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St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School (Oakville)

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St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School (Oakville)

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School
Address
124 Dorval Drive
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Information
School board Halton Catholic District School Board
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic
Superintendent Jacqueline Herman
Area trustee Ms. A.A. LeMay (Board chair), Mr. E. Viana, Mr. A. Danko, Mr. P. Marai, Mr. M. Wadhwa
Principal Mr. D. Jonker
Vice principal Mr. J. Crowell
School type Separate Secondary School
Grades 9 to 12
Language English, with language classes in French
Area Halton
Motto "aequalitas, veritas, excellentia"
"equality, truth, excellence"
Mascot Black Tom Pirate
Team name Aquinas Raiders
Colours black, white and grey
Newspaper http://aquinas.me
Founded 1990
Enrollment c. 850 (September 2007)
Homepage http://sta.hcdsb.org

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School is a high school located in the western part of Old Oakville in Oakville, Ontario. St. Thomas Aquinas is a member of the Halton Catholic District School Board. There are approximately 850 students attending the school in grades 9 through 12, making it the second smallest high school in Halton (of either the Catholic or public boards) within exception of Acton District High School with only 550 students.

At St. Thomas Aquinas, the current principal is Mr. Dwight Jonker, and the vice-principals are Mr. Jeff Crowell and Mrs. Teresa Castellarin. The previous principal of St. Thomas Aquinas was Mr. Pat Daly, and before him was Colin McGillicuddy (now at university-bound students, applied programs for college-bound students, and essential programs for the learning challenged; it also offers co-op apprenticeship and workplace programs in computer engineering and cosmetology (see below). The school community prides itself on athletic achievements, and STA fields teams known as the "Raiders" in a wide variety of sports (see below). Arts-related groups include the Aquinas Concert Band (which won a bronze medal at the Atlantic Band Festival in Halifax in May 2006), a Jazz Band, a choir, a yearly school play, entries in the Sears Drama Festival, and the school's Tech Crew. Several leadership and school community groups also exist, including the school's Student Council, the STA Prefects, the Athletic Council, and the Peace and Justice Club (the "PJs").

Today, after the opening of Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School, the feeder schools for St. Thomas Aquinas are St. Dominic, St. Joseph, St. James, St. Vincent and St. Luke Catholic Elementary schools.

Contents

  • Old School Building 1
  • Plans for a new school building 2
  • New School Building 3
  • Notable alumni 4
  • Academics 5
    • Regional Programs 5.1
    • Extracurriculars 5.2
  • Athletics 6
    • Varsity Teams 6.1
    • Junior & Midget Teams 6.2
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Old School Building

The first St. Thomas Aquinas school building was built in the 1960s, when it was first opened as Gordon E. Perdue High School. In 1990, the school became a Catholic high school when it was transferred from the public board to the Catholic board for the sum of $1 (as some money was required, by law, to be exchanged).

The original school building was composed of five floors; three in the south end of the building and two in the north. The floors were offset by about 1/2 of a storey at a point just north of the school's main lobby. In the southern three-storey portion of the school were classrooms for the languages, mathematics, business and social studies departments, in addition to key school facilities such as the main office, the school's chapel and the library. In the northern two-storey portion of the school were the gymnasium, cafeteria, staff room and classrooms for the science, fine arts and technical studies departments.

St. Thomas Aquinas also had a number of portables in the late 1990s, which were later removed as the school's population declined due to the removal of the OAC grade and the opening of Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School in north Oakville.

Plans for a new school building

Despite a series of renovations over its lifetime, much of the school building dated back to the opening of the original Gordon E. Perdue High School more than forty years ago. Due to some poor construction (as well as poor planning), problems and inconveniences cropped up as the building began to show its age, resulting in growing support among the school community for a new, more modern school building.

In mid-May 2007, the Oakville Beaver reported that the Halton Catholic District School Board had made it a priority to provide funding for and move forward with the replacement of the school building.[1] A major step forward came when the government of Ontario announced a $15 million grant in early September to go towards the replacement of the school building.[2]

However, requiring a further $18 million for the project, the Halton Catholic District School Board began to look into other options to continue to raise money, in particular a plan that would have students diverted from St. Ignatius of Loyola and Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary schools to St. Thomas Aquinas in order to qualify for provincial grants.[3] The proposed redirection of elementary school graduates from northern Oakville drew protest from parents who either opposed more boundary reviews or wanted their children to attend high school closer to home.[4]

The proposed site plan was also altered and rearranged after the renovation project, as well as the planned lighting for the new sports field, drew resistance from residents in the surrounding area of south Oakville. The Southwest Central Oakville Residents Association (SCORA) was formed in 2008 to protest the school board's "disregard" for the natural setting, the elimination of grass sports fields, the addition of asphalt parking lots, the removal of "hundreds" of trees from the location, and the plans for "mega-lights" on the sports field.[5] SCORA maintained that these factors would negatively impact both the character and property values of the surrounding neighbourhoods.

