Niagara Catholic District School Board

Welcome to April! It’s so hard to believe that there are only three months left in this incredibly busy 2014-2015 school year. As we move further into Spring, we are all looking forward to better – and warmer – days ahead. Don’t miss a thing this month! Check out our April events below:

April 2 is Holy Thursday and also John Paul II Day in Canada. We mark this very important day in the Christian calendar in a variety of ways, including re-enactments of The Stations of the Cross. Please check your child’s school calendar or newsletter for times and locations and join us.


All Niagara Catholic schools and sites will be closed on Friday, April 3 and Monday, April 6, in observance of the Good Friday and Easter Monday holidays. We hope your family enjoys the blessings of the Easter season.



The 12th Annual Bishop’s Gala will take place at Club Roma on Friday, April 10. This is a signature event in our system, when we recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to Catholic education in Niagara and in Ontario with the Niagara Catholic Education Award of Distinction. This year’s recipients are Anna Racine and the late Joseph Noonan. The Bishop’s Gala is also raises funds for the Niagara Foundation for Catholic Education, which provides scholarships for graduating students.



On Monday, April 13, Niagara Catholic will celebrate the many volunteers who enrich and enhance the lives of our students during our annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast. Thank you to the many parents, grandparents and community volunteers who bring their time and talents into our schools throughout the year.


Niagara Catholic’s Elementary Chess Tournament will take place April 14, 15 and 16 at St. Denis Catholic Elementary School. If you have a student competing on one of these days and are able to attend, please feel free to drop by St. Denis to watch the students in action.


Niagara Catholic will once again mark Earth Week with our Electronics Recycling Event at the Catholic Education Centre. Please feel free to drop off your unwanted electronics at 427 Rice Road in Welland from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. from Monday, April 20 through Friday, April 27. The proceeds from this year’s event will once again go to our Helping Hands Fund to support families in need.


Niagara Catholic’s annual Heritage Fair will take place at Brock University’s Pond Inlet on Wednesday, April 22. This event celebrates the people and events in Canada’s history that have made our country the great nation it is today. Niagara Catholic has once again declared April 22 United Way Day across the system. On this day, our schools will raise funds for our local United Way organizations and will learn more about how they support the member agencies in the community.


Niagara Catholic’s annual Grade 7 Faith Festival will take place on Tuesday, April 28 and Wednesday, April 29 at St. Alfred Catholic Church in St. Catharines. Once again Father Tony Ricard will bring his dynamic message about faith and making good choices to students. Father Tony will also hold a 90-minute presentation at Saint Michael Catholic High School in Niagara Falls on April 29, titled The Path from Slavery to Salvation. This presentation will explore the musical heritage and faith journey that brought freedom to the South. This event is free and open to the public and we guarantee that it will life your spirit!


While our Grade 7s celebrate their faith on April 28 and 29, secondary school students will participate in the Inspiring Thinkers Conference at Brock University. This two-day session will focus on literacy and numeracy. The April 28 event will focus on writing, and includes a number of very exciting guest speakers and workshops for students to enjoy. On April 29, it’s all about math, and our advanced mathematics students will participate in a number of workshops and presentations by some of the most brilliant math minds in Canada and beyond.


We conclude April with the Niagara Catholic Festival of the Arts, which will take place on April 30 at Notre Dame College School. Be sure to check your child’s school calendar for specific information about this event, which once again showcases the many unique talents of our students.









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 have approved the 2015-2016 school year calendar, and it has been sent to the Ministry of Education for final approval.

If approved by the Ministry, the new academic year will begin on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 and the last day of school will be Wednesday June 29, 2016.

Elementary Professional Activity Days will take place on October 9 and November 13, 2015, and January 15, June 10 and June 30, 2016. Secondary Professional Activity Days will also take place on October 9 and November 13, 2015, with 2016 dates of February 5, June 29 and June 30.

