ESP Events

 


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 kind successful.

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 directly.
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 Road Academy.

“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.”