Featured Schools of the Week
Welcome to Holy Rosary Catholic Elementary School. We are the home of the Rays; our school logo combines the rays of the sun (because we are the light of Christ for each other) and a sporty stingray as our cool sports mascot. Holy Rosary is 27 years old and sits in the heart of the Westvale area of Waterloo. We are surrounded by parkland and great recreational areas. We are a short 1km walk from our secondary school – Resurrection. We have 310 awesome students and we are proud to say that we have experienced successes in many areas of school and community life: including strong EQAO scores, writing, art and math contest winners, terrific athletics (both in competing against other schools and through our extensive intermural program), we are a Gold ECO-School, we have great choir, dancers and lots of tech interest and skills. We are working hard to prepare our students to be well rounded and great contributors to our local and global communities.
Our goal at Holy Rosary is to create a Christ-centered, positive, encouraging and stimulating learning environment for our students so that each child will have the opportunity to learn, experience and grow to his or her potential. We believe that to achieve the most fulfilling and rewarding education for each child, we must work together as a team. Children’s attitudes, values, and self-concepts are molded at home and at school; therefore, a positive and mutually supportive home/school partnership is promoted to encourage learning, skill development, self-discipline, responsibility, respect for self, others and the environment, appropriate values and a sense of self-worth.
The motto at Holy Rosary School is “I am My Choices”. By using this motto as our communal thinking and way of looking at things we can live in a loving and successful environment. It is our belief that when we make good choices – good things will happen for us; on the other hand, when we make poor choices there are negative consequences. We will continue to challenge everyone to do something positive every day in our school and local community. We invite everyone in the community to join with us in following our motto; we will see the great results of our choices in all that we do.
“Growing in Skill and Wisdom and Strength”
St. Mark School officially opened in 1978 in the Forest Heights area of Kitchener. Presently, there are 260 students from Junior Kindergarten to grade eight and twenty-seven staff members.
St. Mark School has always had a very close relationship with St. Mark Church. From 1982, when the new community of St. Mark was formed, until 1991 when the new St. Mark Church was dedicated, worshipers gathered in the school gymnasium for Sunday Mass. As attendance grew, the bishop gave permission for the community to become a parish in its own right in 1988. The school works very closely with the pastor of St. Mark Church, Father Don Sanvido, and we are grateful for his continuing pastoral care of our students and for his unending support of Catholic Education in our community.
The students at our school are blessed to have parents and families who love them and support them as they grow in their faith and as they continue their education. Parents are very involved in the life of our school, volunteering their time in classrooms, in the Strong Start literacy support program and on School Council. Our School Council is very active and has supported improved student learning and parent involvement with fundraising, family math night, our September Open House and special speakers dealing with anti-bullying and parenting topics. The staff of St. Mark School is completely dedicated to fostering academic excellence, and spiritual and emotional growth in all of our students. For 12 years, St. Mark students have been honouring the courage and determination of Terry Fox and running for a cure in the annual Terry Fox Run. This year we were proud to rank #22 in the top fundraisers in all of Ontario. This
small but mighty school raised $12,627.40 in 2016 bringing our grand total to an astounding $92,830.44!
Through our Social Justice Club, St. Mark School has formed a transformational partnership with the “Free the Children” organization. Over the past seven years we have helped raise funds to build a well in Haiti, build a school and provide medical supplies in Kenya, and goats to the people of India. In the wake of the devastating hurricane that hit Haiti last year our Social Justice Club has dedicated all of this year’s charitable fundraising to help provide clean water to the people of Haiti. Our Social Justice Club also does community outreach with senior citizens in our community and assists with the St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Mark Church.
St. Mark students have jumped into the 21st century by joining our Computer Club. We are learning how to code in Scratch and HTML and have gained skills in problem solving and collaboration. Students have programmed robotics with Sphero and explored space using Google Expeditions. We were fortunate to visit Google this year and participate in Skills Canada. Our club includes students of all abilities and welcomes everyone willing to try.
“Our Catholic Schools: Heart of the community – success for each, a place for all.”
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13
St. Dominic Catholic Elementary School is nestled in the Monarch Woods subdivision in the west end of Kitchener. The building was constructed in 1999 and is currently home to 467 Mighty Dragons! St. Dominic recently celebrated its 15 year anniversary and is developing a powerful sense of tradition and of being in a welcoming and inclusive community. The respect for diversity and the 18 different languages spoken and celebrated are testament to our growing multicultural mindset.
We are a vibrant faith community that takes pride in developing passion, patience and perseverance in our child(ren). We believe that every student is a gem that has the capability of illuminating the world in their own special way. As a staff, we will work tirelessly to create a community filled with laughter and joy to create opportunities for the children entrusted in their care. Students are encouraged to share their gifts, celebrate their uniqueness and be the best they can be as we develop the whole child (mind, body and spirit) through a commitment to high expectations and collaboration. Our mascot is the Dragon whose tenacity is reflected in our approach to learning. We believe St. Dominic’s is a place where children want to be, and where parents want their children to be. The heart of the community, success for each and every child, and a place for all holds true.
Our patron Saint is a boy-saint, St. Dominic Savio from Turin Italy whose feast day is March 9th. At a very young age Dominic modelled how to live the Golden Rule through word and deed as one of Don Bosco’s congregation. Those blessed to be in his presence would observe Dominic doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way looking after struggling boys that were dismissed and forgotten. Dominic died at 15 years of age and was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1954. All could see why the spiritual son of St. John Bosco with his cheerful humility and holiness would serve as a beacon of hope to all!
As a Catholic school community, our faith at St. Dominic School is celebrated in a variety of ways beginning with student-led morning prayers, weekly meditations, monthly liturgies and virtue assemblies. We work hard to develop positive and reciprocal relationships with our community partners and foster the parent-school-church triad. Under the guidance and leadership of our St. Mark parish priest, Father Don Sanvido and Deacon Basil the students have the opportunity to grow and flourish through the sacraments and daily life through their bi-weekly visits.
Through the efforts of our Peace Tree team the St. Dominic Catholic School community has always remembered its connection to the local and global communities including Free the Children through WE Day, St. Vincent de Paul and more. We have responded generously and consistently throughout the years.
Our school is blessed with a caring, talented staff and school council committed to creating opportunities for students to share their wonderful gifts. We place great value on our three cornerstones of community-school, home, and church! Together, as a “People of Hope” we are preparing our 21st century learners to be difference makers in the image of Jesus Christ.
“We can do all things through Christ who strengthens Us”
“Building a Just and Caring Society”
St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School is located in the Preston area of Cambridge, near the intersection of the Grand and Speed Rivers on a beautiful piece of land that includes a walking trail, soccer fields and a baseball diamond. The school first opened its doors in 1959 as part of the Galt Separate School Board. St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School started as a junior high school complete with uniforms and lockers. An addition was added to the school in 1967 that saw the construction of a kindergarten room, a resource centre, and five new classrooms. St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School has existed in several formats over the past 51 years. It has been a junior high school, a kindergarten to grade six school, and finally a junior kindergarten to grade 8 school. The school currently hosts a total of 10 classrooms, approximately 30 staff members, and 230 students. At one point the school was home to three portables and an additional 100 students. The enrollment is presently climbing thanks to new community builds in the Preston area. We also offer an extended day program with before and after school care provided by our Early Childhood Educators.
