St. Joseph High School officially opened its doors—with more students than expected showing up.
“We have 575 students,” Principal Graeme Daniel said.
“We anticipated opening with about 510 — and we had about 60 more students walk through the door. We have hired two new teachers and we have juggled the time table and have moved forward.”
Daniel believes that this is a sign Catholic education is growing in Red Deer—with the entire division growing by 4.5%.
“We are probably a big part of that,” he said. “People are coming to us and finding what they need here. That is due to a variety of things: it’s programming, it’s our approach to education and it is how we deal with students. It is a shiny new building and that attracts kids as well.”
St. Joseph’s, which was named after Red Deer’s first convent, celebrated its opening with an official blessing by Archbishop Richard W. Smith and several speeches by local dignitaries — something Daniel credits to the strong community support St. Joseph has received.
“That is a major blessing of this school,” he said.
“It is more so a community school than most schools. With the partnerships with the Royals, the City of Red Deer and the Kinsmen — it truly becomes a community school and it will be a nice hub for the community moving forward.”
Daniel said the school was developed to fit the needs of students in the 21st century — with a huge focus on open space and collaboration at the core of those needs.
“Those are based around collaboration; working in groups and meeting together to be able to problem solve and develop solutions to those problems.
“That is what the building is designed around,” he said. “We have open spaces. We have garage doors that allow us to create one big classroom out of four just by opening two doors. When you look at our learning commons, formerly known as a library, it is more like post-secondary learning commons.
“It is designed around trusting kids and allowing them to be flexible and allowing them to talk.”
Daniel believes St. Joseph students have the opportunity to excel in the new facility.
“Our vision is excellence,” he said.
“Everything we do we want it to be focused on excellence. Whether it is our first visual performance, how we play on the court or our academics — we want everything to be the best the students can do.