École St. Avila celebrating 50 years


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/05/2014 (3180 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Anniversaries are a time for celebration, a time to reflect and a time to look to the future.

For École St. Avila, that anniversary will be its 50th since opening in its present location and it has (a St. Avila school has been in the area since 1896) some pretty neat events planned to mark the occasion.

The event, to take place on June 5, is open to the community and will feature students, both young and old, as well as an assortment of teachers from the school’s past and present faculties.

Photo supplied A group of former École St. Avila teachers have been meeting every Friday for breakfast for the last 25 years. The school celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, with a number of activities scheduled on June 5. Back row (from left): Jeanne Bourgouin, Maureen Monson, Margaret Crawford, and Sandy Briscoe. Front row: Clara Fjeldsted, Shirley Adam, and Esther Roy.

“Students and teachers will be celebrating and then from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. the community will be invited and there will be singing and dancing,” Janice Lukes, chair of the anniversary planning committee, said.

Other events on the day will include entertainment, tours, historical displays and live music as well as refreshments for attendees.

“The Fort Garry Historical Society is making a beautiful timeline from over the years at École St. Avila which will be on display for the public,” Lukes said, “and the Royal Bank of Canada is going to be leading a tree-planting ceremony. We are going to be planting a commemorative tree for the 50 years École St. Avila has been on Patricia Avenue.”

The school has undergone an $800,000 renovation, with extensive renovations to the grounds that surround the school itself. In fact, École St. Avila now has one of Canada’s top-10 environmentally-friendly school grounds.

The Down the Drain Project sculpted the grounds around the school and adjacent community centre. The focus is to improve drainage using a natural approach as opposed to pipes at storm water systems. The system helps aid the reduction of nitrates and phosphate entering Lake Winnipeg via the Red River and is now a place where the community can enjoy, play and learn.

“The tree planting is just another symbol of how environmentally-friendly École St. Avila is,” says Lukes. “It is very exciting.”

The event will also be bolstered by a few select alumni from years past.

In fact, a group of ladies who used to teach at École St. Avila have been meeting every Friday for breakfast, some for the past 25 years, at the Canad Inns on Pembina Highway. They all live in the south end of the city and at one point or another, all taught at École St. Avila.

“What was so fantastic at that school was that we did everything together,” former teacher Shirley Adam said. “It was just the friendliest, most co-operative, most interesting job I had in all my 30 years of teaching because they were just such dynamic people.”

“It’s just a great school,” former teacher Margaret Crawford adds. “My daughter went to the school in the French-immersion program, so I was a volunteer there before I taught there. It’s a great school!”

For more information on the event contact Lukes at 204-952-4222.


Updated on Monday, January 4, 2016 12:58 PM CST: Adds historical background.

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