Secondary first semester exams will take place from January 29 through February 4, 2016 and second semester exams will be held June 22-28, 2016.

All Niagara Catholic schools and sites will be closed for the two-week Christmas break, December 21, 2015-January 1, 2016, and the March Break will take place March 14-18, 2016.

View the approved elementary and secondary school year calendars which are pending Ministry approval. Once approved, the finalized school year calendars will be posted on the Board website and on school websites.


During the April 28 Board Meeting, Trustees approved updates to three Niagara Catholic policies: E

Educational Field Trips Policy (400.2), Volunteer Driver Policy (302.4) and Volunteer Recognition Policy (800.4).

The revisions were conducted as part of Niagara Catholic’s ongoing, cyclical review of policies, which ensures our policies continue to meet the needs of the Board and comply with the Ministry of Education.

They are available for review in the Policies section of this website.


Niagara Catholic is pleased to announce the 2015 recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award.

This year’s recipients are an oncologist who strives to better the lives of those he comes into contact with every day; an aspiring lawyer and advocate for those on the Autism spectrum; and the founder of a company that promotes artisans in developing nations around the world to help lift them out of poverty.

Niagara Catholic created the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012 to recognize our graduates whose life journeys are visibly rooted in the Niagara Catholic education they received while attending our schools and who are described as distinguished, notable or acclaimed. Graduates selected for the annual Niagara Catholic Distinguished Alumni Award continually fulfill the Ontario Catholic Graduate Expectations through their personal or professional involvement in our local or global community.

Niagara Catholic created the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012 to recognize graduates whose life journeys are rooted in the Catholic education they received while attending one of our schools, and whose words and deeds fulfil the Ontario Catholic Graduate Expectations; a key component of the nomination criteria.

The inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards were presented during Catholic Education Week in May, 2013, and the recipients included social justice activists, an acclaimed composer, a philanthropist, a journalist, a soldier, a doctor a scholar.

“Today, I am proud to announce the recipients of the 2015 Niagara Catholic Distinguished Alumni Award,” said Director of Education, John Crocco. “Terri-Lynn Woodhouse, Dr. Michael Levesque and Joseph McDonald are very accomplished individuals in their own right and are outstanding examples of Catholic education. Each, in their own way, works to improve the lives of others, whether it is through medical treatment, advocacy or helping alleviate poverty. On behalf of Senior Administrative Council, I congratulate each of our recipients and look forward to presenting them with their awards during a celebration at the Catholic Education Centre on May 8.”

The 2015 recipients are:

FullSizeRender Dr. Michael Levesque

Dr. Michael Levesque thought he would be content to work in a laboratory throughout his career. He imagined himself as a researcher, diligently working to find a way to cure cancer, far removed from the people his research might one day save.

A decade of experience of working at a women’s shelter in downtown Toronto changed Dr. Levesque’s perspective and he knew a solitary life in a laboratory was not for him. He realized that it is the connections we make with people every day – big and small – that truly impact each other’s lives and what he truly thrived upon, so he combined his love of social work and his love of science and became a doctor.

Dr. Levesque felt the draw to return to Niagara in 2008, and has often found himself treating former teachers and classmates and their families – something that can often be difficult but is vitally important, says Dr. Levesque.

Since his return, Dr. Levesque has treated former classmates and teachers – even his former family doctor – and their families. He said although it can often be difficult, it is a privilege to be able to serve people during such a difficult time in their lives, offering comfort and dignity to not only his patients but the loved ones who support them.

Dr. Michael Levesque is a graduate of St. Antoine and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Elementary Schools, and was a member of the Saint Paul Catholic High School Class of 1985. He holds several degrees from the University of Toronto, including a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and Doctor of Medicine. He is currently an oncologist with the Walker Family Cancer Centre in St. Catharines and an Assistant Professor at the McMaster University School of Medicine’s Brock University Campus.

