May is one of the busiest months at Niagara Catholic. It’s particularly fitting that a month that celebrates Mothers is the Month of the Holy Mother, because May is the Month of Mary in the Catholic Church. Come and see what May has to offer across Niagara Catholic!
We begin the month with Catholic Education Week, from May 3-8. On May 3, parishes throughout Niagara will have a special Catholic Education Week message from students and staff at our schools. On May 4, we will begin the week in our schools with Music Monday at schools across the system, and our annual Catch the Spirit Awards, which celebrates students who exemplify Catholic education in all they do. A number of events will take place throughout Catholic Education Week in our schools. Each school will host an Open House and activities are planned for each day in our schools. Check our booklet for details.
We conclude Catholic Education Week on May 8 with our Third Annual Distinguished Alumni Celebration. This very special event recognizes the outstanding contribution of our graduates to our local and global communities. Updated! Read about this year’s event here.
On the first day of school this year, students from St. Thomas More Catholic Elementary School and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Elementary School came under one roof for the first time as a school community. On May 13, they will celebrate the blessing of the renovated and expanded Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Elementary School. We invite past and current students of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and members of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel family to participate in this event at 1 p.m.
Niagara Catholic’s annual Graduation Celebration will take place on Thursday, May 14, at the Gale Centre in Niagara Falls. On this day, Niagara Catholic’s 1,900 graduates will come together for a special celebration of their 14 years in Catholic education. This year’s speaker will be Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson, founder of Soul Play, which brings together theology and engaging storytelling. Dr. Nelson-Johnson will be the guest speaker at the Partners in Catholic Education event, which will take place that evening at Club Roma in St. Catharines.
Friday, May 15 is a Professional Activity Day. While our students enjoy an extra day on the long weekend, staff across Niagara Catholic will take place in activities to further deepen our faith.
Don’t forget: Monday, May 18 is Victoria Day and all of our schools and sites are closed as we celebrate the unofficial start to summer.
On May 20, our elementary and secondary school student leaders will participate in the Student Leadership Symposium at Club Roma in St. Catharines. During this event, students will elect the Chair and Co-Chair of the Elementary and Secondary Student Senates for 2015-2016. The Chair and Co-Chair of the Secondary Student Senate will serve as our two Niagara Catholic Student Trustees.
Primary and Junior EQAO testing begins on May 25, and runs through June 5. Grade 9 EQAO Mathematics Assessments begin on May 28 and runs through June 12. Parents of students taking these tests will receive information from the school about how to ensure their child is ready on testing days.
One more month to go in the year, everyone, and June is shaping up to be another busy one! Check back on June 1 for a list of events and activities in our schools.
The mission of the Diocese of St. Catharines is founded in the mission of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of St. John, Jesus states that He came down from heaven, "not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me." (Jn6:38) Jesus' mission is doing the will of his Father. This is the will of the Father, "that all who see the Son and believe in him will have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day". (Jn 6:40)
The Diocese of St. Catharines' mission is rooted in doing the Father's will by proclaiming His son to the world so that all can know, love and serve Him. This mission is lived out on a daily basis in our parishes, schools and Catholic institutions. We find clergy, religious and laity committed to proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ by witnessing to His truth, justice, love and mercy. St. Catharines Diocese is where faith lives.
Trustees Approve Policies
During the June 9, 2015 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Trustees approved the following revised policies: Progressive Student Discipline – Safe Schools Policy (302.6.9), Admission of Elementary and Secondary Students Policy (301.1), Safe Physical Intervention with Students Policy (301.8), Equity and Inclusive Education Policy (100.10), Purchasing/Supply Chain Management Policy (600.1) and Retirement and Service Recognition Policy (201.2).
Niagara Catholic regularly reviews Board policies to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of the system and comply with Ministry of Education requirements.
Trustees Recognize Student Medallists
During the June 16, 2015 Board Meeting, Trustees recognized a number of Niagara Catholic students who represented their schools and the Board at provincial and national competitions during the spring sports season.
Canadian Secondary School Rowing Championships:
Saint Michael Catholic High School Junior Women’s Double – Gold
Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School Senior Men’s Single – Gold
Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School Junior Men’s 65kg Four with coxswain – Bronze
Denis Morris Catholic High School Senior Men’s 72kg Single – Silver
Denis Morris Catholic High School 72kg Four with coxswain – Bronze
Saint Francis Catholic Secondary School Junior Women’s 63kg – Silver
Saint Paul Catholic High School – Junior Women’s Single – Silver
Saint Paul Catholic High School – Senior Women’s Quad – Bronze
OFSAA Boys AA Soccer:
Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School – Silver
OFSAA Boys A/AA Lacrosse
Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School – Bronze
2015 Lacrosse Boys AAA/AAAA
Denis Morris Catholic High School – Bronze
OFSAA Track and Field:
Saint Michael Catholic High School Makiah Hunt – Gold
Several students were on hand for the presentations. Each was presented with a Niagara Catholic Excellence in Athletics Pin by Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil. Students who were unable to attend were presented with their pins by their school principals.
Kids Helping Kids
Since 1997, the week of Valentine’s Day has had a special place in the hearts of elementary students at Niagara Catholic. That’s the week when school communities have a series of fun-filled games, events and activities, all geared toward raising money for, and awareness of, the Niagara Children’s Centre.
