The Courier News

Dance Through the Decades
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50 years is a big anniversary so Centennial College, the Centennial Alumni Association, and the CCSAI threw a big party to celebrate. The party was hosted at the Progress Student Centre and featured an evening of dancing, art, prizes and lots of fun!

There was plenty of dancing, but there were also lots of prizes and other fun. The festivities were hosted by legendary Toronto personality Tony Young a.k.a. Master T.

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Morningside Halloween
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Trick or treat! Students at Morningside filled the CCSAI Lounge with frightening Jack-o’-Lanterns for Halloween. Visit the CCSAI Facebook for more pictures.

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Shapped By Commute
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By: Zaid Noorsumar

Family. Friends. Partners. School. Work. Experiences. These are some of the things that shape our lives and mould our personalities. In Divya Rajan’s case, all of these aspects have had an impact on her but it’s her daily commute to and from school that perhaps affects her life more profoundly than anything else.

The Brampton resident spends about five and a half to six hours travelling back and forth from her house to Centennial College’s Story Arts Centre. Her commute dictates virtually every sphere of her life – her relationships with her friends, her parents and her sister; her education and the remnants of her leisure time.

Rajan, a journalism student who wants to make it into the world of broadcasting, began attending Centennial this September after spending the first two years of her undergraduate degree at University of Toronto Scarborough.

Both Rajan and her elder sister have been influenced to study journalism by their mother, who worked as a reporter in India before immigrating to Canada. Her mother’s gutsy reporting landed her in hot water more than once, including one occasion when as a hostage she witnessed her colleagues being gunned down.

“There was this girl who was kidnapped in a village. There was like a conspiracy theory that there were terrorists in the village so they were just going there to see if it was true,” says Rajan.

“It was one of those things that was really far-fetched and no one was believing (it) – so she volunteered to go. It turned out it was true but they really didn’t want media coverage which is why they shot them,” she says.

While Rajan lived on campus at UTSC, her parents wanted her to be closer to home when she came to Centennial.

“They didn’t really give me a reason. They just told me that they kind of want me to stay home,” says Rajan. “Every time I tried to talk to them about it, they were just very against it – me moving out.”

But taking an hour and a half long bus ride on Brampton Transit to the Wilson TTC station, transferring to the subway to get to Pape, attending classes, and repeating the tortuous journey back home has been taking a visible toll on Divya.

“I would get headaches and I wouldn’t talk to anyone because I would be too tired to talk to people,” says Rajan. “So I would come and just go to sleep and she (her mother) said, ‘You are not even a part of this family anymore. You’re not talking to anyone.’”

The physiological effects of her new lifestyle became increasingly apparent as Rajan lost 10 pounds in two weeks, a change that didn’t go unnoticed by her mother or her elder sister. The latter subsequently played the role of a mediator between Rajan and their parents, helping them understand her current predicament.

“She sat them down and was like ‘Listen, it’s very hard for her’,” says Rajan. “Because my sister’s trying to move out, too, so she was like, ‘If anything I can take her with me. She doesn’t even have to pay rent. I will pay it.’”

Realizing that her daughter’s health was at stake, their mother agreed that it would be best if she moved closer to campus. While Rajan hunts for a suitable residence in response to her mother’s acquiescence, her father has still not granted his approval to the proposed move.

“My dad’s still like ‘Why do we need to send her out?’ But my mom’s like, ‘Okay, this is not practical,” says Rajan. “She is also female so she understands that it’s really creepy to be travelling back at night.”

“On Wednesdays they let me stay at my friend’s house because I came home crying one day – I had a really bad experience on the subway,” she says.

On her way back home after a late evening class, a stranger who had been staring at her on the train, accosted her at a quiet station while Rajan waited to transfer.

“He grabbed my arm and pushed me against a wall and asked for a kiss or my name and then a lady saw this happening and yelled at him and he rushed away,” says Rajan.

Spending about a third of her waking hours on public transit means Rajan is forced to cram activities into time-slots that often have to be improvised. This can mean doing assignments on the train or squeezing socializing into a single late night of the week.

“I feel like school’s a lot harder, and my social life – I don’t have one!” she says with a laugh. While weekends are spent catching up on school work, her curfew-free Wednesday nights allow her to reinforce her bonds with old friends in Scarborough.

“On Wednesdays I don’t sleep. Like I go to Scarborough where my friends are and I literally have six people who want to do something that night,” she says, explaining that she tries to divvy up her time between friends.

“Normally, I would say, ‘No I’m tired’, but those friends mean a lot to me and I don’t want to lose touch with them so I try really hard to see them,” says Rajan.

Her friends in Brampton, meanwhile, get the short shrift. Even as they share a similar commuting distance from schools such as Ryerson back to Brampton, going out at night after recovering from travel is not an option for them due to her 11:30p.m. curfew.

