Year: 2017 – Province: Ontario
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
St. Joseph's Catholic High School
100 Bill Martyn Parkway
St. Thomas, Ontario N5R 6A7
Principal: Jacqueline Campigotto
School telephone: 519-675-4434
School website: www.ldcsb.ca/school/SJH
Subjects and grades taught: Grades 9 to 12, Science and Chemistry
Kathy Cepo is a chemistry teacher who started a competitive robotics team in a rural Ontario community that now includes 10% of the student population, and in five years has inspired 84% of graduates on her team to pursue STEM related fields.
"I'm not sure, let's find out"; this high school chemistry teacher encourages questions and gets students involved in finding answers. Cepo garners credibility from her students as she shows them what it means to be inquisitive, how inquiry skills can help discern the validity of information and how being genuinely interested in something is exciting, worthwhile and rewarding.
- Regularly fosters community connections with her students.
- Developed a partnership with the adjoining college to establish a metal working college class for the high school students – while the course requires a tuition fee, Cepo ensures that it remains accessible to all students through small business sponsorships. The partnership now also allows students to access cutting edge technology labs at the college, as well as to learn from industry professionals.
- Partnered with Just Cause Education Outreach to develop curriculum for robotics programs for students in Uganda. Workshops are run on the ground in Uganda, while Cepo runs them in tandem with her students. This allows the students to engage online in hands-on activities using a variety of technologies.
"Kathy has shown through her passion, commitment and dedication to STEM activities as well as student engagement, that teachers can truly inspire students to give back to their community through mentorship opportunities and prepare them for a productive role in an innovation based workforce and in society."
"[Ms. Cepo]'s mentorship of staff, both in our school and throughout the board, is a testament to her ability to inspire others to achieve best practices. Her appreciation for the importance of lifelong learning is a guiding principle in her pedagogy."