Real hands-on learning

One of the core values at NSCC is hands-on learning. Rather than just teaching the learners in our classrooms how to do something, we actually get them to do it. Last night was hands-on learning on a grand scale. Our tourism and culinary teams fed 292 people at a Tribute to the Honourable MP Peter MacKay, with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (or “Ben’s Dad” to some of the students) featured as keynote speaker. Tickets were $300 per plate and it was an event that many of them may never experience the likes of again.

One of the things we teach in our program is confidentiality, so I won’t go into too many details, but I will say that it was a lovely -but long – evening. The Final Touch in Stellarton did a beautiful job of transforming our campus gym into a ballroom, and the tourism class set the tables in blue & white. Attendees began the evening in the cafeteria where the volunteer fire department ran a bar and we served hors d’oeuvres with some live jazz setting the mood. Dinner was a mixed green salad with balsamic vinagrette, boneless cornish game hens stuffed with cranberry rice pilaf and a wild mushroom sauce served with tomato veggie baskets, then lemon meringue cheese cake with creme anglaise and raspberry coulis for dessert.

Some of us did get to meet the former Prime Minister (he came over to me and shook my hand!) and both Jamie Baillie and Peter MacKay were kind enough to join us upstairs in private after the celebration to chat and take photos. Each student will receive a letter from Peter MacKay to put into their Portfolios.

When people ask me what the best part of running a B&B is, my answer is always the people we host. We never know who we will have sleeping in our home, or having breakfast at our table. Over the past 11 years, we’ve had many interesting and accomplished people stay with us and we welcome each and every guest with equal enthusiasm. We had the conversation with our learners that regardless of their own political stripes, each guest needed be treated with respect and discretion. We needn’t have worried. The event went very well and the team rose to the occasion.

Hands-on learning at its best!

Nostalgia in Central Nova

Nostalgia in Central Nova


The lights are up and Kelsey adds final touches to the tables before the guests arrive.


Chef Gilles Godin oversees his learners.


While tourism was prepping the dining room; culinary was prepping the food. (I couldn’t believe how calm it was in the kitchen – what a team!)

Margaret (Office Admin), Heather (Business Admin), Samantha (Office Admin) at the coat check. Photo credit: Deanna Belliveau, Business Admin

Margaret (Office Admin), Heather (Business Admin), Samantha (Office Admin) at the coat check. Photo credit: Deanna Belliveau, Business Admin


Table settings before rolls, salads, dressings, menus, etc. were added. The culinary students made NSCC chocolate bars as a take-away favour for each guest.

Michaela, Tourism Management, gets ready to serve. Photo credit: Deanna Belliveau, Business Administration

Michaela, Tourism Management, gets ready to serve. Photo credit: Deanna Belliveau, Business Administration

Plating 300 desserts

Plating 300 desserts (Photo credit: Deanna Belliveau)


Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, had to leave after his keynote address, but took the time to come and acknowledge us.

Part of the Tourism and Culinary team with Jamie Baillie, Leader of the Provincial Conservative Party

Part of the Tourism and Culinary team with Jamie Baillie, Leader of the Provincial Conservative Party and Senator Tom McInnis


Most of the Tourism & Culinary team (along with Business & Office Administration volunteers) with the Honourable Peter MacKay, Senator Tom McInnis and his wife, Brenda. I made it into this one!


Chef Gilles Godin and the Honourable MP Peter MacKay


Chef Gilles Godin with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney


We are a learning facility. It’s unconventional, but we manage to get the job done. Students, faculty and the Academic Chair working on getting the dishes cleared! (The automotive shop became the dish pit!)

Just another School Day…

Terça-feira, Março 18

Today was a fairly quiet day as there were no scheduled activities other than attending classes.  Alex and Mullen dropped into Fabiana’s classroom to read stories and sing songs.

Mullen reading a story.

Mullen reading a story.

Listening to the story.

Listening to the story.

Alex reading a story.

Alex reading a story.

Ij your happy and you know it . .

If you’re happy and you know it . . .

Other classroom shots.

Mullen and Hanna in class.

In class.

Baileigh and Emma in class.


Alex in class.

Alex in class.

Tomorrow we will have dance lessons.

Falo um pouco de portugues. (I speak a little Portuguese.)

Tuesday, March 11 by D’Arcy.

Tudo Bem?

Yesterday, we were given a class schedule to follow.  Juliana Camarao, placed the students into as many classes as possible because the Brazil students were all asking to have a Canadian student in their class.  Escola Crescimento has so many students that there are two shifts of classes – the first starts at 7:10 am and the second starts at 1:10 pm.  Whenever we have classes scheduled, they are during the same shift that our homestay brother, or sister, attends.  So, some of our students attend classes during the first shift, and others during the second shift.

With all that being said, today was a full school day for the morning shift and only a partial school day for the afternoon shift.  The reason for this is that we were having a Portuguese lesson at the via Mundo office. Our teacher was Jessica.

Hanna with our Portuguese teacher, Jessica.

One of our students with our Portuguese teacher, Jessica.

Jessica taught us some basic terms that we might need to use as we try to communicate with our new friends, and families. We were all making notes to have as our cheat sheets.  You can just imagine us in conversation, having to resort to our cheat sheet (notes) to try and make sense of what is being said or what we are trying to say.  The key word here is that we are trying.

Tomorrow we have an Arts Workshop at Crescimento School in the morning and then Beach Volleyball in the afternoon.

Até logo.

Higher Education

Staff & faculty at NSCC Pictou Campus are buzzing with excitement today as we prepare for Convocation tomorrow (June 21st). We’ll have close to 275 graduates crossing the stage beginning at 11:00 AST. Our son Alex has the honour of singing O Canada at the beginning of the ceremony, in English, French, and Mi’Kmaq, and he will sign it with American Sign Language at the same time. The ceremony will be live-streamed via webcast. If you are interested in watching,  you can click on the following link:

NSCC Pictou Campus Graduation

In other exciting news, I just received word that I’ll be attending my third course at Cornell University (Strategic Financial Management for Hotels) during the first week of July, moving me one step closer to completing my certification in Strategic Hospitality Management. I am so thankful to the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Canada Opportunites Agency for this opportunity!

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence,
regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

~Vince Lombardi