The St. Joseph staff are truly lifelong learners. They model for students the importance of continual growth and development of skills through innovation and inquiry. Our students are afforded a wide variety of programs and extra-curricular activities to develop students’ 21st century global competencies. Examples include: French as a Second Language; Skills Canada club and competitions in robotics and wood working; EcoSchools certification and integration across the entire school community; Healthy Schools certification, focus and education for both school and home; utilization of Chromebooks across the grades; Google Apps for Education and D2L integration in all classes; and, interactive whiteboards in all learning spaces utilized by both staff and students. Our school community is truly a 21st century learning environment!
Our focus on the Ontario Catholic Graduate Expectations is a visible, daily practice. From bright and vibrant murals in our main foyer to student created announcements and bulletin boards, our school motto of WWJD: What Would Jesus Do? is tangible and relevant. St. Joseph staff and students walk the talk. We offer special education programs, a Nutrition for Learning Program, Strong Start, pastoral team, EcoSchools team, Healthy Schools team, PALS, countless community connections with St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School, school liturgies and masses, and a social justice club.
The St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School Council is a hard-working and supportive group that has raised countless funds to support school projects. In addition they have provided valuable advice to school principals, donated countless volunteer hours and have always advocated strongly for Catholic Education.
St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School has developed a strong relationship with St. Clement Parish. Together, the school and the parish form an effective team that works diligently to actively support the faith life of the community. The St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School community is dedicated to Catholic education and supports the work of all individuals who strive to enhance the cause of Catholic education. On May 2, 2010 our school community celebrated the 50th anniversary of St. Joseph Catholic School with a mass at St. Clement Church followed by an open house at the school. Many former students, parents, teachers, principals, support staff and trustees came together to celebrated the proud tradition of St. Joseph Catholic School. We look forward to our next 50 years!
Waterloo Region’s Catholic Schools have been providing Catholic Education in Waterloo Region since 1836. That is 181 years of education; 31 years before our country became Canada.
St. Boniface’s beginnings were as a small log structure that was both a school and a church. In 1848 a sturdy stone building 50 feet by 60 feet was built and dedicated to St. Boniface. This building is still being used today. In 1965 an addition was added to the original building, giving us a gym, and library, and a couple more classrooms.
St. Boniface School is definitely the heart of the community in Maryhill. We have students currently enrolled whose parents, grandparents, great grandparents and even great-great grandparents attended school here.
Our school community is very involved with the community around us. The Knights of Columbus host a BBQ for our Meet the Teacher night in September. Parents, students and teachers gather around together and share what happened over the summer and share in their excitement for all that is to come in the new school year. We also have a very special tradition of having a wonderful Christmas Lunch, all students, teachers and staff of St. Boniface sit down together, Father Voisin joins us too. We share a full (all the fixings) Christmas dinner, and celebrate the upcoming Christmas Season together, as a family.
One of the great things about being directly across the street from our church is that we get to go to the church for our school masses, reconciliation and to do the Stations of the Cross. We also go over to the church once a week for the weekly Rosary club.
We do outreach with the Twin Oaks Nursing home beside our school on special occasions such as Hallowe’en and Christmas. Visiting the seniors and even acting as stand ins for their fire drills are some community outreach activities. Some students take it upon themselves to volunteer at Twin Oaks on their own time.
Our school is very involved with Me to We initiatives, such as a food drive, at Christmas we sponsored two families in our community. We have a wonderful Mission day and the proceeds from this go to the needs of the local and global community.
Though we are a small school we offer a full range of academic and extracurricular activities. Our Robotics Club is a new addition and allows for creative and new thinking.
Our regular Image of Jesus awards encourage students to be the best they can be.
Since the addition of the Extended Day program, our population has increased and we look forward to welcoming more families into
our school community!
St. Luke Elementary School opened in 2001 and is named after St. Luke the Evangelist, the patron saint of artists, physicians, surgeons, students and butchers, and the author of the Gospel according to Luke. The school is located at 550 Chesapeake Drive, in the Eastbridge neighbourhood of Waterloo. There are approximately 490 students, from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8. We are part of the St. David family of schools, and the majority of our students go on to St. David School when they graduate.
The school motto is “Rooted in the Love of Christ”, and as a welcoming, inclusive and nurturing Catholic community, we keep this forefront in everything we do for our students. Our staff is committed to ensuring that each student attains his or her full potential, and develops a desire to transform the world into a just and loving society. The Gospel values of respect, love, hope, reconciliation and justice are evident in every classroom. We foster wellness of body, mind and spirit. Our staff strive to provide challenging and inspiring teaching across all the areas of the curriculum, to engage our students as partners in their own learning. We encourage challenge, collaboration, innovation, use of technology, imagination, and higher order thinking, to develop our students’ 21st century skills.
We have a wide range of activities to offer our students outside of the classroom, from our “Luke Lightning” sports teams, and intramurals, to eco club, robotics club, legacy group, and choir. Each child has the opportunity to develop his or her talents, and to make a positive contribution to the school community.
Our students are encouraged to look beyond themselves, and we hold food drives, winter clothing drives and fundraisers to assist people both within our community and overseas. St. Luke students know that their efforts can truly make a difference in the world.
We encourage our parent community, in partnership with the Parish of St. Agnes, to join us for our regular masses, liturgies and celebrations of the sacraments. We highly value our Parish, home and school partnership.
As Disciples of Christ, we teach our students to be compassionate, caring individuals, invested in their learning, their spiritual development, and in helping others.
On September 2, 2003, John Sweeney Catholic Elementary School officially opened. Located on 185 Activa Avenue in Kitchener, the school was named after Mr. John Sweeney, one of Waterloo Region’s most respected Catholic leaders. A family man, educator, school board director, cabinet minister, community volunteer, and role model for Catholics young and old, he left behind an unmatched legacy of leadership, caring, and commitment. The school community celebrated the blessing and dedication of John Sweeney Catholic School on October 26, 2003 which was attended by Bishop Anthony Tonnos. John Sweeney’s wife, Kay Sweeney, their children and families were also in attendance and were very proud to have a school named in his honour.
John Sweeney Catholic School is a community of excellence in mind, body and spirit. The staff are appreciative of their faith and invested in every single child. They foster an environment conducive to learning that instills, in each student, a love of Jesus and an appreciation of his or her Catholic faith. The mutually respectful atmosphere at John Sweeney School helps learners create a relationship with our Lord. The entire curriculum, whether it is in language, math, the arts or technology is presented to the students in an engaging, inspiring and challenging way. The staff work to ensure that each student, in a Christ – centered, learner-focused environment, develops his or her capabilities and a desire to transform the world into a just and loving society with the gifts of the Catholic faith. We focus on equipping our students with 21st Century knowledge and skills through engaging students as partners in their own learning and emphasizing the higher-order thinking skills.
