Today, I’m thrilled to share with you an interview with Diane Boyko, Planning Committee Chair for CCSTA AGM & Convention, Chair of Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools’ Board of Education. She’s going to share a little bit about her passion for Catholic education and why she’s so excited about the incredible AGM & Convention that she and her team are planning for this upcoming June.
CCSTA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Diane Boyko: I grew up in small-town Saskatchewan that has strong Ukrainian roots. I’m thankful that my parents and extended family grounded me in the rich culture, heritage, traditions and faith of the Ukrainian Catholic (Byzantine) Church.
I’ve been a proud supporter of and advocate for Catholic education for, well, for a long time. I’ve served as a trustee at Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools for 20 years, and 12 of those have been as board chair.
As planning committee chair, I’m blessed to work with a fantastic group who are working hard to put together a convention that will be beneficial and relevant for trustees from across the country. And just as importantly, I hope we give a place for us all to get together, build relationships, and share our ideas, our successes, and even some of our challenges, so we can continue to strengthen Catholic education for those families we are blessed to serve.
CCSTA: What is the theme for this year’s conference, and what can you tell us about the theme?
Diane Boyko: This year’s theme is “Rooted in faith: Catholic education in action.”
Being rooted has an obvious connotation to our agricultural history and expertise in Saskatchewan, and it’s a reminder that Catholic education is different—it’s faith based education; its root is Jesus. It is also evocative of so many aspects of our faith. With the South Saskatchewan River running through our city, it reminds us of the prophet Jeremiah saying a tree rooted by the running stream will always bear fruit. And how can you not see a golden field of wheat and not think about Jesus in the Eucharist?
As St. James said, we must show our faith in service of others—we must act or our faith is dead. We all know that Catholic education is so much more than religion class or learning about faith. It’s acting in faith. The roots of our faith—our love for God and others—is why we act.
CCSTA: Last year’s event was held virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, we’ll be back in person. What can you tell us about the location where the AGM & Convention will be hosted this year?
Diane Boyko: How much time do we have? I know we’re all excited to get back together to reconnect with one another. And it’s particularly exciting for trustees who have not had an opportunity to meet their cross-country colleagues in person.
The Sheraton Cavalier is a wonderful event location and host, and it’s right across the street from the beautiful South Saskatchewan River that is such a centre of activity in downtown Saskatoon. You’ll be walking distance to restaurants, pubs, a world-class art gallery, our 100-plus-year-old St. Paul’s Co-Cathedral, and so many things that make the city vibrant.
The pre-conference session on Thursday will be just outside the city at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, and that is really a spectacular place. It is so rich in Indigenous culture and history; it’s little wonder it’s a candidate to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
CCSTA: What are some of the highlights of the schedule that people can look forward to?
Diane Boyko: We’ve tried to make sure there’s something for everyone, that everyone will walk away from the convention with a better understanding of at least some things relevant for them in their local context.
I’m really excited that Chief Cadmus Delorme from Cowessess First Nation and Archbishop Donald Bolen from the Archdiocese of Regina are going to share with us how they are walking together along the path of reconciliation and healing. Cowesses is where 751 potential unmarked graves were discovered a couple years ago, and it’s within the boundaries of the archdiocese. I know we’ll learn a lot about our own path and journey from these two.
I want to list all of the things we have planned, but people can go to the website for details.
CCSTA: How can people register for the conference and find more information?
Diane Boyko: Everything people need is on the event website, including schedule, fees, transportation and lodging information. We’ll be adding or revising details as necessary as time goes on. And remember to book your hotel and flights!
The early bird registration deadline is April 28, 2023.
We can’t wait to welcome you to the City of Bridges.