The joy of a Catholic education was the focus for RCCDSB students in the Renfrew/Westmeath areas during the month of May.
St. Thomas the Apostle School in Renfrew celebrated Catholic Education Week by ‘exploring paths of joy,’ says St. Thomas Principal Connie Dick.Activities included a poster contest supported by the Catholic Women’s League of St. Francis Xavier Parish, prayer services, mentor texts and activities focused on the week’s theme of ‘exploring paths of joy’!
“The Grade 12 students from St. Joseph’s Catholic High School surprised us at school and carried out dozens of random acts of kindnessduring the week,” says Principal Dick. “This added to our joy!”
The school also celebrated Spirit Days with Crazy Hair Day, ‘70s Day, Cow Girl/Boy Day and P.I.N.K. days. This year’s P.I.N.K. Day included three slideshows that featured the songs Firework, Stand Upand Brave, Dick says.“Students were challenged to be peaceful, inclusive, noble and kind at all times, and to stand up and speak out against bullying,” Dick says.
Grade 7 students also attended We Day in Ottawa, after working throughout the year on several community projects to “pay it forward,” says Dick. Their activities included collecting food for the food bank, clothing for a homeless shelter, and books and puzzles for the Renfrew Victoria Hospital’s Dialysis Unit. All grades collected donations to support friends in the Dominican Republic. The Grade 7 students also participated in a “We Are Silent Day,” raising funds to assist families in Kenya to earn an alternative income.
“From inquiry through play in Kindergarten, to Collaborative Inquiry Learning in Mathematics, learning at St. Thomas has been engaging and interactive,” Dick says. “Student engagement and the joy of learning are great at St. Thomas!”
At Our Lady of Grace Catholic School in Westmeath, Catholic Education Week began with the Living Rosary, reports Principal Melissa Carroll-Dubeau. Students hosted a Senior Appreciation Day with Grade 7 students inviting seniors in the community, organizing games, as well as providing homemade soup, sandwiches, and dessert, with live music and flowers to thank them.
Other activities in May, says Principal Dubeau, included welcoming the school’s Tutor in the Classroom, Kelsy Boucher from Bishop Smith Catholic High School. Students also planted flowers at Sunset Nursery and participated in a Food Drive during Catholic Education Week. The school celebrated mass with Our Lady Of Lourdes Catholic School in Pembroke, attended a 911 presentation by Police Officer Beth Ethier, and ended the week with art work, a collaborative read aloud, and swimming at the Kinsmen pool.
Our Lady of Grace’s four house teams received points for Spirit Days (Hawaiian Day, Limerick Day, bring a can food item, as well as other activities).
On May 25 Olympic kayaker Kalob Grady was an exciting guest speaker at the school, says Dubeau. “He is an uncle of two boys in our school and will be participating in the 2015 ICF World Championships in the Whitewater region this August,” notes Carroll-Dubeau.
The school’s building also underwent renovations, with a new front office, doors, and painted hallway, reports Principal Dubeau, concluding “Our Lady of Grace Catholic School in Westmeath has been a very busy little place the month of May.”
Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School also had a full calendar in May, notes Acting Principal Ruth McNulty. Students explored paths of joy during Catholic Education Week, with storyteller Susan White and a presentation by St. Joseph’s High School students of their Dominican Republic Experience. Natalia McPhedran also talked about “Parents, Children and Technology” in a session for adults. In other activities, the Renfrew Children/Youth Chorus with Jessica Belanger performed at the school, and the Smash Brothers shared their anti-bullying/self-esteem message with all students.
On May 13, the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, a Living Rosary for all students was led by Raina Newberry and Kindergarten students with help from volunteer CWL “LOVE (Let Older Volunteers Educate) ladies.”
Students in all classes from Grades 1 to 7 also participated in a mobile golf clinic by the Golf Association of Ontario and CN Future Links.
Twelve students painted the windows at a nearby Tim Horton’s restaurant to help promote Camp Day. Three of the students will be Tim Horton’s Campers this summer. An entertaining and interactive presentation by Kyle Dine helped to educate students about food allergies.
Algonquin Elder Skip Ross visited on May 7 and May 28 to see all classes from Grades 2/3 through 7.
St. Joseph’s High School also organized some great Jag Treat Week activities for Our Lady of Fatima students, McNulty adds. ”They’ve created wonderful opportunities for all students in our family of schools to visit and experience their (hopefully) future high school.”
Meanwhile, St. Joseph Catholic High School students enjoyed the opportunity to see and experience career choices that are available in skilled trades along with other students from across Eastern Ontario at the Options 2015 Skilled Trades Fair in Pembroke.
SJHS students in the Food Program assisted with the community soup kitchen at Our Lady of Fatima parish. The Jaguars also announced support for Renfrew Victoria Hospital’s new nephrology unit.
On May 26, SJHS looks forward to hosting the EOSSAA junior and senior boys soccer championships at the school and at Ma-Te-Way Park.
May 25, 2015
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