Inside this Issue:


A Conference to Inspire Trustees

The theme for the 2013 OCSTA AGM and Conference is “You Raise Me Up: Trustee Leadership & Ontario’s Catholic Schools.” The event will be held May 2-4, 2013 at the Doubletree by Hilton – Toronto Airport.

The program has been designed to inspire, educate and support trustees across the province who have answered the call to serve the Catholic education needs of our youth.

This year’s program includes:

  • Silken Laumann, Olympic Champion, Topic: Leadership that Inspires
  • Steve Paikin, Host of TV Ontario’s The Agenda, Topic: Leading Issues in Ontario Today
  • How to Use Social Media to Connect with Your Constituency and Advance Catholic School Board Priorities, Leona Hobbs, Head of Services, Atom Agency
  • John Copabianco, Sr. VP, Fleishman-Hillard and Dr. Robert Murray, OCSTA Director, Legislative and Political Affairs,Topic: Government Relations for Trustees
  • Isolina Varano, Co-ordinator, Conflict Resolution,Toronto Catholic DSB, Topic: Conflict Resolution – How To Make Effective Decisions
  • Sean McDade, IT Learning Co-ordinator and Lori Lynn Stapleton, Religious Education/Family Life Learning Co-ordinator, Huron-Perth CDSB, Topic: Leveraging Technology to Promote a Community of Prayer
  • Kirk Mark, Co-ordinator of Race and Ethnic Relations, Toronto Catholic DSB, Topic: Communicating Effectively with Diverse Cultures

For registration information please visit the AGM & Conference Registration page or contact Pam DeNobrega at pdenobrega[at]

2013 OCSTA Director Nomination Results

The following nominations, duly Moved and Seconded for OCSTA Regional Director, were received by the deadline of 10:00 a.m. on April 4th 2013.

Nominations are now closed. Elections will be held on May 3rd for Regions 3 and 9.

Region 1 Colleen Landers, Northeastern CDSB
Region 2 Paul Landry, Kenora CDSB
Region 3 (At Large) Anne-Marie Fitzgerald, The Northwest CDSBMichael Bellmore, Sudbury CDSB
Region 4 Beverley Eckensweiler, Bruce-Grey CDSB
Region 5 Linda Ward, St. Clair CDSB
Region 9 Chris Leahy, Durham CDSBShawn Cooper, Simcoe Muskoka CDSB
Region 10Region 11 Andrew Bray, Renfrew County CDSBArlene Iantomasi, Halton CDSB

Patrick Daly, Hamilton-Wentworth CDSB

Register for the 2013 OCSTA AGM & Conference here.

justice peter lauwersFormer OCSTA Counsel Appointed to the Country’s “Most Elite Bench”

OCSTA’s former Counsel, Peter Lauwers was recently appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal –the final level of appeal for almost 1000 cases each year.

Justice Lauwers was first appointed to the bench in 2008, but prior to that appointment he served as OCSTA’s legal counsel for almost two decades. Mr. Lauwers represented OCSTA in the Bill 30 Reference (full funding for Catholic schools) and in the successful Constitutional challenge of Section 136 of the Education Act before the Supreme Court of Canada. Both cases demonstrate Justice Lauwers’ exceptional skill as a legal advocate and his pivotal role in shaping the history of Catholic Education in this province.

OCSTA’s Executive Director, Kevin Kobus was pleased to be present at Justice Lauwers’ Swearing-In ceremony on February 26 at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.

FIOF_300x150_bFaith in Our Future – Short Video Contest

Enter the 2nd Faith in Our Future Short Video Contest!

Students in Catholic schools aged 13 – 19 years old are invited to enter the second Faith in Our Future Short Video Contest! This is an opportunity for students to explain to the world how their Catholic school experience in Ontario has made a positive difference in their life!

Students are also more than welcome to submit a “Group Entry.” Encourage students in your board to get together with their friends to create 2-minute video that highlights the unique and distinctive way Catholic education has helped or inspired their educational journey.

Note that this time around we’re providing for slightly LONGER video submissions (2 minutes).

We want this to be easy for students to do and recommend they use their smart phones, digital cameras or any other device to create their video message, upload it to YouTube ( and then share the unique URL created by YouTube for their video with the Faith in Our Future Video Contest Review Committee by April 19, 2013. Read Video Contest Guidelinesbefore downloading Video Contest Submission Form. For more information contact: Sharon McMillan, OCSTA, (416) 932-9460, ext. 232.

…One more thing – There are PRIZES!!

We want to reward the most creative and engaging video creators with the following prizes:

First place prize: $200 Best Buy Gift Certificate

Second place prize: $150 Best Buy Gift Certificate

Third place prize: $100 Indigo Gift Certificate

Please encourage students in your board to enter this spring! Presentations of awards will be made at the OCSTA 2013 AGM & Conference (May 2-4).

