Catholic Education

TORONTO - Some 75 staff, students and parents were treated to a day of aboriginal music and dancing as the Toronto Catholic District School Board celebrated National Aboriginal Day June 21.

"We invited some aboriginal people to celebrate with them and to demonstrate some of the celebrations as part of their culture," said Bruce Rodrigues, TCDSB's director of education. "It's important to acknowledge (aboriginal culture) so that our students can have an understanding of the diversity that we have within the system."

National Aboriginal Day has been celebrated in Canada since 1996 to recognize, celebrate and preserve the unique aboriginal cultures while acknowledging their contributions to contemporary Canada.

St. Dominic's honours fallen soldiers

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The Grade 7 students at Oakville's St. Dominic Catholic Elementary School were the driving force behind the establishment of the Bronte Veterans' Garden along Halton Region's Veterans Highway. For several years, the students have been creating posters as a tribute to Canada's fallen soldiers from the mission in Afghanistan. On June 15, the St. Dominic's students were joined by Canada's Defense Minister Peter McKay, who helped unveil two plaques at the garden dedicated to Trooper Marc Diab and Col. Geoff Parker, two soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan.

(All photos by Boris Hofman)

Bill-13 claims its first victim as trustee opts to resign

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It isn’t just members of the Catholic school system being rubbed the wrong way by the Ontario government’s Bill-13.

The passage into law of the province’s anti-bullying legislation was the final straw for David Goldsmith, a trustee for the Lambton Kent District School Board.

“Bill-13 is causing me a lot of heartburn,” said Goldsmith, who will officially step down from his position June 30 after nine years with the southwestern Ontario school board.

At-risk Hamilton school graduates 8

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Good Shepherd Notre Dame House School in Hamilton, Ont., graduated its largest class yet on June 19, with eight students collecting their high school diploma.

For Loretta Hill-Finamore, director of youth services at Good Shepherd Centres, having a graduating class of eight is very inspiring.

“That’s our goal, for everyone to graduate,” Hill-Finamore said. “We’re so proud of them.

St. Mike’s athletic director Forbes retires

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TORONTO - It's not the championships, the money and certainly not the hours that Paul Forbes will miss as St. Michael's College School's veteran athletic director sizes up retirement after 36 years.

"It's the personnel, the people you work with. They started as colleagues, as peers, but many of them are close personal friends now," said Forbes, who was appointed athletic director at the midtown Toronto private Catholic school in 1985. "The staff and students I've been privileged to work with over the years is the best part of the job."

Peace: the challenge to religions

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The following is the address by Douglas Roche, O.C., to the St. Jerome’s University convocation in Waterloo, Ont., June 14. The university honoured Roche, a former Canadian Senator, MP and Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament, with an honorary degree in recognition of his 35-year public career that specialized in peace and human security issues.

School gets literacy grant for its ‘love of reading’ [w/ audio]

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TORONTO - Blessed John XXIII Catholic School students will no longer struggle with an outdated, under stocked and inadequate library thanks to a $119,000 Literacy Grant from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.

“We are looking forward to restocking the library with recent, relevant and leveled reading material,” said Jacqueline Puri, the school’s vice-principal who spearheaded the application process this winter. “It feels great.”

Bill-13 implementation still a work in progress

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TORONTO - The potential introduction of gay-straight alliances in Catholic schools has angered many Catholics, but several Catholic educators expect such clubs will closely resemble Respecting Difference groups already in operation.

“Our expectation is that the content will still mirror the Respecting Difference groups and that the Catholic content will be ensured and so will our denominational rights,” said Bob Murray, director of legislative and political affairs for the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA).

Graduation trip brings together students from two different realities

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TORONTO - Alex Morlando finally met Nathan Louttit, the Attawapiskat native he’s been communicating with through letters, the Internet and Xbox since they were both in Grade 7.

“Our teacher assigned us pen pals and (said) we would have to communicate through letters,” said Morlando, now in Grade 8 at Toronto’s Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School. “We started off like that and then we started communicating a little more through Xbox and the Internet. That’s how I really got to know Nathan.”

Bill-13 passed into law

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TORONTO - Bill-13 is now the law in Ontario, which means Catholic schools must allow gay-straight alliance clubs if requested by students.

The controversial bill, supported by the Liberals and NDP, easily passed by a vote of 65 to 36 in the Ontario legislature on Tuesday.

Immediately following its passage, Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins issued a brief statement in which he said Catholic schools should respect the law.

Catholic boards’ hands tied by Bill-13

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TORONTO - Catholic schools will remain welcoming places for all students in full accord with the Accepting Schools Act and Catholic teaching and tradition, said Cardinal Thomas Collins in a statement released June 5 after Bill-13 passed third reading to become law.

Passage of the bill means Catholic schools must allow gay-straight alliance clubs if requested by students.