Fort McMurray Catholic Schools

According to dictionary.com the definition of success is ‘the favourable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavours; the accomplishment of one’s goals.’ At Fort McMurray Catholic Schools we aim to help foster students in the creation and implementation of these goals.

With approximately 6,800 students in the Fort McMurray Catholic Schools family, those goals are widely varied. Some strive for academic excellence, some for athletic achievement, some are building innovative robots, we have artists, and those who are working to pursue a career in the trades. All of these dreams, and many more, can be supported in Fort McMurray Catholic Schools.

Superintendent George McGuigan states this progress continues in spite of the pandemic, “Fort McMurray Catholic Schools has continued to graduate students from the Division in extremely high numbers. Our current 3-year high school completion rate sits at 94%, up 4% from the previous year. The province as a whole sits at 83%. This translates into success for the students to continue their education in a career pathway of their choice. We are especially proud of the success of our Indigenous students with a 3-year completion rate of 93.3%, up from 87.9% the previous year.”

“High school graduation means many different opportunities for all students,” shares Father Mercredi High School Principal Lisa Miller. “We are blessed to have a very high graduation rate and students branch off to a large variety of careers because of the vast programs offered at school. Some are university-bound, others choose colleges or technological institutions. Many of our Registered Apprenticeship Program students who graduate are well into their careers in the trades.”

Father Mercredi High School Robotics Teacher Tom MacIsaac says it’s an honour to walk alongside these students and facilitate their achievements, “Outside of the obvious coursework and academic rigour we promote, we are building caring, resilient and socially aware students that will walk out our doors ready for what life gives them. We had 3 students inducted into the IRHS (International Robotics Honours Society). We established the only Canadian Chapter last year and were able to vet and induct 3 of our applicants. Currently, we have a student pursuing Solar and Wind Technician training, he completed the Solar component last year and is currently working towards his Wind Certification.”

MacIsaac adds we are there to support our students through the journey, “Mentorship and professional connections help these students maintain momentum through their senior years. Involvement in extracurricular and co-curricular STEM activities helps them make connections to fields they hope to pursue studies in. Robotics and Engineering are multidisciplinary and in high school, we are able to expose our students to some of these STEM areas in the hope that when it is time for them to choose a path they will have the necessary information and motivation.”

Sister Mary Phillips School Vice Principal and FMCSD Saints Football Team Head Coach Kevin Garbuio says it’s about creating and sharing a vision with our student-athletes, “We help them build a roadmap to success. We talk about goals and what is necessary to be successful. A lot of the anxiety our athletes and families face is because they are unsure of what comes next. The Vice-Principals at Holy Trinity and Father Mercredi High Schools do a great job of helping us check in on grades and our student-athletes. It truly takes a village to make the Saints run.”

FMCSD Outreach School Principal Deborah Kitching explains we are a constant for our students, “We embrace the students through endless compassion and love, we encourage our students to set goals and priorities to realize their full academic potential and complete high school. And when it comes to post-secondary and looking at available scholarships we individually mentor them and ensure they have the support needed to complete applications and provide reference letters.”

MacIsaac states it’s important to support students when they are exploring scholarships, “Writing personal, professional and academic letters of support to add to their applications is generally where we formalize our commitment to the student. Many of the applicants have spent several years in our classes and have built impressive academic and professional resumes that have set them up for success. Families do appreciate the support and in some cases pursuing chosen programs without such support would be very difficult.“

“The scholarships help remove barriers for our athletes,” adds Garbuio. “We support our families by meeting with them and walking through the options of post-secondary football. We have been working to get universities and junior teams to meet with our families. And we do our best to make sure our student-athletes are seen.”

For the latest information on the Fort McMurray Catholic School Division please visit our web page at fmcsd.ab.ca, search for the Fort McMurray Catholic Division on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (@FMCSD), or find us on Instagram @fortmcmurraycatholicschools.

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