The newest OCSB school, St. Benedict School, held its official opening ceremony on November 17, 2016 in the Barrhaven community of Half Moon Bay. The special evening welcomed several special guests who spoke genuinely about the incredible new school and its impact on students and the greater community.
It was clear from the remarks of Director of Education, Denise Andre, that the Board is extremely proud of its latest addition. She pointed out the complexity involved with undertaking such a project, which included everyone from architects and engineers to lawyers and landscape developers. These contributors were in attendance and stood up during the ceremony to be acknowledged.
St. Benedict’s Principal, Lynne Charette, thanked the incredible staff at the new school – teachers, early childhood educators, caretaking staff, and educational assistants – and expressed her gratitude for the work being done every day to make the school a comfortable place for students to learn. The gratitude for school staff, including Principal Charette, was evident from the cheers from parents and students in the audience.
The Most Reverend Archbishop Prendergast, S.J. was in attendance for the Liturgy and Blessing of the School, along with Parish Priest Father Frank Brewer. The Archbishop delivered a warm homily about his knowledge of the life of Benedict, the Saint, and pointed out meaningful connections between the Saint’s journey and the symbolism included in the school’s new logo.
Before unveiling the official school plaque and cutting the red ribbon, Chairperson of the Board, Elaine McMahon, offered a truly inspirational message to students about building community. “When you’re walking past someone in the hallway, say hello. Everyone has the right to be acknowledged to be included, to be seen.” The uplifting student choir’s song “Who Is My Neighbour” resonated further with MPP Lisa MacLeod, who recalled just recently attending the opening ceremony for neighbouring OCSB school, St. Cecilia. She echoed the Chairperson’s message of caring for each other in genuine ways.
The event was emceed, in both French and English, by students Diya Chakravarty and Matthew Buentiempo, who also introduced an inspiring student reflection by Katie Deiros Hernandez. Trustee Spencer Warren, Ministry of Education Officer, Glenda Stevenson, and a representative for MP Chandra Ayra also spoke during the ceremony, offering encouraging sentiments about the excitement ahead for this new school. Other special guests included St. Francis Xavier High School’s Roy Ketcheson, who designed a breathtaking wall mural for the front entrance of the school, and the school council’s co-chairs, Travis Loughery and Charlotte Nortthrope, along with numerous other Board Trustees, Superintendents, and Board staff who have been influential in the success of the new innovative school.
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Kelly McKibbin is the Board Website Coordinator with the Ottawa Catholic School Board’s Communications Department, and manages all aspects of the Board’s district website. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts, Major in Communications, from the University of Ottawa, and is the recipient of a United Way Ottawa Community Builder Award.