Adriana LaGrange of Red Deer has been elected president of the Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association.

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Adriana LaGrange of Red Deer has been elected president of the Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association.

December 7, 2015
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

An experienced trustee and fervent supporter of Catholic education has been elected the new president of the Alberta Catholic Schools Trustees' Association.

Adriana LaGrange, a long-time trustee for Red Deer Catholic Schools, was elected ACSTA president at the association's recent general meeting in Edmonton.

She replaces Tony Sykora, who served as president for four years. John Tomkinson, who has served two terms as trustee with St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Schools, was elected ACSTA vice-president.

"I feel very blessed and honoured with the confidence of my fellow trustees and I hope I can live up to their expectations, or exceed them," LaGrange said from Red Deer following her election. "It's very humbling and it's a great honour."

LaGrange's plans are "just to continue the excellent work that is already happening in the association."

"Our mission is to celebrate, preserve, promote and enhance Catholic education so I really want to elevate that within the province," she said. "I just see a team effort to really build up Catholic education and get that understanding of how valuable and necessary Catholic education is in today's world"

A native of Ontario, LaGrange attended Catholic schools in Guelph until Grade 10. Armed with a diploma in rehabilitation and disability studies, she moved to Red Deer in 1981 to work at Michener Centre, where she served for a number of years.

In 1983 she met her husband Darren and married the following year. Then the couple took over the family farm, where they raised seven children, all of whom attended Red Deer Catholic schools.

LaGrange has been active in a number of organizations over the years, including serving as president of the Red Deer and District Prolife Association.

Nine years ago, a fellow parishioner at St. Mary's Parish approached her to run for trustee. She said "no" because she was too busy.

"But then again you pray and discern and the Lord led me to put my name forward as a trustee and it has been a wonderful experience," LaGrange said.

"I feel we are blessed to have such a wonderful Catholic education system that really does permeate faith and give the students the opportunity to meet Jesus in a very real way in their day-to-day lives at school."

LaGrange has been a trustee with Red Deer Catholic since 2007, serving both as board chair and vice-chair.

LOVE, HOPE, PEACE

She believes the message of love, hope and peace that's central to the Catholic school system is vital in today's world, bursting with hate and dissension.

LaGrange decided to run for president of ACSTA when it became apparent Sykora would not seek another term. A number of people encouraged her to put her name forward.

"I spent a fair bit of time in prayer and reflection to see where God really wanted me to be, and God spoke to me and led me to believe that I should put my name forward."

The ACSTA has 24 member boards and 159 trustees that serve over 160,000 students in about 412 Catholic schools in Alberta. LaGrange will also oversee relations between the ACSTA and the Alberta government, which she understands are "very positive."

"Is there room for further growth and understanding? Absolutely," she said.

"There is room for further communication and collaboration so that they have a true understanding of the richness of Catholic education and how it has played an essential part in the history of Alberta."