Team CEC Rides the Big Bike and Raises Money for the Heart & Stroke Foundation

Twenty-eight hearty and adventuresome members of the Catholic Education Centre staff in Wallaceburg volunteered to ride the Big Bike for the Heart & Stroke Foundation this week.

Team CEC set $1,500 as a fundraising goal and we are happy to report that we raised just over $2,000. 

"It's important to remember that Chatham-Kent has among the highest incidence of heart disease in Ontario," says Deb Crawford, Director of Education.  "What a tremendous accomplishment and a worthy cause!"

The staff's reward for the successful fundraiser was a 20 minute ride through Wallaceburg on the big bike, fashionably decked-out in Hawaiian attire!

"Special thanks to Lisa Vander Pryt and Melissa Steele for organizing this fun event in cooperation with the Chatham-Kent Heart & Stroke Foundation and to all our staff who participated in the event, or contributed to the success of the fundraiser," says Mrs. Crawford.

 


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Special Sarnia Deanery Meeting Brings Together Catholic Partners from Across the Community

The second of two planned meetings with the Sarnia and Kent Deaneries was held today at the Our Lady of Mercy Parish Hall in Sarnia, with representatives of Catholic educations foundational triad of home, school and parish.  Members of the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Women's League, parents, parish members, trustees, principals, Board administration, union and association representatives and pastors were on hand for this important gathering.

"We are so grateful you are here today, because you represent our entire faith community," Director of Education Deb Crawford told the guests. 

The purpose of the meeting was twofold: First, to explore together the new Pastoral Care of Our Catholic Schools document.  Joe Bezzina, a retired educator who is currently the Director of Pastoral Services with the Diocese of London, led the discussion.  Secondly, the group reviewed the new religion curriculum Growing in Faith - Growing in Christ, which was recently released in schools.  Superintendent of Education Laura Callaghan and Elementary Curriculum Consultant Kim Fitzmorris introduced the new curriculum and helped the group to experience the many resources that are available, including online components that can be accessed by parents and the parishes.

"I want to thank the members of the Sarnia Deanery for helping us to make this gathering possible," says Mrs. Crawford.  "It can only serve to strengthen and support Catholic education whenever all of the partners can come together like we have today."

A similar gathering of Catholic partners in the Kent Deanery was held in April in Chatham.


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The Muskoka Woods Experience - Building Faith in a New Generation of Leaders

Hundreds of Grade 7 students from across the St. Clair Catholic District School Board in Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton participated in the annual Muskoka Woods Experience with the studens leaders from their Catholic high schools - St. Patrick's in Sarnia and Ursuline College in Chatham.

"This is a tremendous faith-building and leadership experience in an awesome setting," says Deb Crawford, Director of Education.  "It's a time with friends and mentors that our students will never forget!"

Each year, the Muskoka Woods Leadership Camp brings together secondary student leaders and Grade 7 students for a retreat filled with growth opportunities for every student.

"Special thanks to Father John Comiskey for his leadership, mentorship and for celebrating inspirational Masses, that lifted our faith and brought us into a close and moving encounter with Christ," says Mrs. Crawford. 

"He connected with our students in ways that will impact their faith and their growth as young men and women for many years to come."

Muskoka Woods offers a challenge by choice environment, where students are encouraged to step outside their comfort zone in ways that embrace new relationships and personal challenges.

 


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Grade 2 Teacher at St. Anne Catholic School in Sarnia Receives Prime Minister's Certificate of Achievement

Lori Barbato, a Grade 2 teacher at St. Anne Catholic School in Sarnia, is a recipient of the Prime Minister's Certificate of Achievement for Teaching.

"Lori is a gifted and innovative Catholic teacher," says Deb Crawford, Director of Education.  "We are thrilled that she has been recognized along with some of Canada's most outstanding educators.  It is a deserving honour!"

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence have honoured exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines since 1993.  Teachers are honoured for their remarkable achievements in education and for their commitment to preparing their students for a digital and innovation-based economy. 

The awards selection committee praised Ms. Barbato for engaging students for success, building relationships and providing consistency in her Grade 2 classroom.

“Lori provides a wide range of opportunities for all students to be actively engaged in hands-on learning and using tasks and tools,” says a Government of Canada release, which announced the awards.

Among her many achievements, Ms. Barbato was recognized for her innovative classroom learning using digital technologies, leading the school social justice club and celebrating families’ home cultures and their children’s milestones, with annual multi-cultural feasts in her classroom.

In recognition of her achievement, Ms. Barbato has received a letter from the Prime Minister, a commemorative pin and a cash award.


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Citizenship Court at St. Patrick's Catholic High School Welcomes 36 New Canadians

Thirty-six brand new Canadians took the oath of citizenship in a colourful ceremony at St. Patrick's Catholic High School today.  Canadian Citizenship Court Justice George Springate of Ottawa presided over the proceedings, assisted by retired Justice Karen McMillan.

"This is the sixth year that we have hosted the Citizenship Court at St. Patrick's," says Teacher Blake Morrison.  "It's always such a thrill to be a part of this important new beginning for our newest Canadian families."