The bizarre trajectory of Rajan’s routine will change dramatically when she finds a place closer to campus and is granted consent to move out by her father, about which she sounds optimistic. But her story speaks to the larger problems of commuting in the GTA, whereby swathes of the population don’t have access to efficient transportation options.

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Presto Card
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By: Zaid Noorsumar

Students and Metropass holders will be relieved to learn that they will retain their monthly discount plans with unlimited rides when PRESTO is completely rolled-out in 2017. 

Brad Ross, TTC spokesperson, confirmed that there will be a “Metropass-like product” in the future when PRESTO becomes the singular mode of payment. According to the TTC website, commuters will be able to load a Metropass onto their PRESTO card.

Ross also confirmed that the discounted plans will be available to post-secondary students, who currently only enjoy the reduced fares on Metropass and not on PRESTO. Though the details of how this would work and how students will be able to obtain a student ID to work with PRESTO are as yet unknown. The TTC assures us however that we will have “plenty of notice” before the complete switchover to PRESTO. 

According to its website, the TTC is also considering introducing a “non-calendar specific” PRESTO monthly pass that stays valid for a 30-day period, regardless of the date it is purchased on.

The PRESTO rollout was expected to be completed by the end of the year but considering that many subway stations and buses are still not equipped with PRESTO gates, it appears that the goal will not be achieved.

Last month, the Star reported that the $255 million budget for the project had already been overrun by $22 million, with the cost to taxpayers set to balloon further as upgrades to the system continue. The final estimate of the project is yet to be publicly disclosed.

 

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Presto Facts

How much does a PRESTO Card cost and where can I get one?

$6 per card, available;
•Online at prestocard.ca
•By phone at 1-877-378-6123 (follow options 7-1-1 for TTY)
Customer Service Centre at Davisville Station, 1900 Yonge Street
• At certain Gateway Newstands with a list of available stations on the TTC website.

Where can I currently use a PRESTO card?

•All TTC streetcars,
•Many TTC buses.
•Certain subway stations (check the TTC website for an up-to-date list)
•GO Transit, Union Pearson Express, Brampton Transit, Burlington Transit, Durham Transit, Hamilton Street Transit, MiWay, Oakville Transit, York Region Transit/VIVA.

How do I register my card and do I need to?

•You can register your card online at prestocard.ca.
• Registered PRESTO cards can be replaced if lost or stolen and the cash balance will be restored.
•Allows you to claim the Federal Public Transit Tax Credit.
•Can use the autoload feature, which means you’ll never have to worry about not having money on your card.

Where can I fill up my PRESTO card for TTC?

• Autoload – automatically loads money to your card whenever your balance falls below a set minimum chosen by you.
•By phone – 1-877-378-6123 (see TTC website for more information).
•Customer Service Centre at Davisville Station, 1900 Yonge Street.
•Self-Serve Reload Machine located at some subway stations (see TTC website).
The minimum amount is $10, the maximum is $1000. Online transactions can take up to 24 hours to take effect.

When do I tap my card and can I transfer using PRESTO?

You always need to “tap on” when you begin your trip. To tap on, touch your PRESTO card to the green PRESTO reader located inside the vehicle or on the turnstile/new fare gates in the station. To transfer from surface transit or to subway, tap again and you will only be charged once if it is a valid transfer. Standard two-hour transfer conditions apply. See TTC website for more details.

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AWC Designed For Results
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Our AWC Fitness Services have always been about results-driven, functional training. Now our space is changing to help support this goal even more. If you haven’t been to the AWC recently, you’ve missed some great changes. To get the idea here’s a quick overview of some of the changes we’ve made to make the AWC work better for you.

  1. Addition of the New Core Zone
    Our Core Zone allows members to be more versatile and effective in their core training. We want to make you better from the inside out! We are moving away from the traditional machine with limited range of motion and instead promoting the use of exercise balls, BOSU balls, mats and medicine balls that require more stabilization and activate your core in more intense and dynamic ways. Not sure how to get the most out of your core workouts? One of our AWC personal trainers can walk you through the best core workout of your life!
  2. Safe Training Zone For Groups
    Group fitness continues to grow, and we’re keeping up with it. We have opened up a large space to allow safe group training to take place on the fitness floor. This will allow a safer separation from the heavy lifting platforms so that the two areas can safely coexist.
  3. Enhanced Lifting Area
    We have also created a more defined lifting area for our many members who are pursuing powerlifting goals or using heavy lifting as a part of their regular program. Shortly, we will also be adding more lifting platforms and an additional squat station to enable more activity in the area and to reduce the noise impact that these activities can have on the entire facility.
  4. Reorganization of Machines and Free Weights
    In addition to the specific area improvements, we’ve also made a number of general changes to the design of the fitness floor to allow for a smoother flow and transition between equipment, easier access to equipment, and more functional placement to create more space to work out. The space is truly designed to help you get results.

