The gathering of our OCSB community at this year’s Christian Community Day could not have been a more perfect prelude to Thanksgiving. This year’s focus filled us with gratitude as we celebrated the achievements of our very own alumni, as well as the profound impact we can have on the lives of those in our community who need it most, through the launch of our annual United Way campaign. This feeling of family, even among those we had only first met, is what made the day so special. In so many of us it inspired pride, for the realization that this loving culture is the result of our dedication to be kind to one another. From my eyes, it was the act of standing that symbolized the entire day.
While students all over the city were enjoying one of the last PD Days of the year, over 20 Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) employees took time out of their day on June 9, 2017 to save some lives. Administrative staff from the main Board office rolled up their sleeves to give a life-saving donation to Canadian Blood Services (CBS), who is currently struggling to maintain a strong national blood inventory.
As Uplands Catholic School winds down its final school year before closing its doors for good, staff and students are leaving on a positive note. At a recent mass, Principal Elaine Phinney reflected on some the life lessons she learned at Uplands. “I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.”
Three OCSB high schools were among the top 20 fundraisers in Ontario for the 2016 Terry Fox School Run. Holy Trinity Catholic High School, St. Pius X High School, and Immaculata High School went above and beyond to raise over $70,000 combined for cancer research. All of our schools raised a combined $180,689 last year, and our running total is $2,466,902. The dedication, enthusiasm, and selflessness shown by our school communities to support such a worthy cause is an inspiration for the entire OCSB family.
On April 28th, three outstanding members of the OCSB family were among those awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, which recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country. OCSB Trustee John Curry, St. Jerome School teacher Tracey Nesrallah, and Sacred Heart High School student Tysen Lefebvre were all honoured at the special event at City Hall. Mayor Jim Watson, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, and many city councillors were on hand to congratulate the worthy volunteers.
To close out this year’s Catholic Education Week, choirs from several OCSB schools gathered to participate in our annual Choral Celebrations held at Notre Dame High School and St. Paul High School. The talented students gave a beautiful singing performance in front of their peers and parents. To end the celebration, the choirs got creative, putting all of their parents up on stage while the students performed for them from the seats. It was a moving scene, and a great way to end another successful Catholic Education Week.
Every year during Catholic Education Week, several schools from across the OCSB come together for a three-day event to celebrate their shared love of dance. This year’s dance showcase theme was “Broadway Bound: Start Spreading the Good News.” Students from both elementary and high schools performed brilliantly choreographed dance routines in a wide variety of styles and genres, including hip hop, fusion, salsa, jazz, tap, broadway, and many more.
Our annual Catholic Education Week Mass was held on Tuesday, May 2nd, hosted at the Notre Dame Cathedral in downtown Ottawa. The Ottawa Catholic School Board Chamber Choir performed and Monsignor Daniel Berniquez presided over the Celebration of the Eucharist. Following the Mass was the presentation of the Director of Education Commendation Awards, presented to outstanding role models in the Ottawa Catholic School Board.
The Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario (CPCO) has honoured St. Stephen School’s Bob Santos as Principal of the Year. Bob started his career as a teacher in Northern Quebec, then moved to Calgary, before settling in the Ottawa area where he has worked for close to three decades. Bob exemplifies gospel values in his daily actions and personifies leadership by his commitment to self-improvement. He teaches classes, supervises students, and coaches within his school’s extracurricular activities.
Devoted, enthusiastic, and committed – three words used to describe the Ottawa Catholic School Board’s Kelly McKibbin as she was recently honoured with a United Way Community Builder Award. On Wednesday, April 26th, Laurence Wall from CBC Radio comically interrupted a staff meeting held in a packed OCSB boardroom to present Kelly with her well-earned award. Appropriately presented during National Volunteer Week, Kelly was celebrated for the many ways she serves to make her community a brighter and better place.