Monthly Archives: December 2019

Board Chair Fera Highlights Accomplishments, Challenges

Partial text of address by board chair Frank Fera at organizational meeting Tuesday. Attention was drawn to Welland trustee Paul Turner, a retired teacher, elected in 2018:

Turner

Those of you who know me fully realize that if issues come before me, I will confront them directly and administer justice to promote the educational welfare of students and staff in the interest of this board. Walking away from issues does not solve problems, but rather complicates them.

Last year, with the assistance of the vice-chair and a couple of like-minded trustees, we dedicated our time in bringing the unions aboard to work cooperatively with senior staff in the interest of students – an achievement that no other chair was able to realize in past years. As a direct result of this effort, the director and the president of the unions are now working together to solve grievances, saving our board a great deal of money that can be utilized to better serve our students.

Furthermore, we have been told that staff morale has improved, and that our teachers are looking forward to the 2020 school year.

Also, through the leadership of trustee Turner, a committee is being established to study our enrollment patterns across the system, and make recommendations to the Board. This positive outlook must continue as we embark on a journey to hire a new director for the coming years.

I would consider this to be a task of paramount importance. Moreover, since our system is still somewhat scarred with wounds subsequent to the lockout, the new director, apart from the many leadership skills that he/she brings to the board, the one quality that must undeniably stand out is the ability to heal relationships between the board and the teachers.

(Source: Niagara Catholic news release) 

Election of chair, vice-chair follows.

 

 

Catholic Board Announces 2020 Chair, Vice-Chair

WELLAND – The Niagara Catholic District School Board held its annual organizational meeting at the Catholic Education Centre on December 3, 2019.

Frank Fera, trustee for Niagara Falls since 2000, was re-elected as Chair of the Board by straw vote. Dino Sicoli, who has represented Catholic ratepayers in Port Colborne, Fort Erie and Wainfleet since 2010, was re-elected Vice-Chair, also on a straw vote. He previously served as vice-chair in 2015. The straw votes were required because of ties in each of the contests.

During his remarks, chair Fera remarked on what he believes to be the board’s biggest accomplishment in 2019.

Fera

“Last year, with the assistance of the vice-chair and a couple of like-minded trustees, we dedicated our time in bringing the unions aboard to work cooperatively with senior staff in the interest of students – an achievement that no other chair was able to realize in past years,” he said. “As a direct result of this effort, the director and the president of the unions are now working together to solve grievances, saving our board a great deal of money that can be utilized to better serve our students.”

On Wednesday, chair Fera further added: “Catholic education is unique, where the faith component is built-in across the curriculum, and the cooperation between home, parish and school is an integral part of Catholic education. As a Catholic school board, we are committed to continuing to promote our system, and to ensure its survival for years to come.”

Vice-chair Sicoli asked for God’s blessings upon the board of trustees, senior staff and all leaders in Catholic education for the coming year.

Sicoli

“I ask the God of compassion to bless my fellow trustees, myself, Senior Administration, our educational leaders,” he said. “May this evening and our prayerful observance of this Advent season be the beginning of a profound difference in our Niagara Catholic school system, in our homes and in our hearts. May the dawning of your Christ be a new day of justice for all who are oppressed and rejected; may His coming usher in an eternal day of peace among all.”

Director of Education John Crocco congratulated chair Fera and vice-chair Sicoli on their re-election, and thanked the student choir from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic elementary school for their musical contribution to the annual organizational meeting.

“I am confident that chair Fera and vice-chair Sicoli will continue to be strong advocates for Niagara Catholic, focused on fulfilling the board’s Mission, Vision and Values for the students we serve in Catholic education,” he said.

(Source: Niagara Catholic news release)

HERITAGE LIVES: A Christmas Message From Long Ago


By Terry Hughes

A century ago people communicated using post cards, even during the Christmas season. Some of these cards from over the years contained the following messages:

Dear Chris,
Just received your card. Hope to see you soon.

Chris,
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us. Come up and see us sometime.

Dear Chris,
I am having a great time. We have had a lot of snow in the country and city. And I have this device that moves twice as much snow.

But the best appeared on the front of this card. Featured are a sleeping child embraced by a heavenly angel while holding a gift in the form of a doll. Three words are inscribed at the bottom: A Merry Christmas

And I say to our readers: Have a very Merry Christmas!

Editor’s note: The back of the card is postmarked Station B Buffalo N.Y. Dec. 24 2:30P 1909. It bears a One Cent stamp.

Next Column: Marvin Gaye asks, “What’s Going On”

(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)