During the June 16 Board Meeting, Niagara Catholic presented a cheque to the Centre for $36,803.09. Since 1997, Niagara Catholic has raised more than $675,000 for the Centre, to help provide programs and services for children with a number of special needs.
This year, Ryan Boros, a Grade 11 student at Lakeshore Catholic High School, joined Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil, Director of Education John Crocco and Superintendent of Education Yolanda Baldasaro in making the presentation to Children’s Centre Executive Director Oksana Fisher. Ryan spoke eloquently about how the Centre, and Niagara Catholic’s involvement with it, has impacted his life.
“I just cannot express in words the debt that I ow to the Niagara Children’s Centre and Niagara Catholic for making me who I am,” he said.
Following Ryan’s speech, Chair MacNeil called Ryan “an inspiration to all of us.”
On June 17, Niagara Catholic was presented with the Dr. William J. Orr Tribute Award of Distinction by the Centre. Read the media release here.
Six Straight Years of Perfect EcoSchools Certification
Niagara Catholic has participated in the Ontario EcoSchools program since 2007. This program incorporates environmental education as well as environmentally responsible action in a school or classroom setting, creating a culture of conservation that students bring into their home lives.
In 2010, Niagara Catholic became the first school board in the province to have every single school in its system to be certified as an Ontario EcoSchool. Since then, we have maintained that perfect record of full certification. This year represents our sixth straight year of EcoSchools certification, a record that is unparalled in Ontario.
This accomplishment has been made possible through the exceptional learning provided to students and the environmentally responsible practices incorporated into our schools.
This year, one Niagara Catholic school – St. Mary Catholic Elementary School in Niagara Falls – achieved Platinum status for its efforts. Thirty-nine schools achieved Gold EcoSchools status, 16 achieved Silver status and one school achieved Bronze status for 2014-2015.
Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil congratulated the students and staff for their commitment to environmental stewardship.
“It only takes a quick look around our schools to see that our students and staff are committed to preserving the world that God created for us,” said Father MacNeil. “When you speak to the students about the projects they are doing and the ways in which they are conserving energy and learning about nature, the students come to life and their enthusiasm spreads to everyone around them. Congratulations to all of our students and staff who worked so hard this year, and thank you to the parents and guardians who have supported them along the way.”
Director of Education John Crocco said this year’s outstanding result has been guided by the Green Niagara Catholic program, which promotes conservation and stewardship, and the Niagara Catholic’s Environmental Stewardship Policy.
“God created us with a world of beauty to enjoy, nature to explore and resources to share,” said Mr. Crocco. “In his encyclical on climate change released this week, Pope Francis reminds us that we can – and must – do better to protect our ‘common home, (that is) is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us,’ and called us to consider the ways in which our actions impact the planet and change our behaviour. We consider environmental stewardship as an extension of the culture of life present throughout Niagara Catholic, and I’m proud of the hard work our students and staff have put forward to continue to achieve 100 per cent EcoSchools certification again this year.”
Find Niagara Catholic’s EcoSchools results here.
Larkin Estate Awards Recommended
The Larkin Estate Award was created out of a bequest from the estates of Maria Eveleen Larkin and Aimee Theresa Larkin. Beginning in 1969, Trustees in the former Lincoln County Roman Catholic Separate School Board administered the Larkin Estate Award to students registered in St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, or a school of nursing, social work or a college or university offering such a course.
During the June 16, 2015 Board Meeting, Trustees approved a recommendation granting seven graduating students a $225 Larkin Estate Award as they embark on their post-secondary educations: Kristen Anderson (Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School, Nursing); Ariel Michael Morales (Denis Morris Catholic High School, Nursing); Zoie Ward, Jennifer Korsmit and Marta Wasak (Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School, Nursing); Michelle Desrosiers (Lakeshore Catholic High School, Women & Gender Studies) and Sean Michael Thompson (Notre Dame College School, Nursing).
Five alumni had their $125 Award repeated this year: Adriana Sansotta (Brock University from Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School, Nursing); Aryn Richardon (McMaster University from Denis Morris Catholic High School, Bachelor of Science, Nursing); Bianca Benincasa (University of Toronto from Lakeshore Catholic High School, Criminology/Criminal Sciences); Denise Ehi (University of Windsor from Saint Michael Catholic High School, Nursing) and Melissa DellaSmirra (Brock University from Notre Dame College School, Nursing).
Captial Projects Submission 2015
Each year, the Ministry of Education invites school boards to submit their Capital Priorities for the coming year.
Submissions for the 2015-2016 school year are due on July 15, 2015.
Senior Staff reviewed a number of possible capital projects for funding, and created a list of those deemed most necessary.
During the June 16, 2015 Board Meeting, Trustees approved the following Capital Projects, in order of priority, be considered by the Board for submission to the Ministry:
This is the final Spotlight on Niagara Catholic until September. We wish everyone a very safe and enjoyable summer.
We will see you on September 8, 2015.
The Niagara Catholic District School Board, through the charisms of faith, social justice, support and leadership, nurtures an enriching Catholic learning community for all to reach their full potential and become living witnesses of Christ.