St. Bernard School

Amherstburg police investigating break-in at former elementary school

 

 

The Amherstburg Police Service is investigating a break-in at a former elementary school that was reported early last Friday morning.

Amherstburg police state that around 3:10 a.m., a male was seen leaving the former St. Bernard School building on Richmond St. He is described as a white male in his 20’s.

A security guard came across the suspect and was able to provide a description, but there is no identified suspect as of press time. The male was last seen heading southbound, police say.

An alarm was set and police say it was determined the male broke a window to gain entry. There was nothing taken.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Amherstburg Police Service at 519-736-3622 or Crime Stoppers at 519-258-TIPS (8477).

Aburg Police Logo Rev-web

Cyclist struck   Amherstburg police investigated an accident on Pickering Dr. near Sandwich St. S. July 10 around 11 a.m. where a cyclist collided with a vehicle. Police say it was determined that the cyclist was at fault as the cyclist allegedly cut in front of the vehicle.

Amherstburg police say cyclists are reminded to ride on the right hand side of the roadway in single file and obey all traffic laws (lights, stop signs, etc.). Police add that cyclists are not permitted to ride on sidewalks and in crosswalks.

 

Accident   Amherstburg police have charged both drivers as a result of a two-vehicle collision in the 500 block of Sandwich St. S. last Monday (July 10). According to police, both vehicles were southbound when a pickup truck allegedly tried to pass on the paved shoulder when the Ford Escape in front made a right turn, striking the pickup truck that was passing.

Police say the female driver from Amherstburg in the Ford Escape was charged with turn not in safety while the male driver of the pickup truck, a male driver from Essex, was charged with passing not in safety.

The accident occurred around 11:58 a.m.

The Amherstburg Police Service reminds drivers to use caution when passing other vehicles, especially when you are leaving the roadway onto a paved shoulder.

 

Stats   The Amherstburg Police Service responded to 237 calls for service the week of July 10-17. There were 48 traffic charges during that time period.

 

—All information courtesy of the Amherstburg Police Service

 

 

Stella Maris unveils buddy benches

 

By Jolene Perron

 

A bench, which was dedicated to Michelle Fischer, was brought to Stella Maris last week and was joined by new buddy bench.

In the spring of 2013, after the passing of a beloved teacher and friend at St. Bernard School, staff and students wanted to honor her memory with a special bench. Amy Williams, Fisher’s sister and current teacher at Stella Maris said without knowing what a buddy bench was yet, they simply wanted to honor her memory and represent her theory of inclusion.

Michelle Fischer’s bench was joined by a second buddy bench, donated by Windsor Chapel Funeral Home, which illustrates Principal Sophia DiPaolo’s motto for the 2016-17 year after they amalgamated with St. Bernard’s.

Michelle Fischer’s bench was joined by a second buddy bench, donated by Windsor Chapel Funeral Home, which illustrates Principal Sophia DiPaolo’s motto for the 2016-17 year after they amalgamated with St. Bernard’s.

“We had a nice celebration there, and then when St. Bernard’s closed and they came over the Stella Maris, we were of course hoping the bench would come and it finally came so we are so happy,” said Williams. “As a family we’re completely humbled and just really honored that her legacy is going to live on. She was a very strong woman. She truly fought a really hard fight, she worked through chemo, she never felt sorry for herself. She was someone who just went about her day and got the job done and the fact that they want to honor that to us, there really is no greater honor as a family.”
Fischer’s bench is joined by a second bench, donated by Windsor Chapel Funeral Home, which is personalized for the school saying “I am smart, I am strong, I can do anything, I am a Stingray,” which principal Sophia DiPaolo said symbolizes no matter who you are, no matter how good you are at something or perhaps not as good as someone else, it’s ok. She said this is something that we have been saying all year long and the kids really took to it.

Michelle Fischer’s Bench was brought to Stella Maris where her colleagues and sister currently work, in order to continue her legacy and honor her memory.

Michelle Fischer’s Bench was brought to Stella Maris where her colleagues and sister currently work, in order to continue her legacy and honor her memory.

