Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
October 12, 2009
Calgary Catholic Schools celebrate 125th anniversary
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
CALGARY - The Catholic values that built the foundation of the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) 125 years ago still guide it today as students live and learn in faith.
The size of CCSD has grown tremendously from just two teachers and 22 students to now more than 45,000 students in 103 schools and employing approximately 5,000 staff members, including 3,000 teachers.
Chief Superintendent Dr. Lucy Miller believes that the longevity of CCSD can be tied to every individual who has been involved in Catholic education.
"We have built a rich history and have made a difference in the lives of many children and families and in each other's lives. We can all be proud of our contributions that have helped shape the history of our Calgary Catholic community."
The idea of providing Catholic education in Alberta, then part of the North West Territories, began 15 years prior to the establishment of CCSD. Bishop Vital Grandin, the first bishop in the North West Territories, devoted himself to bringing Christianity to the West and aiding Prairie settlers.
Upon Grandin's request, a group of Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) - a women's religious order whose mission includes founding institutes of education - arrived in Calgary from Saskatchewan to establish a Catholic school located near their new convent: Sacred Heart.
Catholic education in Calgary began Sept. 1, 1885 at St. Mary's School, which was opened by the FCJ sisters.
Mother Mary Greene led St. Mary's School as the first teacher, principal and superintendent of CCSD.
She was instrumental in developing the teacher certificate program, held the first official teaching certificate in Alberta and helped enshrine Catholic educational rights in the Constitution that was developed during this period.
"We are proud that our schools are places where staff, students and families have opportunities to experience God's presence in their lives," says Miller. "No matter what job we do in the district, we work to make sure that every child that walks through our doors is successful academically, empowered to reach their full potential and to journey in faith with God."
Miller believes it is crucial to emphasize the district's rich history and culture in the Calgary community and to plan how Catholic education should continue to evolve.
"As we enter our anniversary year, every one of us can carry the rich traditions of Catholic education forward and set the tone for the next 125 years. Critical to achieving this successfully will be to agree on what it looks like when the best happens."
The CCSD board of trustees will engage all stakeholders in a re-imagining of the mission and vision statements to articulate the future of Catholic education in Calgary.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.