BY THALIA HIBBS
All of us are on a journey.
In Catholic schools that journey is one of faith, learning and love. For STAR Catholic School Division, many begin that journey in kindergarten and travel through to Grade 12. But as a community that journey doesn’t end with the donning of a cap and gown. We are with Christ as we learn and continue to seek him through our efforts at school and beyond. It’s this theme that has become central as STAR Catholic School Division adopted its new mission and vision statements.
The mission statement, which describes why we exist states: Rejoicing in the way of Christ, we nurture a love of learning in faith-filled Catholic schools.
The vision statement, which looks to our desired future states, ‘Souls seeking Christ on a journey of faith, learning and love.’
Arriving at these statements was a wonderful journey in itself, and one STAR Catholic’s board is proud to say reflects our students and staff, parents and parish partners. The process began this time last year, when we surveyed our stakeholders. More than 2,100 respondents reflected on the existing statements and on the question of what STAR Catholic means to them. From there we brought stakeholders that represented all of STAR Catholic’s communities to view the themes emerging from the survey and dig deeper into what STAR Catholic’s mission and vision should look like. At this session in October and through the enthusiastic collaboration of our STAR Catholic community the picture of what our mission and vision should be started to become clearer.
STAR Catholic’s mission and vision committee worked to take the feedback from the consultation, those themes and ideas, and craft draft statements. We then went back to our community and with a focus group, again representative of our diverse stakeholders, asked for feedback on the drafts. That feedback led to a few more tweaks and edits before a second draft was presented to the rest of the board. The board then provided its feedback, which went into the final versions, accepted in March and officially adopted in May.
We as a STAR Catholic School community do rejoice in the way of Christ in our celebration of faith and in our welcoming and warm schools. We are faith-filled in and out of the classroom and in that environment learning is nurtured, be it in a student’s day-to-day studies or a staff member pursuing continued education. Moving forward, today and years from now, it is our aim that our students, staff and the entire STAR Catholic community continues their faith journey and always seeks out Christ.
This was a community effort; these are your mission and vision statements for our school division. We as a board are grateful and blessed to have the thoughtful and committed engagement of all who call our school division home. And, as we begin a new school year, with all the hope and promise that comes with this time, we are guided by these new statements that we know to be more than words. This is who we are and truly what we aim to be.
Thalia Hibbs is a Lacombe trustee on the STAR Catholic Schools Division board. STAR Catholic Schools has more than 3,900 students in 11 schools located in Beaumont, Drayton Valley, Leduc, Lacombe, Ponoka and Wetaskiwin.