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We officially kicked off our Van Tighem Virtues with our student retreat and guest speaker Alvin Law on September 21. It was an amazing day where students made pledges to put their best foot forward, talked about our Virtues, and participated in two sessions with Alvin. Thank you to all the families who stayed after the BBQ and listened to Alvin’s inspirational message. This day was the culmination of a year of planning by our committee in working towards revising our code of conduct.  We also received student input through the Tell Them From Me Survey, parent input at parent council meetings, and central office input from Joann Bartley our Director of Religious Education.

Our Faith Theme for this school year is “Rooted in Christ” with a focus on Scripture.  As our Van Tighem Virtues will guide our code of conduct, we have rooted it in Jesus’ words to us: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” John 13:34.  With Joann’s help, we also tied each Van Tighem Virtue to the cardinal and theological virtues of the Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that a virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good. It allows the person to not only perform good acts, but to give the best of himself (1803). To help remember our Virtues we have used our HAWKS name as an acronym. The following is a list of virtues, a description, and the linked Catholic virtue:

Honest – I am sincere, truthful and trustworthy.  (Tied to Prudence)

Accepting – I accept that everyone is unique and made in the image and likeness of God (Tied to Fortitude)

Wise – I speak up for myself and others even when it may not be popular (Tied to Justice)

Kind – I treat people with dignity and respect all rights and property.   (Tied to Justice)

Spiritual – I follow the example Jesus taught us in the way I think, speak, and act.  (Tied to Charity)

These virtues will permeate the culture of the school and we will be working towards developing a deeper understanding of them and how they will guide our conduct. Throughout the year at class meetings and assemblies, students will be discussing each Virtue. They will be also be articulating behaviour expectations for all areas of the school and a variety of areas that came up as areas of concerns in our surveys:  classroom, hallway, outside, and gym.  By the end of the year we will have completed common expectations for each virtue.  We are also working on developing student conduct guidelines, consequences, and procedures. To find out more about our progress with our virtues, I invite you to come to parent council meetings as we look to parents to advise us on their perspective.

To read more about the Virtues in the Catechism click the following link: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a7.htm

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