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
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
“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
“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.”