John Sweeney Catholic School engages parents and the Parish of Blessed Sacrament Church by bringing all partners together for celebrations, liturgies and masses that are planned to foster a true sense of community.
John Sweeney Catholic School radiates uniqueness and inclusivity. It is the energy and exuberance of students and staff members that make the school community extraordinarily special. Numerous clubs and teams are organized allowing students to participate in a fulfilling educational experience. All students are cherished and respected for the gifts and talents they share with the entire community.
Students and staff at John Sweeney Catholic School are conscious of the importance of social justice initiatives and their role in truly making a difference in the world. Students actively donate their time, energy and talents to raise money for countless fundraisers. They generously bring in canned goods, toiletry items, school supplies, etc. for several charities and shelter organizations, and actively take care of our environment with local initiatives.
It is the hope of all families and staff that the children who attend John Sweeney Catholic Elementary School will always be inspired to reach their full potential and become the compassionate, caring, and dedicated citizens that made its namesake such a treasure in the community. John Sweeney Catholic School inspires children, families and staff to be fully present in mind, body and spirit as they live, learn and grow together in the Holy Spirit.
Canadian Martyrs Catholic Elementary School
“Home of the Crusaders”
The Canadian Martyrs Catholic Elementary School community began gathering in the fall of 1967, and officially opened in our current building in September of 1968.
Among the earliest Europeans who came to the New World were the Jesuits from France. History has recorded the earliest explorations of these missionaries who came to this country to preach the Gospel. A group of these priests became known as the Canadian Martyrs. Such men as Father Jean Brebeuf, Isaac Joques, Noel Chabanel, Rene Goupil, Anthony Daniel, Charles Garnier, and Gabriel Lalemant, gave up their lives in the service of Christ. In naming the school, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board formally recognized the work of the Jesuits, not only from the standpoint of their place in Canadian history, but in their efforts locally. Truly, the children of this school have a proud heritage!
Canadian Martyrs was the fifteenth Catholic school to be built by our Board. The school sits on 6.62 acres and its initial enrolment was 150 students. On May 2, 1993, a re-dedication was celebrated honouring the school’s 25th Anniversary. The current school year (2016-2017) marks our 49th year, and Canadian Martyrs now serves 316 children from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8. We continue the great tradition of service, spirituality, creativity and academic excellence. If you were to walk through the halls, you would see our school theme come to life. Again this year, we continue to focus on how we can “Live F.A.R.E. always!” Showing our Faith in Jesus Christ, Acceptance of others, Respect for our school community and those within it, and Empathy towards our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, is so important to our staff, students and community members. We recognize our students for their efforts through weekly F.A.R.E. draws and our monthly F.A.R.E. assemblies.
The staff at Canadian Martyrs Catholic Elementary school, have high expectations of one another and of our students. Academic achievement is paramount and we believe in the education we deliver. Students demand the best from us and we work hard to deliver what we believe is every student’s right. In turn, our staff expects students to be engaged and responsible for their learning and the overall culture of the school. We receive tremendous support from our active School Council and greater parent community.
The Canadian Martyrs staff works hard to offer many programmes and extra-curricular activities. We believe in providing opportunities for our students to ensure they are well rounded and their needs are being met. Throughout the day, students may be involved in Strong Start Reading, Coding Club, Math Club, various language clubs such as French and Spanish, Art Club, Games Club, Homework Club and a vast number of athletics. Our Crusaders represent us well in the community at various events and tournaments. Our students look forward to our annual F.A.R.E. World Cup soccer tournament where the entire student body is placed on mixed age soccer teams and engage in team building activities and a tournament.
Through our high expectations for our students, the many extra-curricular opportunities that are offered and the wonderful partnerships that we have with St. Anthony Daniel Parish and our larger school community, we are confident that our Canadian Martyrs Crusaders are equipped with the necessary tools to fulfil our mission and become “…disciples of Christ…who realize their full potential to transform God’s world.”
St. Anne – Cambridge
St. Anne Catholic School, Cambridge
“Heart of the Community, Success For Each, A Place For All”
St. Anne School was opened in September 1965. It consisted of six classrooms with grades from kindergarten to six. Enrolment on September 7, 1965 was 210 students. The land was donated to the Waterloo Separate School Board and the tendered price for construction of the building was $234,479. In 1998, St. Patrick School and St. Anne School amalgamated.
St. Anne School closed temporarily while an addition of a gymnasium and six classrooms was completed and reopened in 1999. In September 2015, St. Anne School amalgamated with St. Ambrose School and again temporarily relocated while another addition was completed. The school reopened in 2016 and a Mass and a grand 50th Anniversary celebration was enjoyed by all. Currently the enrolment is 420 students with a staff of 54. Providing the best education possible for all students is the school’s focus.
The St. Anne School community is a unique and caring one. It boasts the first Breakfast Club, the first Block Parent Walking School Bus and the first Food4Kids program offered in a Cambridge School. Our students are offered many opportunities to grow as a Catholic school community through the STEAM (Skills & Tools for Emotions Awareness and Management) program, Student Government, Eco Designated School, Sign Language Club and many other sports, programs and clubs. The Alison Neighbourhood Community Centre is a community partner located in our building, offering a host of programs such as Community Outreach and before and after-school activities.
Students and staff have always been well-noted for their warmth and friendliness, reflecting the family tradition in our community. Together as a faith community, students, parents and staff actively support social justice events, demonstrate commitment to humanity and devotion to our faith. They demonstrate the call to service through their many acts of kindness, showing their concern for others as they donate food and mittens to the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank, and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.
The School Council is very active all the time, assisting in fund-raising, school safety, communication and volunteering wherever necessary. As we continue to grow and bring two school communities together we begin a new journey of recreating ourselves and creating new traditions.
Father Irek from the St. Ambrose parish team and the Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate/Marian Residence support our religious and sacramental programs. Partnerships between the parish, school and home are encouraged and supported through liturgies of the word and Masses. St. Anne School strives to satisfy the needs of the student as a whole individual by identifying where that particular student is and moving forward from there. St. Anne School has a number of special needs students who are active, integrated participants in every aspect of the school.
Building and strengthening a Growth Mindset and Resiliency is a continuing focus. We encourage each student to discover and maximize their God-given potential and model the Image of Jesus; spiritually, mentally, emotionally and academically.
We look forward to continual academic, spiritual, and social growth, as we work together as a Catholic school community.
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Elementary School
Respect. Give it. Get it.
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Elementary School was officially opened in 1968 and was named after the patron saint of animals and the environment.
