Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
June 21, 2010
New school slated to be centre of excellence
Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School will have a 1,400 - student capacity, chapel and large gym
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
SHERWOOD PARK - This spring, Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School celebrated its 40th anniversary. Only a few months later, community members gathered to break ground for a foundation for a new school.
Bishop David Motiuk blessed the site of the new high school along Emerald Drive and, along with other dignitaries, helped break ground on the project June 11.
The existing high school was built to house about 750 students, and currently has almost 900. The new school will have a 1,400 - student capacity.
"It's very crowded and it's very difficult to embrace the type of learning environment that our 21st century learners are looking for.
"We're hopeful this will give us the opportunity to offer the programming that we want to provide our students, and also to expand our base of students that can attend Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School," said Chris Diachuk, superintendent of Elk Island Catholic Schools.
The school, set to open in 2012, is important to the growth of the school division, as well as remedying the county's fundamental need for education.
"Its importance is tied to the growth of Catholic education in Strathcona County. Certainly many, many parents and many, many students are selecting Catholic education. That's the direction they want for the formation of their faith life," said Diachuk.
The Alberta government recognizes that population growth in Sherwood Park has resulted in greater infrastructure pressures, and responded by approving the new school and nearby hospital.
Strathcona MLA Dave Quest said this new high school would be a centre of excellence for teaching and learning, a place where students will discover their interests, passions, and eventually transition their new experiences into the world of work.
"Today the Elk Island Catholic School Board marks a new chapter in its delivery of education. In the not too distant future this site will become a central focus for this area. Schools are, after all, the hub of a community and a place where friends and neighbours gather for special events and occasions."
Strathcona County Mayor Cathy Oleson said the larger and improved facility in a modern urban setting would allow both educators and students to reach even greater heights.
"It warms my heart to see fundamental needs in our community being addressed. Education, health care and safety are always priorities for all of our residents. Our children deserve to have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Education is fundamental to develop, and a road to being a contributing community member," said Oleson.
CURRENT SCHOOL'S FUTURE
One possibility for the existing school is to serve as a K-9 French immersion school. The school now serving that purpose, Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, is also overcrowded. More parents would like their children to participate in the French immersion program, but no space is available.
The school namesake was Archbishop Anthony Jordan, archbishop for the Edmonton Archdiocese from August 1964 to July 1973. Honouring the culture and tradition, parents rejected the idea of changing the name of the new school.
CHAPEL AND GYM
The school is designed with its relationship with the community and parish in mind. Features within the school include a chapel and a large gymnasium for physical education activities.
"The essence of what we're looking for is a body, mind and spirit experience for our students," concluded Diachuk.
The school choir sang O Canada to open the site blessing ceremony, Holy Ground as the blessing song, and Siyamba as the closing song.
Father Wilf Murchland, from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, offered the opening prayer. Among the other dignitaries at the ceremony were school board chairman Tony Sykora, school trustees, city councillors, Sherwood Park pastor Msgr. Jack Hamilton, and Father Rendall Yackimec, the priest at St. Sophia Ukrainian Parish.
Special guests were five Grade 7 students, accompanied by their parents. They represent the new school's first graduating class.
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