What’s Really Scary this Halloween: The Way We Ignore Remote Communities

By Tatiana Bogdanov

April 25th, 2017, is a grey day in Moosonee, Ontario, as the Polar Bear Express rolls into Moosonee station. Snow piles up beside the dirt roads, maintained by the chilly -5ºC weather, a stark contrast from Toronto’s warm, wet spring. Thirty tired grade eights file out of the train and are immediately enveloped by the love that seems to rule the kids from Bishop Belleau Catholic School.

They were all about to be shocked by the difference between living in a remote community in Ontario, and in a big, sparkly city.

There are few words to describe the surrealism of seeing the conditions in a remote community. It is almost like entering a different country, though you are only a mere fourteen hours (nine by bus, and five by train) away from Toronto.  Though the trip was life-changing in the way it has made me see the world and my life, it had also ignited a fury.

A remote community is a place that is “cut off” from most other populated areas. Moosonee is an example; the only way to get there is either by train or plane. Or, if one is coming down from even further north, the ice road (and that is only in the winter). The nearest city is Timmins, and even then, the distance between the two is 315 km.

In fact, Moosonee is so far away from everything that it does not even get proper cell service. It has “Rogers extended coverage,” which is way slower than any cell signals we get here.

Nonetheless, it is truly a charming town, right on the edge of James Bay. If you look across the shore there, you can see islands owned by Nunavut. In the bush (the locals’ word for the forest), plant life runs wild. You can find trees felled by beavers, wild cranberry, and even tamarack trees. The locals are some of the nicest people you will ever meet and welcomed us to their home with wide-open arms. Their winters are bitterly cold, in a way that is only found in Canada.

But, as with all remote communities, it faces a barrage of problems. From unemployment to alcoholism, to the struggle to keep their culture alive; life is not easy for the 3,500 residents of Moosonee, nor for residents of any remote community.

The children of Attawapiskat (a community even further north from Moosonee) went to school in portables for fourteen years because the main building was condemned. Many who live in remote communities struggle to receive quality healthcare. Prices are often exorbitant for basic things such as diapers, or apples. Education is generally worse. There is more poverty.

In 2011, 52% of deaths in the Island Lake community of Manitoba went uncategorized, because they simply did not have the amenities to document them.

In 2011, 52% of deaths in the Island Lake community of Manitoba went uncategorized, because they simply did not have the amenities to document them. In 2012, statistics showed that Island Lake people had more premature deaths, digestive disorders, and teenage pregnancies than other Manitobans.

Another study showed that Canadians in remote communities often have higher death rates, infant mortality rates, and lower life expectancies than those that live in Canada’s urban communities.

Of course, there is a pattern, a cycle of the struggles of remote communities. The lack of people creates a lack of jobs, which creates a lack of money, which then creates the lack of resources to change the situation. The Canadian government is not doing much to help. There are few popular charities dedicated to aiding these communities.

It seems like there is no winning. The government is not helping, and most Canadians are not either.

That raises the question; why are we not doing anything? Why are we not hearing about this on the news? These are Canadians, living in Canada. If we faced these problems in Toronto, there would protest in the streets. People would be rightfully outraged; it would likely be broadcast nationally.

Yet, we live on in our practical urban utopia, while people live unnecessarily hard lives in one of the most developed countries in the world.

And that is pretty damn scary to me.

So this Halloween, consider the way people live in remote communities and think about supporting a charity like the Frontiers Foundation or True North Aid, to help bring some relief.



