SASKATOON — Minister of Education Don Morgan recognized the start of Catholic Education Week May 2 with staff and students at St. Mark School in Saskatoon.
At a school assembly in the gymnasium, Morgan was introduced to the diverse student body of approximately 390 by principal Owen Fortosky. Fortosky mentioned that students come from 50 different countries, 108 students are learning English as an additional language (EAL), and about 40 per cent are First Nations or Métis.
After thanking the students for gathering, Morgan said that Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) is one of the best school divisions in the province. He also challenged staff and students to “reflect on the Catholic and Christian values needed to be good citizens and love those around you.”
GSCS board chair Diane Boyko said, “It’s important that the government recognizes how important Catholic education is.” She noted that the week’s celebration of Catholic education around the world is a good opportunity to focus on the GSCS division’s mission: being rooted in faith, growing in knowledge, and reaching out to transform the world.
Grade 2 students welcomed Morgan in a special way, showing him the buddy bench in the school playground. The bench is a sign of the welcoming and an inclusive community. Whenever students feel left out or lonely, they take a seat on the bench. Other students take notice and join that person.
Morgan then took time to read to pre-kindergarten students and visit the EAL and Grade 8 classrooms.
Catholic Education Week was celebrated May 1 to 7 by over 38,000 students throughout Saskatchewan — 17,000 with Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools. The week coincides with World Catholic Education Day on May 5, Ascension Thursday.
Under the theme Opening Doors of Mercy, the week is promoted as a time to give thanks for the gift of Catholic faith-based education in the province, and reflect on God’s mercy and how all can answer the call to be merciful through service to others.