Spotlight – December 5, 2017

Header for Spotlight

December 5, 2018

Trustees Select 2018 Board Chair and Vice-Chair

The Niagara Catholic District School Board held its Annual Organizational Meeting at the Catholic Education Centre on December 5, 2017, before the December Meeting of the Committee of the Whole.

During the meeting, Father Paul MacNeil was acclaimed Chair of the Board for 2018, and Pat Vernal was selected as Vice-Chair.

During his remarks at the closing of the Annual Organizational Meeting, Chair MacNeil shared Aristotle’s thoughts on the structure of change. He remarked that the most important aspect of change is not what is past or what we create, but what remains the same, and spoke of the constants within Niagara Catholic.

“These things that remain the same throughout a change are the things that define us as human beings, and as an organization,” said Chair MacNeil. “Allow me to point out some things that haven’t changed: Our core mission to be the best board we can be by focusing on student achievement for all. Our dedication to the value of Catholic education here in Niagara. Our commitment to faith in Jesus Christ and His love and His mercy; and our own ability as a Board of Trustees, the eight of us, to work together to learn from the past, to hope for the future, and to celebrate with renewed faith and energy, this moment of promise.”

Vice-Chair Vernal’s comments acknowledged the challenges of early 2017, while looking to the future.

“With God’s help and guidance and all of your support we can build a better future and system for our students,” she said. “I feel confident that the next year will prove to be successful and rewarding for us all.”

Director of Education John Crocco congratulated both Chair MacNeil and Vice-Chair Vernal. “I am confident that Chair MacNeil and Vice-Chair Vernal will continue to be strong and vocal advocates for Niagara Catholic, and for Catholic education in Ontario, throughout the coming year, and I offer each congratulations,” said Director Crocco. “I extend my gratitude to Trustee Kathy Burtnik, who has worked tirelessly as a member of Executive Council for many years, focused on fulfilling the Board’s Mission, Vision and Values for the students we serve in Catholic education. On behalf of the Board and Senior Staff, I would also like to thank the Lakeshore Catholic High School Choir, which includes our Student Trustee Hannah Tummillo, for their beautiful Advent songs at the opening of our Annual Organizational Meeting.” 

Trustees Recommend Policy

During the December 5 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Trustees recommended sending the policy that governs their spending to the Board for final approval.

The Trustee Expenses and Reimbursement Policy (100.13) will be considered by the Board at the December 19 Board Meeting.

Culture of Life and Lead Out Loud Conferences

Two signature student events took place at Niagara Catholic in November.

On November 22, the 5th Annual Culture of Life Conference took place at Heartland Forest in Niagara Falls. The notion of a Culture of Life is often used in reference to life issues such as abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research, but this philosophy can also extend to the broader elements of Catholic Social Teachings to build a Culture of Life that weaves through our entire day.

Approximately 100 students from our eight Catholic secondary schools participated in the event, which was created in partnership with L’Arche Hamilton. Students were challenged to reflect on what it means to build up and support a culture of life which protects the dignity of all, especially the most vulnerable.

Student Leadership GirlsOn November 24, approximately 115 students participated in the Board’s Annual Student Voice Conference, Lead out Loud! at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School. This conference included a keynote address by Spoken Word Artist Britta B., who uses her voice and her poetry to convey a message of believing in yourself, overcoming obstacles and using your individual talents to lead and serve.

Students then participated in a serious of four breakout sessions which focused on service – service to self, serving a team, serving a community and serving the environment.

The day concluded with a prayer service led by Elementary Senate Co-chairs, and Student Trustee Nico Tripodi sang a reflection song, Go Make a Difference. The day came to a very moving conclusion as Secondary Students Senators sang Where is the Love?. , They were joined by Elementary Student Senators as they sang and danced around the room.


Above, students participate in the annual Lead Out Loud! Student Leadership Conference. 

French Immersion Update

French Immersion is an optional program designed specifically for students whose first language is not French. The enter point is currently either Kindergarten Year 1, or Grade 1, depending on the school site offering the program.

Students in French Immersion acquire a working knowledge of both of Canada’s official languages, learn to appreciate French culture, strengthen all other areas of learning and develop skills for educational and career advancement.

There are currently 490 students enrolled in French Immersion from Kindergarten to Grade 5 at five schools: St. John Catholic Elementary School in Grimsby, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Elementary School in St. Catharines, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Elementary School in Niagara Falls, Notre Dame Catholic Elementary School in Niagara Falls, and Holy Name Catholic Elementary School in Welland.

Learn more in the report, found in section C3 of the December 5 Committee of the Whole Agenda.

Good News!

We’ve had an incredible first three months of the school year! If you haven’t done it yet, be sure to check our Good News section of this website to see great stories on the programs and events taking place in our schools. Then check out the In the News section for media coverage of many of these stories, which is accessed through the main page.

Follow us!

To ensure you stay connected with Niagara Catholic news and events, please be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and check our website often for updates and breaking news. It’s the best way to stay in the know, especially now that winter is here.