Planting the Seed

Home Up Participant Wall CBL Promo Videos Planting the Seed

Planting the Seed 2017

Again, our morning info sessions by our gracious guests from industry were a big hit. They got us ready for, and complemented the afternoon AAERO tour.

This year our CBL10 class manned a hand sawing competition booth. Students from Dalbrae and Inverness learned that it is not as easy as it looks.

 Much thanks goes out to the people that gave of their time to give us a great experience.

Planting the Seed 2016

Our Career fair turned out
to be another great day
largely due to the help
from our CBL10 class

Our CBL10 class tested people's ability to screw around by manning a gyprock screw driving booth This year the AARAO tour required 43 tables for all of the college and university reps.
   The police Crime Investigating Unit was another very interesting booth Heath care was also well represented .All these people, plus many more, gave of their time for the very interesting and informative 20 min afternoon class sessions after lunch
There were a number of unions representing this year. The carpenters set up a cool booth
   There were plenty of cool things to check out inside and out. NSP was representing!
The painters brought their virtual paint booth which was a big hit

Planting the Seed 2015

2015 featured many of the cool and fun educational opportunities as other years. Much of the experience is summed up in the Oran article to the left. To the right; the Oran reiterates a tough message from our keynote speaker who was a woman in a non-traditional career, but only found her way after a long and tough journey. She had to make major adjustment to her attitude and focus on the positive.

Planting the Seed 2014

This year we were enlightened by Andrew Alkenbrack, General Manager of Cabot Links. There were many positive comments following Mr. Alkenbrack's  keynote address. People were impressed with the numerous places he has traveled already in his lifetime and wide range of experience he has clustered together to get him to where he is today. The big thing he shared is that a positive attitude and a willingness to try new things and to make the most opportunities that present themselves, will get you places and open doors. This kind of approach will produce the stepping stones that will eventually get you to places you probably haven't even imagined yourself to be. Mr. Alkenbrack, as did other keynote speakers who related to the audience before them, as he recalled his own similar high school days when he too was about to embark on his journey of life. It can be an exciting, yet somewhat bewildering and sometimes stressful time in people's life. He didn't know what to shoot for after high school. He started working at the bottom, if you will, taking whatever job he could get. He certainly had no idea that he would end up where he is now, but at the time, he was learning and building as he went. Again, he echoed the songs of previous speakers, that any and all experiences can be spun into positive returns. So, as he bounced from one job to another, his positive outlook and open mindedness, coupled with some "being in the right place at the right time", saw his career grow like a snowball rolling down a hill or at least the opportunities seem to fall like dominoes. The only thing is that in life; you can only set up so many of the dominoes at a time, and sometimes you have to reset the dominoes. No matter what happens, when something trips up the flow, you have to do what you gotta do, to get it going again.  

As usual we had lots of activity and curiosity in the classes before the Keynote and afterwards in the gym

Planting the Seed 2013

This year, our 5th annual, was similar in format to previous years. We were enriched by numerous employers and agencies generously giving of their time and showcasing their experiences along with some of "their tools of their trade."

As in each and every year, we were enlightened by the stories and insight of a fabulous keynote speaker. We have been so fortunate, 5 years running, to have representatives of the working world address our students and share their personal and relevant addresses full of wisdom, encouragement and guidance. They all focused on the human ingredient to finding your way in this world. Their combined message is that nothing is cut and dry, most of us are going to bounce from one thing to another and we are all going to trip and fall along our way. The big thing is to be positive, open your eyes, adapt, make the most of every opportunity. If you learn from your mistakes, treat everyone well and make good productive choices in life; you won't have to look for success, success will find you.

This year a champion success story was told by a high school drop out who turned her life around, went back to high school in her mid 20's, then went on to St.FX and graduated nursing with honors. She continued to work and excel in her field and is now the Administrator of the Port Hawkesbury Nursing Home. What an inspirational story. To the right you can read the coverage of her address that was posted in the Inverness Oran by Johnny Gillis.
You can see from the pictures from previous years how much of the rest of the day went. This time, I wanted to focus on this inspirational story.


-by John Gillis


Career Day:  Students reminded they’re making decisions for a lifetime

Leona Wilnef looked into the Strathspey Place auditorium crowd of students contemplating their career futures and began to reflect on a time when she was their age.

“I want to take you back to when I was 16,” she said. Leona recalled being in grade 10 and being on many of the school sports teams.

“I thought I was pretty cool.  I’d always done well academically, but that year I failed math and I was held back because I hadn’t completed my academic requirements.”

She went to live with the parents of her friend in Truro and attended the Cobequid Education Centre – but things didn’t go well there either and she quit that to move home.

“My mother said I wasn’t going to stay at home without a job, so I started looking for work,” said Leona.  She found a job as a cook at the Maritime Inn.  Then she took a job at a fish plant in Canso for awhile. “That’s where I met my future husband, and I’m happy to say we’ve been happily married now for 28 years,” said Leona.

“After working at the fish plant I went back to cooking for awhile,” Leona added. She had some co-workers who advised her to return to school. She completed her GED.  She began working as a machinist for a company that appeared less than committed to stay in the Strait area.

“I found myself at the age of 25 working as a machinist by night and attending SAERC during the day – working to get my academic credits,” said Leona. (What prompted her to go back to school?) She recalled going with a friend to visit another young mutual friend who had a bright future ahead of her before being diagnosed with a tumour and hospitalization.

