The Alberta Catholic Schools Trustees’ Association recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and hosted an evening gala to honour the milestone anniversary.
The gala took place in November in conjunction with ACSTA’s AGM and Convention, and the guest list itself was remarkable as clergy, trustees, educators and children came together for the celebratory event. “All the Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories were in attendance as was the Minster of Education, David Eggen, who addressed the Gala attendees with a positive note on the great work of Catholic schools in Alberta,” says ACSTA President Adriana LaGrange.
During the course of the evening, ACSTA honoured Trustees and friends of Catholic Education with ACSTA Awards for their dedication and commitment to Catholic education.
In between dinner courses, the guests enjoyed the talents of Catholic school students with musical interludes by the Archbishop Jordan High School Ensemble Choir from Sherwood Park and the “Mac Jazz Band” from Archbishop MacDonald High School in Edmonton.
“Special acknowledgments were also given to ACSTA Past President Tony Sykora for his contributions to ACSTA as a Director, President, Vice-President and Past President and to Kevin Feehan who served as ACSTA legal counsel for over 30 years and was recently appointed as a Justice on the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta,” says LaGrange.
She adds that commemorative items were designed and created to mark the anniversary.
Towards the end of the evening His Excellency, Bishop Frederick Henry, blessed the print copies of the legacy art piece that was commissioned to honour the proud history of Catholic School Divisions working together through the ACSTA to “Celebrate, Preserve, Promote and Enhance Catholic Education.” The title of the artwork is “Come walk with Jesus” and was done by Former Catholic School student and now teacher Kyra Herzog.
A memory book was also made and placed at each place setting at the Gala Banquet. The book is a 20-page booklet outlining the ACSTA history, reflection on S.P.I.C.E. (Sharing Purpose in Catholic Education) and Blueprints Retreats, and a memory piece from two long-serving Catholic Trustees. Communications Director Anthony Murdoch created the memory book after the planning committee came up with the idea to make it a commemorative piece.
Raising Money for Toonies for Tuition
For the past few years, ACSTA has been holding a silent auction in conjunction with its AGM & Conventions to support Toonies for Tuition and Development and Peace.
At the 50th anniversary gala, $5,584.88 was raised at the auction, which was filled with many items donated by school boards and local businesses. The proceeds from the auction were divided equally between Toonies for Tuition and Development and Peace.
The ACSTA represents 24 Divisions with Catholics schools and approximately 153 trustees who, in turn, serve more than 170,000 students.
When reflecting on 2016, LaGrange recalls the best highlight from the year’s celebrations.
“The solidarity of the organization with those that came before, even before there was even an association – over a hundred years of Catholic Education, was so evident through this celebration,” she says.