A ribbon cutting ceremony took place May 21 at the entrance to École Notre Dame Elementary School’s modulars. Participating in the rededication ceremonie’s ribbon cutting was Father Ignacy Warias OMI, student Cierra Palma, Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools Chair Rosaleen McEvoy, The Honourable Jeff Johnson, Minister of Education, Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec, student Sidney Langley, School Principal Marlene Pelletier and Division Superintendent David Keohane. – Lucie Roy Photo
Story By Stephen Dafoe
Photos By Lucie Roy
Morinville – The first day back to school after the Victoria Day long weekend was a celebratory one for the students of École Notre Dame Elementary School. The school received its second visit from Education Minister Jeff Johnson this year, this time to participate in a rededication ceremony officially recognizing the consolidation of the former École Georges P. Vanier and Notre Dame Elementary School sites.
The school, which can accommodate 503 students after the expansion, was renamed École Notre Dame Elementary to reflect English and French Immersion dual-track programming for students in Kindergarten through Grade 4. In keeping with that programming, the emcees presented their information in both English and French.
The formal presentations from Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools Superintendent David Keohane, Board Chair Rosaleen McEvoy, and Minister Johnson were punctuated by performances from the school’s choir.
The ceremony was followed by a ribbon cutting outside the new modular classrooms, added to the property last summer after the former École Georges P. Vanier site was officially transferred to Sturgeon School Division to establish Morinville Public Elementary School.
In her address to those present, Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools Board Chair Rosaleen McEvoy expressed her thanks to the many partners who made the uniting of the two school’s under one roof possible. “As you all know the announcement of the consolidation of schools was made June 1st, 2012, just a short year ago, with an operational date of Aug. 29 of that year,” she said. “I do think it would be out of the ordinary for a minister to make an announcement of an infrastructure project and also to be in attendance for a ribbon cutting in less than a year. That is a testimony to the effort, skill, and perseverance of all involved in this project.”
McEvoy also expressed her appreciation to the families who stayed with the school system. “We know this presented an upheaval for many of you who were changing school,” she said, adding she hoped the students would draw from the experience an ability to prepare for change.
In his address to students and staff Minister Johnson praised the work of the school board and the division in making the transition go smoothly, and took the opportunity to speak to the diversity of educational choices available in the province. “You folks and your board and your teachers and your trustees have set an incredible example for the entire province because there are others in our community that don’t feel the same way we do, and one thing we believe in Alberta is every child is special. Every one of you is unique and different, and you all may need a different education so your parents can make different choices. We want people to respect the choices we make and we’ve got a premier that does that as well. So we need to do that for other people.”
Johnson was also full of praise for the school’s teachers and staff who came back to school early last summer to set up the new classrooms at the school. “We can make sure you have a building and a playground – and those things are important – but you know what’s really important in the school? The people that are inside it; the people that are inside the school are what makes it special.”
Above Left: Alberta’s Minister of Education, The Honourable Jeff Johnson, speaks with Jared Adams at the official rededication of École Notre Dame Elementary School held May 21. With the expansion, the school currently accommodates 503 students. – Lucie Roy Photo