St. Joseph High School in Red Deer, the City’s fourth and newest high school, opened its doors to all of their students last week.
The staff at the new school came bearing gifts for the inaugural classes.
“Today is our first official opening with all of our students,” St. Joseph’s Principal Graeme Daniel said. “This is the first day for everyone and we are doing celebratory activities. We have a cake cutting and we have a gift for all the students.
“We have a t-shirt for them which has the school logo. We thought it was important they go home with something and it also can give them some school spirit. They can wear the red of St. Joseph and they can wear it at our sports events.”
The festive day was also an opportunity for staff and students alike to orientate themselves to the new building.
“We are trying to get them familiar with the building because it is new to all of us,” Daniel said. “We are learning how it works and functions.”
Daniel had a leg up on the workings of St. Joseph’s high after being involved in its conception.
“I have been fortunate enough to be involved with this for the last three years,” he said. “I was on the design committee and then I became the principal. It is really neat to see the energy of the kids in the building because a lot of thought and effort has gone into them and how to utilize space, maximize space and how it matches up to 21st century learning. It is very, very exciting.”
Education will accelerate following the initial introductory days, he added.
“After this, we get to exhale now and move forward with the business of learning, but today is a really is a big day because we get to see their excitement.”
The school this year will have around 570 students, which is short of the 900-1,200 it will eventually hold.
“Next year will be a big growth year,” he said. “It is a nice number to establish routines and get to know kids. We can offer a personalized education.
Daniel also took time to comment on St. Joseph’s sports teams will fit into the Central Alberta equation.
“We anticipate that we will offer a full slate of teams,” he said. “We start off tonight with our volleyball actually. The only sport we don’t have year one is football because football traditionally starts in the spring. We will start going with that in the spring.
“We will play in the Central League with Ponoka, Sylvan and Wetaskwin for our volleyball program. When we move into basketball, we will be part of the Red Deer City League – so that will be with Hunting Hills, Thurber and Notre Dame.”
Senior students who had previously attended Notre Dame were presented with options regarding their final year in high school.
“If they were at Notre Dame and they were in 10 or 11 – they are coming here,” Daniel explained, regarding kids in their feeder districts. “Our Grade 12s were given the choice to stay at Notre Dame or come here.”
Daniel said this will lead to young teams, however, he has high hopes for the sports programs.
“We will be fairly new and young this year, but we have a strong athletic program in our division,” he said. “We will be competitive off the hop. I am really grateful that we have amazing coaches. We have a two senior volleyball coach from Notre Dame coming over; we have a full slate of basketball coaches that are well-versed so we are blessed that way.”
He added, “We are really excited to be established in Red Deer as a fourth high school. We look forward to welcoming kids and servicing our community.”