Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
December 17, 2001
School celebrations focus on Advent
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Every morning since the first week of Advent, principal Kathy Dekker would light the Advent candle and read a Bible story for the students at St. Augustine School.
"We have very peaceful celebrations," Dekker told the WCR. "Peace is our overall thrust. We've been praying for world peace since Sept. 11 and we'll be continuing to pray for a long time."
St. Augustine is but one of dozens of Catholic schools across Edmonton holding special celebrations for Advent as well as a traditional Christmas concert.
At St. Augustine, each class has its own Advent wreath, which students and teachers light every day as they listen to the readings for the day.
"We're trying to build up our theme around the story of the Jesse tree," Dekker said.
From each story that Dekker reads over the intercom, a theme is highlighted. One morning she read the story of Moses. From the reading, which was worded to suit the understanding of Grades 1 to 6, Dekker gave practical points for the students to reflect upon.
She talked about how the students are leaders for their schoolmates. "They are leaders in the playground and classroom and they lead by helping people and taking a moment to show people the best thing to do and to make the right choices," she said.
She told the students if there's somebody in the playground who doesn't have a friend, to be a leader is to go up and ask them to be a friend.
"This is how (the students) answer the call, just as it was how God asked Moses to answer his call," Dekker added.
During the first week of Advent, the students began their celebrations with music played over the intercom as they came to the gym quiet and focused.
Aside from the morning ceremony at the school, the music club of the school performed in three locations in the city.
Music teacher Terenia Ilkiw led the group in their performances at the Alberta Legislature, City Hall, and Queen Alex Centre Lodge.
"My students are really excited about these performances," Ilkiw said.
"They are very committed to our preparations and rehearsals, which we did during recess time," said Ilkiw, who also provided piano accompaniment for the choir.
Teacher Monica Timms conducted 30 Grade 4 to 6 students while they sang Christmas carols and some played musical instruments.
"They joined the choir voluntarily and I think they are enjoying it," Ilkiw said.
At a performance at the legislature's main rotunda, the choir entertained people during their lunch break. Although a small crowd gathered to see the performance, a Legislature worker said others are listening in their offices.
Xavier, 10, a choir member, enjoyed being with the group. "I love to sing and my favourite is the Carol of the Bells."
For Devon, 10, singing is fun. "I really like the songs of our choir, the melodies are beautiful and lively."
On Dec. 19, the school will have its Christmas concert while on the last day of school, Dec. 21, the final story to finish the Jesse tree will be read.
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