Students and staff at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School have spent nearly a year inside their new home away from home, and on May 29, they had a giant housewarming and blessing to celebrate.
The Official Blessing and Opening of St. Martin Catholic Elementary School was attended by nearly 400 members of the school and greater Smithville community, as well Chair of the Board and West Niagara Trustee Father Paul MacNeil, Father Chris Gillen, parish priest at St. Martin of Tours Church, Knights of Columbus, Mayor Doug Joyner, representatives from the design and construction companies, staff from Niagara Catholic and Bishop Bergie, who presided over the blessing of each room in the school.
The celebration began with music by the St. Martin Catholic Elementary choir and individual members of the Grade 8 Band. Dignitaries were processed in by the Knights, and Principal Chris Zanuttini welcomed everyone to the school. Vice-Principal Angela Villella also welcomed guests. Students from each grade level brought in special artifacts to be contained inside the school’s time capsule, which will opened at an anniversary celebration in the future. Also part of the special way the two schools were blended together was a soil ceremony, where soil from the old school was put in with a plant that will be planted at the new school, and the presentation of a special poster bearing the thumbprint of each guest who was leaving their special mark on the new school.
Father Paul MacNeil, Mayor Joyner, Catholic School Council Co-chairs Stacey Karaban and Vicki Forsyth, Student Senators Laura and Katie Pogoda and Director of Education John Crocco all brought remarks about the wonderful new school, its place as a hub within the community, its positive culture and the incredible faith and learning that happens there every day.
Father Gillen opened the prayer service, and the reading from Ephesians was read by teacher Mike Masotti. Bishop Bergie then offered a reflection before he, Father Paul, Father Chris, Director Crocco, Family of Schools Superintendent Pat Rocca, Principal Zanuttini, Mayor Joyner and members of the Knights left the gymnasium to bless the rooms throughout the school. During the blessing, the choir and band performed, and guests enjoyed a video presentation showing scenes of the evolution of St. Martin Catholic Elementary School.
Following the blessing, Director Crocco and Superintendent Rocca unveiled the plaque which will be mounted at the school, and he was presented with a gift on behalf of the school staff for his outstanding leadership throughout the construction of the school, and its first year.
Please enjoy these photos from the celebration, and more over on our Facebook page, as well as video from the event on Instagram.