A big day for Sturgeon Public School Division
by Lucie Roy
Sturgeon Public School Division held the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Camilla Pre-K to Grade 9 School in Riviere Qui Barre on Friday, April 8.
Sturgeon Public School Learning Coach Jerome Chabot led the dignitaries and guests into the gym, where they were welcomed by the two emcees, students Tori Arcand and Noah Barker.
Camilla School Principal Dan Stephen introduced Fred Campion, a local Indigenous Elder from Alexander First Nation, to provide a blessing for the school.
Guests included Shane Getson, MLA for Lac Ste Anne -Parkland, Councillor Kevin Arcand of Alexander First Nation, and representing Sturgeon County Mayor Alanna Hnatiw, Deputy Mayor Neal Comeau and Councillor Kristin Toms.
From Sturgeon Public Schools Board Chair and Ward 3 Trustee (Camilla School included) Joe Dwyer, Vice-Chair Irene Gibbons and Trustees Janine Pequin, Cindy Briggs, Stacey Buga Trish Murray-Elliott and the Executive Team with Superintendent Shawna Walter, Acting Deputy Superintendent Jonathan Konrad, Associate Superintendents Lisa Lacroix and Liliana Levesconte.
Representing the Camilla School Council were Chair Darla Soetaert and Vice-Chair Shallen Moore.
From the Riviere Qui Barre, Agricultural Society was Board Members Shawn Flynn, Kory Perrot, Robert Nelson and Megan Schwandt.
Principal Stephen said, “Camilla School has been a fixture in this community since the 1950s. It was with sadness that we left the old Camilla school but great excitement that we welcomed this new building.”
At the heart of the school is a tribute to its rich history and the generations of families who attended the school. The small schoolhouse within the school has original bricks from the former school.
Stephen took a moment to acknowledge and thank the people who were in his shoes before him. “They all had a hand in creating this strong foundation, ” he said. Many were at the grand opening and included Jen Bruinsma, Kari Morgan, Neil O’Shea, Wolfgang Jeske and Monte Gannon- all former Principals of Camilla School.
A short video presentation on the excitement of the students on the first day of school and what the new school means to the community.
Stephen thanked Sturgeon County and RQB Ag Society.”Our partnerships are valuable, and I look forward to continuing to work together to make West Sturgeon County an amazing place for our families and residents.”
He went on to say, “I would like to thank Alexander First Nation. Their consultation has influenced many of the design features we see in this building and Alexander First Nation. We hope to bring the spaces to life with intent to which they were designed.”
Stephen said, “The new school is more than just a physical building. It is a hub for west Sturgeon County. It is a place for our children to learn and grow. The new spaces will allow students to explore their learning in several different ways.”
Thursday night they had their first-anniversary celebration at the school ( it has been open for a year but due to Covid could not do a Grand Opening) and they had approx. One thousand people through the doors.
The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony included Elder Fred Campion with the scissors and Sturgeon Public Schools Board Chair Joe Dwyer, MLA Shane Getson, Kylie Kincaid, Superintendent Shawna Walter, Principal Dan Stephen and Rylin Kieftenbeld.
Students performed tours of the school after the formal ceremony.
MLA Shane Getson.
Sturgeon Public School Chair Joe Dwyer.
Sturgeon County Mayor Alanna Hnatiw