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Student engagement is the product of motivation and active learning. It is a product rather than a sum because it will not occur if either element is missing.”Elizabeth F. Barkley



It's that time of year when seniors are itching to graduate, most looking forward to hightailing it out of Ottawa and towards freedom. For those of us, myself included, staying in Ottawa, I have compiled a list of fun facts and hidden gems that will make you glad you stayed.


Let's start off with the facts!

- Ottawa has been voted the number one city to live in in all of Canada according to various sources.

- The name Ottawa originated from the Algonquin Odawe which means 'to trade.'

- 25% of Ottawa residents were born outside of Canada (!!!).

- Nearly half of the population is under 35, making Ottawa one of the youngest cities (according to the population's age) in all of Canada.

- Ottawa hosts 35 festivals annually.

- Ottawa has over 15 museums, the newest being the Ottawa Art Gallery which has (currently) free admission.

- Ottawa is the most educated city in Canada.

- Ottawa is the 4th cleanest city in the world!

- Ottawa has more farmland than any other Canadian city.

- Ottawa is the biggest STEM city in Canada.


Now the real fun stuff. Ottawa has hidden gems that you and I probably don't know about. There may be places on this list that you know about, but I hope I have found someplace that you can look forward to discovering. This list will be broken up into green space, eateries, and others.

Green Space:

- The Experimental Farm is no hidden gem but definitely has its merits. Ever been to the Ornamental Gardens? It's a hub for family and wedding photos and lots of seating areas. Go have a poke around one summer day. Seen pictures on Instagram of people surrounded by beautiful plants? Well, they were probably taken in this green house right here. Beware, it is closed on the weekends and closes early on weekdays.

- Patterson Creek is in the northern part of the Glebe neighbourhood, running two blocks west of O'Connor Street. It is surrounded by some of the most architecturally beautiful and expensive homes in Ottawa. It also doesn't hurt that it has two Instagrammable bridges.


- Ahora Mexican Restaurant, pronounced ah-aura with a roll on the ‘r’, on Dalhousie Street  is a cute and bright hole-in-the-wall place with murals all over the wall that will have you finding something new every time. If you have a hankering for authentic Mexican food - like I always do - Ahora is a must visit restaurant. Order at the front, find the perfect table, and wait for your food to be brought to you. Ahora is a place where you and your friends spend your catch-up lunch or night out. They are open 11:30am to 10:00pm everyday of the week.

- Roberto's Pizza on Preston Street is one of my favourite wood-burning oven pizza places in Ottawa. The entire feel of the restaurant is very Italian (much appreciated) and the food is even more Italian. The restaurant and a pizza in it is named after Roberto Valente, one of the brothers who started the restaurant but tragically died of brain cancer. If you're ever in the mood for pizza, which should be always, waltz down to Little Italy and grab a slice of Roberto's pizza. Then maybe take a walk and grab some gelato down the road. They are open 5pm-9pm on Sundays, 11:30am-10:00pm Tuesday to Thursday, 11:30am-10:30pm on Fridays, and 12:00pm-10:30pm on Saturdays.

- Shawarma. Enough said. Ottawa is said to be the city, outside of the Arab World, with the most shawarma and falafel. Definitely not a hidden gem, but probably an underrated staple of Ottawan cuisine.


- Terrace on the Canal could be categorized as a restaurant, but without a kitchen, it is more of a space for convening. Located on the Rideau Canal, the Terrace has a bar, a foodtruck, and a beautiful outdoor space. Whether in the mood for a natural work space, in search for a party venue, or develop a hankering for a hotdog from the Angry Dragonz food truck, Terrace on the Canal is a spot that every resident of Ottawa must go to at least in their lifetime. Open 11:00am-10:00pm Sunday to Thursday and 11:00am-12:00am on Fridays and Saturdays.