St. Francis of Assisi School is located in the Galt City Center/South Galt area of Cambridge. The school was opened as a 12 classroom open concept facility including a library and gymnasium. Our unique architectural design provides students with a team teaching experience. Today, almost 50 years later, St. Francis of Assisi School continues its strong partnership with St. Ambrose Parish. Our staff, students and parents/guardians are all committed to working together to make St. Francis of Assisi School a great place to learn. The St. Ambrose Pastoral Team works closely with our staff to prepare our students to receive the sacraments of First Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation. Because we are within walking distance to the church, many of our school masses are celebrated at St. Ambrose Parish.
Presently St. Francis of Assisi School provides instruction to 200 students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8. There are 24 teaching and support staff providing students with rich and diverse activities. Our school community feels deeply about supporting social justice initiatives. Over the years, we have raised money or collected items for many worthy causes such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Out of the Cold Program, the Terry Fox Foundation, Kids Ability, Christopher Champlain Centre, Free the Children, and relief efforts to assist countries in need, Haiti, Japan and Pakistan.
St. Francis of Assisi School partners with Nutrition for Learning which subsidizes a Nutrition for Learning Bin Program for all of our students. All classrooms, JK/SK to Grade 8, have a Nutrition Bin to which students have the opportunity to have up to 3 healthy snacks daily from the bin.
We have partnerships with Monsignor Doyle Secondary School, St. Louis Adult Learning Centre, and Nipissing University to which we are fortunate to have students complete their practicum hours with us. We also partner with Mad Science that provides the opportunity for students to explore hands on learning in the area of Science and Technology. The Roots of Empathy Program made available to our students is reflective of Empathy, Culture of Caring, Respect and Inclusion. Through this program our students are able to gain insight into the feelings of others and in turn, develop a sense of social responsibility for each other.
Our school council members have always been very active and supportive at St. Francis of Assisi School. They were instrumental in getting many upgrades completed over the years both inside and outside the school. This group petitioned to get a new parking lot installed at the front of the school to assist with student safety, and has raised funds to provide numerous resources to assist students with their learning. They helped offset the cost of Chrome books, Sports Wear, Library Resources, Outdoor Recess Equipment, Scientists in the Classroom, Pottery to Go, Agendas and Bussing for Excursions.
The staff at St. Francis of Assisi School continues with the rich traditions that have been established over the years by providing a wide variety of opportunities for students to enrich their elementary school experience. Some examples include monthly assemblies, which are celebrated to recognize and promote the many great things that students are involved in, intramural and extra-curricular activities, as well as leadership opportunities such as assisting with announcements in the morning, reading at liturgical celebrations, helping with Special Lunch Days and School Events, and demonstrating student voice on Student Council, Elementary School Senate, Me to We Team. The students both past and present have benefitted from the dedicated staff that have and continue to make a difference in student lives through their unwavering energy and school spirit.
June 2018 marks the closing of an incredible school community in its 50th year. We have a lot to celebrate: an amazing community of staff, students and parents/guardians who collaboratively have created everlasting memories, an outstanding legacy. As we amalgamate with St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Sept. 2018, we will continue to “have courage, go forward, and make incredible noise” that celebrates student achievement, physical, spiritual and emotional growth.
We celebrate St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Elementary School, Home of the Lions, with outstanding pride, 1968-2018.
St. Vincent de Paul
Thirty years ago St. Vincent de Paul School in Cambridge Ontario was born. While construction of the building was taking longer than expected, St. Vincent de Paul students borrowed a space with St. Ambrose School students in their Chalmers St. location. By Christmas time of that year the new construction was complete and St. Vincent de Paul students moved into their new place on Faial Road. As it was constructed as a port-a-pack, a series of portables joined together, their new ‘building’ was to be a temporary spot, meant to last no longer than 10-15 years. Fast forward 29 years later when the announcement came out to build a permanent building, a brand new school. In order to build the new school on the same property, it was necessary for St. Vincent de Paul students to relocate for 2 whole years. Ironically we were moved to the St. Ambrose location on Chalmers St, which had closed June 2014. And so the journey began, again.
We decided to embrace this with a positive mindset and treat it as an adventure, much like packing up for a vacation, like camping, only it was for 2 years. We quickly discovered that people make a school, not the building. And so it began, nesting our temporary place with the same vision we’ve always had; Heart of the Community, Success for Each, and a Place for All. When you visit our Chalmers St. location you will feel the same positive vibe, with a warmth and welcoming spirit based on the life of Jesus. We are focused, calm, helpful, cheery, and filled with collaborative energy to learn and grow. Anyone that has moved after collecting 29 years of belongings knows how hard it can be. We are so proud of how we transitioned.
We are committed to getting to know our friends at St. Francis School better. They will be joining us when we move back to our new school in September 2018! We are excited to become one community with them, using the same vision: Heart of the Community, Success for Each and a Place for All.
One more year, then we will be ‘on the move’ once again, but this time for GOOD!
St. Agnes Catholic Elementary School is self-described as the “Little School with the Big Heart.” This year marks the 60th year that St. Agnes has been open and that moniker has been well-earned, as evidence of this is witnessed on a daily basis amongst students, staff and the St. Agnes Community.
St. Agnes was officially opened in December of 1956. It was the fourth separate school to be built in Waterloo. The modern one-storey structure, built on a seven-acre parcel of land, consisted of six classrooms, a library/storage room, a staff room and a principal’s office. The enrolment for the 1956-57 school year was 110 students, taught by three teachers, one of whom was the Principal, Sister Constantina, who taught a combined Grades 6, 7, 8 class of 32 students. Within two years, the school had grown to 142 students and the first graduating class was promoted to high school. The subdivision in the Northeast end of Waterloo continued to grow rapidly and by 1962 an addition of six more classrooms was added. Enrolment had ballooned to 308 students. In 1965, when enrolment had reached 388 students, a gym was added to the school. Over the years, enrolment rose as high as 620 students. Students from St. Louis, St. Thomas and St. Michael enrolled at St. Agnes when their respective schools closed and St. Agnes boundaries changed. In 1996, when St. Matthew School opened, St. Agnes boundaries changed again. Portables slowly disappeared, and enrolment remained steady at approximately 270 pupils with 25 staff members. In 2001 a final addition was put onto the school including a bright beautiful new library, staff room, health room and offices.
St. Agnes Church was opened in 1969. The relationship that resulted between school, church and community continues to be a positive one for all involved. Beginning in 1964, as the neighbourhood grew and the need arose, Sunday Mass was held in St. Agnes School for those people who did not have a car to attend the parish church of St. Louis. Over the years, St. Agnes School and Church have shared many landmarks in the lives of the St. Agnes Community families. The receiving of first sacraments, school masses, school and church socials and involvement by the church pastor and pastoral assistant have created a harmonious and spiritually fulfilling relationship for all.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit St. Agnes School, you will immediately feel the warm embrace of our WCDSB vision: “Heart of the community, success for each, and a place for all”. The mural on the wall in the main foyer shows Jesus, our best teacher, surrounded by students. This symbolizes for us how important it is to listen to His word and to model the gospel values in all our actions.