It is also a great experience for students studying the Grade 10 Civics course and all second year students were invited to attend.  Grade 4 and 5 students from St. Anne Catholic School were also there to witness the ceremony.

Mina Tabatabai and Mehrdad Houshmandi and their son Kasra were among the 36 new Canadians who took the citizenship oath today.

"We are so excited to be Canadians," says Ms. Tabatabai.  "We love this country!  We know we can use our potential here to have a better life."

Both Ms. Tabatabai and Mr. Houshmandi are engineers with Worley Parsons Engineering Design.  They emigrated from Iran to Sarnia four years ago.

"Celebrating this important milestone with these new Canadians, and welcoming them as members of a multi-cultural and inclusive community is also one of the pillars of Catholic education," says Mr. Morrison.

In the photo above (L-R) Mina Tabatabai, Kasra Houshmandi, Mehrdad Houshmandi, Canadian Citizenship Court Justice Karen McMillan (Ret.), Canadian Citizenship Court Justice George Springate, and Blake Morrison, Teacher, St. Patrick's Catholic High School.


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St. Clair Catholic Staff Celebrates System Faith Development Day - Renewing Our Passion and Purpose

A day of spiritual growth, community building and celebration of Catholic education was held as the staff of the St. Clair Catholic District School Board gathered in Sarnia and Chatham for a system-wide faith development day - Renewing Our Passion and Purpose.

"We are excited to have this opportunity every two years, to bring our staff together for what is an uplifting and faith-filled celebration of our vocations as Catholic educators and support workers," says Deb Crawford, Director of Education.

The Lighting Our Way Award, which is bestowed at the faith day celebration every two years, was also presented.  This year's honourees were Bill Nelson, Principal of Sacred Heart Catholic School, Sarnia; Lidia De Carolis, Secretary St. Anne Catholic School, Sarnia; and Ron Sterling, Teacher at Good Shepherd Catholic School, Thamesville.

Keynote speaker for the day was Anne Jamieson, the Director for Catechesis for the Diocese of Hamilton.  Ms. Jamieson is also a former teacher with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.  She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from the University of Toronto and has helped to create online resources for schools and parishes.

The day also included the celebration of Mass, and greetings from Director of Education Deb Crawford; Chair of the Board John Van Heck; and Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey (in Sarnia) and Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls (in Chatham).

In the photos are (top left) (L-R) Lidia De Carolis, Lighting Our Way Award recipient; Deb Crawford, Director of Education; Bob Bailey, Sarnia-Lambton MPP; John Van Heck, Chair of the Board; and Bill Nelson, Lighting Our Way Award recipient; and (above right) (L-R) Ron Sterling, Lighting Our Way Award recipient; John Van Heck, Chair of the Board; Deb Crawford, Director of Education; and Rick Nicholls, Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP.


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Students Participate in 24 Hours of Service at Ursuline College Chatham

A group of senior students at Ursuline College Chatham Catholic Secondary School recently participated in 24 Hours of Service. 

Beginning on a Friday afternoon, students helped out seniors at a neighbouring retirement home and provided a meal for the patrons of the St. Agnes Soup Kitchen.  In the evening they had the opportunity to make prayer bracelets and sleeping mats for developing countries.  Their service continued into Saturday morning and afternoon, when they cleaned up the shoreline of Erieau Beach, in addition to the facilities of Camp Vincent.

Throughout the 24 Hours of Service the students focused their words, actions and prayers on the intrinsic value of knowing they are the beloved sons and daughters of God.

"One of the goals for the event is for students to recognize the divine in themselves in order to become the hands, head and heart of Jesus Christ," says Thomas Dula, Chaplaincy Leader at UCC. 

In addition to their servant works, the students raised enough money to feed all of the patrons at the St. Agnes Soup Kitchen and pay for one child's registration to Camp Vincent this summer.

In the photo above, students participating in the 24 Hours of Service prepare to serve a meal at the St. Agnes Soup Kitchen.

 


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Catholic Community in Kent Gathers for Special Deanery Meeting

A special gathering of the Catholic community representing Catholic education's foundational triad of home, school and parish was held recently in Kent.

"This was an important gathering because it represents our entire faith community," says Deb Crawford, Director of Education.  "We had representatives of the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Women's League, parents, parish members, trustees, principals, Board administration, union and association presidents and our pastors."

The purpose of the meeting was twofold: First, to explore together the new Pastoral Care of Our Catholic Schools document.  Joe Bezzina, a retired educator who is currently the Director of Pastoral Services with the Diocese of London, led the discussion.  Secondly, the group reviewed the new religion curriculum Growing in Faith - Growing in Christ, which was recently released in schools.  Superintendent of Education Laura Callaghan and Elementary Curriculum Consultant Kim Fitzmorris introduced the new curriculum and helped the group to experience the many resources that are available, including online components that can be accessed by parents and the parishes.

"I want to thank our parish partners and the Kent Deanery for helping to make this gathering possible," says Mrs. Crawford.  "It was a tremendously productive day."

A similar gathering of Catholic partners in the Sarnia Deanery is planned for May 18 at Our Lady of Mercy Parish Hall in Sarnia.


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