Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals joined Ontario Minister of Natural Resouces/ Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti and Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (HSCDSB) representatives for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Holy Cross Catholic Elementary School Friday afternoon.
Among special speakers at a packed gymnasium were Sandals, Orazietti, HSCDSB Director of Education John Stadnyk, Roman Catholic clergy, and Chiefs Dean Sayers and Lyle Sayers of Batchewana and Garden River First Nations.
SooToday.com was treated to a tour of the beautiful, new state of the art, two-storey school (the result of a consolidation of St. Hubert, Sister Mary Clare, St. Mark and St. Patrick schools) by Grade Three Educational Assistant Jenn Noel.
That’s Jenn in our photo gallery demonstrating a device used for special needs students who need to de-stress (no, it actually doesn’t hurt).
Friday marked the official opening of the school, though it has been up and running as the new school home for some 600 H-SCDSB students since September 2012.
An abridged news release from the office of David Orazietti follows.
Provincial Investment in New State-of-the-Art School Supports Student Success in Sault Ste. Marie
David Orazietti, MPP, Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, and representatives from the Huron Superior Catholic School Board (HSCDSB) officially cut the ribbon on the $14.6 million Holy Cross Catholic Elementary School, David Orazietti MPP announced today.
“The completion of this new elementary school is another example of the province’s commitment to rebuilding Sault Ste. Marie’s education system by building state-of-the-art infrastructure that is helping all of our students reach their full potential,” said Orazietti. “It has been decades since a provincial government has provided the financial support necessary to substantially improve existing school infrastructure in our city and the increase in local per pupil funding of 70 percent since 2003, has helped to raise graduation rates from 68 percent to 82 percent today."
The new Holy Cross Elementary School is the result of the consolidation of four schools including St. Hubert, Sister Mary Clare, St. Mark and St. Patrick. Construction on the new school created 36 jobs and, in September 2012, it opened its doors to approximately 600 students.
The new school features four Full Day Learning classrooms, new music and science classrooms as well as Aboriginal cultural spaces.
"This is a great day for our Board as we formally open Holy Cross Catholic Elementary School,” said HSCDSB Director of Education John Stadnyk. “The faces of the students watching the grand opening said it all. Their response reinforced that all of the effort that went into the completion of this new school is truly a gift for our students, now and into the future. A school such as Holy Cross will allow the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board and its staff to enrich our students in all aspects of their learning, achievement, and their Faith. It will strengthen our Catholic community, Sault Ste. Marie, and beyond, as it cultivates tomorrow's leaders. We truly appreciate all the support we received from our MPP David Orazietti, and the Ministry of Education, in making this project a reality."
In addition, the province’s recent $51 million investment in a new state-of-the-art Catholic secondary school for the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (HSCDSB) will allow for the consolidation of Holy Angels Learning Center, St. BasilSecondary School and St. Mary’s College in order to help ensure local students have the best resources to learn, grow and succeed.
In fact, out of 73 projects announced across Ontario last year the HSCDSB received the highest level of funding for this new school.
"Today's official school opening is a great day for students, parents and community members in Sault Ste Marie, and demonstrates our government's commitment to building safe places to learn and succeed," said Liz Sandals, Minister of Education. "Holy Cross will give students a great place to learn, and Sault Ste. Marie community members a new hub to come together."
The Minister of Education was in Sault Ste. Marie yesterday as part of an Ontario Cabinet meeting that took place at the Roberta Bondar building earlier in the day.
The Cabinet's agenda had a northern focus, which is the result of the new Premier's commitment to work with northerners to strengthen the economy and create jobs.