- Ottawa has over 10 commercial bookstores, but isn't it nice sometimes to step into a classic bookstore with rickety shelves and the smell of dusty pages? This is where Octopus Books comes in. On their website, they state that they are a "community-owned, anti-oppressive bookstore that supports the liberation of all community members..." The bookstore has a welcoming environment and welcomes people from ALL backgrounds. If you're in the mood for a more hipster venue, Black Squirrel Books and Espresso Bar is perfect for you. Stop in your a cup of coffee and walk away with a few books at the most amazing prices (a few dollars at most). Black Squirrel Books seems like a never-ending store with never-ending Instagram possibilities.

- I briefly mentioned Ottawa Art Gallery in the Fact section of this article, but it's time to backtrack. The OAG is a non-profit, charitable organization run by the government created to present the community with a cultural meeting place and to explore diversity through different mediums of art. Who can argue with free? However, if you do have the funds, I would highly recommend making a donation or purchasing the beautiful merchandise in the gift shop. Wander through the three story building to discover art that could make you smile and art that can make you cry.

West Conference Track and field meet

by bella crysler

Wednesday May 16th marked a sunny end of the Track & Field season for many of the teams athletes with nearly perfect conditions for the West Conference meet, save for a little bit of wind. Runners, jumpers and throwers had to make the top 8 of their respective events to move forward, and Nepean crushed it! Each and every member of the team should be commended for how hard they trained and how well they competed this season. Here are a few shout outs to some of the athletes who will be moving on to Cities on the 23rd & 24th, the next step before East OFSAA and OFSAA.


Paulina Procyk ran a total of 6 races at the West Conference meet, taking 4 first places, one second, and one third. Dani Hassan and Tristan Cooper both qualified for the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. Arthur Thebaud will move on to Cities for not only steeple but boys 3000m as well. In girls 3000m Maya Lawson and Leona Smith came first and second. Katherine Chadwick won first place in the 1500m, and Ben Wells won first place in javelin!


Congratulations to every Track & Field athlete on a great season, and to those who are still going, good luck as you continue. Way to go Nepean!



Many returning Nepean High School students were shocked when they heard the news. It was officially announced on September 5th, 2017 that the price of the big cookies in the cafeteria had gone up 25 cents over last year's already soaring price of 2 dollars.

Students are upset because they feel they are not being given justice compared to other schools, they are losing money they could have used for other things and they have to carry more change with them.

Some angry pupils have started calling out the OCDSB for “playing favourites” since it has been exposed that the price of the same cookie at Glebe Collegiate Institute, a nearby school in the same school board, has remained at only 2 dollars.

Teens at the school are also worried about the affects this price could have on their budgets- and their futures. Say one were to buy a couple cookies every week that they were in high school. By the time they graduated, they would have spent almost 800 dollars on cookies. That same 800 dollars could pay an important portion of university tuition or textbooks. Students are worried about not being as financially ready to graduate as others at different schools may be due to this unfair pricing.

On top of draining students of their precious resources and risking harming their future potential, these jumping costs are forcing students to carry more and more change with them. This is much less convenient. Students are finding themselves bringing five dollar bills and having to break them in order to purchase a cookie now that they can't just bring a toonie. This makes them more likely to purchase larger quantities of unhealthy food from the cafeteria or a vending machine with all the excess money they brought to school.

Nepean’s cookie crisis has clearly proven that it is and will continue to be a real issue for many students if it is not resolved soon.

Students display the various reactions to the NHS Caf cookies


Photos by Bella Crysler

The Bloom Project

by Stephanie Tremblay

I believe there are truly exceptional students with outstanding ideas, some of which are never heard. Today, I would like to give a few of these exceptional students recognition. Early this summer, Florence Tong, Selina Tong and Smile Peng, former and current Nepean High School students, launched The Bloom Project which runs in association with Students for Students China to help children in need. Specifically, they set out to help children in Guangdong, China receive the proper care they need in order to allow them to focus on getting a proper education.