 

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Colts Cards
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By Kajan Thiruthanikasalam
Photos Courtesy Yvano Antonio

The Courier wanted to showcase some of our amazing athletes in a recurring series.
Look for more athletes in upcoming issues. #CCOLTSFAM #SCREAMGREEN

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Catching Up With The Colts
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Varsity basketball is underway for the Centennial Colts Men and Women as both teams looked to start off strong following disappointing seasons.

By: Kajan Thiruthanikasalam

The Colts Men’s Basketball Team is off to a strong start this season. Through six games they are 5-1. After a season opening loss to the St. Lawrence (Kingston) Vikings, 72-65, Centennial followed up with five straight wins, starting with a road win against the Loyalist Lancers, 91-81, followed by a perfect home stand with double digit victories over the Fleming Knights (89-54), Alqonquin Thunder (83-66), and La Cite Coyotes (75-53).

Team captain and forward Marko Curic currently leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 20.6 ppg and 8.4 rpg, while point guard Josh Mcfarlene leads the team in assists (8.0 apg) and steals (4.6 spg).

For Trevor Challenger, this is his first year as Centennial’s men’s varsity basketball head coach, as he is taking over a Colts team that finished 6-14 last season and with only four players coming back from the previous season (Paul Walwyn, Malique Hyde, Marko Curic, Alex Hagoriles). So far, the Colts have been rolling and will try to continue their winning streak in the coming weeks ahead.

The Colts Women’s Basketball Team is off to a solid start, coming off a season in which they finished 4-10. Guard Ana Casado Simon-Talero, forward Aliyah Campbell-East, and forward Michelle Beloso are returning from last year’s team to lead a young team through a new season. Forward Kayla Higgins returns to the Colts after two previous years with the team.

Centennial opened the new season on the road, going 1-2, with a season opening loss to the St. Lawrence (K) Vikings (77-58), followed by a 25-point blowout of the Loyalist Lancers (64-39), and then losing to the Seneca Sting, 60-44. The Colts women then had their home opener against the Alqonquin Thunder on Nov. 5, and won in a nailbiter, 64-61. After an 87-78 loss at George Brown on Nov. 12, they are now 2-3.

Rookie forward Yasmeen Smith leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 12.7 ppg and 12.3 rpg, while just being announced as the Women’s Basketball Athlete of the Week on Nov. 8. Smith led the Colts with 15 points and 12 rebounds for their first win over Alqonquin at home since the Colts program was relaunched eight years ago. Sophomore Simon-Talero leads the team in passing with 3.3 apg and in steals with 2.3 spg.

The coaching staff remains unchanged from last season, with Justin Bobb as head coach, and Ryan McNeilly, Tameka Blackwood, and Kadeja Hughes as assistant coaches.

The Lady Colts look to continue their momentum from their home opener in the upcoming games ahead.

Videos courtesy Colts Marketing

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United Like Family; Driven By Passion
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William Chemno, a first-year student at Centennial College, is making great strides with the cross country team and has a drive for success with his running career.

By Brittany Barber

Relocating to Canada only a year ago from Iten, Kenya, Chemno has already made an impact for the Centennial Colts. Placing third at the 2016 OCAA Cross Country Provincial Championship at Seneca College, Chemno finished the 8km race only a mere 3:27 seconds after the first place runner and three seconds behind second place with a final time of 27:35.

While receiving Rookie of the Year honours, Chemno was able to help his teammates place 6th overall for provincials.

Growing up in Kenya, William was raised to be an excellent runner as his tribe takes pride in former runners who have become successful. “When you’re born, you’re already a runner,” Chemno said of his upbringing. “By the time you’re young, you’re already running to school and because of that, I was born a runner.”

Since moving to Canada, his training schedule has differed a small amount from his usual 20km a day runs, to and from school. Now Chemno tries to fit in any exercise he can during class breaks, before school and after school. “It’s really hard [balancing school and training], especially when I want to be a better runner,” he said. “I love running and I’m able to go places because of it.”

With his passion in long distance running, William tries to help his teammates any time that he can. “We are family because we have [running] in common. They feel for me, I feel for them. They’re like brothers and sisters to me,” he says. “I try to help them and try to engage them in training and in moral support.”

Chemno believes in massage therapy as a way to help his teammates, as well as helping them keep a winning mentality. Taking pride in his massage abilities, he believes in the importance of keeping your body healthy with fruits and vegetables and incorporating stretching and muscle relief for cramps, a common occurrence with runners. “Back home, it’s in our culture to help others. It’s my personal motto,” William said regarding his involvement with his teammates.

While trying to stay as healthy as possible, Chemno believes in running as a way to keep him focused on school and have a positive mindset. “Running keeps my mentality up all the time. Some days if I don’t go for a run, I feel dizzy in class or I can’t concentrate.”