The Complete FHCI Club List 2017/18

A Shot at Life

L. Burnip

Afro-Carib Club

K. Berger

Albanian Culture Club

A. Moore

Art Club

S. Conley

Book Club

D. Haines

Business of Sports Club

E. Ketchum

Champions of Change

D. Cabral

Chess Club

C. Geomolean

Christian Fellowship Club

M. Thompson

Comedy Club

M. Roca

Community Transit Committee

S. MacDonald

Computer Science

A. Costin

Cookies 4 a Cure

E. Monaghan

Cookies for a Cure

R. Jackson

COPE Council

J. Ng

Dance Fashion Show

J. Homatidis/H. Russell

Debate Club

K. Berger


A. Costin

Drama Club

M. Roca

Envirommental Awareness

C. Soneriu

Falcons Cheer Squad

K. Brown

Filipino Club

J. Ibe

Film Critics Club

M. Roca

Football Analytics Club

K. Berger

Gender Sexuality Alliance

A. Chan

The Golden Falcon Newspaper (Student Organization)

E. Lee

Jewish Culture Club

M. Sable

Latino Club

D. Cabral

Law Club

M. Sable

Math Club

A. Basheer

Miracle Club for SickKids

L. Moore

Newcomer’s Club

H. Israelovitch

Politics & History Club

T. Rudan

Save the Animals

R. Jackson

Science Club

J. Pupovac

Sign Language Club

A. Strasberg

Social Action Club

D. Kleiman

Sports Management Club

L. Barber

Student Inclusion Program

K. Berger

TED Club

K. Berger

Video Game Club

D. Ferroni

Humans of FHCI – Jordyn B.

By Jaimie Kerzner and Georgia Blatt

What is one piece of advice that you would give to your grade 9 self?

“I would say to try and stay focused and relaxed in school. Nothing is as serious as it seems.”

What is your favourite and least favourite thing so far about grade 12?

“My favourite thing about grade 12 is the freedom, and my least favourite thing is worrying about my future after high school.”

Which year of high school has been your favourite?

“Grade 12, because I have learned so much since the start of high school and I am better at dealing with almost any kind of situation.”

What would you say is the best part of last week’s pep rally?

“I loved seeing the school spirit.”

What are your plans for after high school?

“I want to study in university for social sciences.”

Do you have a secret talent?

“I’m really good at cooking.”

Finally, who is your favourite teacher and why?

“Ms. Homatidis, because she’s stunning on the inside and out.”

Humans of FHCI – Zoe A.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

“I have celiac disease.”

What is your favourite class and why?

“Band because I really enjoy music. It’s a hard class but it’s a fun class.”

What are your plans after high school?

“I want to go to Queen’s or the University of Ottawa for Sports Psychology.”

If you could change one thing about FHCI, what would it be?

“More course options.”

A Trip to the Bloody Lake

Adam Niklewicz

By Anonymous

A true story.

It was mid-July, I was a fourteen-year-old boy sitting with my father in a small pancake house near the lake in Banff, giving all my attention to the daily crossword puzzle in front of me. The aroma of powdered sugar and blueberries wafted through the restaurant, it was pleasant. I was relaxed, though I was beginning to get very irritated when these two elderly men in the booth behind me were blabbering about something. I could see in the mirror in front of me that he leaned forward, put his arms on the table and said: “those people are so utterly wrong.” I did not understand what he was talking about until I noticed an old television screen mounted in the corner of the room, a news channel was on and they were discussing gun laws. The man sitting across from him said “they don’t understand why we hunt, we hunt because it is fun, not because we like to kill. If we liked to kill then we would be murderers.” He agreed and they both nodded their heads. On this day, I was given a better glimpse at the ethical nature of the individual — the true motives of these bloodthirsty, undoubtedly cowardice, men.

Later that day, my father and I decided to go on a hike through Chephren Lake, a secluded hike through the picturesque mountains and lakes of Banff. As we entered the trail there was a large metal sign that cautioned hikers of the dangers of bears and other wildlife, it read “you must hike in a group of four.” We ignored the instructions and continued on.

The route we took had sparkling wet black rocks which had been worn down to form a smooth path of stones to cross a flowing river. I could feel the cool breeze coming off the raging rapids to my right, and the sound of the running streams of fresh water was rather soothing. We were now walking through a chestnut-brown forest with parsley-green leaves — the tangled arms of the lush trees rose ever upwards, as far as my head could turn. A pair of jays were shrieking very high up in the trees, almost like a warning call.

