Not even the masks could stop staff and students from smiling ear to ear as they were officially welcomed into the new, state-of-the-art, Our Lady of Hope Catholic Elementary School on March 9.
The day was kicked off with a ribbon cutting ceremony with Principal Jim Vandenbosh, Superintendent of Education Corrado Ciapanna, Council School Council Chair Larry Medeiros and his daughter and OLOH student Leann.
While COVID-19 restricted the school from hosting a proper welcoming ceremony, Principal Jim Vandenbosh led an intimate outdoor greeting for students and parents.
“We have waited a long time for this moment,” he said.
The 2-storey facility, which sits at 400 Pumpkin Pass in Binbrook, is home to 405 students.
But while the construction has finally ended, Vandenbosch reminded students that it's now up to them to fill the space with love and learning.
“It is not enough that we have this beautiful building,” he added.
"Let us transform this building into a school. Our school. A place where we can learn, a place where we can play, a place where we can all reach our true potential in life. And let us not stop there. Let us turn this school into more than an institution of learning, let us make this school where we feel safe, a place where we are not afraid to take a chance, a place where we protect and look out for one another, a place where love is bounding through the halls. A place that resembles a family."
The welcoming was also an opportunity to share the school’s mission and vision, which was created with the help of parents and staff in preparation for the new school.
At its core, the school will strive to create a safe and inclusive learning environment that values curiosity, exploration and excellence.
“Those are some very high expectations of you,” said Vandenbosch. “But I know you will be able to achieve those goals because we have a secret weapon.”
“Our teachers, early childhood educators, educational assistants, secretaries, custodians, support staff, and administrators. Through their leadership, their dedication, their inspiration, their untiring work ethic, you will achieve these goals and you will turn this new beautiful building into a school that is powered by love, hope and family values.”
An official blessing and dedication ceremony for Our Lady of Hope will be scheduled in the future.