" by Lemn Sissay.

World Refugee Day

June 20 is World Refugee Day. Let's acknowledge and celebrate the courage and resilience of refugees worldwide, and especially those within our local communities. The theme for 2020 is "Every Action Counts." It serves as a good reminder that each of us can make a difference and that the little things we do every day count!

Grade 9 Graduates

Message to Grade 9s from MDJH Teachers

MDJH teachers put together a video to say good-bye to all the grade 9 students. Thanks to Mr. Sharpe for putting it all together!
MDJH - 2019-2020-Farewell

Message to Grade 9s from Gonzaga Teachers

The teachers at Gonzaga, wanting to help incoming students connect faces and names, created a welcome message for all the MDJH Grade 9s who are headed to Gonzaga next year. They hope that this will help a little with your transition to high school.

MDJH Meet Your Gonzaga Vikings Staff 2020

Welcome Grade 6s!

MDJH staff welcome you!

In addition, the MDJH staff would like to welcome OUR incoming Grade 7 students. Thanks to Ms. O'Leary for putting this together.
Introduction to MDJH Staff

What we have been up to

Duke of Edinburgh Award 2020

The Duke of Edinburgh program was initiated to help teens and young adults develop a sense of responsibility to themselves and to their communities. It encourages personal discovery, growth, self-reliance, and perseverance in a non-competitive environment. Founded in 1956 by His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the award was officially launched in Canada in 1963 for all young Canadians between the ages of 14-25.

Despite the challenges of this year, MDJH has 46 students who continue to be committed to completing their Bronze Award. Students will be recognized individually as their award is completed. Thank you to the parent and teacher volunteers and to the countless others in our community who make this such a success!

Premier's Athletic Awards

Several MDJH students are on the list! This award recognizes athletic excellence and provides financial support to offset costs incurred through training and competition.Congratulations to:

  • Jaida Lee
  • Kayla Musseau
  • Mitchell Noseworthy
  • Megan Skinner
  • Austin Short
  • Sarah Burry
  • Alex Ryan
  • Noah Ryan

Student Work

7-2 Limericks

There once was a girl named Olive,

She was kind and liked to give,

She gave all her candy,

To her good friend Mandy,

To try and help her forgive.

There once was a boy named Dave,

He one day was lost in a cave,

He met with a bear,

Who didn’t like to share

So badly the bear did behave!

There once was a boy named Bob,

Who decided to get a job,

He made so much money,

It wasn’t even funny,

Till the day he was robbed by a mob.

There once was a girl named Hannah,

Who lived in Louisiana,

Her dream was to move,

Where she could get her groove,

She picked up and moved to Havana!

There once was a girl who loved ice cream,

She owned a store called “The Supreme”,

She opened the store,

Melted cream covered the floor,

Then she woke and it was all a dream!

Poetry based on "Fog" by Carl Sandburg


By Carl Sandburg

The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.

Our poems


The sun warms

A cascading shower

Of soothing water

It shines its light

All day

And then it goes to sleep

Until the morn


The wind whistles

A small, fragile bird

It sails along the currents

Till it fades

To nothing.

Aurora Hickey's Winning Poem

From the Northeast Avalon Times.
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Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Snow Falling on Readers

Prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy delivers thrills and
provides clues about origins of a President’s obsession.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

517 pp., Scholastic

If Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games trilogy is about a reluctant heroine struggling with her destiny as a leader, the author’s prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, shows us a boy (and future villainous dictator) not quite so reluctant to accept the reins of power. Indeed, it only takes a few pages of the new novel to establish Coriolanus Snow as interested in prestige and appearance in a way that Katniss Everdeen never could be. Yet the two young protagonists (TBOSAS is set sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, showing us Coriolanus at eighteen) share an inwardness and complexity that readers will find compelling. Speaking personally, I found it impossible not to cheer for Katniss, and while Corionlanus in TBOSAS is nowhere near as sympathetic, I was still feverishly turning pages to find out what happens ― and, from the point of view of the trilogy as a whole, what happened ― to him.

The plot involves the tenth annual Hunger Games in a nightmarish future postwar America, now dubbed Panem. Coriolanus Snow is the heir to a once important family (now fallen on hard times) in the Capitol, which, after a six-year-long war with twelve rebellious Districts, punishes the losers by making each send a boy and girl as tributes to fight to the death for the Capitol’s amusement. Coriolanus is in some ways a thoughtful and generous boy, but is also anxious for glory and power and, as mentor to District Twelve’s Lucy Gray Baird, wants to seize the chance to secure his future and reputation by leading her to victory in the Games. Things are complicated for him, however, as he develops feelings for the charismatic and resourceful Lucy Gray and must reconcile his wish to use her to his advantage with his growing love for her. As the story progresses, the reader is carried along as some live and some die in and out of the arena. Collins is superb at showing how the young tributes adapt (or fail to adapt) psychologically and physically to their extreme situation, and there are several exciting action setpieces, many of which come courtesy of the scheming of the book’s chief villain and Hunger Games designer, Dr. Volumnia Gaul.

Readers unfamiliar with the original Hunger Games trilogy need never fear; you can pick up TBOSAS with no prior knowledge of the other books (or movies) and still find yourself transported to Panem’s fantasy world and understand what’s happening. (Indeed, I hope that those who read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes are moved to go back and explore the trilogy. It won’t let you down.) But fans of the other books will find several fascinating “Easter eggs” if they look, from names suggesting a relationship to future characters, to indications of how the Hunger Games evolved, to hints of what caused the animus that would eventually motivate President Coriolanus Snow in his battle with the Mockingjay, Katniss Everdeen.

In short, read this book. It is downloadable for those of you who use Kindles or Kobos and readily available at Chapters, Dominion, Walmart, or Costco.

Happy reading!

Mr. Peter Tarrant

Addendum: Below I have attached a link to an article in online magazine Slate that explains some of the vivid names Suzanne Collins gives her characters. SPOILER ALERT!: the article is great but gives away a few details that are much better revealed as you read Collins’s novel. My advice is to read it first, then the article.

COVID-19 Silver Linings

Mme Sauve had requested permission from the editor to post an audio recording of herself reading a book in Google classroom during the COVID-19 school closure. The book was Casse-tête chinois by Robert Soulières, and the author emailed back right away. Not only was he very accommodating, but she received a lovely package from him, in which he enclosed a signed copy of the book, two more books, and posters. He actually signed all three books and left lovely messages inside.

Other scoop!

MDJH Staff Cookbook

This cookbook is dedicated to the community of Macdonald Drive Junior High. We hope you enjoy this compilation of yummy recipes contributed by our staff. We, as a community, feel that during times like these, it is extra-important for families to bond over shared activities. May this cookbook offer you many opportunities for sitting, relaxing and connecting with your families.

Student Heritage Reporter Challenge

Deadline for submissions is July 31, 2020

Open to K-12 students in Newfoundland and Labrador (2019-2020 school year).

  • Send us a short video (2-3 minutes) of you reporting from a heritage place in your community. Tell us why this place is special to you.
  • You can record your interview on your smartphone or digital device, and email it to If it is a large file, you can use the free website to send it to the same email address, or post it on YouTube and send us the link.
  • We’ll send you a consent form to complete.
  • That’s it! Easy peasy!
  • We will share your report on our Facebook page. And your school could win a set of Heritage NL books for its library.
  • Some reports will be featured on VOCM Radio. One lucky student will get to meet a VOCM reporter. Regional prizes of VOCM swag are also up for grabs.
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