By Lucie Roy
Morinville – Wednesday was a time for farewells and new opportunities at Notre Dame Catholic Elementary School. The school held their Closing Ceremony in the school’s gymnasium Wednesday afternnon. At the closing Principal Pelletier thanked the School Council and the Parents Fundraising Association for their efforts, but spent the much of her focus on retiring and transferring staff.
Principal Marlene Pelletier said it was with a heavy heart that she made announcements of the two retirements and departure of staff and teachers. In addition to Mrs. Kathy Swerda, who has been a School Office Support staff member for nearly four decades, Educational Assistant Debbie Howard is retiring as well.
Pelletier said Swerda has been a pillar of the school community, serving the community for many years as school secretary. “But what you do not know is that you have been many things to each one of us in a unique way; a nurse, a mom, a psychologist, an accountant and the list goes on,” Pelletier said. “We would like to sincerely thank you for your many years of service, but especially for your warm smile, your welcoming mannerisms and mostly for just being you. We will miss that ‘Good morning, Mrs. Swerda Speaking,’ when we called and that twinkle in your eyes when you greeted us each day.”
For Swerda, the time at Notre Dame has been good. She will take her name plaque from her desk and memories of good times at the school with her into retirement. “It has been a very beautiful, beautiful 38 years,” Swerda said, adding she has enjoyed the past 38 years of memories, starting out in the convent for two years before moving to Notre Dame in September of 1977. She’s been there since the school opened. “It has been 38 years of learning and living,” she said. “September comes along and we are happy to get reacquainted with old friends, there is Thanksgiving and the
decorations, same with Halloween and November, a delightful and sad month with Remembrance Day and December with the many small Joseph and Mary around the school.”
Swerda took part in all the celebrations, always offering assistance wherever it was required. Whether it was looking for costumes, cleaning up after events or doing whatever wass required to make things work, she did it.
Transfers and departures
Other departures from Notre Dame include teachers Dianne Hutton, Helen Cyr, Laura Winsor and Educational Assistant Andrea Pautonnier who will be transferring to Primeau School. Grade 3 teacher Kathy Mahoney will take on a new opportunity teaching grade 4/5 in Legal.
Not returning next year is Grade 4 teacher Sarah Lutgen, Grade 2
teacher Catherine Chan, Grade 5 teacher Kim Shmyr, School Support Staff member Nicole Johnson, Kindergarten teacher Leisa Michael and Educational Assistant Shelly Druggett.
September will see former Ecole Georges P. Vanier students joining the ranks at Notre Dame Elementary School. GSACRD Grade 5 students from both schools will join the student body at Georges H. Primeau Middle School.