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Catherine Chin Yet: shaping lives for the better

Year: 2019 – Province: Ontario

Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Catherine Chin Yet

English, Photography, grades 9–12
Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School, St. Catharines, Ontario

"I have seen her give hope to the hopeless student, warmth to the anxious and depressed colleague who didn't think they could make it through the school day, [and] financial and humanitarian aid to the family whose very lives were at risk."  — Colleague

Catherine Chin Yet's love of social justice is infectious, and drives both students and teachers to be better versions of themselves. The epitome of the servant leader, she instils compassion in her students that radiates to the entire community

Teaching approach

Catherine spends her time seeking to give students both within and outside the school opportunities that shape their lives for the better. She seeks out community partnerships and professional experts so students have access to diverse voices, experiences and backgrounds.

In the classroom

  • Transformed class assignment into exhibition in local museum, arranging for students to work with an art gallery curator to develop artist statements, guide them through the installation process and prepare them for the opening reception; event opened up the possibilities of art to the students.
  • Empowers special education students through photography: successfully applied for a grant to buy digital cameras and then taught these students to upload and edit their photos, building confidence and life skills, and letting them express themselves in a creative and rewarding way.
  • Stresses equity and inclusion: arranged for a citizenship ceremony to take place at the school; students were involved in all aspects of the event; reflects school's diverse student body in signage in various languages, and displays about innovators and artists from around the globe.

Outstanding achievements

  • Spearheads school's annual photography and art auction to raise money for a local children's mental health service: works with Art Department colleagues to organize the event and spur students to create art and photography to be auctioned by a professional auctioneer.
  • Founded the school's Mind over Matter mental health team: students become peer helpers, bring milk and cookies to students studying, prepare stress packages, offer meditation and yoga, run a mental wellness fair and designed a cozy room in the school as a safe and quiet space for students.
  • Galvanized entire school in the campaign to successfully prevent a school family from being deported.
  • Recognized by school board as recipient of 2016 Inspiration Award for Teaching Excellence.

Get in touch!

Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School
460 Linwell Road
St. Catharines ON L2M 2P9
Twitter: @hcphotography8 @theangusarmy

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