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May 7, 2014

Today, the eight Catholic school boards met for a press conference at Toronto’s Sacré-Coeur Parish to launch an important instrument aimed at providing a guide for the future of French- Catholic education in the 213 elementary and 58 secondary French-language Catholic schools in Ontario. At the beginning of the press conference, Ms. Nathalie Dufour-Séguin, Chair of the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud (CSDCCS), set the tone for the event by stating: "We are delighted to greet our colleagues from other Francophone Catholic school boards in the Queen City, a stone's throw from Queen’s Park, to proclaim loud and clear the benefits of a Catholic French-language education."

Today was the official launch of the Cadre de reference de l’élève catholique, the Francophone version of the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations, a document that states our expectations and our hopes as accessible models, in terms of language and faith, for every student enrolled in a French-language Catholic school. This is the first time in a rich history of over 225 years that Catholic French-language school boards have equipped themselves with such a tool to support the boards and their schools to better update their mandate and contribute further to the development of faith for every student in their care. It offers a common framework to uphold the hopes and expectations of the eight French-language Catholic school boards for all graduating students.

During the press conference, eight students representing each of the eight school boards presented the statements governing the Cadre de reference de l’élève catholique. These young leaders stated that, as Francophone Catholic students, they have ideas, they have a voice, they are part of an extended family, they have responsibilities, they are lifelong learners, they are part of a team, they have faith and they believe in their language and in their Francophone culture. These eight statements, drafted in cooperation with the student trustees representing the eight French-language Catholic school boards, present the ideals which each student is invited to rely upon to fashion their future.

Furthermore, the conference was honoured with an address by its guest speaker, Ronald F. Caza, a lawyer who testified to the contribution of French-language Catholic education to the development of faith in future generations of Francophones. He stated among other things: "In a world where we too often hear that every person must look after himself, the daily message of a Catholic education which focuses on making others happy is more necessary now than ever. And to be able to do it in French in Ontario..."

The Cadre de reference de l’élève catholique was produced by the Comité d’orientation de l’éducation catholique (COREC), a consultation body for organizations dedicated to the advancement of French-language Catholic education in Ontario. The COREC brings together the members of the Conseil ontarien des directions de l’éducation catholique (CODEC), the Office provincial de l’éducation catholique en Ontario (OPÉCO), the Association franco-ontarienne des conseils scolaires catholiques (AFOCSC) and the Assembly of Bishops of Ontario. Lyse-Anne Papineau, COREC President stated: "The COREC encourages students, staff members and the school community to use this document, the purpose of which is to guide the education and the training in faith in our French-language Catholic schools. We love our students and are proud of them and we are convinced that, through the added value of a Catholic education and the hopes and expectations offered by this framework, they will make a difference in our world."

Mr. Jean Lemay, President of the Association franco-ontarienne des conseils scolaires catholiques, added: "In my capacity as AFOCSC President, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the creation of this amazing resource. The students entrusted to us are its whys and wherefores, as it is about shaping their future. Thanks to the

Cadre de reference de l’élève catholique, our graduates will be able to meet the challenges of a constantly evolving world because they will have acquired a solid education based on Christian values which give meaning to their life. Catholic education... it’s a plus!"

The press conference was followed by a special mass presided by His Eminence Cardinal Thomas Collins. All the French-language Catholic schools in Ontario celebrated a mass or a liturgy of the Word as a sign of solidarity for this historic event. Over 75,000 students across the province were joined in prayer to celebrate their Catholic faith in a school community guided by evangelical values. These activities are all part of Catholic Education Week.

 

INFO:

Paul de la Riva
Communications and Community Development Coordinator
Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario
(705) 673-5626, ext. 294
(705) 677-8195 – cell phone