Spotlight, December 2014


Table of Contents

Board Room Highlights

  1. Policy Update
  2. Pilgrimage Update
  3. Pope Francis Centre Open
  4. School Excellence at Holy Name Catholic Elementary School

What’s New?

  1. Niagara Catholic Student Voice Conference
  2. Niagara Catholic Culture of Life Conference
  3. Random Act of Kindness Day
  4. Students Send Packs of Hope to Guatemala

Board Room Highlights

1. Policy Update

During the November 11 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Trustees received the Policy and Guideline Review 2014-2015 Schedule.

This schedule is available online for the public’s review in the November 11 Committee of the Whole Agenda.

2. Pilgrimage Update


The Niagara Catholic Pilgrimage has a long-standing tradition throughout our system. This one-day event brings together students and staff from our Catholic secondary schools, along with alumni, parents, administrators, trustees, elementary students and members of the community to walk for social justice initiatives around the world.

The 39th Annual Pilgrimage took place on Sunday, October 26. On that day, more than 4,000 pilgrims walked through the streets of their communities in support of their brothers and sisters in need in developing nations. The 2014 Pilgrimage raised $168,000 for a variety of social justice projects and programs.

During the November 11 Committee of the Whole Meeting, students from each Catholic high school shared their experience about the Pilgrimage. Complete details of the presentation can be found in the report in the November 11 Committee of the Whole Agenda.

3. Pope Francis Centre is Now Open

Last Spring, Niagara Catholic established, as one of its 2014-2015 System Priorities, to “provide supports for success through the design of a Pathway to Care program.” This is achieved through the opening of the Pope Francis Centre on South Pelham Road.

The Pope Francis Centre provides an alternative learning environment for students who are in need of additional support in order to complete their education. This includes:

  • Fresh Start: An alternative to suspension or expulsion
  • Jump Start: Supporting students with high absenteeism
  • Parent Support: Supporting male and female students with an infant
  • Mental Health and Addiction Support: For students living with a mental health issue or an addiction.

Read more about the programs offered at the Pope Francis Centre in the November 11 Committee of the Whole Agenda.

4. School Excellence at Holy Name Catholic Elementary School

Holy Name1

Holy Name Catholic Elementary School in Welland was the featured school for the Board’s School Excellence Program during the November 27th Board Meeting. Principal Terry Antoniou was joined by members of the Holy Name Catholic Elementary School community, to share why the school on Fitch Street, attended by 370 students in ELKP through Grade 8, is the indispensable choice for parents looking for excellence in Catholic education in that neighbourhood.


What’s New?

1. Leading Out Loud at Annual Student Conference


On November 12, students in Grades 7 – 12 from across Niagara Catholic came together at the Board’s annual Student Voice Conference to discuss the importance of understanding each other in order to create a culture of inclusion within individual classrooms and schools.

The idea is simple: If students better understand the people around them, bullying will become less of a problem.

Leading Out Loud – Learning the Stories of Our Community, focused on this aspect of bullying prevention. It was a dynamic event which included activities focused on listening, understanding and teambuilding, presentations by students sharing their stories and experiences and plenty of conversation.

More photos from this event are available in the Good News section of this website.

2. Creating a Culture of Life

The Church has reflected the philosophy of Culture of Life since its earliest days.

In recent years, the term Culture of Life has been used in various political ways, especially pertaining to abortion, stem cell research and euthanasia.

It is actually much broader.

The Culture of Life reflects Catholic Social Teachings that envelops our entire day; a perspective that allows us to be kind, fight bullying, and preserve the dignity of the human person, from conception to natural death.

During Niagara Catholic’s second annual Culture of Life Conference, which took place in Niagara Falls on November 13, approximately 160 students from all eight Niagara Catholic secondary schools came together to learn hone their skills in verbally defending the dignity of all human life.

This year’s keynote speaker was Christina Alaimo, a University of Toronto Masters student in Health Care Ethics, who has been passionate about the pro-life cause from an early age.

3. Random Act of Kindness Day

On November 7, students and staff across Niagara Catholic participated in the Random Act of Kindness Day in Niagara.

Various events took place in schools across the system. At the Catholic Education Centre, staff collected gently used clothing, and donated it to the Canadian Diabetes Association to be sold in Value Village stores. Staff also donated warm winter clothing to students in need.

At the end of the day, 945 pounds of clothing were collected, which resulted in a $105 payment from the Canadian Diabetes Association. That money, along with an additional $25 donation, was sent to Mary’s Meals Canada, which was founded by the late Bridgid Davidson, who was an Educational Assistant with the Board for many years, prior to her death. That money will feed 10 students for a year in Malawi.

In addition, 181 mittens, hats and scarves were collected and donated to St. Ann Catholic Elementary School in Fenwick, St. George Catholic Elementary School in Crystal Beach, and Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary School in St. Catharines for students in need.

Thank you to everyone who participated this year.

4. Sending Packs of Hope to Students in Need

St. Anthony

Once again this year, Niagara Catholic schools were involved in the annual Packs of Hope campaign in support of Wells of Hope in Guatemala.

Nineteen Niagara Catholic schools collected the packs and various items to fill them, which will be distributed to families in need by students participating in Wells of Hope mission trips next year.

The Niagara Catholic schools which participated are this year: Assumption, Denis Morris, Father Hennepin, Holy Name, Monsignor Clancy, Mother Teresa, Notre Dame (elementary), St. Alfred, St. Anthony, St. Christopher, St. Edward, St. John Bosco, St. Kevin, St. Michael, St. Patrick, St. Paul, St. Peter, St. Theresa and St. Therese.

Thank you to all those who donated so generously to help others in need.

Don’t Miss a Thing!

Check out Events page for things happening in December. Be sure to check your child’s school newsletter or calendar for events taking place in their school.