I begin my monthly update reflecting on the sudden passing of Jeff Warkentin last weekend. Jeff was a new teacher at St. Michael’s School in Pincher Creek. His passion for teaching and more importantly his desire to always be witness to his faith was repeated throughout the funeral service yesterday. I was deeply impacted by the strength and emotional conviction of his wife in her tribute to her husband. Even in the short time that Jeff was with us, he touched the lives of the staff, students and community of St. Michael’s. Our prayers continue to go out to his wife and family. May God continue to bless her and her family with comfort and strength.
As a Catholic School Division, we rely on that faith. It is what makes us unique. It does not make us automatically better than our public school division counterparts but it does make us different! I am reminded of this especially in troubling or tragic times. Our ability to gather in prayer, openly, allows us a strength to heal. Too often we take this great gift of publicly funded Catholic Education and our ability to practice our Catholic/Christian faith for granted. This was one of my key messages last week when I spoke at the Calgary Diocesan Catholic Women’s League Fall Meeting. May we always remember and treasure our gift!
This month we celebrate World Teachers’ Day on October 5th. Teachers around the world are recognized for the impact that they have on children day in and day out. Sadly in North America, teachers are not nearly afforded the same level of recognition as they are in other parts of the world. This is unfortunate as there are so many teachers who make a difference in a child’s life and most times without knowledge of it and certainly without recognition. I was fortunate to have some great teachers in my life that helped shaped my path- Sister Aquinas, Mr. Matsuba, Mr. Tarnasky to name just a few. On October 5th, please take some time to let the teachers in your life and in your children’s life know how important they are to you.
The board’s regular meeting was held on September 28th. To review the main points please take a look at the Board Briefs. Of particular note is the desire of our board to engage our community in a transformation conversation. The changes required in education to meet the needs of each child will not be successful without the trust, understanding, permission and support of the community. On November 2nd we will begin that conversation with our teachers, our parents and other members of the community. We are hopeful that Alberta Education personnel will also be able to attend this beginning dialogue. Please read my previous posts entitled “Transformation is a journey not a destination” and “Action on Inclusion” for more information.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and Senior Administration, I would like to take this opportunity to wish each of you a wonderful October and a joyous upcoming Thanksgiving long weekend.