Frank Durante’s service to Catholic education, as a trustee, spanned 35 years from 1955 to 1991. Mr. Durante first joined the local Catholic School Board in Fort Erie in 1955, after the birth of his third child. He realized that providing quality Catholic education not only for his children but for all children was a priority, towards which he was prepared to make a contribution. As Chairman of the Board, he oversaw the construction of Our Lady of Victory Jr. School in 1956 and also Our Lady of Victory Sr. School in 1964.
When the Welland County Roman Catholic Separate School Board was formed in 1969, amalgamating the local boards in the county, Mr. Durante was not only a trustee of the newly formed board, he was also part of the interim committee that set up the bylaws for the new board. Mr. Durante retired in 1991, after 35 years of service as a trustee. During his time on the Welland Board, he served multiple terms as Chairperson.
Mr. Durante’s strong commitment to providing Catholic education for all children from Kindergarten through high school led to one of his proudest achievements while serving as a trustee. Under his leadership as Chairperson, the Board successfully negotiated the acquisition of Lockview High School in Port Colborne, to open Lakeshore Catholic High School, which serves the students of Fort Erie, Port Colborne, Dunnville and Wainfleet.
Mr. Durante’s commitment to students and Catholic education did not end after his retirement as a trustee. He went on to serve, for several years, as a member of Our Lady of Victory Sr. School’s Catholic School Council. He has also had the privilege of enjoying some time in the classroom speaking to students at St. Philomena Catholic Elementary School about the history of the Church and Catholic schools in Fort Erie. Mr. Durante also continues to support both Our Lady of Victory Sr. and St. Philomena Grade 8 graduation ceremonies, recognizing the efforts of outstanding female athletes through an award he has sponsored since 1967.
Mr. Durante is a member of St. Michael’s Parish and a founding member of the Knights of Columbus Council #3320, where he has held a number of positions including Grand Knight and Secretary/Treasurer. He has always been active in parish life, serving as an usher for a number of years and as an active member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Mr. Durante is a man of strong faith, who has always put great value in the Church, his family, the Catholic community and education. It is his love for these things that motivated him to serve faithfully for over 35 years on both the local and county boards. Mr. Durante has been introduced on many occasions as a man whose name is synonymous with Catholic education.
Inducted: January 27, 2006