By Joel Ceausu
It’s been a busy month for the Dante kids.
The St. Léonard students were a true sandwich generation hanging around daycare kids and high schoolers.
Dante hosted the tykes from a French Centre de petit enfance for the day. In an effort to reach out the larger community, the East End school known for strong environmental activism and accomplishments paired up Grade 4 students with kids from the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve daycare for a full-day event that promoted awareness of Dante’s commitment to the planet as a Brundtland school and activities that encourage literacy.
“Many of these kids come from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said Dante principal Daniela Lattanzio. “We wanted to connect with them in a meaningful way.” Paring Grade 4 students with the francophone youngsters was a piece of cake for the Dante students, as all are bilingual, and most trilingual, thanks to a wildly popular integrated Italian program.
The 21 kids from CPE Casse Noisette were thrilled with the experience she said, and this will surely be the first of many such special exchanges that reach across territory, language and generations. “It’s especially important as we share our green message with them,” that is, the environmental commitment that Dante has become famous for, from waste-free lunch days that eliminate up to eight full garbage bags per day, to its composting and recycling initiatives.
That was followed by a visit from Rosemont High School students, whose renowned music program brought an impressive team of talented young musicians to perform for the 375 Dante kids and staff. The Dante students also staged their own Christmas concert; two in fact, says Lattanzio, to accommodate all the parents and grandparents. It was all done as part of Dante’s participation in the CTV Spirit of Giving campaign, that collects food for Montreal’s hungry.
If that wasn’t enough, the next week featured a Santa’s breakfast, turkey lunch for students and staff and a movie day. “It’s a great way to finish off the term for a group of children who work very hard,” said Lattanzio. “They really deserved this and this holiday, and then we’ll come back and get to work!”
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