The current enrolment at St. Agnes Catholic School is approximately 280 students. We have 12 classrooms consisting of Early Years to grade 8. We have 30 dedicated staff members and an active School Council. We also pride ourselves on the wonderful events and programs that occur at St. Agnes and we appreciate the many volunteers who are happy to support the life of the school in any way.
At St. Agnes School, the “Little School with the Big Heart”, we consistently strive to “preach the Gospel often, and if necessary, use words.” (quote from St. Francis)
Our Lady of Grace
Our Lady of Grace Catholic Elementary School opened in September 1976. This school year (2016-2017), marks our 40th anniversary! The school’s name is derived from one of the devotional titles used for Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Our Lady of Grace’s motto is “A Caring Catholic Community Learning and Growing Together”.
We have high expectations of one another (students and staff) at Grace. Academic achievement is paramount and we believe in the education we deliver. Students demand the best from us and we work hard to deliver what we believe is every student’s right. In turn, staff expect students to be engaged and responsible for their learning and the overall culture of the school. We receive tremendous support from our active School Council.
For the past four years, Our Lady of Grace has focused on a “theme”. The theme is chosen by our students and this year is based on Romans 12:12 – “Let your hope keep you JOYFUL, be PATIENT with your troubles, and PRAY at all times”.
OLOG offers many programmes and extra-curricular activities. We believe in providing opportunities for our students to ensure they are well rounded and their needs are being met. Every morning, students are given the opportunity to be fed from our Nutrition For Learning Programme. Throughout the day, students may be involved in Strong Start Reading, Library Club, Robotics, Choir and a vast number of athletics. Our Gators represent us well at various events and tournaments. Our students look forward to term and annual events that showcase their gifts and collaboration (Gator Assemblies, Grace Cup, etc.).
Our Lady of Grace is part of the Blessed Sacrament Church community. Masses and liturgical celebrations take place monthly, either in the school’s gym or at the Church. In addition, students and staff understand and model our Catholic faith as being “lived” and not just a monthly focus. We begin each day with student written prayer read over the PA system and start our afternoon with Christian Meditation. How we treat one another is to always follow in the footsteps of Jesus. We know that we are always Ambassadors of Grace.
Heart of the Community, Success for Each,
A Place for All
Matthew 19:26: “With God, all things are possible”
St. Matthew Catholic Elementary School was opened and blessed on September 24, 1995 in the rapidly growing east end of the City of Waterloo. Our first students were those who had formerly been enrolled at St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Agnes Catholic schools.
In his welcoming address, Director of Education Bill Brown said that this new school was a “fine building but … really nothing more than a shell of brick and steel.” Indeed, it was the human element – parents, parish, staff, and students – that combined to create an authentic and faith-filled learning community whose mission was to bring Christ to the world. “The real challenge,” he continued, “lies ahead, to make St. Matthew a place where there is laughter and joy, dedication and commitment – a place where children want to be, and where parents want their children to be.” St. Matthew continues to be the heart of the community, success for each and every child, and a place for all.
Our patron saint is the evangelist, St. Matthew, whose feast day (September 21) we celebrate annually praying that he intercedes for and guides us to a closer relationship with God. St. Matthew is often represented as a winged man. His is a powerful story of conversion and redemption that continues to inspire our community. Our mascot is the Wildcat whose tenacity is reflected in many of our school activities.
St. Agnes Church is St. Matthew Catholic School’s parish community. We have been ably served by the parish and its pastors. The parish team provides strong school support collaborating in the celebration of liturgies and sacramental programs. Along with St. Luke and St. Agnes Catholic Elementary Schools, St. Matthew’s continues to benefit tremendously from a vibrant church/home/school relationship.
Presently, St. Matthew Catholic School has fifty plus staff members serving more than 400 students. St. Matthew Catholic School has a powerful sense of tradition and of being in a welcoming and inclusive community. A focus on excellence, competition, and fun, has led to a litany of student activities and successes. Our athletes have brought home numerous distinctions in all sports and activities.
Our School also reflects the technological and business-focussed community in which it lives, partnering with RIM and the University of Waterloo to form the WCDSB’s first Lego Robotics Team – area champs for 2010.
St. Matthew Catholic School is active and creative community member. Our commitment to professionalism is reflected in our partnership with several faculties of education. Hundreds of teachers have been trained by this staff.
The St. Matthew Catholic School community has always remembered its connection to the local and global community and responded generously and consistently throughout the years.
Some famous graduates include Erin Scherrer (nationally ranked figure skater) and Paul Lehmann (advisor to Premier McGuinty).
God has indeed blessed St. Matthew Catholic School. Through his Grace and the collective commitment of students, staff, parents, parish, and community, it’s fair to say that the words of Director Brown have borne fruit. St. Matthew Catholic Elementary School has truly become, “a place where children want to be, and where parents want their children to be.”
Holy Spirit School officially opened in 2001 in Southeast Cambridge in a rapidly growing community that was settled by many European families from second and third generation immigrants. The school was named after the feast of the Holy Spirit which is celebrated by all the peoples of the Azores Islands. The name has a special place in the heart of the Portuguese community. Also at the time, the parish priest wanted to recognize the Holy Spirit’s place in Catholic spirituality and requested the name. It was agreed upon, that the school spiritual and sacramental life would be informed by the theology and traditions associated with its namesake, the Holy Spirit. And so it is that the SPIRIT truly enlivens our school community and is felt by all who visit. Holy Spirit School truly is a community, united in faith, which treasures the special gift of “Catholic Education!”
Holy Spirit School is currently home to 621 students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8. The school building is a fantastic facility with a large gym, wonderfully equipped library space, inviting foyer, large school yard and a welcoming neighbourhood community. Originally, the school was built for only 350 students but quickly had to adjust and additions were added in 2004 and again in 2015. This community continues to grow and is one of the largest schools in the WCDSB.
Our students, staff and parents are the foundation of our great school community. Numerous activities and initiatives are examples of the positive difference that are made each day when we work together toward creating a school climate that supports gospel values, student learning, and the realization of the best educational environment possible. Some of the ways our student’s efforts are celebrated include: Academic Success (showing progress in learning and a “growth mindset”), Athletics Programs and Sports Teams (We are, “Home of the Flames!”), Intramurals (e.g. Primary P’Noodle), Craft and Badminton Clubs, Pompom Spirit-meter Rewards, Eco-Team Initiatives, Folk Dance Team, annual Crowning of Mary Celebration, Kindergarten Roots of Empathy Program, Christian Meditation, Mount Mary Spiritual Retreat, Intermediate Ballroom Dancing Program/Team, and so much more…
We are truly fortunate to have such an energized and active School Council! Our Holy Spirit Parent Advisory Council meets regularly and is instrumental in supporting activities and resources that enrich the learning environment of our students. Our naturalized play-space and greening initiatives, Family Advent Mass, Christmas Turkey Luncheon, Shrove Tuesday Pancake Breakfast, and Fitness Frenzy Fundraiser are just some of the many wonderful ways that our community benefits from our Council’s continued support!
