Another successful CCSTA Annual General Meeting is in the books. The organizing committee, along with the entire Alberta Catholic Schools Trustees Association, put on a smooth, informative, and enjoyable event. Canmore was a beautiful setting for the yearly gathering, which Alberta Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange also attended.
“The venue was spectacular,” says CCSTA Past President Marino Gazzola. “All the sights were beautiful, and having the Rocky Mountains all around was breathtaking.”
He adds that the entire conference went perfectly.
“The organizing committee did an incredible job putting it all together,” he says. “Everything was on time and on schedule. The keynote speakers were absolutely amazing, and the breakout sessions were on very relevant topics.”
It was Mr. Gazzola’s last AGM as President, and he says his emotions were mixed.
“I’m going to miss it, but there’s a little relief as well,” he says. “It’s been a busy three years. It was an experience that I very much enjoyed. My passion for Catholic education just keeps growing, and being able to be involved in a national organization like the CCSTA is very special for me.”
The best part is always the people, he adds.
“These AGMs are always a great opportunity to see old friends and make new connections with people from across the country.”
Toonies for Tuition
Mr. Gazzola says a huge highlight was announcing the massive success of this year’s Toonies for Tuition campaign.
“It was very special to be able to announce that we raised $117,000,” he says. “Especially with the Ontario campaign raising almost $80,000, that was just fantastic.”
That represents an increase of $48,500 (71%) over last year’s total.
The awards for most money raised per capita for both school division and province were also handed out, with the school division award going to Evergreen Catholic Separate Regional Division No. 2 in Spruce Grove, Alberta and the provincial award going to Ontario.
The Higgins Award was also presented posthumously to Tony Sykora. His wife Debbie and his family were on hand to receive the award in his honour.
Mr. Sykora had a passion for Catholic education. It was this unbridled enthusiasm, combined with his gentle, committed, and thoughtful leadership approach that made him such an effective and beloved advocate. He truly cared about people, and he was always delighted to listen to what everyone had to say. This is evident in the many genuine relationships he formed with government officials, trustees, administrators, teachers, and parents.
“Tony lived and breathed Catholic education for over 30 years,” says Michael Hauptman, a colleague and a dear friend of Mr. Sykora. “He truly saw it as being such a wonderful opportunity for anyone who wanted to embrace it. Tony was all about what Catholic education could offer to any child, any family, and any community.”
The CCSTA also elected a new President and Vice President. Paula Scott and Pat Daly were acclaimed President and Vice President, effective immediately after the AGM.
Congratulations to both Ms. Scott and Mr. Daly.
All photography used in this blog was provided by Ken Collett.