Archdiocese of Toronto targets community colleges

Published in Education

Downtown Toronto campus opens multi-faith room

Published in Education

Each year thousands of high school students seek the next step in their educational journey — and there are plenty of options.

Published in Education

TORONTO - The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA) has launched a public awareness campaign to promote and help ensure the preservation of publically funded Catholic education.

Published in Education

TORONTO - Education is for girls, or at least that’s how the majority of young boys see it, says Jim Brown. Brown, a former director of education for the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board, has published his findings in Rescuing Our Underachieving Sons.

Published in Education

OTTAWA - Education in the Catholic tradition is indispensable to evangelization, theologian and educator Colin Kerr told the Catholic Teachers’ Guild here Nov. 20.

Published in Canada

OSHAWA, ONT. - When the doors opened at Msgr. Paul Dwyer High School in early September, it marked 50 years of secondary Catholic education in Oshawa.

The celebrations commenced Sept. 9 at the school in the city east of Toronto, with events scheduled for the duration of the school year. The year-long celebrations are to allow as many of the school’s approximately 8,000 graduates — who include author Randy Boyagoda, former Toronto Argonauts wide receiver Andre Talbot and comedian/actor Justin Landry — to attend.

“We wanted to share this celebration over the course of a year so that if someone is away for something they didn’t miss out,” said Randy Boissoin, chair of the 50th anniversary Committee. “We thought if it was over the course of a year we could generate excitement and build up to May 2013 and hopefully with that excitement work on creating an alumni database.”

Boissoin wants to establish an alumni scholarship fund to assist school graduates who face rising post-secondary tuition costs.

The original high school, run by the Sisters of St. Joseph, operated out of their local elementary school and was named St. Joseph’s Senior School when it opened in 1962. Private at the time, the school offered only Grade 9 and 10 classes in its inaugural year, adding Grade 11 the following September, and Grades 12 and 13 in subsequent years.

“The interesting thing at that point is that the convent for the Sisters was not ready,” said Sr. Conrad Lauber, appointed the school’s principal in 1967, the same year the Oshawa Separate School Board began providing $300 per student in Grades 9 and 10. “At that point the Sisters were driven from Morrow Park (Toronto) out to Oshawa, both the elementary and secondary teachers, and they were picked up again at six o’clock and taken back.”

By the time Lauber became principal — a post she held until 1979 — St. Joseph’s Senior School had relocated and became known as Oshawa Catholic High School (the name change came in 1965). One year later the construction of the convent on the school’s new grounds at 700 Stevenson Rd. N. had been completed, meaning Lauber no longer faced the more than 50-km commute.

The early years were a struggle for the school, as full funding of Catholic education was still years down the road. Unable to compete with the salaries from the public system, Oshawa Catholic High School relied on clergy and dedicated laypeople, who were willing to forego the salaries and benefits offered by the secular school board. This reliance on the latter grew even greater in 1969 when tragedy struck. After an end-of-year staff social, a station wagon with a number of staff in it was involved in an accident. Two Sisters and a lay teacher were killed, and four other Sisters were injured and unable to return to the school. Lauber was the only one able to resume teaching duties.

With few available and qualified clergy, Lauber turned to the laity to fill the positions, putting extra financial stress on the already struggling school.

“At one point when I asked the (Sisters of St. Joseph) for more funding our general superior ... told me that we might not even be able to continue next year because we didn’t have the finances,” said Lauber.

With no additional funding forthcoming, nothing significant at least, Lauber turned to the local community to save the city’s only Catholic high school.

“As we lost Sisters from the staff we had to replace them with laypeople and our costs increased significantly. So to stay alive we ran a walk-a-thon,” said Lauber. “In those days we walked miles not kilometres. The kids walked 25 miles and the parents walked five miles and we raised $56,000.” 

Such success turned the walk-a-thon into an annual event which helped cement full-spectrum Catholic education in Oshawa, said Boissoin, who remembers participating in the walk-a-thon as a student from 1974 to 1979. 

“When we were forced to do the walk-a-thons and the fundraising activities there was an incredible Oshawa Catholic High School pride within the community ... it also solidified us as a community,” he said. “It was an opportunity for people to show that this is important. When you had a walk-a-thon of that magnitude ... it was almost like a statement.”

It was during this era the Sisters of St. Joseph first sought another name change to honour Paul Dwyer — the spark that lit the school’s flame.

“Msgr. Paul Dwyer was the inspiration behind the founding of the school,” said Lauber. “He’s the one that wanted Catholic education in Oshawa.”

Although approved, Dwyer declined the honour in 1973, telling Lauber over lunch that he felt Dwyer would be too hard for immigrants to spell — something he felt conflicted with his image of welcoming new Canadians with open arms.

“He also said so many other people were involved in the establishment of the school he didn’t want to take all of the credit,” said Lauber, who saw the name change in 1976 to Paul Dwyer Catholic School following Dwyer’s death that year. “Obviously his wishes to not have the school named after him were ignored.”

Published in Education

My husband and I come from different backgrounds and we often have lively discussions. But one time I blurted out something that left us both stunned.

We were attending the Ontario University Fair at the Metro Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. Along with thousands of others, we came to speak with representatives from Ontario’s 21 universities. We have two kids in high school and, like most kids, they have multiple options after graduation. At the fair, students trudged from one booth to another seeking an answer to the question all young people face at some point: “What do I want to do when I grow up?”

Published in Guest Columns

CHARDON, Ohio - The Catholic community "shares the grief of the families and friends of the five victims" of a school shooting Feb. 27 in Chardon, said Bishop Richard G. Lennon of Cleveland.

"We continue to struggle in disbelief with the horrifying nature of the incident and we look to God to bring us peace and comfort," he said in a statement.

Published in International

WASHINGTON - When educational leaders look at ways to make Catholic schools more affordable, they are happy about some of the positive steps that have been made but fully aware that there is still a lot to do.

During a recent conference at The Catholic University of America, a group of panelists focused particularly on the status of tuition tax credits and how they have enabled students who would normally not be able to afford Catholic schools to attend them.

Currently, there are 11 school voucher programs in the United States and nine scholarship tax-credit programs. Some states have more than one program.

Published in Features
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