“Our two school communities came together so beautifully this year and what a fantastic way to end it, by having this dedication ceremony,” said DiPaolo. “I think it just kind of solidifies the positivity, as sad as it was that St. Bernard’s closed down, it’s turned out to be a very positive thing in that the two communities came together so well and that’s really a tribute to parents, staff, and kids because if they didn’t make it work, it wouldn’t have worked. Mrs. Fischer was a very loved educational assistant at St. Bernard’s school … When our two school communities came together, and because she was such an integral part of that school community it was only right that we bring that bench in her honor to our school community.”

Students performed lyrical dances to songs with friendship themes during their dedication ceremony June 19.

Students performed lyrical dances to songs with friendship themes during their dedication ceremony June 19.

The second bench, which was donated by Windsor Chapel Funeral Home, is part of a tour Margaret Slack is taking around Windsor and Essex County. She is Windsor Chapel Funeral Home’s community education specialist, and she, along with her daughter Abbey Neves, have been sharing a very personal story on their 2017-18 Road Less Traveled Imagine Tour.

“Abbey was bullied and we decided that we wanted to take her message on the road and try and create communities within our area that focus on inclusiveness, empathy and compassion, both inside the school and outside,” said Slack. “We had come across this idea of a buddy bench and I asked Windsor Chapel Funeral Home if they would support providing buddy benches to the schools we visit on tour and they said yes. In the dedication ceremony today, they really came together as a school community to use the message of faith to bring their community together so that they can become champions.”

So far, they have visited 20 schools, and already have seven more set up to visit in the fall.

Town, WECDSB “iron out” traffic study issues, Stella Maris construction soon to begin

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Construction on a four-classroom addition at Stella Maris School could start as soon as early next week after issues relating to the traffic study were “ironed out.”

Stephen Fields, communication co-ordinator with the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, said the board is pleased to have satisfied the needs of what the town was looking for and said construction could start as soon as Monday.

“The goal is to have the bus bay and parking lot done by the start of school,” said Fields, noting that is weather permitting.

The four-classroom addition should be done by October or November, he added. While there will be students housed temporarily in the gymnasium during construction, Fields said Stella Maris has a good principal in Sophie DiPaolo and that the board is confident she will do everything possible to ensure the comfort of the students and staff.

“I’m sure she’ll work with staff and students to make sure they are accommodated properly,” said Fields. “There’s going to be creative solutions so the students get their daily physical activity and to ensure they get all their academic requirements met.”

Once the addition is complete, “we will have a really great school for the community,” said Fields. He hopes parents and students will be patient as the consolidation of Stella Maris and St. Bernard School comes together.

Stella Maris School

Stella Maris School

Town council delayed approval of the site plan last Monday and designated authority to execute the site plan to CAO John Miceli and director of planning, development and legislative Mark Galvin. The town’s concerns centered around busing and the “assumption that 100 per cent of the St. Bernard students will ride the bus, representing full compliance.” That concern was relayed as part of an administrative report to town council which added that current Stella Maris compliance was 60 per cent. Administration also wanted further validation of the number of buses that would be needed to accommodate all students.

Miceli confirmed that the town was in receipt of additional information from the board and the board’s consultants with Galvin indicating mid-week that the situation was “close to being ironed out.” Galvin said the town had to look over the information but believed the situation was soon to be remedied.

“I don’t expect it’s going to take more than a few days,” he said. “We’ve been working very closely together (with the board). We’re working very hard to get it finished.”

Saying goodbye to St. Bernard School

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The fate of St. Bernard School was decided in April when the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board voted to close it and now it’s time to say goodbye.

Former St. Bernard School teachers Anne Deslippe (left) and Christina D’Aloisio sign the guest book at last Friday night’s open house.

Former St. Bernard School teachers Anne Deslippe (left) and Christina D’Aloisio sign the guest book at last Friday night’s open house.

A Mass was held Friday night followed by an open house at the Richmond St. school where current staff and students got a chance to mingle with former staff and students. The last day of classes is today with the school expected to shut down for good in early July.

Principal Marisa Wismer said Friday night’s event was a chance to “take a stroll down memory lane” as people from the past and present got together. The process leading to the closure has been “very positive,” said Wismer, citing the Fun & Friends Day that was recently held at Stella Maris School that went well.

With the bulk of the students and much of the St. Bernard staff moving over to Stella Maris in September, the emphasis has been on bringing the schools together and keeping things positive for the students with Wismer noting the staff wanted to make it “the best year possible for them.” She added last Wednesday night’s graduation went “very well” and that the mood was upbeat.

