Sudbury Catholic District School Board
June 01, 2021

Nurturing Hope: Sudbury Catholic Students and Families Participate in Catholic Education Week Activities

Director's Corner

During May 2 – May 7, 2021, Sudbury Catholic Schools celebrated Catholic Education Week. Each year, we are very fortunate to be able to join the Catholic community across Ontario in a week-long celebration of the unique identity and distinctive contributions of Catholic education. Together we celebrate all that is best and most beautiful about the Catholic school system and to give thanks for the gift of a faith-filled education.

The theme for 2021 is ‘Nurturing Hope,’ which is so fitting considering that it is faith and hope that has provided us with the spiritual nourishment to weather the challenges we have all faced this year.

Throughout the week, we were thrilled to see our students and staff engaged in various activities, lessons and virtual events to celebrate and honour Catholic Education Week. We also shared activities with families and invited them to participate.

The five sub themes for this year were:

 Preparing the Earth 
Sowing Seeds of Gratitude 
Cultivating Relationships
Harvesting New Fruit 
Marvelling in Wonder

Certainly a highlight was the Mass celebrated by His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins on Wednesday, May 5. Across the province we joined together in prayer. We were all moved by his words: “See the Lord more clearly, Love the Lord more dearly, Follow the Lord more nearly”.

Other activities included:

  • A Cyber Security Presentation geared toward staff, parents and guardians and was presented by cybersecurity expert Danny Pehar.
  • Launching of Young Entrepreneur Contest. Students will create a business plan (as required by the Ontario government) and pitch their business idea for a chance to win a prize pack.
  • Career Day:  Partnership with Skills Ontario which offered a variety of activities that promoted the skilled trades and technologies for K-12.

“People often comment that when they enter a Catholic school they feel a special presence. This does not come from the building or even the religious symbols that are an important witness to our faith. The presence comes from Christ who is proclaimed by word and example, and is evidenced in the way people care for one another — “see how they love one another.” Catholic schools witness to Christ and by doing so help to reveal Him to others.”  (Renewing the Promise p. 9). In this month’s blog we are sharing many examples of our faith lived out.

Preparing the Earth 

Our week began with a message from Bishop Thomas Dowd who reflected on the overall theme of Nurturing Hope:

Holy Cross School began Catholic Education Week with their virtue assembly, allowing the entire school to gather virtually and honour both the monthly virtues and the start of Catholic Education Week! View the assembly below:

St. James School worked with our Indigenous team to produce daily sub theme videos to share with students and families throughout Catholic Education week!

Sowing Seeds of Gratitude 

As a demonstration of sowing seeds of gratitude, kindergarten students at St. Francis School each received and planted a yellow bean seed. The class discussed what gratitude means to them and will observe the growth of their plants throughout the Spring!

Grade 5/6 students at St. Charles School in Chelmsford completed an activity reflecting on what they are grateful for and their symbols of hope for the future! This offered students an important lesson on what nurturing hope truly means.

What does hope look like in the future? Grade 5/6 students provide a few examples.

Bishop Alexander Carter C.S.S created visual prayers and messages of hope to share with students and families. For Sowing seeds of gratitude, the school focused on giving thanks to the front line health workers.

Cultivating Relationships 

To understand what cultivating relationships may look like, Grade 4/5 French Immersion students at Holy Trinity School were given the challenge of cooking a Malawian cultural dish. The students also watched “The Boy who Harnessed the Wind” and discussed the importance of nurturing hope for a better tomorrow (especially for those who may not be as fortunate as we are in Canada). Pictured here is student Simon who cooked the dish alongside his family. Simon shared that the dish was really easy and fun to make and that his family enjoyed participating in this challenge!

Simon, student at Holy Trinity school, cooked a complete Malawian cultural dish along with his family!

Grade 2/3 Pius XII students created “a garden of hope” cards for family members or neighbours who are alone – showing that while we may not be able to gather physically, we can still cultivate meaningful relationships.

Mr. Pappin organized a liturgy for the entire St. Benedict school community. His message was incredibly meaningful for staff and students. Beautiful messages were also shared from Shannon Agowissa, Indigenous Support Worker.

Harvesting New Fruit

Immaculate Conception students reflected on the theme of Nurturing Hope by writing their own poems! Here are a few examples of their work:

Grade 7 English students at Marymount Academy have been working on creating children’s books that are inspired by Nurturing Hope and the five daily themes of Catholic Education week. Students have connected their learning and stories to the inspiring true story of William Kamkwamba, who wrote The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Below are a few examples of their completed books.

Marvelling in Wonder 

St. David students had the opportunity to work with Skills Ontario to construct their own birdhouses. The activity was enjoyed by all as they learned valuable experiential learning skills and reflected on the sub theme of Marvelling in Wonder.

Inspired by our Catholic Education Week theme of “Nurturing Hope,” Mrs. Whitman and Mrs. Thomson’s Kindergarten students at St. John School spent the week learning the prayer/song “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” They talked a lot about how God created everything (“all creatures great and small”) – including themselves! They then created beautiful self-portraits to demonstrate their learning!

To end Catholic Education week, Grade 9 Instrumental students at St. Charles College created posters demonstrating how they nurture hope through the sound of music!

Sudbury Catholic Schools #GetReal with Children’s Mental Week

In addition to Catholic Education Week, May 3 – 9 was also Children’s Mental Health week. The theme for this year’s Mental Health Week was #GetReal and focused on tuning into our feelings by naming them, and not numbing them.  The power of identifying what you are feeling and allowing yourself to sit with your emotions can lighten the load and help them to feel less intense.  Students learned that when we name our emotions, we give our feelings space, and allow ourselves permission to feel whatever we are feeling; the good, the bad and the ugly. 

This week appropriately coincides with the theme of Catholic Education Week: Nurturing Hope. While we are celebrating the unique identity and distinctive of Catholic education it is important to recognize that our faith is also an important part of the Sudbury Catholic Mental Health Plan’s proactive strategy. Faith brings a sense of community and teachings, when done in a supportive way, that assist incorporating healthy practices, for the mind, body and soul, which positively influences mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Throughout Children’s Mental health week, our Mental Health team provided schools, students and parents/guardians with various activities and resources.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, please visit https://mentalhealthweek.ca

The mental health team put forth a May Mental Health challenge for all SCDSB students and families!
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