We walked past three hikers. There were two males and one female, all wearing large neon-yellow backpacks. As all five of us went around a corner, a crashing sound could be heard from my left, and I instinctively moved to the right. I saw a young black bear with its right paw trapped in a steel-jawed bear trap. The bear gave a gasping screech and staggered up, and then dead silence. Its roar was horrifically loud, and the sound was disturbingly human. I thought it was clearly crying for help. I could see it’s paw was swollen and tightly clamped in the razor-sharp spikes of the trap. I could distinctly see the excruciating pain it was in. The bear had an open wound on its paw, and the fur was completely ripped off the skin, I didn’t want to believe that I could see exposed bones but I could. The thick blood spewed out of the bear, dripping slowly to the ground below. The leaves beneath the bear were no longer parsley-green, they were bright red. Seeing this bear made it feel like time stood still. I could feel every second pass. I couldn’t breathe. Reality had yet to set in. I looked at the oak trees between us and the bear and imagined they were the steel bars in a prison cell locking the bear in. I wondered who really should be imprisoned: us or the bear? What are we? Animals? Or humans? “What are we going to do?” I asked my father, “There is nothing we can do, so we’ll just go,” he replied. I didn’t understand how we could just leave the animal there; it was suffering, it was in pain. The other hikers didn’t seem to care about the dying animal. As they were abandoning it, one of them muttered “so sad,” and the women replied with laughter, “who cares.” This was the moment when I was unsure who really was the animal, this group of humans, or the animal itself. Then, I saw my father walking away from me, I didn’t know what to think of this. My conscience was telling me one thing, while my father was telling me another. There wasn’t anyone telling me what to do. Only me. I told myself that the bear would live, but I didn’t believe it. The bear was starting to fight less against the pain, its breathing was ragged and very uneven. I could hear the sound of jays high up in the canopy of trees, it sounded familiar. I didn’t want to get left behind, so I took a deep breath and walked away.

Afterward, at the end of the hiking trail, there was a group of four national park Rangers discussing something, they seemed upset. The three hikers from before, the ones that also saw the bear, walked passed the Rangers, and the Rangers asked them if they saw a black bear trapped. The female hiker quickly replied “no,” without skipping a beat. It was obvious that the Rangers didn’t believe them, but it didn’t really matter — did any of this matter?

A short while later, I walked to a small fountain on the side of the road to clean my hands after the hike since they were very dirty from all the climbing we had to do. The water was crystal clear, I could see my reflection looking back at me as if I was staring into a mirror. I put my hands in the water, it was much colder than I had expected. I tried to wash off the powdered dirt from my hands but it was challenging, the filth would not come off. Only then did I realize it was not water. Alas, my bloody hands.

In the end, I never found out if that bear had ever been saved. I often wondered if I did something wrong. There is no rule saying that you have to save animals if they are injured, yet I still sense that I did something that I should be ashamed of. I was never really bothered by the bear. Actually, maybe it was the bear that bothered me. Seeing that dying beast made me witness things I never wanted to witness, feel things I never wanted to feel. Maybe humans are just horrible. We seem to have an impulse to act based on self-interest and scorn moral rules. Looking back, the experience I had with that bear was very much enlightening. I don’t think those three hikers were bad people — I think they are just a representation of human nature and society at its finest. They didn’t want to get their hands bloody and, I don’t blame them — blood does stain.

Humans of FHCI – Mr​ Ferroni

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

“I used to be an Auxiliary police constable with the Toronto Police.”

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

“I would be a criminal lawyer.”

What’s your favourite thing about being a teacher?

“Bringing people closer to the truth, just like in Plato’s Allegory of The Cave.”

What’s your least favourite thing about being a teacher?

“When people try to lead others away from the truth.”