McDonald, Joseph - photoJoseph McDonald

Joseph McDonald developed a keen interest in global events while attending Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School, after participating in the Students Taking Action Now: Darfur group, a student-action group opposed to the genocide in Darfur. He went on to complete an undergraduate degree in Political Science and English (Double Major), before taking time off to backpack around the world.

That experience built upon the foundation Joseph received as a student at Blessed Trinity, and drew him to a career as a policy analyst at the Canadian International Development Agency, which administers foreign aid in developing nations. In addition to wanting to assist people around the world, Joseph was eager to aid people at home, so he volunteered his time at the Ottawa Mission, was a tutor at Discovery University through the Mission and assisted the Salvation Army.

In 2012, Joseph returned to Toronto and was elected to the Board of Directors of Autism Ontario, an organization he joined in support of a family member who is on the Autism spectrum. At the same time, he launched synapsABILITY, a web-based platform to connect families of individuals who share common areas of interest.  In 2013, he was recognized as a Centre for Social Innovation’s Agent of Change. He has also helped organize “University in the Community” in Toronto; a program funded by the Catherine Donnelly Foundation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which provides low-income individuals with the opportunity to take free, university-level courses in the Humanities.

Joseph is currently enrolled in Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Upon graduation, he aspires to have a legal career focusing on social justice.

Joseph McDonald is a graduate of St. John Catholic Elementary School and was a member of the Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School Class of 2002. He is also a graduate of McMaster University and Carleton University.

Woodhouse, Terri-Lynn - photoTerri-Lynn Woodhouse

Terri-Lynn Woodhouse’s career in teaching and training adults has taken her across Canada and the United States, and in 2006, she started her own consulting firm that saw her work with some of the most recognizable brands in the world.

In 2013, Terri-Lynn participated in Camino de Santiago in Spain and took a side-trip to Africa. That experience led her to return to her hometown of Thorold and start a company that would allow her to help artisans around the world market their products in North America. Today, there are more than 200 independent consultants selling products from Morocco and Peru across Canada.

As a result of Terri-Lynn’s investment in Morocco, local artisans now work in a covered space to protect them from sun and rain, and they also have access to washrooms, which they did not previously have. In Peru, artisans were able to build a bridge from their mountain location to connect them with the rest of the world.

Terri-Lynn Woodhouse is a graduate of St. Charles and Monsignor Clancy Catholic Elementary Schools and was a member of Denis Morris Catholic High School’s Class of 1989. She is also a graduate of Brock University, Mohawk College, Sheridan College and Walt Disney University.


Secondary school students had the opportunity to learn from people at the top of their professions during the Inspiring Thinkers Conference at Brock University on April 28 and 29.

josephboydenOn April 28, students with a passion for writing learned from a variety of different writers, from newspaper reporters to songwriters and published authors. Joseph Boyden, a novelist and short-story writer was the keynote speaker, while Gord Deppe (songwriter, The Spoons, and author of his recent autobiography SpoonFed), reporter Grant LaFleche (The Standard) and Diana Zlomislic (The Star), and novelists Richard Scrimger (a variety of genres, including kids’, young adult and adult fiction) and Antanas Sileika (adult fiction) who are also writing teachers, rounded out the speakers for the day.

On April 29, the focus shifted to mathematics, and secondary students interested in mathematics participated in a seminar led by 220px-George-hart-puzzle2George W. Hart, a research professor, interdisciplinary sculptor at Stony Brook University. During the session, the students were engaged in the creative build of a 3-D mathematical sculpture, as he explained the shapes and patterns needed for its creation. Other speakers for the day included Niagara Catholic’s Superintendent of Business and Financial Services Giancarlo Vetrone, William Jones, a graduate of Saint Paul Catholic High School, Niagara Catholic Distinguished Alumni and engineer and MBA, and Andrew Theissen, a land surveyor.

This event is another way that Niagara Catholic strives to provide students with leaders and innovative thinkers, to help them as they work toward the next journey in their lives.





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.