A Year In The Life of A St. Patrick’s School Parent

St Patricks - sponcon 2024

*SPONSORED ARTICLE

St. Patrick’s Elementary School in Victoria, a beacon of diversity and academic excellence, offers a truly enriching experience for both students and parents. As the school year begins in September, families are welcomed with open arms at the Welcome Back Barbecue. This event not only fosters a sense of community but also allows parents to familiarize themselves with the school environment. For those new to St. Patrick’s, this marks the beginning of a journey filled with warmth, friendship, and an education that goes beyond textbooks.

One of the standout features of St. Patrick’s is their commitment to diversity. With over 15 nationalities represented, the school embraces a global perspective within the intimate class sizes ranging from 15 to 26 students. The smaller class sizes facilitate a close-knit community where students and teachers form meaningful connections, broadening their perspectives and worldviews. Inter-grade connections are formed early in the year as well, as the intermediate grades are buddied up with the primary grades. They do different crafts and activities together, including the opportunity to participate in the Terry Fox Run in September. 

St Patricks - sponcon 2024

The school’s Outdoor Education Program, a cornerstone of the St. Patrick’s curriculum, kicks off in September. In the second week of September, the grade sevens travel to Sprout Lake to camp for three days where they will build teamwork, develop strong friendships, and establish meaningful connections. For outdoor Kindergarten, on Wednesday and Friday mornings all Kindergarten students travel to various parks to experience lessons while immersed in nature. Another component of the program is the hands-on experience of raising chickens, which teaches valuable lessons about responsibility and animal care. The schools’ Acacia Landscape-designed outdoor classroom further enhances the learning environment, making lessons in the curriculum more dynamic and engaging.

Social justice is woven into the fabric of the St. Patrick’s curriculum. Each class takes charge of a social justice project, raising awareness and funds for causes close to their hearts. October sees the entire school participating in World Food Day, fostering a sense of community outreach. The Catholic Women’s League Bazaar, with grade sevens volunteering, showcases their commitment to charity work. Last year, with the help of St. Patrick’s School, the Catholic Women’s League raised over $20,000 for various causes.

November brings the school together for a cold weather clothing drive for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, followed by a heartwarming “Kids’ Night Out” in December, overseen by the grade sevens and staff! Over 200 students receive pizza, watch a movie, and create a Christmas craft (and then parents come and pick them up!). Funds raised from this event enable the grade seven students to purchase Christmas gifts for over 30 children and their mothers for Rosalie’s Village. There is also an Advent Concert at St. Andrews Cathedral in December that raises over $1000 for the 9/10 club, a soup kitchen here in Victoria. 

There are many art and music activities that students can participate in. Grades five to seven participate in band twice a week, and grades two to seven can join choirs that perform throughout the year. St. Patrick’s also sends students to the Fine Arts Festival where they can showcase their talents. The school’s speech club participates in the Fine Arts Festival as well. Also in the spring, the Greater Victoria Art Gallery offers students the opportunity to develop their art and show it at the gallery.

The school’s intramurals program and the popular track and field program offer many opportunities for students to explore their athletic interests, fostering teamwork and inclusivity. The intramurals program is for grades four to seven, where for one lunch hour a week each student has the opportunity to play on a soccer, basketball, volleyball and/or floor hockey team. It provides valuable leadership opportunities for grade seven students who help with refereeing and coaching. 

St Patricks - sponcon 2024

Every year in May, St. Patrick’s has up to 150 students participate in the BC Elementary Track and Field Meet in Richmond BC. They always return home heavily laden with medals and ribbons! In fact, St. Patrick’s has been the top island elementary school at the meet for many years. In this hugely popular track and field program, every child has an opportunity from grades three to seven to participate on the team. Track and Field offers an event for ALL! 

St. Patrick’s takes pride in its dedicated staff who volunteer countless hours for extracurricular activities such as coaching, clubs, Fine Arts Performances, and various social justice projects. Having a dedicated staff that goes above and beyond the normal work hours provides opportunities for students to find their niche. 

Vice Principal Angela McLeish states,“It’s really gratifying to be able to offer all those little extras for students such as LEGO club, dance club, art club or chess club where they have the opportunity to explore their interests. Without dedicated staff who are willing to give up their time, it would be difficult to provide a rich culture that reaches all students’ needs and interests.” 

Several teachers at the school have won prestigious awards, such as Tiffany Poirier and Vice Principal Angela McLeish herself, exemplifying the school’s commitment to excellence. Tiffany Poirier has received the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and Vice Principal Angela McLeish was recently presented with the Premier’s Award for Excellence in Leadership. 

You can check out the video here: 

Communication is key at St. Patrick’s School. In addition to the website, the school also communicates with parents via a weekly newsletter, parent portal online, and face-to-face meetings. The friendly administrative staff always encourage parent involvement. Parents are welcomed at assemblies and special events, including the Fun Fair at the end of the year.

St. Patrick’s aims to develop critical thinkers who, armed with empathy, leave a positive impact on the world. “Our faith provides a strong foundation that has withstood the test of time. It continues to empower us to raise the bar and develop great people,” says Vice Principal McLeish. “We are rich in history and tradition but we are also current, as we want our students to become critical thinkers who are empathetic and compassionate citizens of the world. When they leave our school, we want them to benefit our world and leave it in a better place. In essence, we want to develop kids who are not afraid to create a ripple. Even just one little ripple can touch many other lives.” 

As you consider where to enroll your child, St. Patrick’s Elementary School invites you to join them at their Open House on Tuesday, February 6th, 11 to 2 pm and 3:30 to 6 pm, where you can meet the leadership team of the school, tour the campus, ask questions and learn about the very affordable tuition.