A celebration of all that has made École St. Matthew School a strong, faithful school community over the last 50 years was fittingly combined with the a ceremony to re-open the school after a major renovation and expansion on Friday, April 15.
Education Minister Don Morgan joined students, teachers, representatives from Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS), parents and members of the community for the festive event. Several former teachers and students were also in attendance, including former student Most Reverend Murray Chatlain, archbishop of Keewatin-Le Pas, and his brother Greg, former St. Matthew student, teacher and principal, and now director of education for GSCS.
The expansion to the indergarten to Grade 8 school includes nearly 8,000 square feet of additional space. Upgrades include a new state-of-the-art gymnasium, 10 new classrooms, five renovated classrooms, a practical and applied arts space, music room, art room, science lab and a library and resource centre.
Rev. Darryl Millette, pastor at Holy Spirit Parish, led off the evening with a prayer and blessing of the school, and Delvin Kanewiyakiho, First Nations and Métis consultant at GSCS, conducted a First Nations prayer and blessing.
Minister Morgan thanked the school division and for "being a great partner on this project and for their commitment to excellence in education."
"Years of work have been put into this project," Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools' Board of Education Chair Diane Boyko said. "I thank all the parents, staff, community members and the Ministry of Education for coming together to make this expansion and renovation a reality. It's very fitting that we officially re-open the school during the school's 50th anniversary celebrations. I can't think of a better way for the St. Matthew community to celebrate this new beginning."
Martin Phillipson, chair of the Catholic School Community Council thanked all parents, past and present, for their continued support of the school community, especially prior to and during the renovation.
Danielle Schock, co-chair of the school's refugee committee took a moment to remind everyone of the school's fundraising efforts to sponsor a family from Burundi. They are almost halfway to their $30,000 goal.
After a ceremonial ribbon cutting, École St. Matthew School Principal François Rivard invited guests to stay and enjoy refreshments while catching-up with old friends and explore the newly renovated school that had archival displays and photographs throughout. He concluded the evening "looking forward to what the next 50 years of Catholic education will bring to St. Matthew."