“It was definitely very meaningful as it was the final graduating class but it went very well,” she said.

St. Bernard School graduate Kate Chant reads one of the old graduation programs that were on display at the June 24 open house.

St. Bernard School graduate Kate Chant reads one of the old graduation programs that were on display at the June 24 open house.

Wismer, who will become principal at St. John de Brebeuf Catholic Elementary School in Kingsville next school year, believed there may be some sadness this week as the 2015-16 school year officially comes to a close.

Wismer also taught at St. Bernard, as did retired teachers Anne Deslippe and Christina D’Aloisio, who came out to the open house Friday evening.

“It’s sad. There are a lot of good memories in this school,” said Deslippe. “It’s sad they are closing it.”

Deslippe, who spent 13 years of her teaching career at St. Bernard School, recalled her father Ed McBride was on the Catholic school board when it was built in the late 1950’s.

A group of staff members gather for a group photo at the St. Bernard School open house June 24.

A group of staff members gather for a group photo at the St. Bernard School open house June 24.

D’Aloisio said she taught at St. Bernard for 27 years and enjoyed every bit of it. She added she was able to come back and visit as she has a grandchild in the Ontario Early Years Centre within the building.

“It was a great place to teach,” said D’Aloisio. “I loved being here.”

Deslippe said she fit in at St. Bernard right away and it was “a wonderful experience.” D’Aloisio recalled the school being more open that it currently is as there weren’t any walls when she first taught there and students from other classes would cut through her class to return to where they were supposed to be.

D’Aloisio commented about the school’s central location and that they used numerous town amenities.

“We made use of everything,” she recalled. “Everything is so central.”

Current teacher Eva Pacitti spent the first two decades of her career and had many happy memories at St. Bernard but said the thought process is that they are getting “bigger and better” with the consolidation at Stella Maris School.

“Our focus is getting bigger and moving to a new building,” she said.

St. Bernard School graduates Leah Brownlie (left) and Marissa Nakitiuk (right) visit with teacher Eva Pacitti (centre) during the open house at St. Bernard School.

St. Bernard School graduates Leah Brownlie (left) and Marissa Nakitiuk (right) visit with teacher Eva Pacitti (centre) during the open house at St. Bernard School.

University of Windsor students Leah Brownlie and Marissa Nakitiuk returned to their former elementary school Friday night, pointing out they have been friends since elementary school. Nikitiuk said they came back “just to see it.

“Everything looks the same,” she said.

Browlie said it was sad that the school is being closed but she will always have her good memories of her time at St. Bernard School.

“I think the talent shows were my favourite,” added Nikitiuk.

The school was originally constructed in 1958, Wismer stated, with additions being built in 1961 and 1971.

“It’s been a cornerstone of the community for many years.”

 

Villanova, St. Bernard team up on robotics project

 

By Ron Giofu

St. Bernard School got a little help on their Lego robotics project from a team well versed in robotics projects.

The robotics team at St. Bernard received assistance last Thursday from the “WiredCats,” the robotics team from St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School. The “WiredCats” went to the world championships in St. Louis to compete recently and brought their expertise to St. Bernard to allow the younger students to be able to program their own robot.

The St. Thomas of Villanova "WiredCats" robotics team went to St. Bernard School recently to assist with the latter's robotics team.

The St. Thomas of Villanova “WiredCats” robotics team went to St. Bernard School recently to assist with the latter’s robotics team.

Eleonora Vitella, a Grade 5 teacher at St. Bernard, said there are about 13 students ranging from Grade 4-7 on the team. They built the robot with the Villanova students helping them to get it to do what they want. The robot is operational, she said, now it is more of a programming matter.

“I had gone to a workshop and brought the info back to the school and, with student interest, created a team,” said Vitella.

About nine students from the “WiredCats” came to St. Bernard to assist. Vitella said it was nice to have the involvement of the high school students.

St. Bernard School students receive instruction from the St. Thomas of Villanova robotics team.

St. Bernard School students receive instruction from the St. Thomas of Villanova robotics team.

“It’s nice to have extracurricular activities for students to learn at,” said Vitella. “Hopefully it helps them in their future careers.”

The “WiredCats” includes 28 St. Thomas of Villanova students.