We are equally proud of our strong connection to our parish, St. Ambrose Church! Sacramental Preparation, School Masses, school visits by Father Irek and the Sisters are just some examples of the special ways they enrich our community. We are grateful for their faith leadership and the many ways they help strengthen our faith community!
We look forward to you visiting Holy Spirit Catholic Elementary School one day soon and extend all, continued blessings! We are proud of the positive “SPIRIT” or “positive energy” that is readily felt by all who visit and we hope to see you soon! It is easy to see that our school COMMUNITY is AWESOME and is a “Witness to Hope!”
St. Teresa – Kitchener
“A Tradition of Learning and Living in the Spirit of Christ”
St. Teresa Catholic Elementary School, located near downtown Kitchener and next door to St. Teresa Church, was built in 1953 with seven classrooms and celebrated its 50th anniversary on September 28, 2003 with a re-dedication of the school by the Most Reverend Bishop Matthew Ustrzycki.
As the local neighbourhood grew, so too did St. Teresa – resulting in additions to the school in 1955, 1957, 1960 and 1968. In the summer of 2011, the school underwent extensive renovations.
In the mid-1970’s the school’s enrolment began to decline and between 1976 and 1992 the building housed both the English speaking students at St. Teresa Catholic School, and the French speaking students of Cardinal Leger Catholic School. Following construction of the new Cardinal Leger French language school, the French speaking students moved while students from the newly-closed Sacred heart Catholic Elementary School moved in.
Following the moves the population at St Teresa ballooned to more than 500 students and the school was graced with a wide diversity of cultures and language groups.
Today, St. Teresa has an enrolment of approximately 200 students from JK to Grade 8 and we were proud in 2011 to begin offering all day/every day Kindergarten classes.
The school staff is made up of one Special Education teacher, one Child & Youth Care Worker, one French teacher, several planning time teachers, and ten JK-Grade 8 teachers. There are also seven educational assistants, two custodians, a half-time library technician, two lunch hour supervisors and one administrative assistant.
St. Teresa Catholic School is blessed with an active School Council which meets regularly and is instrumental in providing activities and resources to enrich the learning environment of the students. Our school community provides a great deal of support through an active volunteer program that includes classroom support, supervisors, drivers and special activity involvement such as a Christmas craft sale, school BBQ in June, Pancake Day on Shrove Tuesday, Christmas Craft Extravaganza as well as a major fundraiser every fall. School Council also provides funds to support sacramental programs, a variety of co-curricular and extra activities, and literacy/numeracy initiatives. School Council was the major sponsor of the school yard renewal and greening of the school with new running tracks, fitness equipment, numerous trees and finally an outdoor classroom.
The school provides programs such as Strong Start, Empower Reading and Corrective Reading for students who struggle in literacy. We also provide a snack program for students in the mornings. In 2010 a room was renovated under a grant from Children’s Mental Health to double as a wellness room for students and a parent community room. The school has hosted a Mission Day for more than thirty years raising thousands of dollars each year for local and international charities.
Participating in many Social Justice initiatives are a big part of who we are at St. Teresa School; our Catholic faith in action. In the past few years, St. Teresa’s loyal Social Justice Club has accomplished many local and world-wide achievements. The Social Justice Group would like you to know they are involved in leading the following efforts:
- We donated Toothbrushes and Toothpaste to Emergency Shelters at Christmas.
- We organized the Christmas food drive for the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
- We support WE Schools-Education in third world countries using various fundraisers.
- We collect batteries to donate to Free the Children for the zinc supplements for diets in developing countries.
- We bought livestock for families in developing countries.
- We donated hats, mittens, and scarves for needy families at Christmas.
- We donated new and used sports equipment to the Wabaseemoong First Nations Reserve in Northern Ontario.
- We donated soap, salt, and socks for Canadian Food for Children.
- We sold hot chocolate at our school and donated the money to McMaster Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House in memory of a former student.
- Our school participated in the “Vow of Silence” Day to recognize children’s rights which are not recognized in every country.
- We saved our pennies for a penny drive to donate for clean water in Africa.
- We saved our Hard Candy to stimulate the saliva of hospital patients overseas.
Notable graduates include Derek Nakluski who in 2011 became the first Canadian to win the Around the Bay Road Race Marathon (Hamilton) since 1966. Other notable graduates are Bryan and Garry Mahn (retired Superintendent and Principal), Mr. Justice Patrick Flynn; Rev. Toby Collins; and Rev. Paul Massel.
Together, our home, school and parish communities are committed to assisting students with their life-long learning experiences. We are proud Tigers!
Welcome to Holy Family Catholic School …
Holy Family Catholic School, nestled in the heart of New Hamburg in the Township of Wilmot, and the only Catholic School in the community, currently serves 273 students from JK to Grade 8. The majority of students living in New Hamburg, Baden and surrounding areas travel to and from school by bus.
Originally built in 1959, additions to the school were constructed in 1963, the gym in 1987 and portable classrooms added in 1992. In 2000, the last addition to date was completed and included a new Integrated Learning Centre, four classrooms, staff room and workroom, storage space and an administrative area.
Holy Family Roman Catholic Parish is situated next to our school, enhancing our spiritual guidance and offering our students the focal point of our beliefs and values. Working collaboratively with Reverend Stephen Murrin, Pastor of Holy Family Roman Catholic Parish, community and staff members prepare our students for the sacraments of First Reconciliation, First Holy Eucharist and Confirmation. Our school is also privileged to have our monthly mass in the church with our own student altar servers.
Abiding by our school mission statement “Carving our Faith … Embracing the Journey” and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board mission statement “The call of the WCDSB is to educate and to nurture hope in every learner to achieve their full potential to transform God’s world”, our dedicated staff provide quality education for all students in an all-inclusive, Christ-centered learning environment. It is evident that staff are committed to working with all students to guide spiritual, academic, social, emotional and physical growth. Our staff expresses a willingness and eagerness to undertake the many diverse co-curricular activities, for example, the school musical, choir, athletics, etc. We strive to achieve our board-wide vision “Our Catholic schools … Heart of the Community, success for each, a place for all”. We are a Catholic community of lifelong learners whose goal is to respect our different economic, cultural and spiritual needs.
With the support of our school’s parent community and Catholic School Council members, many programs and special activities are possible. Hot Lunches, Movie Nights, Spaghetti Suppers, Turkey Lunch and many festivities are enjoyed by students, staff and families alike. Our parents work diligently to help make Holy Family Catholic School an enhanced place to learn and experience new adventures. Parents and volunteers at Holy Family are very much appreciated.
