The 2015–2016 school year got under way in RCCDSB’s Madawaska family of schools with several celebrations and fund-raising events.
St. John Bosco Catholic Elementary School in Barry’s Bay celebrated its 50th anniversary on September 17 with many former students, teachers and staff in attendance, as well as Board Chair Bob Michaud, local trustee Marlene Borutski, Superintendent of Business Services Mary Lynn Schauer, parents and local clergy, Principal Marie Finnerty reports. “The Liturgy of the Word was celebrated by Father Mervin Coulas of St. Lawrence O’Toole Parish and Father Chris Shalla of St. Hedwig Parish. Former staff member Theresa Prince also presented a history of the school.” Principal Finnery adds that “the music, the weather, the food, and the sharing of stories all made for an incredible evening of celebration. We also had our first dance, which was a huge success,” Finnerty says. St. John Bosco also held its annual Terry Fox Run, Finnerty reports, raising more than $260.
Meanwhile, St. Andrew’s school in Killaloe began the year with a focus on the theme of mercy, in response to His Holiness Pope Francis’ declaration of a Year of Mercy for all Catholics. Principal Mary Catherine Brisco says “Each class did an inquiry to discover what mercy means and to give an example of someone who shows mercy.” After the school’s opening mass, “Each class presented its findings to the entire student body, community members and Father Michael Goring,” reports Principal Brisco. The class projects also were displayed on a school bulletin board. “We will dig deeper into mercy and endeavour to show mercy to one another and to those in the world who are suffering as the year goes on,” says Brisco. “Our Me to We group also is showing mercy by raising money that will go with our Diocese to help Syrian refugees.
At St. James Elementary School in Eganville, students focused on the value of hospitality, says Principal Jody Weller. “We welcomed Father Ken O’Brien, our new priest, at the school’s opening mass on September 24. Father Ken highlighted the importance of welcoming God into our hearts, and all those around us, whether friend or foe! He spoke to the students about making peace with everyone, so that our hearts are true vessels of love and hospitality.”
Another big event at St. James was the Terry Fox run, reports Principal Weller. “On September 17, a student ambassador with the Terry Fox Foundation, gave a presentation to students about Terry’s life, his journey and goals, and how that legacy remains today with the help of so many Canadian participants.” Weller says that Jessica Levesque organized the presentation, adding that Levesque also organizes the school’s fundraising efforts, which have raised $3,800 in the last two years.
Some of the Board’s program teams also have visited the school in September, says Weller. Erik Lemke, of the Student Work Study Teachers initiative, has been working with teachers to determine students’ strengths, next steps and specific areas for concentration in math instruction. Shelley Montgomery and team members are working on a new pilot project that focuses on trades to develop 21st century skills, and are helping Grade 7 and 8 students to prepare for a special work-related co-op experience.
George Vanier School in Combermere held its annual Open House on September 9, reports Principal Maureen Enright. “It was a great opportunity for families to meet and visit with staff members,” she says. The school also bid farewell to Father Ken O’Brien in September and welcomed Father John Lacey.
George Vanier students also are preparing for the annual Partridge Run on October 2 at St. Mary’s School in Wilno. “We are very thankful to the volunteers who are working to keep this tradition going even though St. Mary’s has closed,” Enright says, adding that students from Grades 4 to 8 will participate on the George Vanier team.
For further information, please contact: Michele Arbour, Director of Education Renfrew County Catholic District School Board 499 Pembroke Street West Pembroke, ON K8A 5P1
Phone: 613-735-1031 or 1-800-267-019l