“On our way home from the visit my friend asked me if I was happy with my life, and I remember trying to convince her that I was.  I guess I began to realize that I hadn’t even convinced myself.  I recall going home that evening and telling my future husband that I was going to go back to school to be a nurse,” said Leona.

  •             She called her girlfriend again, and they headed to St. F.X. to the guidance counselor’s office.

            “She was gracious with me, and she laid out a road map for me to go to St. F.X. or St. Martha’s for nursing,” said Leona.

  •             She got accepted to both St. F.X. and St. Martha’s. (Leona was determined and worked hard)

            This time around she was an academic success, and she graduated with honours in 1996.( From the St FX Nursing Program)

“People have often said to me it must have been hard to return to high school at the age of 25, but I believe what was harder for me was to imagine continuing as I had been, going from job to job, living paycheck to paycheck and not seeing a future for myself and not having the security to start a family,” said Leona.

            At St. F.X. she said she was encouraged that a number of her classmates were in their forties.

“It would’ve been a lot easier for me to stick with high school the first time around.  So, if I can give you some advice, give yourself a foundation of academics, and you can always go forward.  The only thing between you and your dreams is you.  Remember, you are making decisions for a lifetime,” Leona concluded.

            Wilnef told The Oran following her presentation that if she had an impact on just one student she’d be very pleased. Leona Wilnef has realized her dreams, and today, because of her determination, is very happily employed in her career as administrator for the Port Hawkesbury Nursing Home.          



Planting the Seed 2012",

This year saw a number of our returning guests Like DFO, Inverness Hospital,  &Zutphen Construction to name a few.

  The hospital brought a patient with them who was kinda dead. SuperPort Marine were here for the 1st time. The RCMP brought a special guest who was a big hit. Culinary Arts was represented by a local chief.
This lady from the Port Hawkesbury Nursing Home told her special story about how she went back to high school at 20 yrs old to get her grade 11&12and work her way up to now being administrator

Just before the keynote, we had a surprise visitor and presentation

Our Keynote speaker;
Bert Lewis,
Business Development Manager Mulgrave Machine Works and former principal @ NSCC) shared his personal/professional/family experience in regards to people finding their way. He told the story how both his boys crashed and burned in their first attempt at post secondary education. However they both learned from their mistakes, adjusted, and are now both living successful lives.

Mr. Lewis expressed the importance of planning and preparing for your future, as well as learning from your mistakes and making the most of every situation. Learn from your mistakes. Mistakes in life can be a good thing,...if you learn something.

Like every year, the gym was buzzing with activity.

 Planting the Seed 2011",

This year we had some new guests representing a wider range of areas from our community to complement our return mentors. Again the morning sessions proved to be informative and very interesting. This was the first time Inverness Academy participated in our morning sessions and expressed how happy they were to do so.
Our very special keynote speaker, Jean Power of L'Arche Cape Breton, delivered an inspirational message about the importance of volunteerism and community service. She emphasised the many levels that it benefits everyone, how great it is to have on your résumé and the unexpected return for the volunteer. One line that she noted as a bonus that was sooooo profound came from a Larch client that she was fortunate to have met, who found it in himself, after years of bullying and mistreatment, to announce in a public form, that he wanted everyone to realize; "everyone has a disability" 

This year's afternoon session, by design, was more "hands on" than earlier years. There was plenty of trinkets to collect and much to experience outside.

The multi million dollar Canadian Navy  mobile recruitment highway coach proved to be a very cool bus indeed.

As usual, the AARAO tour set up in the gym was buzzing with activity as well. It was another great day at Dalbrae.

Planting the Seed 2010",

The morning 20 min class room sessions allowed the students to get a snapshot of a variety of work environments and conditions. often presenters were people that the students may be familiar.
DOT not only had a colourful display, but brought a very big centre piece that the boys found very interesting.
Our key note speaker, Eileen Woodford, Director of Rural Health for the Cape Breton Regional Health Authority enlightened us with the multitude of career options that are available in the hospital and healthcare outside the hospital.
The gym where the AARAO Tour was set up, was a bee hive of activity
Our guest employers made themselves available for one on one consultation in the afternoon as well. Employers commented on how this was a great opportunity for them to meet our youth. So it was a great day for everyone.

Planting the Seed 2009", our 1st annual career day

This was our first "Planting the Seed" career day, an expansion of the traditional  AARAO tour. The AARAO tour is a cohort of app 35 universities and colleges travelling from school to school to recruit gr 12 students. We decided to change the format so that it would be a much more fruitful event by; first of all, making it an all day, gr 9-12 function. All Dalbrae students will meet employers before they are set loose on the post educators. They will get some concept of the work and work places before picking a career to shoot for. The idea is to motivate and better inform students leading into the fair. We want various employers and other agencies and institutions, not part of the tour, to present and make themselves available to students and parents for a broader perspective of potential career choices. It would be a much more successful event as a result. We did manage to implore representatives from a wide spectrum of the work world and each student was exposed to 6 mini presentations of the dozens of possibilities. We had representatives from Bell Alliant, Zutphen's, New Page, Cape Breton Health Authority, AG Research. just to name a few.
Tri Harbour Dentistry East Coast Credit Union Lands & Forests Dexters NSP Inverary Manor
Our Key note speaker
truly related to his young audience when he expressed how he, carpentry bound, ended up owner/op of Bio medical.
The AARAO tour in the gym was busier than ever with, not just grade 12's from Dalbrae and Inverness, but our whole school.