ESP showcases student talent
Hundreds of students joined police and school
partners on May 16, 2006 in celebrating their contribution
to making schools safer during the academic year. The Empowered
Students Partnership (ESP) Showcase at the Liberty Grand
recognized students, schools, staff advisors, police officers
and sponsors who make the largest school program of its
Students plan, organize and execute year-long safety plans
for their schools that range from graffiti eradication and
domestic abuse awareness to anti-bullying campaigns. While
educators and officers support the work, it is the students
who take the reigns.
Chief Bill Blair, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional
Services Monte Kwinter and Mayor David Miller were on hand
to lend their support.
Laura Dubicki, a grade 11 St. Mary's Catholic Secondary
School student, said her school wouldn't be the same without
school liaison officers, Consts. Scott Mills and Matt Crisp.
“Everybody knows our officers at the schools,”
said Dubicki. “There's more respect for officers.”
St. Mary's won first place in the Jan Thor award –
a reward recognizing students for their work with officers.
ESP staff advisor Cathy Byrd, who's been a school youth
counsellor there for the past 10 years, says the relationship
between officers and students has gone from bad to great.
“It's a big difference since ESP,” she said,
of the two-year-old St. Mary's program. “Officers
are greeted with respect and trust.”
She says that the trust is so strong that when students
have problems or need advice, they often call on officers
Const. Julie Knight, who was recognized along with four
other officers for her outstanding work in the program,
says the students she works with make her job easy.
“They have a lot of good ideas,” Knight said,
of the St. Joseph's College kids who joined her at the showcase.
"The students not only help out their schoolmates but
the homeless in their downtown area by organizing a clothing
drive and a walk for a neighbourhood shelter. They're not
just looking at what problems exist in their school but
what they see outside their school.”
An award was also named in honour of S/Insp Jim Sneep, who
shepherded the program as head of Community Programs with
the Service. The first recipient of the award was Vaughan
“I see Jim Sneep as an inspirational and dear friend,”
said Vice-principal Suzana Greenaway. “You've made
such a positive difference and continue to do so,”
she told Sneep, before a gathering of hundreds of people.
Milwaukee Bucks star basketball player and Toronto native
Jamal Magloire told the assembled students to dream big
after his mother Audette Sheppard told a hushed audience
of her son Justin's yet-unsolved murder.
“My motto is dream big and work hard,” Magloire
said. “It's the greatest feeling in the world to come
home to parents who are proud of you and what you're doing.”