“During my breaks at school I’ll do some jogging. I feel fresh and it activates and recharges my body. I enjoy it, that’s why I keep training.  I wouldn’t feel good if I don’t run in the morning. I feel like it’s a part of who I am,” he said.

The most important thing for William is keeping in mind his strength and abilities while maintaining a winning mentality. He believes in “just going and doing your best, and wanting to win,” in order to yield individual best results. Never giving up and being persistent with training plays the most important role for William’s success and, “doing what’s best for me and my body.”

Chemno continued his impressive season, finishing third at the OCAA Cross Country Provincial Championships and second at the National Championships. Photos and video courtesy Colts Marketing. For more cross country and Colts photos please visit www.flickr.com/centennial-colts/

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Centennial Talks
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By Michael Chen

University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson managed to ignite a firestorm of controversy by uploading just one YouTube video.

The video in question was an hour-long lecture on political correctness, wherein Peterson discussed his objections to the Liberal government’s ongoing efforts to pass Bill C-16, legislation, which would extend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code discrimination and hate crime laws to also include gender identity.

Peterson argued that gender identity, as described in the law, was too loosely defined, making the bill subject to abuse. In an interview with the CBC, he also expressed a refusal to use a person’s preferred pronouns if they weren’t he or she, which he explained as a desire to avoid using words that have been “created for ideological purposes.”

In the wake of these comments, Peterson has been criticized and lauded in equal measure. Media outlets like the Toronto Sun have come out in support of the professor, decrying the left wing’s “trendy buzzwords,” whilst other pundits like the Toronto Star have flat-out stated that Peterson is wrong.

Like many hot-button issues in today’s world, be it gun control, religious liberty or race relations, the issue of political correctness and gender identity is highly divisive.

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The Friendship Bench
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By Nicole Royle

Assignments begin to pile up, deadlines zoom closer and loans grow more intimidating each year; student life is stressful. Add the symptoms of a mental illness, and graduating only becomes harder. 

Post-secondary institutions have a great influence on student mental health. Roma Rashidi, counsellor at Centennial College Story Arts Centre, said the school has made considerable efforts to help students with mental illness.

“Who knows stress and worries better than the students,” Rashidi said. Centennial College offers counselling programs with designated counsellors at all four campuses. While these counselling departments continue to introduce new mental health programs to their campuses, services are not distributed equally. 

Rashidi is the sole counsellor at the Story Arts Centre campus. She works part time at the campus for 24 hours per week. This gives students only three days to access one-on-one counselling. The campus has over 1,300 full-time students.

While the Story Arts Centre campus has fewer services than other Centennial campuses, for example one counsellor as opposed to the two at Morningside and Progress campuses, Rashidi has not been deterred. She continues to bring more mental health programs to the school. She recently launched a peer-to-peer initiative, which involves students passing around wellness kits full of items to spark self-awareness and information about counselling services. This encourages students to engage in an open dialogue about stressors and mental health issues. 

The yellow bench, newly introduced at the Story Arts Centre, is another support. The yellow bench, dubbed “the Friendship Bench,” is a place where students are encouraged to share about mental health and is intended to be a safe space for students to reflect.

“My hope is that I’ll be working more with students on projects on doing things together with students, doing more peer initiatives,” said Rashidi. “Because, yes, it’s good to have counsellors, it’s good to have support. But it’s also good to work on students’ resilience because we all have amazing resilience.”

When asked of the disparity in services across campuses, Tracey Lloyd, Director Career and Counselling Services, said that it is difficult to give funding to one specific program such as counselling, when the college offers so many different services and programs. “We can’t really isolate one program, we have to look at the needs across the college,” said Lloyd. 

In the past, the Story Arts Centre campus had more counselling programs and services, including group therapy sessions and full-time counsellors. However, the cuts in funding are the result of a lack of demand for counselling services at the campus in previous years. “We need to look at this as an institution and look at where the needs are,” said Lloyd.

As it stands, the Story Arts Centre campus only sees the need for a part-time counsellor and minimal services. However Rashidi said the more that students become aware of mental health and its relevance, the more use of services will rise. 

With a higher demand for counselling services, and more students willing to not only use the services but also volunteer in supporting them, the counselling department can show that there is a higher demand. 

Post-secondary institutions involve a stressful atmosphere for students. With subpar mental health services, excelling becomes an even more daunting task. The school, and student body must take every possible step toward maintaining mental wellness. It is crucial. Especially when students now have an entire faculty working for them and free services provided. 

Rashidi is proud of the students who are speaking out, participating and asking for more counselling services. She considers student advocacy an amazing sign, and encourages students to continue speaking out for their needs.

“It helps us sort of make a case that, yes, there is (a need). Maybe we should have a full-time,” said Rashidi. “Maybe we should have more than full-time.”

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