Our students are unique and they exhibit an incredible amount of compassion, dedication and enthusiasm. They demonstrate Catholic values daily and they should be commended for their efforts, accomplishments and growth each year.
St. Clement Catholic School has existed as a beacon of Catholic education for many students and families in Wellesley Township within Waterloo Region for over a century and a half. The school is located in rural St.
Clements – 10 km north of Waterloo. Our catchment area encompasses Wellesley, Heidelberg, Linwood, Hawkesville, Bamberg, and St. Clements. We have close to 200 students and 21 professional staff members in various capacities to support students.
The school has a rich history. It was opened in 1855 and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2005. The original 1855 log school house was destroyed in a fire. An impressive two storey, four room school was constructed next to St. Clement’s Catholic Church in 1904. An additional two rooms were added in 1958. In 1969, the older two storey four room school house was demolished and then replaced with the present day, two storey main building containing eight more classrooms, main offices, library, technology room, gym, staff room and boiler room.
Our Catholic School is named after St. Clement, Pope and Martyr. St. Clement was the fourth Pope of the early Roman Catholic Church succeeding St. Peter, St. Linus and St. Cletus. Like Peter, whom he knew personally, St. Clement was one of the earliest Christian writers. A famous letter of his, written to the Christians of Corinth, encouraged them to reconcile their differences and to live in unity and peace. St. Clement is the Patron Saint of stone cutters and sailors and his feast day falls on November 23rd. Our school strives to honour this great saint in its Catholic teachings and in all our school activities by working and playing in harmony with one another.
The school celebrated its 150th anniversary during the 2005 – 2006 school year. At this memorable event, a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated by The Most Reverend A.F. Tonnos. The anniversary celebration spoke volumes about the kind of school that it has been since first opening its doors in 1855. The celebration involved not only students, staff and Board officials, but also parents, families and the clergy.
The school is proud of its Catholic tradition and strong sense of family and community. The school community is characterized by school, home, parish and members of the community truly looking out for each other by responding whenever needed. We are fortunate at St .Clement School to have a vibrant, active parent community, who in partnership with school staff lead numerous events which benefit the students at our school. We are grateful for their support to work in the best interest of students.
Our school motto “where each one counts”, embodies our Catholic school graduate expectations with the knowledge, skills, values and actions we expect our learners to achieve. Through the outstanding collegial work and commitment of our staff, parents and parish, the children who attend St. Clement Catholic School are blessed with an excellent educational opportunity. In addition, our school is committed to social justice initiatives which encourage all school members to support worthy causes and projects locally and internationally.
At St. Clement Catholic School, a safe, welcoming, inclusive environment is provided for our students so that they may work and grow to their full potential. A focus on continuous learning is reflected in the belief that all students can learn and succeed. A high priority and emphasis on technology and differentiated instruction to support student learning is recognized by all staff members. Also, a multidisciplinary approach is common practice at St. Clement to support students academically, emotionally, socially and spiritually to ensure their success not just in school but in life.
Over the years, St. Clement School has become known for its unique culture and history, for the spirit activities as offered by student council, for its acceptance of the challenge to maintain high student levels in literacy, numeracy and for its many sports and athletic activities. St. Clement Catholic School is a treasure indeed – one to hold, one to cherish.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha
Nestled in the Doon South Neighbourhood in Kitchener is a little gem known as St. Kateri Tekakwitha School. Boasting a student population of just under 500 students, this school truly lives by the boards vision; “Heart of the Community; A Place for All.”
Academic, social, and spiritual growth is the main focus of all that happens at the school. Within the classrooms students are challenged to learn and grow as individuals within a community in order to be the best they can be. Academic excellence is an unwavering expectation. Outside of the classroom students are provided with a multitude of activities ranging from sports and clubs to social justice initiatives; all with a focus on developing the whole child to be a productive and responsible 21st Century citizen.
There are forty-two dedicated staff member who give generously of their time and energy, on a daily basis, to ensure that all students are given the opportunity to reach their full potential and to realize the valuable role they play as individuals within our community. Beyond the walls of the school, but within our family, is the relationship with St. Aloysius Parish. Through this relationship, students are able to deepen their understanding of their spiritual journey and to view the world through our Catholic lens and live a life that is reflective of our gospel values.
The year 2107/18 academic school year marks the 25th Anniversary of St. Kateri Tekakwitha School. Already plans are taking place in order to mark this monumental year in our history. The year will be used to celebrate the many accomplishments of the school over the years and the vibrant role it has played within the community. We look forward to this celebration of our Catholic educational past and would encourage people to join us as we rejoice in who we are and all the lives that have helped to make St. Kateri School such a vibrant and valuable part of so many people’s lives over the years.
The staff at St. Kateri School
St. Nicholas Catholic Elementary School in Waterloo was built in 2001 and continues to be a vibrant model of progressive and accountable education, which endeavours to serve and support a large student population. We are a faith-centred community of life long learners who celebrate and model the vision of our patron, St. Nicholas, in “We Are God’s Gift To Each Other”. Annually, our school community faithfully supports many charitable causes in our region such as the Terry Fox Run and the Mountain of Love Campaign.
Currently, our enrolment is 420 students (JK-8) drawing from a catchment area characterized by two existing subdivisions. Our students are taught and supported by a school staff of close to fifty who take pride in their dedication and efforts to provide an environment of learning, centred on student achievement and the overall spiritual and emotional well-being of all our students. The school enjoys a vital partnership with the parish of St. Michael, through sacramental programs and youth ministry along with the overall faith development of our students.
St. Nicholas CES has an effective, proactive Catholic School Council, which meets regularly throughout the school year and holds annual fundraising events to assist with student activities, school renewal initiatives, sacramental programs, the purchase of valuable teaching and learning resources, resource acquisition in our library and the less fortunate in our community.
The students of St. Nicholas CES enjoy a wide variety of activities- system and school level athletic competition, intramural and extracurricular activities, service projects, interest clubs, choir and retreat excursions to the Mount Mary Residential Retreat Programme and Camp Brebeuf, and other local destinations within our region.
We are proud to have a Social Justice Team made up of faith inspired students who are committed to organizing social justice initiatives in our school. Notable projects, past and present, include raising funds and awareness for Haitian relief, Syrian Refugee Fund, Nickels for Nepal, Marillac Place and our food drives for the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Michael Parish.
Our St. Nicholas CES students and graduates truly embody the spirit of our Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations and go on to further contribute these gifts in their life long journeys.
St. Teresa – Elmira
“At St. Teresa School We…….Strive for Excellence and Manners Matter”
Hello Families, St. Teresa School is celebrating 51 years of Catholic Education. Nestled in the heart of Elmira, we are a hidden gem in the WCDSB.
We are deeply proud of the hard work our staff do each and every day to support our amazingly talented and inspirational students. We have a supportive parent community and a Catholic School Council that goes above and beyond in so many ways. We enjoy a faith filled connection with St. Teresa parish and regularly gather as a community to celebrate our Catholic faith.