Ethnic Cleansing is Still Very Much With Us

By Linda Cako

As of September 19, 2017, over 400,000 stateless Rohingya Muslims have been forced to leave their homes in Myanmar and flee into neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia. Bangladesh’s refugee camps are quickly becoming one of the world’s largest. Since August 2017, 20,000 new refugees enter and seek relief each day. It is estimated that these camps will hit one million refugees if the crisis continues to worsen (EuroNews, 2017). They are all leaving Myanmar due to the fact that the Burmese Military is destroying the Rohingya’s villages, and is raping and killing them.

They are all leaving Myanmar due to the fact that the Burmese Military is destroying the Rohingya’s villages, and is raping and killing them.

The Rohingya are a minority ethnic group in Myanmar compared to its overall Buddhist majority. While Myanmar claims the Rohingya population are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, the Rohingya population dates back to Myanmar’s population since the twelfth century (Human Rights Watch). The group has consistently been denied citizenship and documents and is considered to be one of the most targeted group of people today (The Guardian, 2017).They continue to live as stateless people within Myanmar’s boarders while Bangladesh is also refusing to give the Rohingya any documentation because it says the Rohingya are Burmese.

“50% are still intact? What does that mean? That 50% are gone, are burnt down. You know, 50% was a failing mark when I went to school”.

Myanmar is denying that there is any ethnic cleansing or genocide occurring within its borders to the UN and was happy to report that 50% of the Rohingya villages are still intact. Phil Robertson, a Deputy Director of HRW Asian Division, says, “50% are still intact? What does that mean? That 50% are gone, are burnt down. You know, 50% was a failing mark when I went to school”.

Satellite images are reporting to show the damages done in the villages as late as September 8, 2017 where 158 buildings were burned and destroyed.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, says, “the situation seems to be a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

World Leaders still haven’t decided how to punish the government’s military. And Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has received international criticism for not putting more effort into stopping the cleansing. While she has made efforts to change the country’s constitution in the past, unfortunately she has little to no power in achieving much since Myanmar is a “military-drafted constitution”. This means the army has a very integrated role within the government (CNN, 2017). In fact the army is required to make up 25% of all seats in the parliament, and for any changes to be made within the constitution more than 75% of the parliamentarians are required to vote (The Economist, 2014).

Until any action takes place, more innocent Rohingya will be targeted and displaced or killed by the Burmese Military.

Humans of FHCI – Kelly M.

By Leora T.

What is one thing you learned from your time at school?

One thing I’ve learned from my time at school is to stay true to yourself. Don’t let anyone manipulate the way you act or look and make sure you’re doing what makes you happy. Focus on what is important like your courses because friends will fade over time but school is meant for education.

Who is someone that inspires you and why?

Kim Kardashian inspires me, not from a beauty standpoint but as a businesswoman. She knows what she is doing and does well for herself and her family. She is a strong and powerful woman.


The Dark Side of Technology

By Josh Blatt

Why was technology made in the first place? This is a question that people should be asking themselves far more frequently, as it outlines many of the problems that exist with its use in modern society.

Technology was first made to make people’s lives easier. For example, farms used to require several individuals to manage it all day. Then, devices such as tractors and ploughs were invented and only a fraction of the effort is now needed in order to run the farm. As a result of this automation, people should, in theory, be able to work fewer hours and receive the same or more pay. The reality is that this is very idealistic and seldom seen in the modern world. Instead of this, many farmers, and workers in similar situations were fired. This illustrates how large-scale technology only benefits those who can afford to purchase it, and evidently not those who it replaces.

Furthermore, in a more relatable sense, technology has ironically made people more disconnected than ever. A 2016 report written by Media Technology Monitor says that young Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 spend nearly five hours per day using the internet, approximately 34 hours per week. Not only does this mean young people are spending less time with each other, but University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras has evidence showing that people who are addicted to cellphones or the internet “scored much higher on depression and anxiety scales.” It is clear that socially cell phones can and have been detrimental to the mental health and well-being of those who use them.

