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Archive for the ‘June’ Category

Have you ever had events happen and then, when you reflect back on them, you realize that God was working in your life and things turned out the way they were meant to be? I have experienced this numerous times in my life; the most recent being with this message.  I had great intentions of being early and having it ready to start the week, but that did not happen.  As I sit down to write it on the last day of May, I think that God intended it to be that way so I could talk about World Catholic Education Day which we celebrated on the 30th. Each Thursday in May we have been praying together as a division for Catholic Education which culminated with a staff led Liturgy of the Word where the whole division was praying together around 11:00 am.  As I walked through the halls yesterday, I saw a bulletin board celebrating World Catholic Education Day where the students shared their thoughts about the blessings inherent in Catholic Education.  In the words of our students, I love my Catholic school because

  • I can talk about how much I love God and Jesus at school and at home.
  • We learn about God almost every day.
  • Our relationship with God can grow.
  • We can talk about God.
  • We can pray and able to talk about God.
  • We get to learn about Jesus and his many miracles.
  • We go to Church, have Religion and we learn about all of the saints.
  • We get to learn about God and strengthen my Catholic skills.
  • I am able to pray.

On World Catholic Education day, the school division and the ATA local premiered a video that they worked together to create that celebrates Catholic Education.  If you have not already seen the video Public Education:  The Catholic Way I do recommend watching it. The video is approximately twenty minutes in length and was a great way to cap off the month long celebrations.

Now that May is finished we are looking ahead to June and it is a busy nineteen days.  Teachers have been busy planning year end field trips and I am sure that the students are sure to enjoy the wide range of activities that fit in the science, social and physical education curriculum. On the 6th at 6:30 we have a parent meeting to discuss preparations for grade six camp in September. Our Kindergarten students will celebrate their accomplishments with a family celebration on the 12th at 5:30. We are also celebrating First Nations, Metis and Inuit culture with our Division Pow Wow at CCH West on the 5th at 5:30pm.  All families are invited to attend.  Our school celebration will be on the 21st where we are lining up story tellers, traditional games, dancing and smudge activities.  The last week is jam packed as we go to Henderson Pool on Monday, have sports day on Tuesday, celebrate our grade sixes at our year end Mass on Wednesday and finish the week with an assembly, slide show and talent show.

In addition to all these activities, we will be planning for next year.  We are currently working on our class configurations and teaching assignments for the fall.  Once we have this information confirmed, we will communicate it to parents and then we will start working on class lists. I will be meeting with the teachers to place students in classrooms this month.  Much deliberation goes into these assignments, such as, student needs, male/female ratio, academic balance, behaviour needs, class size, student relationships, educational assistant assignments and students new to OLA.  Parents have a wealth of knowledge about their children and if there is any information you would like to share with me about your child that will help the staff to place him or her in the best education environment possible, please contact me, stop in at the office to make an appointment or just drop in as my door is always open. Thank you for trusting us in making sound educational decisions in the placement of your child. 

To our families that are leaving us at the end of the year and to those who we are welcoming in the fall, we wish God’s blessings on you. We pray that our school community has a blessed summer vacation, and we look forward to seeing you in September.

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As I sit down to write my final message for the Father Leonard Van Tighem School community the high school English teacher in me is coming out as all I can think of are quotes to express the moment. I am a huge fan of Shakespeare and one of the famous lines from Romeo and Juliet definitely fits how I am feeling: “Parting is such sweet sorrow”.  While I am sad to be leaving FLVT I am looking forward to my new adventure at Our Lady of the Assumption. For me, it really is the people that I met along the way that I am going to miss. Another line that describes my time here comes from a Dickens classic, A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. Over the past ten years we have experienced a gamut of emotions from the joys of new life to the sadness of loss. Things have not always gone smoothly, but the community truly is a family and families stick together through the good and bad times. I have been blessed that my educational career has taken me to FLVT and as I leave I want to reflect on and share my gratitude for the journey.

First I need to express gratitude to Mary Anne Murphy because without her, my journey would not have happened.  I remember seeing the Associate Principal posting for FLVT, but did not plan on applying for it as I was only in my second year at Our Lady of the Assumption school.  I cannot remember where or when the conversation took place, but I do remember Mary Anne telling me that I should think about applying for the position.  I am so grateful that I listened to her and went down that road. As Frost says, “and that has made all the difference”.

Secondly, I am so grateful that I got the chance to work with Terry Wilson, my mentor.  Although our time together was short I learned so many things from him.  Among the many things he taught me was the importance of humour and laughter.  Terry was always telling jokes and deflecting tense situations with a dose of humour.  He also taught me that the people in our lives are the most important thing.  The job is always going to be there, but the people may not be.  These are two lessons that I have tried to keep in the forefront everyday as a way of carrying on his legacy.

