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Vital Grandin school gets a new name

It's Holy Family Catholic school now.
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IT'S HOLY FAMILY NOW — Principal Helen Jackson (left) and school council chair Donna Hansen check out the space where the words "Vital Grandin Catholic School" used to be on the school's front lawn sign. GSACRD trustees voted Sept. 27 to rename the school "Holy Family Catholic." KEVIN MA/St. Albert Gazette

Vital Grandin Catholic shall henceforth be known as Holy Family Catholic, St. Albert-area trustees have decided.

Greater St. Albert Catholic trustees voted to rename Vital Grandin Catholic School to Holy Family Catholic School Sept. 27.

The decision was the result of a months-long consultation process to find a new moniker for the St. Albert school, which was originally named after Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin — a prominent figure in St. Albert’s history and, infamously, a champion of Canada’s residential school system.

There were widespread calls to strip the names of residential school supporters from public landmarks earlier this year after hundreds of children were found buried in unmarked graves at residential schools. GSACRD trustees struck a committee to rename Vital Grandin Catholic in June and committed to having a new name by the end of September.

Trustee and renaming committee member Serena Shaw said the committee put forward five names for consideration. School officials, students, and other interested parties winnowed those to three to put before the board: Holy Family, Our Lady of Reconciliation, and Christ the King.

No one at Monday’s meeting backed Christ the King, which Shaw’s report to the board characterized as “a strong Catholic name.”

Shaw backed Our Lady of Reconciliation, saying it demonstrated the board’s commitment to reconciliation and the importance of keeping the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s efforts in the forefront so that the residential schools never happen again. It also references the Catholic sacrament of reconciliation and the centrality of women in Indigenous spiritual beliefs.

Shaw said Father Ron Rolheiser recently said people will inevitably harm each other when in a relationship.

“If this is the case, then reconciliation is not something we will get to the point of not needing.”

The other six trustees favoured the name Holy Family. Shaw told the board that this name had been the most popular one during consultations and reflects the idea that staff and students at the school see themselves as a family. It also references the name of the local parish.

GSACRD superintendent Clint Moroziuk said the name change would take effect immediately, with an official renaming ceremony to follow.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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