Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 8, 2008
Learning/prayer garden instills peace
Volunteers transform Vital Grandin Schoolĺs grounds into a place of sanctuary
By RAMON GONZALEZ
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
The sage garden honours the First Nations/Métis aspect of the School.
Principal Sandy Kordyback, one of the volunteers who gardened and landscaped in late June, is excited about the project.
"I think it's a beautiful, saint-inspired way of our being able to celebrate 50 years as a school in a school division with a tremendous history and tremendous ties to our First Nations and to our Catholic faith," she said Sept. 2.
The making of the garden also helped to strengthen the ties between parents, staff and students, many of whom also helped.
"We had whole families (working in the garden)," noted Kordyback. "There were children hauling grass, some of the turf and planting and digging holes, watering."
Everything in the garden is curriculum-based, Kelly said. Students will be able to use it in many of their subjects, including social studies, sciences, art, language arts, religion and even math.
"I think the garden will help students appreciate the earth and what it takes for things to grow," said Barbara Pacholok, a parent and volunteer. "It's a teaching tool that will teach students to be environmentally conscious and to become stewards of the earth."
Thanks to last-minute donations and some parents purchasing trees in memory of loved ones, the cost of the project came down to $3,000 from an original estimate of $15,000. Rockland Landscaping, a St. Albert-based company, donated the soil, mulch, rock and borders for the garden.
The playground once had just one lonely tree. Now it has several young trees about eight feet tall. Volunteers also set up wooden planters for students to plant potatoes or carrots in early spring. The section of the garden in front of the school was named Bishop Grandin/First Nations Peace Garden and the one in the playground Bishop Grandin Historical Garden.
The school plans an outdoor Mass in May 2009 to celebrate its 50 years and to honour its namesake.
Bishop Grandin, known for his efforts to achieve peace between Métis people and the Canadian government, died in 1902 and is buried in St. Albert Church. The Vatican declared him venerable in 1966.
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