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EDHS welcomes future Red Raiders with virtual open house

Updated: Jan 21


by Sylene Argent

Last week, Essex District High School (EDHS) released a 17 part video series as a way to help prepare grade eight students for their inaugural year of secondary school.

The virtual grade eight night outlined a series of details and facts current grade eight students, planning to head to Essex District High School in the fall, and their parents need to know to ensure a smooth transition into high school.

Through the virtual open house, future Red Raiders learned about the credits they will need to earn in order to graduate, what stream of education would be best for them, and how to go about selecting their courses.

Traditionally, the grade eight night would host students and their parents at the school. Due to the Covid pandemic, however, this year’s event took place virtually, just like it did last year.

The first video in the series was a welcome to the students.

“EDHS has a long history of academic, athletic, extra-curricular, and community involvement,” Principal, Dave Scadden, said, addressing the students and parents watching. “In fact, it is the longest-operating secondary public school in Ontario, opening on August 31, 1885. In 2025, it will celebrate 140-years of continuous operation as the cornerstone of educating Essex County citizens.”

  He noted the students at EDHS are consistently making positive contributions to local area organizations. “This tradition is embedded in our school motto, ‘We Make a Difference,” he said. “Coming to EDHS, you join part of a long-standing legacy of giving back. There are several ways to get involved here in Essex. It is never too early to start.”

  In choosing EDHS as one’s secondary school, “You have the perfect balance of tradition and programs to prepare you with the 21st century skills you will need to be successful.”

  “As Principal of Essex District High School, it is my great honour to welcome you to what I know will be four rewarding and meaningful years.”

  Vice Principal, Najet Jones, said being a Red Raider in the school facility is a phenomenal experience. “The first thing you are going to notice is the amount of pride we have being a part of this school community.”

  In terms of extra-curricular activities, she said there is so much to offer. Those on the sports teams, she added, have respect for others and encourage each other to grow.

  She said staff members in every educational department at EDHS go above and beyond for their students.

Guidance Counsellor, Debbie McAiney, explained what sets EDHS apart from other high schools. This includes offering a grade-nine all girls’ tech class, a linking skills math class that helps to further develop the fundamental skills needed for high school, easy access to eLearning, two-full time teachers overseeing the CO-OP department, and a dual credit program.

  EDHS, she added, also offers six Specialist High Skills Major programs, including in health and wellness, business, construction, arts and culture, transportation, and non-profit.

  Guidance Counsellor Lindsay Drozdz continued that wellbeing is embedded in the culture at EDHS. “We focus on kindness and resilience, and building the skills required for positive mental health long-term.”

  She spoke of the school’s wellness room, where students can take a mental break if they are feeling overwhelmed and practice the skills needed to reset. The fit club and wellness program are additional opportunities where students can integrate physical and mental health into their day.   

  In addition, EDHS offers a game room, where students can connect and play at lunch. It also has an eSport team, and was the first in the area to compete in eSports, under the St. Clair College eSports program.

  Ms. Semus, Learning Support Teacher, spoke of the Learning Support Room, where students can go for extra help if they are in need. She also spoke of the peer-tutoring program, where students help each other learn.

  One of the videos highlighted course selection for future grade nine students, who will take eight courses in their first year of high school. Each student will take English, math, science, geography, French, Physical Education. They will also be able to select two electives from a list of options, including music, visual arts, general learning strategies, business and information technology, exploring technology (including an all-female class), and individual and family living.

  Students will have to choose a course stream for some of the classes, such as academic or locally developed for English. It was suggested students speak with their grade eight teacher to get advice on what to choose, as they know their students’ strengths and weaknesses.

  Other videos posted for the virtual grade eight night explained how students can register and choose courses and explained what students will need to achieve in order to graduate.  The video series also showcased the various courses and departments at EDHS.

  For GECDSB students, online course selection opens on February 11. Sign-off sheets are due to grade eight teachers by February 22.

  The video series, and additional information about enrolling to become an EDHS student, can be found at www.publicboard.ca/school/edhs