The Bloom Project’s main ideas are to raise money for these children as well as inspire change by selling succulent plants with a bracelet. The handmade bracelet is a simple string with a double ring symbolizing both aspects of the plants and the children. The Bloom Project’s appropriate slogan being, “grow a seed, grow a future”. The plant symbolizes the love and attention needed to flourish the children of Guangdong.

The Bloom Project’s succulent plant

Students for Students (SFS) China was founded by Lilin Tong, a former Nepean High School student. SFS China has two main initiatives; a Scholarship Program and a Summer Enrichment Program. SFS China has held multiple fundraising events, such as when last year’s Nepean CORE class was tasked with the assignment to brainstorm and execute their own fundraising ideas. The students came up with a large variety of different plans, collecting wine bottles and hosting bake sales the class collectively raised over $2700! SFS China also launched The Bloom Project which raises money for these two initiatives.

The Bloom Project, which began late August, has sold more than 100 succulent plants. Selina and Smile said that moving forward, they hope to expand to other schools in the Ottawa region. They also aspire to have the succulents sold in retail stores. The plant and bracelet combo are sold for $25 and all profits go towards SFS China’s initiatives. You can contact The Bloom Project through their Instagram to buy your very own plant and help a good cause!


Why Physical Activity is Important
By ScoTt Mcdonald

Not many teenagers have been getting enough physical activity Physical activity is extremely important not only for teenagers but for adults . Being physically active is good for your mental health and mood, it is a really good way to stay in shape, and it is a great and easy way to make friends.

 Physical activity is great for your mental health and can improve your mood as well. Physical activity is a great way to clear your mind and improve your mood. When you are playing sports all you end up thinking about is the sport itself and you just forget about all of your problems, and when you are done you have a clear mind and a more positive attitude towards your problems. Therefore if you are having a hard time with something try taking a break and going for a walk or a run.

 Being active is the the only way to stay in shape so it is pretty important. Staying in shape is very important because it keeps you healthy and happy. Staying in shape keeps you healthy because you are always being active which is great for your body in many ways. Being active keeps your blood flowing throughout your body, and also strengthens your muscles.

 Another great thing about being physically active is that it is a really easy way to make some new friends. It is very easy to make some new friends while playing sports or even when you are just hitting the gym. While you are playing sports you can sometimes make a new friend without even realizing it, especially in team sports. For example, if  you are playing a game of hockey at your local outdoor rink and during the game you realized that you just mesh well with one of the players, afterwards you could talk to him and you guys could just hit it off and become friends. Next thing you know you guys are always at the rink together.

 So as you can see, being physically active is a very important part of life because it can improve your mental health and mood, it keeps you in shape, and it is an easy way to make friends. So go out and be active.


By Elly Van Baaren

One of my earliest childhood memories is being pegged down on the couch by my older sister, while the other one hit me repeatedly with the TV remote. As the youngest sibling, this was not an unusual occurrence. My two older sisters and I are almost indistinguishable from each other and from the beginning of my days, our trio fought constantly.


We fought over who got to sit across from the window at dinner, who got the nicest easter basket to hunt with, and most frequently, who was the prettiest sister. The house atmosphere was always lively as we all went through moody phases at different times. As the three of us grew older, fights about toys turned into fights about boys, hair brush thefts and confrontations about when you caught them wearing your shirt at school.

But apart from the bickering and dirty looks, my older sisters were the best gift my parents ever could have given me. The two turned into my confidents, secret keepers who I knew would never bestow upon me a shred of judgement. They saw me at my worst but loved me like I was at my best. We started to spend more and more time together as we matured, as we shared advice so honest it could never have been given to you by a friend.


Nowadays, I hardly see my sisters. They went off to school, to live their dreams and experience the world, but they left me behind. I often feel like I wasted my time with them, as it sinks in that we will never live together again. Once your siblings are gone, everything changes. All of a sudden the best part of Christmas is no longer the gifts, it is spending a week with your best friends. Every time you get to see them becomes something you look forward to. We often forget to cherish those who know us best and understand us most deeply, I know I did.

The author's two sisters!

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