We have a rich culture of achievement and a variety of activities for every like and interest. St. Teresa School is a great place to learn and grow. Come experience the difference.
The St. Teresa School Staff
St. John Paul II
“I wish to experience joy that we find in children, the springtime of our life, the anticipation of the future.” Saint John Paul II
Pope John Paul II Catholic School was built in 2010 and the hub of a vibrant community in Kitchener. We serve a diverse community in a new area of the city. We continue to grow with a current enrolment of 754 students (JK to Grade 8). In the short existence of the school we have experienced the recognition by the Church of the miracles confirmed to Pope John Paul II. Our school changed its name to Blessed John Paul II (2013) and then to Saint John Paul II (2014).
The canonization of Pope John Paul II by Pope Francis in Rome was a very special occasion. Cardinal Collins Skyed with our students having a conversation about the canonization. Our school community uses the example of Saint John Paul II to become better people and to live a life of Love and Hope. Saint John Paul II continues to be a great source of inspiration and role model to our community. As a whole school community, students and staff live out our Board’s Pastoral Theme of “People of Hope”, by using the example of Saint John Paul II in our everyday interactions.
In Waterloo Catholic District School Board, we believe all of our students have many gifts and talents from God. Our staff, parents and Parish all work together to help develop and nurture those gifts and talents. Together we celebrate our difference and recognize the many similarities we have as a community.
“Do not be afraid to take a chance on peace, to teach peace, to live peace…Peace will be the last word of history.”
― Pope John Paul II
St. John Catholic Elementary School is situated in the “heart of the community” in the core of Kitchener. The original school building was constructed in 1929 and is listed on the City of Kitchener Heritage Register. The school sits adjacent to St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, founded over 80 years ago by Monsignor William Gleason.
In June 2009, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board received funding approval from the Ministry of Education to reconstruct St. John Catholic Elementary School. At that time there was a strong desire to retain the heritage portion of the building and while that complicated the building design, the result was a new building that blended the old with the new and respected the Catholic heritage of the amalgamated school communities of St. John and Monsignor Gleason.
During the two years of demolition and re-construction, St John students and staff moved to Monsignor Gleason and began their journey to a community of one. At that time, the population of students was approximately 320 and was growing and there were 25 languages and cultures celebrated in this amalgamated school community.
St. John re-opened in 2012 after a two year renovation and tireless dedication and commitment on the part of students, families, school and WCDSB staff. If you have ever had the opportunity to walk through the NEW St. John, you immediately felt the warm embrace of our WCDSB vision: “Heart of the community, success for each, and a place for all”. The mural on the wall at the main entrance greets you in the languages of our students and families. The renovated building is truly a reflection of old and new. Of note are the L’Arche Crosses in each classroom and prayer space, blessed by Monsignor Kroetsch, symbolizing our faith and reflecting the unique community that is St. John.
The current enrolment at St. John Catholic School is approximately 430 students. We have 4 Kindergarten classrooms and 14 classrooms, Grades 1-8. More than half of our students primarily speak a second language at home. We have 50 staff including a Principal and Vice Principal and a full-time English Second Language teacher. We also have a YMCA settlement worker in our school one day a week. In addition to our core day school program we have an extended day program, both before and after school, and a Beyond the Bell program in the afternoon in partnership with the YMCA. In the summer we host the Summer Boost Program for improved literacy/numeracy. Our staff give generously of their time to support many activities for our students including WE team (social justice), intramurals, “extra” murals, sports teams, coding club and drama & dance clubs to name a few.
John the Baptist, our namesake, is best known for evangelization and his baptizing of Jesus. During his public ministry, John the Baptist was known for attracting large crowds across Judea and around the Jordan River. He told his followers to turn to Christ, calling him the “Lamb of God.” Following his baptism of Christ, John’s popularity grew. Like John the Baptist, we strive to attract crowds at St. John school who want to join us in celebrating the gift of our Catholic faith and all the amazing things that happen in this school community from Sacramental celebrations to Mass to family learning nights to Christmas in the Thunderdome to family movie night to family BBQs, the list goes on and on.
Like many schools built in the heart of communities back in the day, St. John has a rich history and strong ties to community partners including the Catholic Women’s League (very active with our school), the Cherry Park and Victoria Hills Community Associations, the Waterloo Region Catholic Schools Foundation, the Catholic Community Foundation of Waterloo Region, Nutrition for Learning (and the countless volunteers who support this vital breakfast program), Beyond the Bell (a YMCA after school program) and of course St. John’s Roman Catholic Parish under the pastoral leadership of Father Francisco Cruz. St. John’s Roman Catholic Church is unique in that it is bilingual, serving two parish communities: St. John the Baptist and Our Lady of Guadalupe. We have a dedicated and active School Council and many volunteers who energetically support the life of the school in any way. Thanks to the generous support of the donors who support the Waterloo Region Catholic Schools Foundation, the St. John Thunder Productions Crew features a drama production each year at the Registry Theatre. This year they will be performing “Little Mermaid Jr.”
Thank you for taking the time to read the story of St. John Catholic Elementary School so far…if you want to know more you will have to come and visit us. Our theme is: “I AM Resilient; I HAVE Potential; I CAN Learn.” You can also follow us on twitter @stjthunder.
St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Elementary School is located in the Clemens Mill subdivision of Southeast Cambridge. This area was first settle by many Scottish immigrants. The school is built on 10 acres of land with a four-acre woodlot. In this woodlot, we have an outdoor classroom. The school opened in 1990 and 402 students attended. St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Elementary School recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary.
St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Elementary School was named after Margaret, patron saint of Scotland. She is also referred to as Queen Margaret, who was the wife of King Malcolm III and the mother of eight children. Margaret was an extraordinary person, known for being devoutly religious and charitable. She worked with her husband to make Scotland a powerful and independent nation.
Our school was designed to promote broad community use with its large gymnasium and a daycare centre, which is attached to the school. The school is beautiful inside as well as outside. Our inviting and welcoming school is the heart of the community and is used regularly during the schools day and after hours.
We currently have 319 JK to Grade 8 students. Our students work hard at school and are kind, helpful and polite. Our staff works tirelessly to provide a first-rate education for these students, which of course includes academics, but also sports and clubs, and a place where all students feel like they belong, feel successful, and strive to meet their full potential.
At St. Margaret of Scotland, we recognize the importance of giving back to our community, our city and our world. As St. Margaret was known for her outstanding charity, we strive to follow her lead, through supporting Free the Children, St. Vincent de Paul Society and most recently, the Push for Change Foundation.
We are preparing our students for a future we can’t predict, where they will be required to think, collaborate and communicate. By partnering with our parents and St. Patrick’s Church, together we instill the Catholic values that our students will need to nurture their faith and to be caring and responsible adults who have a positive impact on the community and the world in which they live.