Student Reflection on Service in the Dominican Republic

The impact of Catholic education is seen throughout the world. In this Faith in Our Future post Hamilton-Wentworth CDSB student, Gabriela Caterini, shares a poem and picture that reflects her thoughts on recent service in the Dominican Republic.

Small-Poster_CathEdWk_2013-C-FINALCatholic Education Week – May 5-10

Download Our New Song

Catholic Education Week will be here in another month.  We hope trustees, school board staff, students, parents and parishioners are enjoying the curriculum and liturgical material prepared by the educators and other staff on the Catholic Education Week committee. To view material click here.

For the last several years Dufferin-Peel CDSB teacher and professional singer, Nancy Bodsworth has kindly written and performed a new song to complement the Catholic Education Week theme for the year. To download the song please click here.

Ontario Catholic Student Leadership Conference

Ottawa, ON (Monday, April 8, 2013) – The Ottawa Catholic School Board and the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario are co-hosting the second Ontario Catholic Student Leadership Conference, being held at the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa, from Thursday, April 11 to Saturday April 13. Media are welcome at the event; the best time for access to student spokespersons and photo ops will be Friday, April 12 from 11:00 a.m. to noon, during the student workshop breakout sessions.

The conference will bring together some 350 Catholic student leaders and supervisors from 25 Catholic school boards across the province. This year’s conference focuses on the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations. Over the three-day event, students will be engaged in liturgical celebrations, keynote speakers, student witness talks and discussion groups. Students will also have an opportunity to explore the National Capital Region and participate in many spirit-building activities including icebreakers, a gala dinner and an evening dance. The conference will culminate on Saturday morning with a celebration of the Eucharist held at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica.

Ontario Catholic Student Leadership Conference
Friday, April 12
11:00 a.m. to noon
Fairmont Château Laurier
1 Rideau Street, Ottawa

For more information please contact: Amber LaBerge, CDSB of Eastern Ontario, 613-258-7757, ext. 272/ or Mardi de Kemp, Ottawa Catholic School Board, 613-224-4455, ext. 2356/

Catholic Education in the News

Students, parents and all supporters of Catholic schools are being encouraged to publicly share their perspectives about the value of a Catholic education. We’re pleased to share the following perspectives that were published in a local newspaper.


Coming out for Catholic education

By Laurel Ives-Alison

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In a few short months, my youngest daughter will graduate from high school.

As she prepares for new adventures, I will be wrapping up a journey that began 21 years ago when my eldest daughter headed off to JK. As a Catholic family living in Ontario, we have had the privilege of sending our children to publicly funded Catholic schools, and for that we will be eternally grateful.

There have been calls for the end of funding for Catholic education and there have been calls for options within the publ ic school system. Catholic schools have offered a viable alternative for more than 150 years and have proven they can meet the needs and challenges of not only Catholic students, but all students and families who have chosen to find a home within their walls. Our Catholic schools embrace the virtues our society so desperately cries out for such as integrity, justice and compassion. Community service has always been a part of the curriculum as students learn to live their gospel values through service to others.

Here in Niagara, the Niagara Catholic District School Board has developed a strategic plan to guide the course for the future and commits to support the best outcomes for all students in a nurturing, supportive environment. The development of Vision 2020 was a massive, two-year undertaking that consulted all stakeholders including parents, students and the broader Catholic community. Such outreach exemplifies the ideals of leadership, partnership and inclusion. The NCDSB continues to apply this collaborative approach in the vetting process for every piece of policy they adopt, allowing the Niagara Catholic community the opportunity to comment and contribute in a meaningful way that will benefit all students.

Over the years, I have been privileged to actively participate in the education of my children. I have worked with many devoted parents and educators at every level from the classroom to the boardroom. I am proud of the contributions we have collectively made to the education of our children.

I am proud to be a Catholic parent here in Niagara. I see the rewards every day in the accompl ishments of my children. My daughter once stated, “I was able to attend publicly funded Catholic schools in Ontario and received a whole-person education…. I have friends that are atheists, Buddhists, Hindu, Christian and those that adhere to the church of the flying spaghetti monster, I have friends that are black and that are white, come from all over the world and are living all over the world. I do not see the colour of some-one’s skin or their religion, I see another human being and you know what, that is something that Catholic school taught me.”

I will continue to be a Catholic school advocate because I believe the Catholic school system in Ontario has purpose and value in our community and in our world.

I am not alone.

More than one million families across Ontario share that belief.

Laurel Ives-Alison has spent the past 20-plus years getting involved at school, tackling everything from pizza days to chairing meetings of school councils. Parents involvement and engagement is a passion that she hopes to share.