Students, staff and supporters gathered to mark a milestone for Catholic education in Lacombe.
Father Lacombe Catholic School celebrated its 10th anniversary last month with a dinner and get together that allowed those who have been a part of the school a chance to reminisce about the past decade.
The school was born out of a need recognized by the members of St. Stephen Parish, led by the local Knights of Columbus. A census showed there were 800 Catholic families in the community at the time and from there, plans began to proceed with bringing a Catholic school to Lacombe.
The first principal of Father Lacombe School was Kevin Prediger, who is now the principal of another STAR Catholic school, St. Augustine School in Ponoka. He told those gathered about the early days of the school and the work to bring this dream to a reality.
“It was fitting that our first gathering for the school was in Michener Park, because we didn’t have this school yet; we were looking for a site,” recalled Prediger.
After much searching for a proper school site, Nelson School was secured and a naming contest was held. Overwhelmingly Father Lacombe Catholic School was chosen as the school’s name, in reference to Father Albert Lacombe, a Canadian Missionary and town namesake.
“For the past decade Father Lacombe School has carried on that great legacy of that wonderful Canadian, Father Lacombe who you are named after,” Dr. Troy Davies, STAR Catholic superintendent, told those in attendance. “We are proud of the efforts of those pioneers 10 years ago and we see the fruits of that labour today.”
The school has grown over the years from 65 students and four teaching staff at a Kindergarten to Grade 5 school to 215 students, 14 teaching staff and a Kindergarten to Grade 9 school today.
“There is lots of history and it is nice to be here to connect with some of the original pioneers, but my favourite part is seeing all the little kids running around and talking and having fun,” added Prediger. “That warms my heart, because that was the vision 10 years ago to establish this and have the opportunity in Lacombe for Catholic education for our families.”
Lacombe Trustee and Board Vice-Chair Thalia Hibbs said her family moved to Lacombe just as the idea of the school was getting started and has been proud to have been involved in the process to see the Catholic school community grow and strengthen in Lacombe.
“Father Lacombe Catholic School has become a leader not only in the community, but in our STAR Division,” said Hibbs. “There are programs and approaches to students that serve as models around the region and everyone involved should be proud to have helped build a learning environment that creates a connection to faith and to community.”
Over the years, Prediger was followed by Curt Baron as principal and then by current principal Denis Cote. Cote spoke of what Father Lacombe Catholic School has become, but said it’s the collaboration and relationships formed through the school that resonate.
“These past years have been happy and successful years in so many ways. It has been defined by a kaleidoscope of happy memories, supportive friendships and enduring relationships,” said Cote.
“Of course there have also been some paths that may have been slightly more difficult to travel together. Yet in spite and despite of the odd stumbling blocks along the way, we have traveled through yet another year — together – supportive, encouraging and enduring with the grace of God with us every step along the way.”
– submitted by STAR Catholic Schools