During the 2008-2009 school year, a series of portables were installed in the area formerly occupied by the school's sports field. By the late spring of 2009, students, faculty and staff had vacated the south end of the school, and a temporary main office had been set up in a vacated classroom at the school's north end. By May 2009, construction crews had finished stripping down the interior of the three floors (100s, 200s, and 300s) in the south end of the school, in addition to the main lobby and the school library. By June 2009, the portion of the school south of its main gymnasium had been demolished, though construction of the new building had not yet begun. Until the new building opened in February 2011, students continued to use the remaining northern half of the building, as well as the portables, to begin the 2009-2010 school year. During the transition, the school's many functions, such as the yearly school play, and so forth, continued to run. No extra-curricular activities were cancelled during this time.

New School Building

The new St. Thomas Aquinas school building opened in February 2011, coinciding with the start of the second semester of the 2010-2011 school year.[6]

The new school building comprises three storeys and features a theatre, two gymnasiums, a full range of tech and co-op classrooms and an interior running track.[7] As of June 2011, the outdoor sports field and artificial turf, as well as associated landscaping, have yet to be completed.[8]

Notable alumni

Academics

St. Thomas Aquinas offers programs for university-, college-, and workplace-bound students. The school also offers programs for special-needs students under the Special Education department.

Regional Programs

St. Thomas Aquinas is the host school for several regional programs for both the Halton Catholic and Halton Public school boards. These programs are available to all students in either board providing they meet any applicable prerequisites. These programs include the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Programs (OYAP) and a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program.

  • Hairstylist OYAP - Hairstylist Concentrated OYAP is a program specifically designed to help students make a smooth successful transition from high school directly into their post-secondary hairstylist apprenticeship and to prepare students for a career in aesthetics.[10]
  • Information Technology Technician (ITT) OYAP - is a program specifically designed to help students make a smooth successful transition from high school directly into a post-secondary Information Technology Technician (ITT) apprenticeship or diploma program.[11]
  • Health and Wellness Specialist High Skills Major - designed to help students make a smooth transition into health-care related careers, which offer many opportunities due to aging demographics. The curriculum delivered in this program focuses on human physiology and anatomy, pathology, immunology, basic medical terminology, gerontology, child development and laboratory practical elements.[12]

Extracurriculars

St. Thomas Aquinas offers a variety of extra-curricular clubs and activities including its online news site Aquinas Onlive[1].

  • Art Club
  • Aquinas Onlive
  • Chaplaincy team
  • Book Club
  • Dominican Republic HOPE mission trip
  • Drama and the annual school play
  • Environmental Club
  • Peace and Justice Club
  • Music (concert band, jazz band, junior band and choir)
  • Silent No More
  • Student Council
  • Tech Crew
  • Yearbook
  • Choir
  • Band (jazz, concert, etc.)

Athletics

St. Thomas Aquinas fields athletic teams called the "Raiders". STA is a member school of the Halton Secondary School Athletics Association. Students at St. Thomas can participate in both individual and team sports in any of three seasons: fall, winter, or spring.

Varsity Teams

Junior & Midget Teams

See also

References

  1. ^ Oakville Beaver news article, May 18, 2007
  2. ^ Oakville Beaver news article, September 8, 2007
  3. ^ Oakville Beaver news article, November 9, 2007
  4. ^ Oakville Beaver news article, December 26, 2007
  5. ^ About SCORA
  6. ^ Oakville Beaver news article, February 4, 2011
  7. ^ STA replacement drawings
  8. ^ STA construction updates
  9. ^ Hamilton Spectator Article, April 29, 2007
  10. ^ SchoolToCareer Hairstylist
  11. ^ SchoolToCareer IT Technician
  12. ^ SchoolToCareer High Skills Major Programs
  13. ^ OFSAA Past Champions Girls Soccer
  14. ^ HSSAA Standings
  15. ^ http://hssaa.org/standings/2007-2008/Fall/Jr.%20Boys%20Div-2%

External links

  • Official School Website
  • Online student newspaper

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