Technology is something that can yield tremendous benefits for those who use it. It can make communication and research easier, open up new and innovative job opportunities, and add unmatched levels of convenience to people’s lives. However, it should not be seen as something without its drawbacks. Not only has it contributed to the current wealth disparity we see today through eliminating jobs, but it has harmed its users on a mental and physical level. To avoid this unfortunate reality, youth need to be especially cautious with their future career choices. Technology must be used in moderation along with everything else in order to avoid the isolating and addictive traits it possesses intrinsically.

Did Anyone Really Expect This from FHCI?

By Ethan Blummberg

  The pep rally curated by Forest Hill students this past week was the most triumphant spectacle I have witnessed during my tenure at the school. The event was willingly enjoyed by hundreds of students, discrediting the notion that Forest Hill has no spirit. The event that unfolded in the gymnasium was unlike anything I had ever seen at Forest Hill. The disparity between this rally and previous attempts at school-wide events may be in large part to why it was such a success. As a student of three years, the change was refreshing.

The event was willingly enjoyed by hundreds of students, discrediting the notion that Forest Hill has no spirit.

                A highlight for my self-was the unorthodox methods such as the relay races, the hockey video and Kahoot game that was all used to appeal to the audience of nearly 1000 people. The well-executed video, made by grade 12 student Cole Chypyha, was a captivating insight into this year’s boys varsity hockey team. The visual component was a nice touch to the already stellar line up put together by the powers at be.  The commotion in the middle of the gym caused by the relay races was an outstanding example of the creativity we have in our school. Students from around the school participated in these clever races as their peers enthusiastically watched on. This element of the school-wide event brought a lot of comedic value out of the mishaps classmates endured attempting the relay challenges. All of the different parts of the rally, from the beginning to the end were integral to its success and I wouldn’t have changed a single thing.

                It is nice to finally have someone at Forest Hill who is able to entertain the entire school body, while still clearly articulating the points he must make. This can be found in current school president, James Michael Kabitsis. This captivating speaker led off the fourth period with a great speech that was a catalyst for the rest of the day’s success.  I don’t think it would be too far off for me to say that many of the staff in the school could benefit from listening to one of his speeches; so when the time comes that they must speak in front of the whole school they can properly engage the audience and convey their message. Rather than deliver a boring talk to hundreds of students that have endured many speeches alike.

After seeing Friday’s events unfold it is really hard to determine whether the lack of spirit in the school should be blamed on the students or the staff members of Forest Hill Collegiate Institute.

                I believe the recent rally was a huge success amongst the students, largely in part to how different the event was to what we have been accustomed to at FHCI.  Credit must go to the people who took part in planning the whole ordeal for hosting an event many, including myself, wouldn’t see possible coming from Forest Hill. Nevertheless, I think that this remarkable feat for the students of the school sadly will not occur again in my lifetime at Forest Hill. After seeing Friday’s events unfold it is really hard to determine whether the lack of spirit in the school should be blamed on the students or the staff members of Forest Hill Collegiate Institute.

This story was written by Ethan Blummberg, a Social Issues Editor for The Golden Falcon. The opinions expressed in this article reflect the opinions of the author.

Humans of FHCI – Mr. MacDonald

By Esther Eisen and Abi Parameswaran


unnamedWhat is one thing most people don’t know about you? 

“I dabble in oil painting. But I only dabble in it; I’m not very good at it. I can also carve a sick pumpkin!”

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be? 
“I would probably be working a desk job, doing something really boring like filing. My dream job would be a river raft guide in The Northern Woods.”
What’s your favourite thing about being a teacher?
“I really enjoy coming in every day and having one-on-one time with students in our own space. I like the discussions we have, the ideas we have. I like the creativity I see coming from the students. I learn something every day!”
What’s your least favourite thing about being a teacher?
“I don’t like whining.”
What’s one tradition you’ve kept throughout your teaching career? 
“We play Jeopardy every day. I started this tradition on my very first period of teaching. I found a Jeopardy calendar in my desk drawer and that just kick started the whole thing.”