May 21, 2013

Memo To:  ACSTA Board of Directors
Catholic School Board Chairs
Catholic School Superintendents
The Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories

Memo From: Tony Sykora, ACSTA President

On May 9, 2013, in celebration of World Catholic Education Day, myself, ACSTA Executive Director Dean Sarnecki, Archbishop Gerard Pettipas, Bishop David Motiuk, and Bishop Gregory Bittman attend the Alberta Legislature for recognition of World Catholic Education Day and Alberta’s Catholic Schools.

We are delighted that the work of the ACSTA and the excellence of Alberta’s Catholic schools were recognized by the Minister of Education, The Honourable Jeff Johnson, in his introduction of guests. Minister Johnson said:

Mr. J. Johnson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s an honour to rise and introduce to you and through you to members of this Assembly five individuals seated in the Speaker’s gallery who are here to help us celebrate World Catholic Education Day. One of the reasons Alberta has such a world-class education system is because it’s built on a range of educational choice, and the separate school system is an example of this. The Member for Edmonton-South West will be making a member’s statement later this afternoon, but for now I would like to introduce – and I would ask them to stand as I introduce them – the Most Reverend Gerry Pettipas, Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan; the Most Reverend David Motiuk, Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton; the Most Reverend Greg Bittman, Auxiliary Bishop of Edmonton; Mr. Tony Sykora, president of the Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association; and Mr. Dean Sarnecki, executive director of the Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association. I’d ask the House to join me in giving them the traditional warm welcome. (text at Alberta Hansard: http://www.assembly.ab.ca)

The value of Alberta’s Catholic schools and World Catholic Education Day was further recognized by Edmonton-South West MLA, Matt Jeneroux, in his members’ statement on World Catholic Education Day:

Mr. Jeneroux: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s a pleasure to rise today and speak about World Catholic Education Day, which is being celebrated world-wide. The Minister of Education had introduced guests earlier this afternoon, and I would like to acknowledge them as well and thank them for joining us here today.
Mr. Speaker, this day is a time for Catholics around the world to take a moment to reflect on the importance of Catholic education and its values of peace, justice, and respect. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on how Catholic education has served students and parents over the years. This year’s theme, You Will Be My Witness, will be celebrated by Catholic schools, boards, and parishes across Canada.

Mr. Speaker, Alberta’s world-class education system is built on a range of educational choices, including separate, public, charter, francophone, and private schools. The availability of choice strengthens our education system and supports the rights of students and parents to have the options that meet the objectives of the School Act. This range of choice continues to bring new ideas and innovative approaches to learning that ultimately benefit all our students and help them to perform amongst the best in Canada and around the world. I’m personally proud of our Catholic education system, including the two schools in my constituency, Monsignor Fee Otterson and Sister Annata Brockman.

I would like to wish everyone a very happy World Catholic Education Day, Mr. Speaker. Thank you to our guests for being here today to celebrate this important day. (text at Alberta Hansard: http://www.assembly.ab.ca/)

To be acknowledged in the Alberta Legislature and commended for the value that Catholic schools bring to Alberta’s publicly funded education system is something that we are exceptionally proud of as an organization representing the great work all our member districts do in sharing the Great Commission of our Lord (Matthew 28:16-18) to teach all nations.

The ACSTA will continue to build and foster its ongoing, positive relationship with Education Minister Jeff Johnson, Department of Education, and the Alberta Government.

Yours in Christ,
Tony Sykora
ACSTA President