A third person that I am grateful for is Patti Pilsner, my admin partner for the past seven years.  We have faced many trials and challenges over the years, but have never lost our sense of humour. I am grateful for the many laughs we have shared. I am also grateful for your creative energy and when we would get on a roll with new possibilities our ideas would skyrocket to the moon, come back to earth and eventually come together.  Thank you for being there on this journey with me.

Another thing I am grateful for is the chance to work which such a professional and dedicated staff. While the people on staff may have changed, their professionalism has not.  I know it was quite a challenge to have two brand new administrators who knew nothing about the culture of the school.  The staff was welcoming and embraced the idea of change when we brought it up.  Many times the ideas and willingness to try new things comes not from the admin team, but from the staff themselves. I am grateful and blessed to have been able to support them in their goal of improving their practices.

I am so grateful for the morning gatherings in the staff room which has enhanced the sense of comradery and family.  I know it does not happen in every school and the laughter, tears and prayers we have shared every morning is something I am dearly going to miss. It is a blessing to be part of a Catholic school where the faith community can come together to support one another.  God was with us every day as Matthew 18:20 says “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

I have had the chance to meet many families and I am grateful to them for sharing their children with us. There is a saying that I found that says that “God doesn’t give you the people you want; he gives those you need.” I am so blessed to have met so many people and got to work with them through parent council and various activities and experiences. I know I have learned so much from my interactions with parents and students. Many substitute teachers or University consultants have told me over the years what a great atmosphere we have at FLVT and how good our students are.  I know this to be true as so many students come back to visit or do their Faith in Action hours at the school. The return visits are something I will truly miss as it is always nice to see our students when they come back.

As I know Wendy is anxiously awaiting my newsletter submission, I am going to wrap it up. I will leave you with a list of ten other things that I am grateful for experiencing at FLVT:

  1. For being able to have had my children attend FLVT.

  2. For an amazing office staff. Wendy, Sue and Tamara are so welcoming, positive and efficient. Thank you for keeping me on track with your gentle reminders and just getting things done.

  3. For a great last year with a fabulous team. Thanks Ken, Tracy, Matthew and Patti for all you work and support.

  4. For all the staff that I have had the opportunity to work with.

  5. For all the students I have had the privilege of knowing and teaching.

  6. For all the parents, guardian, aunts, uncles and grandparents that I have had the pleasure of meeting.

  7. For all the parents with whom I have worked with on parent council. Thank you for your dedication and work.

  8. For all the high fives and hugs from students.

  9. For the variety of clubs, activities and options that our students can experience: athletic, cultural, artistic, academic and spiritual.

  10. For the staff, parents and community members who have volunteered their time to help support the school and make it a great experience for our students.

Finally, to our families that are leaving us at the end of the year and to those who we are welcoming in the fall, we wish God’s blessings on you. I hope everyone has a blessed summer vacation. I know that the community will embrace and welcome the new administrators as was done when Terry and I arrived. I am not going to say good-bye but instead leave you with an Irish blessing and say farewell until we meet again.

irish blessing

 

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June Farewells

June is always a busy month as we are marking the end of another school year and planning for the coming one. On the 7th we celebrate mass together at St. Martha’s Church: thanking God for a successful year and saying farewell to those who will not be with us next year. We have staff members who will be leaving us at the end of the school year and would like to acknowledge them.  After getting married this summer, our grade three teacher, Miss Tessier, will be off with her husband on an exciting venture in France.  We wish her the best of luck in her travels and look forward to seeing her when she comes back to Lethbridge. Ms. Scout, our First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Support Worker, is off to the University of Lethbridge to study nursing. We wish her the best of luck in her studies and look forward to when she again is a part of our community in a parent role. We are currently in the process of hiring replacements for Miss Tessier and Ms. Scout. We also have staff members who are on a temporary contract that finish at the end of June. Miss Balaksi filled in our junior high drama and elementary French role, Mrs. Kambeitz filled Mrs. Alvarez’s maternity leave in grade five, and Mrs. Daniels and Mrs. O have filled educational assistant leaves in both elementary and junior high classes.  All of them have become a part of our Van Tighem community and I’d like to thank them for sharing their gifts and talents with us.   Our Early Learning and Kindergarten PUF assistants are also on term contracts and we may or may not see them with us again: Ms. Copan, Mrs. Nigro, Mrs. Roccatti, Mrs. Clarke, and Mrs. Harper. I’d like to wish a fond farewell to our departing staff members and thank them for their contributions to our Van Tighem community.

Every year at this time, we also celebrate our grade nine class as they are moving on to CCH in the fall. On Thursday June 8th we say farewell during our Farewell Celebration.  We start with mass at 6:30 then move back to the school gym for light refreshments and a couple video presentations made by the students which will celebrate their theme: “We’ve Come a Long Way From Where We Began”. We wish them the best of luck and hope that they carry the Van Tighem Virtues with them as they continue on their next path.HAWKS cropped

To our families that are leaving us at the end of the year and to those who we are welcoming in the fall, we wish God’s blessings on you. We pray that our school community has a blessed summer vacation, and we look forward to seeing you in September.

mother teresa love

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