Niagara Catholic Inspires Thinkers

Each spring, Niagara Catholic hosts an event aimed at motivating senior high school students who are involved in advanced mathematics and writing programs.


Keynote speaker Ron Lancaster addresses students during Day One of the Inspiring Thinkers Conference at Brock University.


This year’s Inspiring Thinkers Conference took place over two days at Brock University, May 4 and May 5. Day One focused on mathematics, and included a keynote address by Ron Lancaster, an Associate Professor in the teaching stream at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. He is an expert in teaching mathematics methods to those who aspire to teach Grade 7-12 math, and is one of the foremost experts on mathematics in the country and is respected around the world. His presentation to students focused on challenging and intriguing mathematical questions that arise from the seemingly simple process of shuffling a pack of playing cards, or of turning the face on a Rubik’s Cube.

Other speakers at the math event included Wolfgang Guembel, a triathlete who spoke about the ways he uses math as an endurance athlete, and Neil Lane, who spoke about the ways in which entrepreneurial students can bring together math and their passion. Lane is the founder of Stathletes, a hockey analytics company, with clients in the NHL, AHL, CHL and NCAA. Also on the agenda were Jesse Larone, who spoke about Cryptography (the art of writing or solving codes), and Lizette Norio and Robert Cargnelli from Brock University’s Internal Audit Department, who spoke about auditing and large-scale financial planning.


Keynote speaker Dalton Higgins speaks to students during Day Two of the Inspiring Thinkers Conference at Brock University.

The writing portion of the Inspiring Thinkers Conference took place on May 5, and included a keynote address by Dalton Higgins, an author and media personality who is widely known as Canada’s foremost authority on hip-hop. His speech focused on the way language has evolved, the complexities of freestyle rapping and the way in which hip-hop has crossed cultural lines.

Other speakers at the writing event included poet and author Nadine Williams, who spoke on the topic of using poetry to express emotions in her workshop, Writing the Wrongs; local author William Thomas who spoke about the importance of clear, tight writing in his workshop Write Tight, Think Clearly, Be Funny; Author Robert Alexander who specializes in non-fiction (Writing Creative Non-Fiction); author Natalee Caple (How to Write a Story in an Hour); author Kristen Ciccarelli (Writing Compelling Characters) and Jennifer Pellegrini, who spoke about  how a blog turned into a book in her workshop, The Accidental Author.

Approximately 200 students took part in the event. View coverage from Cogeco here.


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