Father Lacombe School to celebrate life of namesake

Father Lacombe Catholic School is looking to bring Father Albert Lacombe back to life.

Father Lacombe Catholic School is looking to bring Father Albert Lacombe back to life.

In two separate events this month, the school and its student body will recognize the birthday of Father Albert Lacombe, for whom both the school and the City are named.

Principal Denis Côté said the school is doing something new this year and exploring the life of Father Lacombe through a historical and theatrical interview presentation by Rooney and Punyi Theatre Productions.

“It just brings him to life,” said Côté.

Being relatively new to the school, this is the first time Côté is in charge of the celebrations for Father Albert Lacombe Day.

He said it is important for the school to recognize Father Albert Lacombe Day and for students to understand its significance, but he didn’t want that recognition to be the same every year.

So, this year, Côté got in touch with the Father Lacombe Chapel in St. Albert and they directed him to Rooney and Punyi Education Theatre Productions who do a number of educational, theatrical interviews of historical characters. One such character is Father Albert Lacombe.

Côté said that Rooney and Punyi Theatre Productions also do theatrical interviews of William Shakespeare, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Leonardo Da Vinci as well as well-known figures from Canada’s history such as Sir John A. MacDonald and Louis Riel. He added that he was told Father Albert Lacombe is one of the company’s favourite interviews to perform.

On Feb. 19th, Father Lacombe Catholic school will be visited by Rooney and Punyi Theatre Productions and students will take a trip back in history.

It will almost be as if they were learning about Father Lacombe from the man himself.

Classes will take turns sitting in on the interview with Father Lacombe, which will be conducted by a teacher from each class. An actor portraying Father Lacombe will answer questions from a script that allows the students to learn about his life in an interesting format.

In addition to the theatrical interview on Feb 19th, students will have further opportunity to learn about Father Lacombe and the era he lived in through a visit from the Father Lacombe Chapel museum on the actual date of Father Albert Lacombe Day.

Côté said that he wanted students to be able to experience the museum, but the logistics of organizing a school-wide field trip would prove too challenging.

Instead, museum officials will come to the school. He once again got in touch with Father Lacombe Chapel and asked them to do a road show and visit the school with some of the relics and artifacts.

Students will get to interact with artifacts and also take part in activities to help them learn about Métis and First Nations cultures during the time Father Lacombe lived. Such activities include making paper tee pees, finger-weaving, and river-lot activities.

Côté said that Father Lacombe is a big part of not only the community’s heritage, but the school’s as well and it is important that students know who he was.

“It’s very important because that’s who we are, we are Father Lacombe Catholic School,” said Côté. “The kids need to know where the roots of the name of the school came from.”

Father Albert Lacombe was a Catholic priest who spent 60 years serving the Roman Catholic Church.

He was highly respected by both Métis and First Nations communities and worked to settle the prairies as well as forge relationships between those two groups.

Father Lacombe died Dec. 12, 1916 and left his name to the Alberta community of Lacombe as well as several schools throughout the province. His legacy is celebrated on Father Albert Lacombe Day, his birthday, Feb. 28 (1827).