Our Journey of Faith and Education
The celebration of the 150th anniversary of St. James School, Colgan Ontario, situated north-west of Toronto, was held on Sept. 24, 2006. The interesting history of the school had its early beginning with a first classroom in the loft of St. James Church in the year 1856, set up by the Irish parishioners who were determined to make a strong beginning foundation for the education of their children.
By the year 1883, the government inspector made a visit to the school and a more than satisfactory report was issued for the continuation of the small school.
Between 1947 and 1975, new buildings were constructed including a convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, whose mission was to teach in the school, grades one to eight and grades nine and ten. New methods of teaching demanded new equipment. St. James School kept in step and still is striving and thriving with a large enrolment in grades one to eight in well-finished classrooms with well-trained staff and interested students.
The Sisters of St. Joseph left Colgan in 1975 when they closed the convent and moved to various missions in larger localities. Mass took place at St. James Church at 12 noon. Some of the Sisters were among the invited guests to be present for the celebration in September and to renew their acquaintances with former friends and graduates and enjoy the warm, friendly atmosphere of the planned celebration. Members of some of the neighbouring school boards spoke, bringing greetings to school staff and members of the steering committee who had planned the events.
That same warm, friendly atmosphere pervaded the various areas of the school. The gym was decorated for the reception for the guests. Many photographs taken over the years pictured classroom events as well as teachers and students who had graduated from St. James. Memories were recalled by the guests as they browsed through the pictures and recognized teachers and students from the past, and perhaps even their own face as part of a group.
Another wing of the school was set up for special events including a Country Fair and a barbeque with fun for families and young students — games, enjoyment, sales, pictures, art, posters and students’ work. A quilt made by the staff of St. James School showed squares representing the school’s important people and events over the years.
Our Journey of Faith and Education was indeed a very appropriate title for this 150th Anniversary celebration.
By Helen McGrath CSJ