Choose the EMSB: New campaign to boost East End schools begins in St. Léonard with Senator Tony Loffreda

Montreal, February 28, 2023- As part of a campaign to highlight the benefits of a public school education, the English Montreal School Board has launched a new series of  presentations – in person and online- featuring prominent graduates.

“Choose the EMSB,” will be the campaign slogan,  and it began with a focus on East End Schools. Senator Tony Loffreda has agreed to serve as honourary chair and he kicked things off on   February 28 at Laurier Macdonald High School in St. Léonard , speaking to students about his successful career and his public education experience. Students from the three St. Léonard elementary schools – Dante, Pierre de Coubertin and Honoré Mercier -were also be part of this, as well as the Laurier Macdonald Career Centre. The talk was live streamed into classrooms.  

Tony Loffreda with students and (left to right) Commissioner Mario Pietrangelo, Moderator Richard Deschamps, Director General Nick Katalifos, Chair Joe Ortona and Assistant Directors General Pela Nickoletopoulos and Jack Chadirjian.

Following up on a very successful Le Mois du français à la CSEM campaign, EMSB Chair Joe Ortona said it is important to remind every parent whose child has English eligibility to “Choose the EMSB" in order to boost enrolment. Senator Loffreda has agreed to approach other grads to make such visits to schools as well.

Veteran broadcaster Richard Deschamps moderated the program, which highlighted Senator Loffreda’s remarkable career trajectory, which began at two public schools in east-end Montreal. He encouraged current students to find something that they are passionate about – pointing out that what they're focused on as a youngster might not necessarily be where they end up. The Senator used a Rolling Stones quote to describe that process: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you’ll get what you need. 

“You have to love what you do,” Senator Loffreda added. “If you just love it, you’ll see it’ll take you somewhere, where one day you wake up and say, ‘well, the Senator was right. I really love this.’”

Here is a video of his talk 

Senator Loffreda was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 2019 by the Governor General of Canada on the advice of the Prime Minister.  He is the first Canadian born Senator of Italian descent and currently sits on the Senate’s National Finance Committee, the Committee on Banking, Trade and the Economy, and the Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.  He also serves on several Senate Working Groups and is Vice-Chair of the Canada-Italy Interparliamentary Group.  He is a member of the Independent Senators Group.

Prior to his appointment, Senator Loffreda was a Vice Chairman and Executive at RBC. He brings to the Senate over 35 years of experience in the financial industry.

"Develop a passion for what you do," Senator Loffreda advised the students. "Success is like failure. Put it in your pocket and keep walking. Be prepared to admit your mistakes."

Senator. Loffreda also urged students to never compromise on core values such as those he holds dear – integrity, responsibility and diversity. “Value different people. Get out of your comfort zone,” he said. 

Senator Loffreda credited the teachers he had when attending public primary and high school in Montreal for providing him with the skills required to become a senior banking executive and now a Senator.

Senator Loffreda visits the Electric Car training shop at Laurier Macdonald Career Centre.

Senator Loffreda has served on various boards and committees including, but not limited to, the Concordia University Board of Governors; the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montréal; Montréal International; the Italian-Canadian Community Foundation; the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada; and the executive committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal. 

Senator Loffreda  is a leading philanthropist, active in service to many communities, having chaired fundraising activities across the province for various causes such as the Giant Steps School; the Montréal Jewish General Hospital; McGill University Goodman Research Centre; the Montréal Cancer Institute and many more. He is also a frequent and sought-after speaker on economic and community issues. Among his many awards and distinctions, he is a recipient of the Lieutenant Governor of Québec’s Gold Medal for Exceptional Merit; the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal; the Governor General of Canada Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers; the Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association’s Person of the Year Award; the Philhellene of the Year Award by the Hellenic Community of Greater Montréal; and the Senate of Canada 150th Anniversary Medal which he received prior to his appointment.  He was also inducted as an administrator into the Montréal-Concordia Soccer Hall of Fame.

Senator Loffreda stops by the hairdressing training shop at Laurier Macdonald Career Centre.

Senator Loffreda passed the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Final Exam and earned a USA - Certified Public Accountant designation through the University of Illinois.

Senator Loffreda also holds a Chartered Global Management Accountant international designation from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

He earned his Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in accounting from Concordia University. He lives in Montreal with his wife, and they have two children

Veteran broadcaster Richard Deschamps will moderate the program,


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