MAPLE RIDGE – A new weekly program called lunch and learn at North Dundas District High School is giving students the chance to hear first-hand from working professionals about the joys, challenges and numerous gateways to successful careers in their chosen careers.

NDDHS guidance teachers Patti Hall and Andrea McDonell organized the program in an effort to provide students with important information as they make decisions about their post-secondary lives.

“We meet with all the students throughout the course of the year, usually before the end of first semester, to talk to them about how their courses fit into what they need for post-secondary. Which could be work, college, university, apprenticeship or wherever they’re headed. So we’re trying to match careers with what we’re seeing the kids want. To get a real insight on what the job is like day to day,” said McDonell.

OPP Const. Tylor Copeland spoke with students at NDDHS last month for the lunch and learn program. The new initiative allows students to hear from professionals working in the field as they make get set to make decisions about their post-secondary lives. Schoch Photo

OPP Const. Tylor Copeland was the latest professional to give a presentation to the students. The session is generally 20 to 30 minutes and is informal in nature. The students are also able to get answers to questions that they otherwise may only find online, which isn’t always the most accurate resource.

In the past few weeks, the program has also had a chiropractor and an architect in to speak with the students.

While the program started with a small group of students, it has started to gain some momentum. Having it scheduled at lunchtime has advantages and drawbacks according to Hall.

“The first one we had five students [then] we had 12 to 15. It’s the only social time the kids have, but we felt that it was a better time because some students don’t know what to do at lunchtime. Those kids are seeing it’s beneficial and are learning something from it,” she said.

McDonell and Hall are always on the look out for other professionals willing to donate some time at lunch to come in and share their working experiences with the students.

If you are interested in participating in the lunch and learn program, McDonell and Hall can be contacted by phone (613-448-2328) or email through