Fredericton, NB – Fredericton High School (FHS) has launched their new Black Kat Student Centre to support youth mental health. In alignment with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s, Policy 322, Inclusive Education, the Black Kat Student Center addresses the need to support students who cannot attend full-time regularly scheduled classes due to various educational and mental health needs. The new Black Kat Centre provides alternative education pathways for students with a strong emphasis on self-paced academics and social-emotional learning. “The goal is to change the mindset that it is okay to get help and that our school can meet your needs.  Not everyone needs the same supports in the same way.  Not everyone goes through high school following the same path,” says Laurie Pearson, Vice Principal at FHS.

Through the help of the Capital Winter Club (CWC) Cares Youth Mental Health Fund, FHS was able to bring this Centre to life. Last year, the CWC set out to raise funds to support youth mental health by reaching a new world record for the longest continuous curling game. They surpassed the current record by curling for over 120 hours and raised over $300,000, some of which went to FHS for the Black Kat Centre. With school support, additional district funding, and contractors’ generous work, FHS officially opened the doors to the new space this school year.

The Centre has already expanded to include food support, providing food and snacks for students through FHS’s Black Kats Kitchen. Students continue to give feedback on the space so the program can be adapted to support their needs. Pearson comments on how the program is doing: “The best indicator of success is increased attendance in the program. So far, students who have struggled to attend in other years haven’t missed a day yet this year. There are 20 plus students in the space for most class periods, including the lunch hours and breaks.”

The official Open House takes place on Thursday, September 29, at 4:00 pm. The Open House will provide an opportunity to show the space to the school community and those who have graciously supported it with their donations. Media are invited to attend.

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